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Shaker Cabinets vs Traditional: A Cabinet Style Showdown

by Gary Wade • January 18, 2024

Kitchen cabinets play a significant role in defining the overall aesthetic of your kitchen. Among the many styles available, shaker cabinets and traditional cabinets stand out due to their unique features and versatility. This article will delve into the similarities and differences between these two popular styles, helping you make an informed decision for your kitchen renovation.

When it comes to kitchen cabinetry, two styles reign supreme: shaker style cabinets and traditional cabinets. Both offer distinct characteristics that make them appealing to different homeowners. However, making a choice between shaker cabinets vs traditional can be challenging, especially without adequate knowledge about their features, pros, and cons.

Shaker Cabinets vs Traditional Cabinets

Understanding Shaker Style Cabinets

Shaker cabinets are distinguishable by their minimalist design and robust construction. Named after the Shaker religious sect known for their simple yet functional designs, this style focuses on practicality and durability.

Key Features of Shaker Style Cabinets

  • Minimalist Design: Shaker style cabinets are characterized by their simplicity. They feature a five-piece door design with a recessed center panel, offering a clean, streamlined look.
  • Robust Construction: Made from high-quality materials, shaker cabinets are known for their longevity and durability.
  • Variety of Finishes: Shaker cabinets are available in multiple wood species along with a range of finishes. Including solid colors such as black, white, green or blue and any stain color you can imagine, allowing them to integrate seamlessly into different kitchen designs.

Shaker Cabinet Pros and Cons


  • Timeless Appeal: The simple design of shaker style kitchen cabinets gives them a timeless appeal, making them a common choice in modern kitchens.
  • Customizability: Despite their minimalist design, shaker cabinets offer a degree of customizability. Homeowners can add different hardware or finishes to match their kitchen d├ęcor.
  • Low Maintenance: The flat panels and square corners of shaker cabinets make them easy to clean and maintain.


  • Cleaning Challenges: Despite being low maintenance, shaker cabinets can be slightly challenging to clean due to the inside corners in their recessed panel design.
Shaker Kitchen Cabinets vs Traditional Cabinets

Understanding Traditional Cabinets

Traditional cabinets, on the other hand, are characterized by their ornate designs and rich finishes. They are typically made from solid wood and feature intricate details, giving them a classic and elegant look.

Key Features of Traditional Cabinets

  • Ornate Design: Traditional cabinets often feature raised panels, moldings, and other decorative details, offering a more formal and classic appeal.
  • Solid Wood Construction: Traditional cabinets are usually made with solid wood, contributing to their durability and quality.
  • Variety of Finishes: Like shaker cabinets, traditional cabinets are also available in a range of finishes, paints, and stains including white, black, and cherry.

Traditional Cabinet Pros and Cons


  • Elegant Aesthetics: The intricate details and rich finishes of traditional cabinets make them a perfect choice for homeowners seeking a classic and formal kitchen aesthetic.
  • Variety of Woods and Colors: Traditional cabinets are available in a wide variety of wood types and colors, offering lots of design options.


  • Higher Cost: Traditional cabinets are typically more expensive due to their ornate designs and solid wood construction.
  • Outdated Appearance: Compared to shaker cabinets, traditional cabinets may appear outdated, especially in modern or contemporary kitchen designs.
Shaker Kitchen Cabinets vs Traditional Cabinets

Shaker Cabinets vs Traditional Cabinets: A Comparison

When comparing shaker vs traditional cabinets, several factors come into play. These include aesthetics and design, installation, cost, maintenance, and resale value.

Aesthetics and Design

The primary difference between shaker and traditional cabinets lies in their design. Shaker cabinets offer a minimalist and modern look, while traditional cabinets feature ornate details for a more classic appeal. Your choice between the two would largely depend on the overall design theme of your kitchen.


Both cabinet styles can come in framed or frameless construction. However, shaker cabinets are often found in frameless designs, while traditional cabinets typically feature a framed construction to maintain their classic look.

Traditional Kitchen Cabinets vs Shaker Cabinets


Shaker cabinets are generally more cost-effective due to their simpler design, which requires less labor to manufacture. However, the final cost may depend on several factors, including the wood type, finish, cabinet box structure, and style.


Both shaker and traditional cabinets require regular cleaning to maintain their appearance. However, shaker cabinets with their flat panels might be slightly easier to clean compared to the ornate designs of traditional cabinets.

Resale Value

The impact of your cabinet choice on your home's value depends more on the quality of materials and finishes used rather than the style itself. High-quality materials like fine hardwood can significantly boost your home's market value, regardless of whether you choose shaker style or traditional cabinets.

Traditional Kitchen Cabinets vs Shaker Kitchen Cabinets

Choosing Shaker Cabinets vs Traditional

In the battle of shaker cabinets vs traditional cabinets, there's no clear winner. Both styles offer unique features that cater to different tastes and kitchen designs. While shaker cabinets are perfect for those seeking a minimalist, modern look, traditional cabinets are ideal for homeowners looking for a classic and elegant aesthetic.

Remember, the best cabinet style is the one that satisfies your functional needs and aligns with your aesthetic preferences. Whether you choose shaker style kitchen cabinets or traditional kitchen cabinets, ensure you opt for high-quality materials and finishes to maximize the longevity and value of your investment.

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