Are Wood Kitchen Cabinets Back In Style? – Trends & Popularity Update

Last updated on November 11, 2023

Discover the resurgence of wood kitchen cabinets as we delve into their comeback in contemporary interior design trends.

Have you been considering updating your kitchen but aren’t sure what style to go for? Are you tired of the sleek and modern look that has dominated kitchen design in recent years? Well, it’s time to consider a classic and timeless option – wood kitchen cabinets. While they may have fallen out of favor for a while, wood cabinets are making a comeback in the world of home decor.

In this article, we’ll explore why wood cabinets are becoming popular again and how you can incorporate them into your own kitchen design. So let’s dive in!

What's Inside

Evolution of Cabinet Styles

Mid Century Wood Kitchen Cabinets

From ornate and intricate designs to sleek and minimalistic ones, cabinets have undergone a transformation that reflects changing tastes in interior design. In the early 20th century, cabinets were typically made of solid wood with raised panels and decorative moldings.

However, as modernism took hold in the mid-20th century, cabinetry became more streamlined with flat panel doors and simple hardware.

In recent years there has been a trend towards open shelving or glass-fronted cabinets which showcase dishes or other items on display rather than hiding them behind closed doors. This shift towards openness is reflective of contemporary lifestyles where kitchens are often used for entertaining guests as well as cooking meals.

Despite these changes over time one thing remains constant – wood has always been a popular material choice for kitchen cabinetry due to its durability and versatility in terms of finishes available such as stains or paints that can be applied to achieve any desired look from rustic farmhouse style all way up through ultra-modern aesthetics.

Wood Revival in Kitchen Cabinets

light oak cabinets kitchen

The tide is turning as homeowners are rediscovering the beauty and warmth of wood cabinetry. The revival of wood cabinets can be attributed to several factors.

Firstly, there’s a growing appreciation for natural materials in interior design. People want their homes to feel warm and inviting rather than sterile or cold.

Wood provides that cozy feeling that many people crave.

Secondly, there’s an increasing interest in sustainability and eco-friendliness when it comes to home decor choices. Wood is a renewable resource that can be responsibly sourced from managed forests or reclaimed from old buildings.

Lastly, designers are finding new ways to incorporate wood into contemporary kitchen designs by mixing different types of woods with other materials like metal or glass for added texture and visual interest.

Reasons for Wood Cabinets Resurgence

Pros and Cons of Blue Kitchen Cabinets

For one, they offer a warm and inviting aesthetic that can make any space feel more welcoming. Wood is an incredibly versatile material that can be stained or painted to match any color scheme or style preference.

Another reason for the resurgence of wood cabinets is their durability and longevity. Unlike some other materials used in cabinetry, such as particleboard or MDF (medium-density fiberboard), solid wood cabinets can withstand years of wear and tear without showing signs of damage.

Furthermore, many homeowners today are looking for sustainable and eco-friendly options when it comes to home decor. Wood cabinets fit the bill perfectly since they’re made from natural materials that don’t harm the environment during production.

assess cherry kitchen cabinet

While traditional oak or cherry finishes are still popular, homeowners are now opting for more unique and modern wood species such as bamboo, teak, or walnut. These woods offer a fresh take on classic cabinetry while adding warmth and texture to any kitchen.

Another trend that has emerged in recent years is mixing different types of wood within one space. For example, pairing light-colored maple cabinets with darker walnut accents can create a striking contrast that adds depth to your kitchen design.

In addition to experimenting with different types of wood, homeowners are also getting creative with cabinet shapes and sizes. Open shelving units have become increasingly popular as they provide an opportunity for displaying decorative items alongside functional storage space.

Top Wood Species for Cabinets

Oak Cabinets Marble Countertop

Here are some of the top wood species for cabinets:

  1. Oak: A classic choice that is known for its strength and durability.
  2. Maple: A hard, dense wood with a fine grain that takes stain well.
  3. Cherry: Known for its rich color and smooth grain pattern, cherry is a popular choice among homeowners looking to add warmth to their kitchen design.
  4. Hickory: With its unique graining patterns and natural variations in color, hickory adds character to any kitchen space.
  5. Walnut: This dark hardwood has an elegant look that pairs well with modern or traditional styles.

Modern Wood Cabinet Designs

Modern Oak Kitchen Cabinets

They offer the warmth and natural beauty of wood while incorporating sleek lines, minimalistic hardware, and innovative storage solutions. One popular trend in modern wood cabinets is the use of mixed materials such as metal or glass to create a unique look that stands out from traditional all-wood cabinetry.

