How To Choose The Right Material For Your Kitchen Cabinets

Written by: 
Gary Thorton

Factors to Consider When Choosing Materials for Kitchen Cabinets

There are many decisions you will need to make when installing new cabinets in your kitchen. Among the most important of those choices is deciding which material you would like your cabinets to be made of. 

As you will soon learn, there are plenty of viable kitchen cabinet material options for you to choose from, each of which comes with a unique set of pros and cons. There are also a few key factors that you should keep in mind any time you are evaluating kitchen cabinet materials. 

In this article, we'll guide you through everything you need to know about how to choose the right material for your kitchen cabinets. Read on to gain a clear understanding of which cabinet material option is right for you. 

While it is possible to evaluate each kitchen cabinet material option individually, it is often more practical to keep a few key factors in mind while you go through the material selection process. The sections below will detail the three most important of those factors. 


Durability refers to the degree to which your kitchen cabinet materials are able to stand up to scratches, dents, and other common forms of damage. As you might guess, there are some materials that are far better at withstanding damage, while others will begin to show wear after a few mild dings and bangs. 

The overall durability of your cabinet materials also plays a role in their longevity. Generally, if you want your cabinets to last as long as possible, you'll want to spend a bit more upfront on materials that are tough enough to last for many years without showing excessive damage. 


Just as every cabinet material option comes with a varying degree of durability, each one also has a distinct aesthetic appeal. Simply put, there are some materials that look quite cheap and likely are, while other cabinet materials have an elegant appearance that will enhance the overall visual appeal of your kitchen. 

When evaluating the aesthetics of cabinet materials, you'll also need to consider the overall aesthetics of your kitchen. The cabinet materials that look best are almost always the ones that complement the other design elements in your kitchen. Color, texture, and physical traits all play a role in the aesthetic appeal of your new cabinetry set. 


Last but not least, our third factor to consider when choosing cabinet materials is cost. Everyone who needs new cabinets will have specific budgetary restrictions. However, it is important to know that the amount you are willing to pay upfront has a large influence on the appearance of your cabinets as well as their longevity. 

As is true when selecting other kitchen features and appliances, opting for a more affordable option may lead you to need repairs and replacements more frequently in the future. By contrast, investing a bit more to get the materials that look best and rank high in durability is often the wisest choice. 

In other news, check out our guide on cabinet maintenance.

Common Cabinet Material Options

Now that you know some of the factors to keep in mind when shopping for kitchen cabinet materials, it is time for you to learn about a few of the most popular cabinet material options. Each of the following materials has unique advantages and disadvantages that you should understand before making your final decision. 

High-Density Fiberboard

High-density fiberboard, or HDF, is a cost-effective option that is also relatively dense, even when compared to hardwood. However, HDF is more prone to water damage than other material options, so make sure to dry it well whenever spills occur. 


Laminate is a material that gets applied to the surface of another cabinet material, such as plywood or fiberboard. This material can look great over the long term and is easy to clean but also difficult to repair in the event that it does receive damage. 

Medium-Density Fiberboard

This material option is essentially a less dense version of a high-density fiberboard. Medium-density fiberboard, MDF, is also better at resisting water damage. On the other hand, MDF is also more prone to damage than other material options. 

Particle Board

If keeping costs low is a top priority for you, then particle board may be the best cabinet material option for you. Particle board is incredibly affordable, but that comes with some disadvantages as well. This option is not very strong and will eventually break if you try to insert too many screws or nails. 


Plywood is a cabinet material option that is both relatively affordable and relatively durable. However, with that said, plywood is not the strongest cabinet material option, and it may break if you place excessively heavy loads on it. 

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel cabinetry is a great option for those who have a more modern look in their kitchen and for those who want to eliminate moisture problems entirely. This material is also very easy to clean and maintain while also being quite strong. However, stainless steel is also one of the more expensive cabinet material options out there. 


Wood is a classic cabinet material option that has been popular for a long time. The main reason for that popularity is that wood can be incredibly beautiful and is also very strong and durable. The obvious downside to wood as a cabinet material is that it tends to be more expensive than most of the other options on this list. 

Wood Veneer

Wood veneer is another surface material option that you'll need to attach to either plywood or fiberboard. This material gives your cabinets the fantastic look of being made of hardwood, but it does not afford the same level of strength and durability. 

Choosing the Right Cabinet Material for Your Kitchen

As this article makes clear, there are a few factors to consider when choosing cabinet materials, as well as many valuable cabinet material options out there. It can be difficult to determine which of those materials is best. However, following the information in our guide on how to choose the right materials for your kitchen cabinet is an excellent way to start.


Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.