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Shaker Cabinets vs. Raised Panel Cabinet Doors

Posted by Melissa Hollobaugh on Feb 27th 2024

Shaker Cabinet Door Century Raised Panel Cabinet Door

When it comes to designing your kitchen, cabinet doors take center stage. The right cabinet doors will not only serve their storage purpose but also set the tone in the kitchen. Cabinet doors fill up most of the wall space; hence, you need them to be as stylish as possible.

When it comes to choosing the right types of cabinet doors styles, two designs dominate the market. Shaker cabinet doors and raised panel cabinet doors are the ones you’re likely to come across. These cabinet door styles work well for both contemporary and traditional kitchen designs.

Since all these cabinet styles make the perfect addition to your kitchen, choosing one over the other is not always an easy task. But this can be a lot easier if you know the difference between shaker and recessed panel cabinet doors.

What Are Shaker-Style Cabinet Doors?

Shaker doors feature simple but timeless aesthetic-style cabinets doors. Their main feature is the raised framed door. They usually focus on cope-and-stick construction characterized by recessed doors that simply have straight edges.

The shaker cabinet doors design began from a group of American immigrants who sought to live a simple and communal lifestyle. These people grew their own food, crafted tools and made their furniture using a utilitarian design that was simple and practical. They still ensured quality and durability while avoiding ornaments. The shaker cabinet doors were born from this concept and have since maintained their simplicity and quality.

The style of this cabinet is simply plain and minimalist, without compromising the beauty. The cabinets feature no carvings, ornamentations or complicated designs. You’ll mostly identify them with straight lines, moderate proportions and squared edges.

But despite the simplicity, shaker cabinets feature the best quality hardwood, including maple, pine, oak, ash, bitch, chestnut, among others. The finishing is usually wood stained with light-colored, mostly done to enhance the wood’s natural tone. Every other piece of hardware, including the handles of a shaker cabinet door, is basic and simple.

shaker wood cabinet doors

What Are Raised Panel Cabinets?

The history of raised panel cabinet doors dates back to the 1920s, when kitchen cabinet doors first came into existence. Before then, the kitchen was just made up of the sink, preparation table and stove. The need to eliminate the drudgery of cooking and cleaning in the late 1920s brought about kitchen cabinet innovations, which gave birth to more stylish cabinet doors such as raised panel designs. Since then, these designs have been popular and keep getting better every day.

Raised panel doors are the formal designs associated with traditional kitchen styles. They feature a slightly raised or higher center panel than their surrounding wood. The cabinets feature a raised panel with a rim or overlay. The cabinet doors are constructed by carving the grooves or using adhesive to the frame to create an overlay.

The center panel is also curved so that it creates a raised panel by sloping backward. The raising of the panel provides depth and dimension to these types of cabinet doors. The carvings feature a variety of styles and designs that complement any kitchen design.

In addition to the unique carvings, these cabinet doors also feature decorative edges in the interior and exterior. Depending on the owner's preferences, they can feature even more complicated decor elements such as beading. Some designs even feature stepped frames that add depth and dimension to the cabinet. Some feature arches and square edges, while others combine different raised panels and frames. Others feature additional touches such as metal and glass inserts.

Raised panels are also made with quality wood materials and feature different finishings to give them a unique look. The finishings give them a unique and appealing look that complements any kitchen decor.

raised panel cabinet door

Difference Between Shaker Style and Raised Panel Cabinets

Both of these cabinet door designs are suitable for both modern and traditional style kitchens. They feature quality materials and offer aesthetic appeal to any kitchen. But they also have differences that set them apart from the other. Here are some features that set shaker style vs. raised panel cabinet doors apart from each other.

1. The Construction and Installation

Another differentiating factor between raised panel and shaker cabinet doors is the installation process. It’s safe to say that they both feature the same construction as they come with framed and frameless construction. Framed construction means their cabinet doors are attached to a frame in front of the cabinet. Frameless construction doesn’t come with a supporting frame since the door hangs on the side of the cabinet.

While both cabinets may feature framed or frameless construction, it’s common to find shaker styles with frameless construction because they want to maintain simplicity. Raised cabinets mostly come with framed construction because they want to maintain the traditional appearance.

2. Cabinet Maintenance

The style doesn't dictate anything when it comes to maintaining your cabinet doors. They both require the same kind of maintenance to serve you longer. The only thing that might dictate how much care you give your cabinet door is the material and finishings, which applies to both.

