Whether you’re looking into cabinets for your office or your home, finding the perfect style can be a bit of an ordeal. Rather than getting lost in the thousands of materials, finishes, and styles, you can make things easier on yourself by identifying what macro-style you need. That way, you can eliminate some of the options and stick with styles that will achieve your decor goals.

In our experience, we’ve found that there are four major style families. Within these families, you can personalize to your heart’s content, but it helps to identify which family suits your personality and vision the best. In today’s blog, we want to explore these families and their specific characteristics.


Is this your style? Traditional might be the look for you if you love styles from Europe’s golden age. Do you like elaborate motifs? Deep, rich tones? Ornate designs that are as decorative as they are functional? Traditional cabinets deliver balance, symmetry, and refinement. If you love these things, traditional cabinets may be great for you.

When looking into traditional cabinets, you may spot these important characteristics:

  • Gilded details. You’ll see glass door inserts that feature intricate metal patterns, allowing one to see inside while providing a luxurious flash of gold or silver.
  • Rich textures and patterns. We’re talking raised-panel cabinetry and embellishments that make the cabinets look like furniture. We’re also talking built-in wet bars for the kitchen.
  • Deep color schemes and contrast. The darker brown your cabinets get, the more traditional they look. You can do things like combining the dark wood with light gray to inject elegant contrast into anymore.
  • Fancy hardware. Again, flashes of bright metal or polished surfaces provide the luxurious look that people love so much about traditional cabinetry.
  • A blend of different lines. Traditional cabinets are excellent at combining straight, irregular, and curved lines. An arch can be added over the sink or at the end of a square island cabinet to add interest.


If you love negative space and clean lines, contemporary may be the look for you. Contemporary style creates open areas and calms everything down with sparing decor. When it does decorate, it does is boldly. You’ll find natural tones, sleek and smooth surfaces, and streamlined shapes in your cabinets. You’ll enjoy a style that warms up utilitarian style just enough to make it homey.

Characteristics of contemporary cabinets include the following:

  • Minimal accessories. Cabinets may or may not have knobs and handles. If they do have hardware, it will be specifically-chosen to contribute striking lines or bold embellishments.
  • Geometric elements. Organic lines aren’t really at home in contemporary design, Instead, lines are left up to the simplicity of geometry. Squares, circles, and straight lines are king. Many times, touches of bold, contrasting color will be used to emphasize the simplicity of the shapes. Cabinets are an especially easy way to emphasize rectangles, squares, and straight lines.
  • Natural materials. Contemporary style favors leather, stone, glass, and aluminum, creating a fascinated balance between natural and manmade elements. When it comes to cabinets, a great way to inject natural materials in your design is including glass inserts in cabinet doors or choosing a deep, striking tone of wood.


If you like mix ideas, act with freedom, and express yourself, casual might be a fantastic fit for you. Casual style starts with a modern base and blends in a bunch of traditional detailing. As a result, you get a disarming combination of refinement and relaxation. Casual cabinets harmonize between all the different personal elements of the space, bringing unity as well as emphasis to certain spots.

A casually styled room will have the following characteristics:

  • Bold accents. A single bright wall or another bold element provides a starting place for the attention and allows you to express yourself.
  • Unexpected architectural elements. We can add arches to a bookcase, add elegant moldings to a cabinet, or add quirky hardware on drawers. Again, these are more opportunities to express who you are.
  • Eclectic decor. There joy in settling opposite elements next to one another. For example, you might have a classic family heirloom next to modern art. That type of juxtaposition heightens contrast and emotional response. It helps people notice both objects fully.


This style combines familiarity, timelessness, and nature. Basically, it brings nature inside. If you love the feel of things that have been lived-in, rustic style may be yours. It combines raw and weathered materials with gently distressed materials, saturating everything with warmth with relaxation. You’ll see a lot of iron and copper as well as carved woods, stone accents, and many different textures.

Rustic characteristics are the following:

  • Country antiques. Since you’re bringing nature and the country in, cabinets will have distressed features and small cubbies for showcasing collectibles.
  • Texture provides patterns. You can establish one texture, like weathered wood, and then break it up with regularly-spaced cubbies filled with basket storage. By playing with the different textures, you create interesting paths for the eye to follow.
  • Decor inspired by nature. Like we said, you’re often going to see exposed wood grain. Stone is always a lovely partner to wood and can be incorporated in a backsplash or fireplace mantel.

Now that you know the four main families of style, you can adhere strictly to one or mix and match! Hybrid looks are fascinating and can create a style that sets your space apart. At JV Cabinet Makers, we specialize in cabinet refacing and reconstruction. We also do custom shelving. Capturing different styles is extremely easy with cabinet refacing. Not only do you get to say goodbye to dirty old cabinet and drawer faces, you get to see a room completely transformed into your desired style.

Cabinets are functional pieces of furniture. Just like a couch or a table, they have a profound impact on any room. And just like a couch or table, you need cabinets to last many years. We mentioned refacing, which can be an amazing option if you have excellent cabinetry that is just a bit worn out. However, if you need to redo everything, we recommend you read our previous blog. We discuss just what makes a great cabinet great, which includes materials, hardware, and craftsmanship.

When you contact JV Cabinet Makers to reface or redo your cabinets, you can be confident that you are working with California’s best cabinet makers. We take great pride in our craftsmanship, building cabinets that will stand the test of time. We also enjoy sitting with our clients and determining their dream style so we can deliver it with excellence. If we are welcomed into your home or office to build cabinets, we will treat your property like it is our own, taking every measure to protect everything around us.