Classic Kitchen Cabinets

Learn about the different options for classic kitchen cabinets and discover the reasons why this versatile cabinet design works great in many styles of kitchens.


This spacious transitional kitchen mixes traditional white cabinetry and a maple-top island with modern stainless steel appliances and fixtures. The result is a crisp, clean kitchen with simple yet stylish appeal. Design by Thomas A. Conway

If you're planning a kitchen remodel and feeling torn between styles, or simply want a versatile kitchen space that allows you to mix and match different designs, classic kitchen cabinets may be a great option for you.

5 Most Popular Kitchen Layouts

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Essential Work Triangle

The three points of the frequently mentioned work triangle are the range, sink and refrigerator. Appliances can be broken up with the classic shapes; for example, the cooktop and wall ovens might be in different areas. Two sinks are important for a two-cook kitchen.

From: Drury Design

Zone Design

To really break up the different areas of the kitchen, consider a zone design. In this kitchen, a separate work station exists for cooking, eating and even cleaning, allowing space for several helpers all at once.

From: Drury Design

Galley or Corridor-Style

The galley, or corridor, kitchen has two straight runs on either side. Typically the sink is on one side and the range is on the other. The drawback to this design is traffic flow. A simple, one-wall design can be transformed into a galley shape with the addition of an island opposite the wall of cabinets. Islands help replace needed storage that is lost in an open kitchen design with limited wall cabinets.

L-Shaped Layout

For more privacy when cooking, choose an L-shaped layout which forces the traffic out of the work area. For more interaction with family and guests, try an L-shape with an island. The L-shaped kitchen has a main wall of cabinets with either the sink or range and a shorter run of cabinets placed in an L-configuration.

U-Shaped Layout

The U-shape evolved as storage needs increased. It provides a massive expanse of counter and storage space as well as great flexibility. The G-shape is the basic U with another little leg. It is great for a one-cook kitchen and allows the work area to be spread out. Design by Rate My Space user SANDCASTLES.

Classic kitchen cabinets are the unpainted canvas of kitchen design. They are no-frills with minimal additional adornments, but they allow for other styles to combine effortlessly. They also let you express your design aesthetic and personality via an infinite number of accentuating accessories and additions.

When it comes to materials, classic kitchen cabinets are almost always constructed from wood. Since wood is the most traditional cabinet material, it suits the classic style particularly well. Similarly, the color palette for classic kitchen cabinets is generally white, cream or beige, allowing for maximum flexibility when it comes to accessories, hardware and other design flourishes.

A great advantage of classic kitchen cabinets is that they can go a long way toward improving a home's resale value because their somewhat "neutral" style will have a much better chance of appealing to a wide range of prospective buyers than will cabinets built in a specific design style.

Although classic kitchen cabinets are something of a "blank slate," there are many style adornments you can add to them that will significantly increase their visual appeal and personality. You might also want to consider featuring contrasting colors when choosing floors and countertops. For example, dark hardwoods for floors and grays or blacks for countertops can add a great one-two punch of color contrast and aesthetic appeal. Additionally, simple, classic details like crown molding or glass-front doors can also add visual appeal and interest to your classic kitchen cabinet design, creating a traditional but still vibrant and appealing kitchen design.

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