Shaker Style Cabinet Doors with Solid Wood Panels

Looking for unique shaker style cabinet doors to make your kitchen designs stand out? Solid wood panels draw out the beauty of wood.

Five shaker style cabinet doors with solid wood panels in a variety of wood species.

Many people consider the kitchen to be the heart of their home. It’s where your customers prepare meals, clean up, and possibly eat multiple times each day. But does your kitchen design reflect its central role in their home? Does it look like a pleasant space that they will enjoy being in? Does it showcase their personality?

If not, they likely won’t make the purchase. 

One of the easiest ways to make your kitchen design speak to your customer is to select the right cabinet door. Since cabinet doors are so visible, they can dramatically change the room’s feel. However, choosing the wrong cabinet doors can make the kitchen feel dark or uninviting, and there’s always the risk of going over budget.

So, how can you make the right choice?

At Cutting Edge, we produce hundreds of cabinet doors every day. With over 20 years of experience, we’ve discovered and even created some unique and distinctive designs. But with so many options, it’s hard to cover them all in one article.

In this article, we’ll focus on one popular style: shaker style cabinet doors with solid wood panels. Keep reading to learn:

Shaker style cabinet doors are plain

In the late 1700s, a religious group called the Shakers emigrated to North America. Their guiding principles included honesty, utility and simplicity. They specifically rejected decoration and ornamentation because they believed it led to pride.

Now, Shakers were a self-sufficient community, meaning they produced everything they needed – including furniture.

Here’s where the history of the Shaker people links to woodworking.

They produced simple, well-built and high-quality furniture, including kitchen cabinetry. Cabinet doors in the style they developed are now known as shaker style cabinet doors.

Traditional shaker style doors

Traditionally, the Shakers made their cabinet doors with solid wood. 

Why is that? Well, the Shakers considered wood veneers deceitful, because the veneers disguise low-quality or defective products. Thus, they only used solid wood products. 

In addition, because they believed in simplicity, they avoided decorative profiles. Instead, they made their cabinet doors with square profiles. 

As you can see in the picture below, this leads to a clean and plain cabinet door appearance that emphasizes the natural beauty of the wood.

A Maple shaker style cabinet door with a plywood center panel.

Why choose solid wood panels for your shaker doors?

Because shaker cabinet doors are a simple option, you might find them too plain. However, as the Shakers understood, solid wood has exceptional natural beauty. From characteristics like knots, colour variation and mineral streaks to unique grain figuring, wood has many unique features.

An infographic comparing natural wood characteristics of standard grade versus select grade woods.

Choosing a solid wood panel instead of a plywood panel provides more opportunities for solid wood to shine.

As you can see, the wood doors below are all unique and distinctive despite the overall simplicity of the door style.

A variety of shaker style cabinet doors.

Plywood panels are an alternative option to solid wood

However, solid wood may be more than your budget can sustain. In this case, plywood panels are a great alternative. Plywood panels have a thin layer of solid wood around a less expensive core; this allows them to mimic the appearance of solid wood panels for a lower price.

But before you decide either way, let’s look at the benefits and drawbacks of shaker style doors with solid wood panels.

Benefits and drawbacks of shaker style doors with solid wood panels

You now know that solid wood panels are the traditional option, while plywood panels are a cost-effective alternative. So what could make you choose solid wood over plywood?

Benefits of solid wood panels

Solid wood panels have three main benefits when compared to plywood panels.

1. Durability

First up is durability. Solid wood is much more durable than plywood, especially when you choose a hardwood like Oak or Maple. It resists dents and scratches. And, even if you do damage your solid wood doors, you can likely repair or patch them. 

2. Natural beauty

Solid wood has an edge on plywood in this category. Lumber mills cut several different types of lumber from most wood types, which helps emphasize the natural beauty.

However, when they cut plywood, they focus on efficiency and yield; this means plywood doesn’t look as neat as solid wood.  

In addition, solid wood takes stains differently from plywood. So, if you or your customer are detail-conscious, solid wood is the best way to avoid an annoying colour variation.

Cabinet doors with a light stain; the stain looks different on the solid wood pieces than on the plywood.
Image provided by Hiebert Cabinets and Fine Woodwork Ltd., customer

3. Weight

Although solid wood and plywood are similar in terms of quality, there is a benefit to solid wood. Subconsciously, people assume heavier items are of higher quality or better value than lighter items. Since solid wood outweighs plywood, they seem of higher quality. The extra weight of solid wood doors enhances your opinion of the cabinet door. Now, this might not add enough benefit considering the added cost of solid wood.

Drawbacks of solid wood panels

Solid wood panels might not be the right option for you, and here’s why:

1. Cost

Solid wood is expensive. Thus, the less solid wood your cabinet door uses, the less it will cost. Plywood uses only a thin layer of solid wood, making it more cost-effective than solid wood.

A cabinet door with a solid wood panel costs almost double the price of the same cabinet door with a plywood panel.

2. Stability

Solid wood is a biotic (living) product. Therefore, it can move over time – from bending to shrinking or expanding. 

Thanks to the inner core of plywood panels, they are much more stable than solid wood.

Learn more about solid wood panels in cabinet doors

It’s natural for your customers to want a unique or personalized kitchen, which of course means you need to offer a distinctive cabinet door style. However, it’s also important that you don’t exceed their (or your) budget or make a decision they aren’t happy with in the long run.

So how can you avoid both of these scenarios?

To start with, you need to understand the options. Now that Cutting Edge has helped you understand why you might suggest shaker style cabinet doors with solid wood panels, it’s time you take the next step. To be certain this is the right choice for you and your customer, learn more about cabinet doors with solid wood panels.

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