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Designers - combine 5 kitchen cabinet door styles?

Ann Lane
last month

Thank you in advance to those with a better design sense! Would 5 different door styles be too busy in this kitchen, or would it be "visually interesting" as our KD likes to say? We are using the below picture for inspiration, which has 3 different styles (slab, picture frame, shaker). Like the picture, we also will have white oak and white painted cabinets. Our island drawer fronts will look very similar to the pictured island drawers (except our island will be white oak, not painted). However, unlike the picture, the backside of our island (where the bar seating is) will be slab with a J channel. We thought it might look strange to continue the fancier picture frame look on the back side, and our KD said we couldn't make doors that big to access the storage there (warp issues). So we went with slab drawer fronts on the backside to not compete with the sides and a J channel for finger grips. That's two styles on the island.


All the wood bases on the perimeter are inset slab drawers. The only reason we went with slab inset here is because we have very sloppy kids who spill a lot things and we thought it would be easier to wipe down those drawer fronts in our cleanup zone by the sink. We also have a row of white glossy slab cabinets above, which is meant to disappear with the wall (we plan to paint the wall the same color in semi-gloss). With the two drawer styles on the island, that's 4 styles so far. And the 5th style is a Shaker door for everything else. (Ignore the weird lines on the white cabinets above the oven and frig - I think that was our KD trying something out). Our KD thinks this will provide visual interest and won't be busy, and the 2 slab front styles (island backside and perimeter bases) will "disappear," but I'm wondering if we should limit the door styles and make the perimeter bases all Shaker as well (and just do a little more wiping for the spills!) or something different on the back of the island (like get rid of the J channel and just do slabs with touch latch, even if it means the kids might kick a door open every once in a while seated at the bar). Could be visually interesting . . . or busy?


Inspiration picture



Our design






Comments (49)

  • PRO
    RBIC HOME
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I don't dislike it. Its unique and interesting. Just try to have a certain continuity in the whole picture. By keeping at least one thing the same for all of them. You choose. Either color, counter top or handles or whatever that create balance to the eye .... but the overall idea is really nice. Go for it.

  • PRO
    Patricia Colwell Consulting
    last month

    Sorry but that would be a big no. IMO 2 different styles is often a miss maybe a different color for the island would IMO be a good idea . I think there is unique and then there is “OH you couldn’t get all matching cabinets” BTW inset cabinets do not make it easier to clean than full overlay which I like for exactly that reason

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  • Molly D.
    last month

    I think it looks like a hot mess

  • ceilsan32
    last month

    Visually it's far too busy for me. Why are there so many small drawers? The inset cabinets may prove more time consuming to clean than you imagine. The variations in style and color of cabinet/drawer hardware appears like an intentional mix of modern vs. 1900's, which I personally dislike. The open pullouts below the cooktop can attract a great deal of dust/flour, etc., which is why I opted for deep, large drawers.

  • Mrs Pete
    last month

    Too much. Looks like a mis-match. Admittedly, though, I also dislike the two-tone kitchen fad.

    "Calm" is a word I like in terms of cabinets, and this is the opposite.

  • felizlady
    last month

    One door and drawer style only! 5 would be too weird!! I prefer a slab back if you have stools there. If you aren’t adding stools, you could do drawers on the front and the back if you need extra storage. You pay for each drawer, so wider drawers make more sense than a bunch of narrow drawers. Especially with the lower drawers, wide drawers on full-extension heavy-duty glides will give you better access for your big or heavier items.

  • Ann Lane
    Original Author
    last month

    Thanks for all the comments! I do like calm, but don't want boring, and yet trying to avoid "busy" - so it's hard to walk that line! The bases look like they have small drawers, but it's your typical 5-12-12 arrangement. There are not actually that many drawers on the back wall, it only looks that way because of the two dishwasher panels. The far left base cabinet on the back wall is also a microwave drawer cabinet (the MW is not showing but you can see where it goes), I don't mind two door styles, or maybe even three, but I was a bit worried about the slab drawers being opposite the different looking island drawers on the other side of the aisle.


