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flat panel vs raised panel doors

Flat Panel vs. Raised Panel Doors: Here’s How To Choose

Are you looking for new cabinets that offer both beauty and functionality? You might wonder about the benefits of flat panel vs. raised panel doors. Discover the benefits and disadvantages of each type of cabinet and what factors you should consider when deciding on the best cabinets for your kitchen.

As a premium manufacturer of kitchen cabinets in Baltimore, MD, Current Cabinetry can create both to meet your needs. We can have your new doors delivered to your home in as little as a single day; reach out to learn more.

Raised Panel Doors

You can identify raised panel cabinet doors by the protruding center on the front panel, surrounded by a frame. In most styles of raised panel doors, the center panel juts out farther than the frame. We usually construct them from a single piece of wood or veneer, and you’ll most often find them in traditional or classic kitchens.

Raised Panel Advantages

Raised panel doors are more customizable than flat panel doors and elevate any kitchen they’re installed in. Raised panel doors offer superior durability, though the material you use is an essential factor in the cabinet’s life expectancy.

Raised Panel Disadvantages

The biggest disadvantage of raised panel doors is that they’re more of an investment, which some people can’t prioritize in their budget. They also require more frequent cleaning than flat panel doors because dirt and dust can build up in the grooves between the frame and center panel. You can clean them relatively easily with a soft cloth.

Flat Panel Doors

Flat panel cabinets contain one even piece of wood for the front panel and a separate frame that usually protrudes farther than the cabinet. They look sleek and minimalistic, and you’ll most often find them in kitchens with a more modern look.

Flat Panel Pros

The most immediate benefit of flat panel doors is that they’re usually more affordable and thus remain a good option for kitchens on a budget. Flat panel cabinet doors require little maintenance or cleaning because their simplistic nature doesn’t provide a place for dust to gather and hide. They also require less clearance to open, meaning they take up less space, making them a great option for smaller spaces to optimize kitchen storage.

Flat Panel Cons

Because they’re more simplistic in their construction, flat panel doors often don’t offer the same level of durability as raised panel doors. This also means they’re more prone to warping, especially in a high-moisture environment like a kitchen. While you can paint them and add decorative cabinet door features like finishings, they’re less customizable and many people consider them less stylish than raised panel cabinets.

Factors To Consider When Choosing the Right Door

When you’re deciding between flat panel vs. raised panel doors, you’ll have a variety of factors you must consider. To help determine which style of cabinets will fit best in your kitchen, consider the following. 


For many people, the first consideration in determining which cabinets to purchase is their budget. Cabinetry comes at many different price points depending on the style, size, material, and customizations you require. In general, you’ll spend less money on flat cabinets than raised cabinets, but luxury flat panel doors can cost more than the most affordable raised panel ones.

While your budget should remain one of your most important considerations, it shouldn’t eliminate raised cabinets from the running even if you have less to spend on them.


The material you construct your cabinets from is one of the biggest factors in determining its price, appearance, and durability. We craft most cabinets from the following popular materials:

  • Solid wood: As the most popular option, solid wood cabinets improve the value of your home, offer considerable durability and customization potential, and can be fixed more easily than other materials. However, solid wood also often requires the biggest investment.
  • Plywood: Plywood has a long lifespan and remains affordable and customizable. However, it doesn’t always hold up against water and heat as well as solid wood.
  • Wood veneer: Wood veneer cabinets are durable, require little maintenance, come in a variety of styles and colors, and offer a cost-effective solution. However, they’re vulnerable to scratches and you’ll have difficulty repairing them when once they’re damaged.
  • Laminate: Laminate is one of the most affordable materials you’ll find for your cabinets, and it still offers a nice level of durability and requires little maintenance. While laminate can stand up to the activity of a kitchen without developing scratches, if it does experience a scratch or other problem, you’ll have to replace it completely.
  • Particle board: Particle board is extremely affordable, lightweight, and environmentally friendly. However, it can warp or crack over time and can’t support heavy loads like other materials.
  • Fiberboard: You can create cabinets from high- and medium-density fiberboard, which offers an affordable, flexible, and easily customizable solution. However, it’s vulnerable to scratching and denting.
  • Melamine: Melamine is a type of plastic fused over the top of plywood or particle board to increase its durability and grant it a polished look. However, many forms of melamine aren’t environmentally friendly and it can warp if you put too much weight on it.


Consider the durability you’ll require from your cabinets based on your environment and how you use your kitchen. In general, you’ll want your cabinets to stand up to high heat and moisture levels, though if you don’t cook most of your meals, you might opt for a less durable material.

Also, consider whether you have kids or pets that put your cabinets at a greater risk of scratching or denting. If you live alone or with an adult partner, you’re probably careful enough to avoid damaging your cabinets. However, solid wood is a great option for families or in kitchens that experience a lot of traffic from less careful individuals.


Creating styled kitchens helps make your house feel like a home and can raise its value if you want to sell it. For the best style, choose your cabinets based on the existing decor of your kitchen. For example, if you have coffered ceilings, raised panel cabinets provide a nice contrast and carry the idea of texture throughout your kitchen. If you have a more modern, minimalist, or sleek kitchen design, you may opt for flat panel cabinets to provide a consistent theme and not distract from any distinctive features. Don’t overlook the role the right cabinet material has in tying together your style.

How can you use the most common cabinet materials to enhance your aesthetics? Solid wood cabinets work well for any style because they’re some of the most customizable materials. If you’re investing in raised panel doors, using solid wood offers the epitome of luxury.

If you’re on a budget but still want raised cabinets, consider offsetting some of the costs by choosing a material like vinyl or particle board. Even if you’re opting for flat panel doors, you can choose a high-end material to increase durability and appearance.

Request Free Design Consultation From Current Cabinetry

Now that you know the benefits and disadvantages of flat panel vs. raised panel doors, you can decide what type of cabinets are best for your home. From styling your raised panel cabinets to promptly delivering them, Current Cabinetry provides excellence and expertise every step of the way. 

 We help make your kitchen dreams a reality by redefining the space. Call 410-609-7077 for free design help today.

Daniel Kermaier

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