Mission-Style Kitchen Cabinets

Learn about mission-style kitchen cabinets, and give your home a warm an inviting kitchen design.
Kitchen Island with Stainless Refrigerator

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The warm woods and green trim in this kitchen bring nature indoors. Mica glass pendant lights hang over the island and a stainless refrigerator adds a contemporary touch.

By: Amy McEvoy

Mission-style kitchen cabinets feature a distinctive look that began in the United States around the turn of the 20th century. While mission style started with furniture, it quickly became a popular design for cabinetmakers as well.

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Mission style strongly influenced another popular design aesthetic seen in kitchen cabinetry known as the Arts and Crafts movement, although it also combines other styles seen in Spanish and American Southwest regions as well.

Mission-style design is defined by straight lines and panel-faced doors with little or no adornment. The most common material used in mission-style kitchen cabinets is oak, particularly American white oak. Occasionally cherry can be used as well as this is considered a more elegant and durable wood. Mission-style kitchen cabinets are usually made by skilled carpenters because of their unique construction, which results in a more durable, dependable and long-lasting collection of cabinets. Because of this emphasis on custom-made cabinetry, creating a mission-style kitchen design can be costly. Both the cost of the wood and the cost of the labor decrease the likelihood of creating a budget-friendly mission-style kitchen; however, the aesthetic and durable results may very well be worth the extra expense.

In terms of color, mission-style cabinets tend to be left in their natural wood state rather than being painted. Homeowners may choose to stain the wood cabinets to bring out a deeper hue, but often the wood is left in a warm honey color. Decorative hardware is often black, using materials such as wrought iron, rubbed brass or bronze metal.

In addition to the distinctive mission-style kitchen cabinets, homeowners can add various adornments to their kitchen to create a true mission-style kitchen. Distinctive light fixtures with amber tones and stained glass can be added. Used as pendant lighting over a kitchen island or in the form of a lamp placed on the kitchen counter, these light fixtures can provide a warmth and glow to your kitchen that make it a truly inviting room, reflecting the distinctive mission style. Often seen in true mission-style kitchens are built-in storage benches or breakfast nooks featuring the same wood as used in the cabinetry.

Regardless of the size of your kitchen, if you are looking for a warm and cozy historic look with quality wood cabinetry, mission-style might just be the style for you.

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