    Felizlady: do you mean keep the slab drawers I have on the backside of the island but get rid of the J channels for finger grips? I could do touch latch. If it looks better, we'll just live with one of them getting kicked open every once in a while. Maybe then the slabs on the back of the island won't count as a door style. :) Although, I guess you would still see the cuts for the drawers.

  • JuneKnow
    last month

    Disjointed and thrift storish. If you want an unfitted kitchen look, you can do way better than that.

  • btydrvn
    last month

    It will probably look like a showroom display....of different kinds of cabinetry...in general ...all the pieces...at least.... in same materials should have matching doors...as to storage under the seating edge...that storage will only be good for occasionally needed big items..as the access is so inconvenient...so no drawers there...in general the kitchen window should be centered to allow more counter space on each side and more convenient upper cabinets..if this plan has come from a designer i would definitely move on to a new ...more competent ...designer..there will be lots more elements to add interest...such as the counters...or floors...that will not just add the confusion mixed doors would

  • Ann Lane
    Original Author
    last month

    Those were the exact words I used to ask the KD - "Will my kitchen look like a showroom display?" She said, absolutely not. This is a higher end remodel, and I appreciate that she is not doing cookie-cutter, but I don't want to go TOO far out of the box.


    RBIC Home - we have not talked about handles yet, but you are absolutely right. Thank you for pointing that out. We should definitely have the same handles, since I know at a minimum we'll at least have two different door styles.

  • HU-187528210
    last month

    I agree with you Anne. Very pretty. I understand the look she’s going for just may be overboard by a little bit
    But overall I LOVE the style!!! Really pretty

  • btydrvn
    last month

    The oddities will become normal over time if you love the result...in my kitchen nothing is cookie cutter....and i still love it ... altho the thing that saved me was we have a big ...walk-in pantry...with lots of convenient storage...which will probably be your biggest challenge with this layout...

  • tedbixby
    last month

    When I saw your drawings the 1st thing I thought was that this was a high-end kitchen as I'm seeing more than a couple of door styles in such kitchens more lately than in the past. Since you are questioning it, I'd ask the KD to do a drawing with what you are thinking and then you'll have a visual of both and can make a decision from that. And the other thought is that I'm guessing you choose your KD based on her/his portfolio so you have to weigh that into your decision, too, as that is probably one of the main reasons you went with her/him.

  • Ann Lane
    Original Author
    last month

    Thank you all for your thoughts!


    btydrvn, you honed in right into one of our big issues - storage, which is why we are trying to fit a lot into the island. And it's true, over time, we will just get used to it. But it would be nice to have a little more general appeal in the high design sense, like "it's not my cup of tea, but it looks nice." Not the sense you sometimes get when you think, "What were they thinking?"


    texbixby, you're right, i did like this KD's portfolio but this is probably as "out there" as she has done. Probably because I'm one of the few clients willing to try! But I'm wondering if this is a bit "overboard" as HU-187528210 put it, which is my concern.


  • claire larece
    last month

    to me its the window throwing the cabinets in the back out of proportion. can you make that lined area an extra crowned soffit and the rest of the right side box cabinets?

  • Ann Lane
    Original Author
    last month

    Claire, the window was a challenge! But it's our only view out to the pool, and I wanted to be able to keep an eye on it while in the kitchen if I needed to. We couldn't make another window either, because the garage is on the other side of the back wall (except where the window is). I'm intrigued but not sure I understand. Which lined area? The white row under the wood soffit will be glossy white cabinets. The black box is a TV (that also shows artwork) above the sink base, and we were also going to put sconces (that have a low projection from the wall) on either side of TV.

  • tedbixby
    last month

    Comparing your inspiration photo to your drawings I think the biggest difference in the inspiration photo is that all the cabinets and island all are finished the same except for the cabinets on the right side which it comes across as a hutch rather than being part of the cabinets, a piece of furniture per say. And so the different style of doors work together as they have one common link of being in the same finish. Looking at your drawings more closely, I think the issue is that the plan is that you will have painted, white oak, glossy and glass fronts. I think with so many different finishes then adding so many different door styles that they start to fight each other and maybe that is why you aren't on board with this? Maybe rethinking the finishes or the doors so they aren't competing with each other may be the answer.