Another design element gaining popularity is open shelving with wooden accents that add texture to an otherwise plain kitchen space. This style allows homeowners to showcase their favorite dishes or decorative items while keeping everything within reach.

Modern wood cabinets often feature clean lines without ornate details or carvings commonly found in traditional cabinetry styles. The result is a simple yet sophisticated look that complements any kitchen decor theme.

Mixing Wood Cabinets With Other Materials

glass cherry cabinets kitchen

Combining different materials can create a unique look that reflects your personal style. One popular trend is mixing wood cabinets with metal or glass elements, such as stainless steel appliances or glass cabinet doors.

This creates an interesting contrast between the warmth of the wood and the coolness of metal or transparency of glass.

Another option for mixing materials is pairing natural woods with painted cabinetry in complementary colors. For example, you could have upper cabinets made from light-colored oak paired with lower ones painted in navy blue for a nautical-inspired look.

When it comes to countertops, consider using stone surfaces like granite or marble alongside wooden cabinetry for an elegant touch that balances out rustic charm.

The key when combining different textures and finishes is finding balance – too much variation can make your kitchen feel cluttered and chaotic while too little may result in a bland design lacking character.

Sustainable and Eco-friendly Options

reclaimed barnwood kitchen cabinet and wall

Fortunately, there are many wood species that are responsibly sourced and certified by organizations such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). These certifications ensure that the wood is harvested in a way that protects forests for future generations.

In addition to choosing sustainably sourced wood, you can also opt for finishes and adhesives with low VOCs (volatile organic compounds) which reduce harmful emissions into your home. Another option is to use reclaimed or salvaged wood from old buildings or furniture pieces.

When it comes to design, incorporating open shelving made of reclaimed barnwood or using bamboo cabinets can add an eco-friendly touch while still maintaining a stylish look. You could also consider mixing materials like recycled glass countertops with natural wooden cabinetry.

Maximizing Storage Space With Wood Cabinets

cherry cabinets kitchen

Fortunately, wood cabinets offer plenty of options for maximizing your storage potential. One popular trend in recent years has been the use of custom-built cabinetry that takes advantage of every inch of available space.

This can include features like pull-out drawers and shelves, built-in spice racks and utensil holders, as well as specialized compartments for appliances like mixers or blenders.

Another way to maximize your storage with wood cabinets is by incorporating vertical spaces into your design. Tall pantry-style cabinets can provide ample room for storing dry goods and canned items while keeping them organized and easily accessible.

If you’re working with limited square footage in your kitchen area, consider using corner cabinet solutions that make use of otherwise wasted space. Lazy Susan-style rotating shelves are a classic option that allows you to store more items without sacrificing accessibility.

Custom Vs. Prefabricated Wood Cabinets

Damage Kitchen Cabinets assessment

Custom cabinets are made-to-order and designed specifically for your space, while prefabricated cabinets come in standard sizes and designs that can be easily installed.

Custom wood cabinets offer a level of flexibility that is hard to match with prefabricated options. They allow you to choose the exact size, shape, style, and finish you want for your kitchen.

This means you can create a truly unique look that perfectly fits your personal taste and lifestyle needs.

On the other hand, custom cabinetry tends to be more expensive than pre-made ones due to their bespoke nature. They may take longer lead times as they require detailed planning before production begins.

Prefabricated wood kitchen cabinets are often less expensive than their custom counterparts since they’re mass-produced in factories using standardized materials and construction methods. They also tend to have shorter lead times since there’s no need for extensive design work or customization.

However convenient prefab cabinetry might seem at first glance; it has its limitations when it comes down  to fitting into specific spaces or accommodating unusual layouts.

Care and Maintenance Tips for Wood Cabinets

Assessing Scratch Severity

Here are some tips for keeping your wood cabinets in top condition:

1. Clean regularly: Wipe down your cabinets with a soft cloth or sponge dampened with warm water and mild soap.

Avoid using abrasive cleaners or scrubbers that can damage the finish.

2. Dry thoroughly: After cleaning, be sure to dry the cabinet surfaces completely with a clean towel or cloth.

3. Polish occasionally: Use furniture polish specifically designed for wood surfaces to restore shine and protect against scratches.

4. Avoid moisture: Keep your cabinets away from sources of moisture such as sinks, dishwashers, and humidifiers as excess humidity can cause warping or cracking over time.

