Flat panel kitchen cabinets vs shaker style [2023]

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Are you thinking of a kitchen remodel and considering your options between flat panel kitchen cabinets vs shaker style cabinets? Generally, cabinets are one of the most important features in a kitchen. However, it’s not as simple as preferring one style over another because there are some important details you need to consider before making a final decision.

flat panel kitchen cabinets vs shaker style

We will explain what factors you should consider before choosing between flat-panel cabinets and shaker-style cabinets. We will help you understand the pros and cons of these two options and have enough information to decide which is right for your space!

Flat-panel kitchen cabinets and shaker-style cabinets are two popular options for kitchen cabinetry. Here are some key points about each style:

Flat panel kitchen cabinets:

  • Characterized by smooth, flat doors with no visible framing or paneling
  • Sleek and modern aesthetic
  • Can be made from a variety of materials, such as wood, MDF, or thermofoil
  • Can be finished in a range of colors and styles, including painted, stained, or high-gloss

Shaker-style cabinets:

  • Characterized by a simple, utilitarian design with a focus on function over form
  • Often feature flat paneled doors with little to no adornment
  • Can be made from a variety of materials, such as wood, MDF, or thermofoil
  • Can be finished in a range of colors and styles, including painted, stained, or high-gloss
  • Works well in a variety of design styles, from traditional to contemporary

What Are Flat Panel Kitchen Cabinets?

Flat panel cabinets, also called slab cabinets, are a type of modern kitchen cabinet with completely flat sides and front. They typically have an aesthetic similar to cabinets from the 1950s and 1960s but with a more modern feel. Flat panel cabinets come in several modern styles, so you can simply choose one that best fits your kitchen style.

Pros of Flat Panel Cabinets

  • The design style of flat panel kitchen cabinets is simple. With the streamlined aesthetic, slab cabinets easily complement sophisticated kitchen hardware.
  • Flat panel cabinet doors require less material and cost less than shaker cabinets.
  • They are easy to install. Most flat panel cabinets can be installed in a matter of hours or even minutes by one person with basic tools.
  • The smooth surface of flat panel cabinet doors makes them easy to clean.
  • Flat panel cabinet doors can be upgraded with time. This cabinet style can be painted or stained.
  • This cabinet style comes in a variety of colors and different shades of wood.

flat panel kitchen cabinets vs shaker style modern

Cons of Flat Panel Cabinets

While flat panel cabinets have multiple advantages, there are also some drawbacks. Some cons include the following:

  • The simplicity can lead to an overall flat look.
  • Some homeowners complain about fingerprints on flat panel doors. This is largely attributed to the color of the panel cabinet doors and the finish used.
  • Slab cabinet doors are subject to warping. The use of low-grade materials is usually responsible for this problem.

What Are Shaker Cabinets?

Shaker cabinets are a classic kitchen cabinet design. They can be considered retro or minimalist. This cabinet style comprises five main parts with a recessed center panel. The recessed panels of the shaker style cabinet doors looks like a picture frame without the picture.

flat panel kitchen cabinets vs shaker style minimalist

It is similar to the raised panel cabinetry but much simpler. Raised panel cabinet doors are more complicated with curves, edges, raised panel cabinet frames, and panels. As a result, the raised panel doors are more expensive than any other cabinet door style.

Pros of Shaker Cabinets

  • The shaker cabinet is made from higher quality materials than flat panel cabinets and can withstand years of wear and tear.
  • They do not require painting or staining as flat panels do.
  • Because these kitchen cabinets are typically made from solid wood (instead of veneer), they cost more than their counterparts.
  • From traditional to ultra-modern kitchens, shaker cabinets are versatile to fit various kitchen designs.

Cons of Shaker Cabinets

  • The recessed panels in shaker cabinet doors collects dust and grease and is therefore difficult to clean.
  • Shaker cabinets are more expensive.
  • They may be difficult to install without professional assistance.
  • Depending on your kitchen design style, it may look bland because of a lack of ornamentation or hardware.

Features to Consider When Choosing Kitchen Cabinets


Flat panel cabinets are decidedly modern. They’re sleek, clean, and smooth. The look is sleek and minimalist, with sharp angles and simple lines.

flat panel kitchen cabinets vs shaker style angles

On the other hand, the shaker-style cabinet is more traditional in appearance. It is made of solid wood but has a less sculpted look than flat panel cabinets. They feature vertical panels that are slightly inset from the frame of the door or face frame around them.


Flat panel cabinets are cheaper to install than shaker style. This is because fewer parts have to be cut and fitted.

Meanwhile, shaker style cabinets cost more than flat panel cabinets because they’re hand-made by craftsmen; you’ll get better quality if you choose this option over going with flat panel manufactured cabinetry.

Additionally, with shaker style, the cabinet doors are hung on hinges, so there’s less work involved in fitting them into place and installing them.

The price also varies based on how much material you want in your base cabinet. If you’re looking for a high-quality look with longevity, then this might be the right choice for you!

Installation and Maintenance

Generally, shaker kitchen cabinets are harder to install. This may be because shaker-style cabinets are more durable in the long run. DIY installation is tedious, so you may need to hire a professional. If you want something simple yet effective, go ahead with the shaker cabinets because they will give results worth their price tag every time!

flat panel kitchen cabinets vs shaker style durable

Flat panels are easier to install and, although less expensive, are just as durable and do a good job of hiding flaws in the wall. They’re also easier to install and won’t require much funding for materials.

Size of Your Kitchen

Flat panels will likely be the right fit if you have a small kitchen. If you have a large kitchen with lots of storage needs, shaker cabinets have slightly higher frames, making them better for your space.

Takeaway: Which is Better for My Kitchen? Flat Panel or Shaker Cabinets

To determine which style is best for your kitchen, take some time to consider the above. Other things to consider are:

  • Hardware placement
  • General kitchen aesthetics
  • Personal preference (modern kitchen designs, traditional kitchen designs)


If you are looking for a beautiful kitchen that will last you for years, then flat panel cabinets are a great choice. They also offer many options when it comes to size, which means they can fit into any space.

However, shaker cabinets might be better if the quality and durability are higher on your list, and you do not mind spending a little extra.

Regardless of your final choice, both options are amazing for your kitchen and you won’t have regrets later on!

Ariel Path

With over three decades of experience in food manufacturing and kitchen design, I bring a wealth of knowledge to the table. My expertise spans across various aspects of the culinary world, from kitchen appliances to cooking techniques, food selection, and promoting a healthy lifestyle. My ultimate goal is to educate and inspire you in creating your dream kitchen, where functionality meets aesthetics. As a trusted source, I strive to provide valuable insights and guidance to make your kitchen remodel an enjoyable and successful experience. Together, let's transform your space into a culinary haven that reflects your unique style and meets your specific needs. See more details here.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Avatar photo
    Jessica Johnson

    I recently had to choose between flat panel and shaker style cabinets for my kitchen renovation. One thing I learned is that flat panel cabinets can often be more affordable due to their simpler construction. This was a major factor for me, as I was on a tight budget. I’m happy with my decision to go with flat panel. they have a sleek, modern look and the cost savings allowed me to splurge on other finishes. It’s important to consider both the aesthetic and financial aspects when deciding between these two cabinet styles.

    1. cropped ariel path
      Ariel Path

      Thank you for sharing your experience with flat panel cabinets! It’s helpful to hear that they can be more affordable while still fitting in with your desired design. Both flat panel and shaker style have their own benefits and drawbacks, so the best choice will depend on individual needs and preferences. We appreciate your feedback and will consider including more information about the affordability of flat panel cabinets in future posts. Thank you for your comment!

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