  • claire larece
    last month

    the white row of rectangular cabinets under wood. soffit

  • btydrvn
    last month

    Oh no...a tv?..in this storage deprived space a whole wall for a tv?....doesn’t that seem wrong to you ?it does seem like you are little unsure about the design ....and it also feels like design is winning over function...one big flaw to me is the dinky odd window...it never feels right to be at the sink looking at a wall...create as big a window as possible...and center the sink on it ... (forget the tv)and let the designer get creative with more uppers to the right....unfortunately it does feel a little like a hands tied ...blindfolded ...challenge..to us ...as we cannot see how the kitchen relates to the rest of the home....

  • jck910
    last month

    "visually interesting" may not be "high design sense" Where did you get the inspiration picture? It looks like "I love this I'm going to have it" As JuneKnow said "you can do better"

  • thinkdesignlive
    last month

    I am also in the no camp as well. I think the small window / TV wall is a huge mistake. Getting a large window there even if the view is nothing would be key.

  • arcy_gw
    last month

    What's your over all goal? If it is to say Hey world I have a new kitchen! then No. If it is to give the impression of a kitchen that has grown over time, additions added as needed etc. then maybe but it will always look mish mash.

  • thinkdesignlive
    last month

    And the refrigerator wall is an even bigger mess. Your eye is just caught up in all the detail and it really truly looks like a DIY attempt.

  • thinkdesignlive
    last month

    Just read your comment about the small window. If it can be enlarged at all it should be especially if that is your view to supervise the pool. Then, once that is done, and if that skinny cabinet to the counter is removed, then at a minimum have the upper cabinet at the right of the sink be a visual balance to that window. Finally, ask yourself if you want to stand in front of a TV screen while you wash dishes. My guess is you’d have it off most of the time as the glare and visual chaos in front of you while you work at the sink will be much too much. Even if you set it to art mode it gives off light. I am all for a TV in the kitchen but not where you have it. A large mirror, maybe....but solve the window issue first.

  • tozmo1
    last month

    "Keep an eye on it" with "it" meaning the pool implies to me that you are watching for safety implications. If so, that seems to be a priority over the TV. Surely there is someplace else to put the TV but only one place to have a focused view of the pool.

    I have three different finishes for cabinets; walnut, birds eye maple and gloss white on base cabinets. It works because all have the same flat front cabinets and each finish has a job to do in the visual design, not just be interesting. You can do this but be very considered about it.



  • Lidia
    last month

    I like most of it but then I have a two toned kitchen also. One cabinet style, you could go unique in the corner one where the wall can rest on the counter. And...where the stools go in the island, the end drawers can flip to accessible storage in the ends and just do fake panel for the 2 end stools. You’ll still need to move the 2 center stools to access those drawers but now you’re only expending half the effort.

  • tedbixby
    last month

    Is your cooktop in the island and the sink under the TV? What is the brown on the wall under the far right cabinet on the TV wall?

  • thinkdesignlive
    last month

    This is one of the better ‘TV in a kitchen’ looks IMO. Doesn’t look like you have the ceiling height to pull it off though. I think to best comment we would need to see the overall floor plan.

    https://www.houzz.com/photos/pye-residence-beach-style-kitchen-charleston-phvw-vp~5188224

  • Ann Lane
    Original Author
    last month

    Wow, thanks for all of this food for thought!


    Claire, I see what you’re saying now. We were trying to get storage in there, but I suppose one possibility would be to add one more white cabinet to the right and the wall cabinet under becomes shorter in height. She tried that originally (I remember seeing a version like that in the beginning), but then changed her mind and thought the taller cabinets on both sides looked better. I think KD was trying to mirror the glass cabinet to the left of the window in height. We looked at pictures online where people had similar situations and it seemed that if it was close, it looked fine. Here's one we had looked at:





    tedbixby - You might be right about the finishes. Below is a picture that I saw that had a glass front (which is a fridge, though) with a glossy door and wood. We’re actually going to have oak in that similar stain color, and a similar white glossy door. It might be the regular white cabinets (matte sheen) for the frig/ oven cabinets? Maybe those regular white cabinets will visually look like a hutch situation (or more furniture-like, as you noted)? Cooktop is in the island. The brown under the right cabinet is a shallow cabinet for cups (trying to preserve landing space for the fridge).