Both cabinet doors tend to accumulate dust and grime on the edges, so you need to keep them clean. Cabinet doors with bigger overlays tend to be more visible when dust and other types of dirt accumulate on them.

3. The Cost

Another dominant thing that’s different between shaker cabinets vs raised panels is their cost. While this largely depends on the materials, finishings, and the seller, the cost difference is still a big factor to consider when choosing shaker vs raised panel cabinets.

When choosing raised panel cabinets and shaker doors of the same style and design, you’ll notice that the shaker ones will be slightly cheaper. This is because the shaker cabinets feature a much simpler style, attracting fewer labor costs. But this will still depend on the wood species, finish, box construction and style.

4. History and Origin

Raised panel cabinet doors have been the go-to for kitchens and home designs since the 17th century. The look was popularized in parts of Europe during the Renaissance and quickly became the most popular choice in the United States during the colonial period.

Shaker cabinets were popularized later in the 18th century by the Shaker religious community. The simplicity of the style and superior craftsmanship complemented their simple lifestyles.

5. Design Characteristics

Shaker cabinets are known and loved for their clean lines and simple structure. The door has little to no ornate details and is the perfect blend of stylish and functional. While raised panel cabinets have slightly more depth and dimension.

While raised panel cabinet doors have a more traditional appeal. The style is also more complicated with curves, edges, raised frames, and panels. They are also available in various different profiles, including arched and cathedral. When it comes to style, shaker cabinet doors are more minimalist but still aesthetically appealing.

6. Material and Construction

Shaker and raised panel cabinet doors can be made with solid wood or paint-grade materials. The materials you choose will depend on the aesthetic of your kitchen or bathroom. When you purchase from a trusted supplier, you can feel confident in the quality of the materials and construction of both styles.

7. Color and Finish Options

Both cabinet door styles can be purchased with no finish or a clear varnish finish. A clear varnish finish can protect the wood from scratches and dents. It can also enhance the natural wood grain and color of wood.

8. Popular Application

Raised panel cabinet doors are typically used in traditional, farmhouse, Mediterranean kitchen or bathroom designs. While shaker doors are a popular choice for modern, minimalist, Scandinavian, or coastal aesthetics. When comparing shaker cabinets vs raised panels, it's best to choose which cabinet door style will complement the look and feel you're trying to achieve in your kitchen or bathroom.

Shaker Cabinets vs. Raised Panel: Six Real-Life Examples

Still unsure which style is best for your kitchen, bathroom, or next home renovation project?

Here are six real-time examples of how to use these cabinet door styles.

Traditional

In this kitchen design, the raised panel cabinets complement the traditional design elements. Everything works together to create a cohesive elegant and sophisticated look. The raised panel has minimal ornate details that don’t distract from the overall look of the space but instead add to the design.

Transitional

Transitional kitchens are the perfect blend of simplicity and modern aesthetics. The look combines simple hardware and neutral colors to create a timeless and versatile appearance. The shaker cabinets complement the minimalist hardware details and the open and airy feel of the space.

Mediterranean

Mediterranean kitchens feature warm-toned finishes and bold hardware. These kitchens typically have a rich color palette and traditional elements. The raised panel cabinet doors add depth and dimension to the space, committing to the Tuscany appeal of the Mediterranean aesthetic.

Coastal 

Coastal kitchens thrive on simplicity and natural elements. They often have open and airy floor plans and white or light-colored shaker doors. The simplicity of the shaker style lets the wicker chairs and natural wood beam in the ceiling. Together, the design details work to create a coastal vibe.

Farmhouse

Modern and traditional farmhouse home designs grew in popularity in the early 2000s. They offer the perfect blend of rustic, vintage, and traditional aesthetics, creating a warm and inviting feel. In this kitchen design, the raised panel style pairs beautifully with the farmhouse elements, adding a traditional flair and a subtle touch of detail.

Scandinavian

Scandinavian-style kitchens are simple yet modern. They lack ornate details and instead use natural-inspired elements to add depth to the space. Many Scandinavian kitchens feature flat panel or shaker doors. Both cabinet door styles are simple and complement the light and airy vibe of the space.

Which One Should You Choose?

While both cabinet door styles have their own unique characteristics and benefits, the decision ultimately comes down to personal preference and the style of your kitchen or bathroom. Consider the overall design aesthetic you want to achieve, as well as your budget and maintenance preferences.

Whether you choose shaker-style cabinet doors or raised panel cabinet doors, you can trust that you're getting high-quality craftsmanship and timeless design that will enhance the look and functionality of your space for years to come.

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