    Btydrvn, thinkdesignlive and anjiz - Yes, a tv. I have all teenage boys, and they watch a LOT of sports. The TV is really for them sitting at the island. I like to have it on while I’m cooking, mostly listening to the news, but I don’t really watch it. There’s a smaller TV that’s going on a wood panel on that wall already that will angle towards the eating area (thanks, anjiz, for seeing that possibility!). We tried out the viewing angles with the KD and there isn’t a way to make one TV work for both the eating area and the island, unfortunately. On the other side of the island is a sunken family room. No walls in between and very open. Unfortunately, the TV in the family room is on a side wall and can’t be viewed from the kitchen at all. Making the window would be a great idea, but there’s not much room. We looked at that too. We might be able to make it a few inches bigger to the left (the garage wall is smack against the outside trim to the right), but not much more. There’s house corner trim and mechanical vents popping out along that wall on the left side. We also looked at making it taller, but the garage eave is there - we could only make it 3 or 4” taller. We weren’t sure it was worth the expense for just a few more inches.


    Tozmo1 - your kitchen is beautiful! We kind of have the same situation drawn with wood cabinets on either side of white cabinets. I love the contrast with the wood and glossy cabinets. Yes, you’re right, it has to be very considered. Hopefully we’re getting there!


    Lidia - Yes, thank you for thinking about storage! That’s what we have planned for the island. We don’t have the right wall cabinet going all the way down because we were trying to preserve counter space since we often have lots of people in the kitchen.

  • tedbixby
    last month

    I don't think that any of your cabinets come across as a separate piece of furniture like the hutch. And the photo you show with the oak and glossy cabinets are limited to two (3 if you count the glass front) different finishes. Unless there are other photos of this kitchen that show more finishes and cabinet styles?

    The good thing is that though we keep putting road blocks in your way, you seem to have thought everything through for what works for you and your family and what you like so maybe the kitchen, different finishes and door styles and all, is exactly why the KD designed the kitchen as it is shown and perhaps it is your dream kitchen as it is.



  • tedbixby
    last month

    On another thread, the OP posted photos of her future kitchen and I' wondering if your KD could do same to give you a better visual. I don't know what the program is or involves. You could always ask the OP if you have an interest. Here is the thread https://www.houzz.com/discussions/6018439/island-centred-with-hood-or-not

  • thinkdesignlive
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I don't think I even like this but I have to say I like this more than the large TV over the sink idea. Also, better ventilation at your cooktop. I still say post the whole floor plan for best comments.

  • HU-187528210
    last month

    What about putting the tv In a large cabinet. I’ll try to find a pic of what I’m talking about

  • HU-187528210
    last month

    Like this...

  • HU-187528210
    last month

    And this is obviously cooler and harder to do! ♥️

  • Mars SC Zone 8b
    last month

    HU-187528210 a tv in a cabinet?

    Never heard of that.

  • Mars SC Zone 8b
    last month
    last modified: last month

    HU-187528210 maybe this?



  • Mars SC Zone 8b
    last month

    HU-187528210 your pic is cooler!


  • JuneKnow
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I’m going to be blunt here. ”Adding interest” features is one of those things that bad designers do because they haven’t created a good design. Decking it out in to distract the eye is how McMansions and continent islands became a thing. Lots if people didn’t notice that they were trying too hard to overcompensate. Because a lot of people frankly have no discernment. Those people shouldn’t become designers. And they shouldn’t ever use words like “high end” as a euphemism for just throwing money at something.

    This is trying too hard to “be interesting”, which ends up affectated. It needs to focus on a much better basic design first. Before you get to the finishes. Because the basic design is mediocre to bad.

  • Mars SC Zone 8b
    last month

    HU-187528210 Pic #2 is cool.

  • HU-187528210
    last month

    Lol ye I also thought it was a great solution for this. Thnx!

  • Ann Lane
    Original Author
    last month

    Tedbixby - Thank you for wrapping your head around this. We have tried a lot of versions of the kitchen. And you’re right, visuals do help. We did some initially to get a sense of the layout direction. Here's one below - the finishes and cabinetry aren’t quite accurate (for example, the sink is not a bump out, there is no wire over the cabinet fronts and the cabinet above the doorway is gone to make a taller door that will match all the other door heights in the house), but the space layout is about the same. A great suggestion to maybe get another version with the updated cabinet styles, etc. - I didn’t think to do that!





    And thanks to everyone with TV ideas. The TV in the angled slideout is very, very cool, but I’m not even sure how that would fit in our kitchen! We are thinking of doing the Samsung Frame, which we have seen and is very convincing as art work.

  • tedbixby
    last month

    Boy, that photo speaks volumes compared to your drawings and us trying to visualize it. You may want to reconsider that raised wood area on the island. I found that having an all flat surface allows the island to be larger and works great if I want to put out a large buffet. Also, you mention your kids are messy and I think you may have an issue where the wood and countertop meet as far as cleaning. And all you need is one full glass to take a dive over the edge and onto the countertop. I'm guessing that your reasoning for it is to be able to get into the top drawers (if I remember correctly that those are all drawers)? Maybe might be better to make the door fronts look like drawers but only be a single front with pull-outs inside?

    Have you considered an induction cooktop rather than gas? It will give your island a cleaner look and every review I've read from people that switched from gas to induction have no regrets. The Thermador Freedom is on my list. Thermador has recently come out with their 2nd generation and it looks like to me that the short-comings I thought in the 1st generation were addressed in the latest.

  • HU-187528210
    last month

    Awesome. Samsung frame sounds great. I also agree about removing the raised portion of the Island

  • claire larece
    last month

    Hi Anne, this was my vision for the window wall

    Ann Lane thanked claire larece
  • tedbixby
    last month

    You don't have much landing space next to the left of the cooktop which also could be an issue in using the fridge as there is really no landing space unless you walk over to next to the sink as if you have the fridge door open it appears it will block the walk to the island if you want to use that part of the island on the side in front of the cooktop.


    Are you having a hood above your cooktop?

  • Ann Lane
    Original Author
    last month

    Tedbixby - Yes, you called it on the raised wood top. That did get nixed in the next version for all the reasons you mentioned. :) We have an extended stone top now, and made the drawers underneath into a door with roll-out trays (the bottom panel is still a drawer), like you suggested. And I would change the cooktop to induction (my sister got one recently and loves it) but we are reusing our Viking gas cooktop since it still works. But, if it ever conks out, the new one will be induction for sure! Thanks for the Thermador tip - I’ll have to make to look at that one when it’s time. I think my sister's is a Thermador, I'll have to ask her. I agree induction would be a cleaner look.


    And yes, the counter is 13” to the end from the cooktop towards the fridge (I can’t remember what dimension it was when this drawing was done, but it was smaller). If we move it more to make a longer counter run on that side, though, the hood starts looking off center in the room. Right now, it’s still fairly close to the middle and not noticeably off center. Next to the fridge is an appliance garage that will be open most of the time, so there should be landing space there for about 38” of counter run. I’m thinking that it might be enough, but maybe not? Our KD thought that most things from the fridge will land near the sink anyway. We do have a powerful hood (Abbaka remote blower, works great!). The hood looks just like the one in the picture, since it’s existing.


    Claire, thank you for the drawing!! I don’t remember considering something like that in our early sketch process. Would the small squares be backsplash tile or something? I also just realized that we wouldn’t be able to line up the bottom of the cabinets with the bottom of the window (which looks nice in your drawing) because our window comes down pretty low near the counter (see the 3D picture). I’m wondering if our white cabinets serve the same purpose as your second soffit, but perhaps we should try a version to see what they would look like as wood cabinets instead, which would look more like a second soffit.

  • claire larece
    last month

    Those weren’t tiles tiles were supposed to be the size of the cabinet like at least 4 x 4‘s stacked. I was just putting something out there besides the TV. Will this be a television that the whole family will be enjoying or to train/learn on your own on how to cook? Here some more ideas.