5. Protect from heat: Place trivets under hot pots and pans before placing them on cabinet surfaces as excessive heat can also damage the finish of wooden cabinetry.

Budgeting for Wood Kitchen Cabinets


First and foremost, the type of wood you choose will greatly impact the cost. Some woods are more expensive than others due to their rarity or durability.

For example, cherry and maple tend to be pricier options compared to oak or pine.

Another factor that affects the cost is whether you opt for custom-made cabinets or prefabricated ones. Custom-made cabinets can be tailored exactly according to your specifications but come with a higher price tag due to their uniqueness and craftsmanship involved in making them.

Prefabricated cabinets offer an affordable option as they are mass-produced using standard sizes and designs which make them less costly than custom-built ones.

It’s important not only consider upfront costs but also long-term expenses such as maintenance costs over time when choosing your cabinetry materials.

Pros and Cons of Wood Cabinets

glass cabinet Liquor Bottles

One of the biggest advantages is their timeless appeal. Unlike trendy materials that may go out of style quickly, wood cabinets have a classic look that can stand the test of time.

Another benefit is their versatility. With so many different types and finishes available, you can easily find a style that matches your personal taste and complements other elements in your kitchen.

However, there are also some potential downsides to consider when it comes to wood cabinets. For one thing, they require more maintenance than some other materials like metal or laminate.

You’ll need to regularly clean them with gentle products designed for use on wood surfaces.

While they’re generally durable enough for everyday use in the kitchen if not properly cared for or exposed too much moisture over time they could warp or crack which would be costly repairs down the line.

Comparing Wood Cabinets to Alternative Materials

Flooring Kitchen Living Divider

There are several alternative materials that you can consider for your kitchen cabinetry. However, before making a decision, it’s important to compare and contrast these options with wood cabinets.

One popular alternative material is laminate or MDF (medium-density fiberboard) which offers a smooth finish and durability at an affordable price point. Metal cabinets are also gaining popularity due to their sleek appearance and easy maintenance.

However, while these alternatives may have some advantages over traditional wooden cabinets such as being more resistant to moisture or easier on the budget; they often lack the warmth and character of natural wood grain patterns that many homeowners desire in their kitchens.

Moreover, unlike other materials like metal or plastic which can look dated quickly; wooden cabinetry has stood the test of time in terms of style trends – from classic Shaker-style designs through modern minimalist looks – ensuring its longevity as a design choice for years ahead.

Choosing the Right Wood Finish

Assessing Kitchen Living Room

The finish not only affects the appearance of your cabinets but also their durability and longevity. There are several types of finishes available for wood cabinets, including stains, paints, varnishes, and lacquers.

Stains are a popular choice as they enhance the natural beauty of wood while adding color and depth. They come in various shades from light to dark tones that can complement any kitchen design style.

Paints offer more versatility in terms of color options but cover up some natural characteristics of wood grain patterns. Varnishes provide a protective layer over stained or painted surfaces that resist scratches and wear-and-tear damage.

Lacquers create an ultra-smooth surface with high gloss or matte finishes depending on your preference; however they require professional application due to their toxicity levels during installation process.

Incorporating Hardware and Accessories

Mix Wood Tones in Oak Kitchen Cabinets

The right hardware can add personality, style, and functionality to your cabinets. There are many options available when it comes to choosing cabinet knobs or pulls that complement wood cabinetry.

For example, if you have dark-stained oak cabinets in a traditional-style kitchen, consider oil-rubbed bronze or antique brass knobs for an elegant touch. For lighter woods like maple or birch in modern kitchens with clean lines, sleek stainless steel handles may be more appropriate.

In addition to cabinet hardware choices such as hinges and drawer slides that affect function as well as aesthetics; there are also other accessories worth considering such as pull-out shelves for easy access storage solutions; lazy susans which maximize corner spaces by rotating items within reach; built-in wine racks which provide convenient storage while adding visual interest.

Project Planning and Design Tips

Couple Planning

Start by assessing your needs and preferences for storage, functionality, and style. Think about how you use your kitchen on a daily basis – do you need more counter space or additional storage? Do you prefer an open concept or closed-off kitchen? These questions will help guide the project planning process.

Next, research different wood species and finishes to determine which ones best suit your aesthetic preferences as well as practical considerations such as durability and maintenance requirements. Consider mixing different types of woods for added visual interest.

Another key aspect of designing with wood cabinets is selecting hardware that complements the natural beauty of the material while also providing functional benefits such as ease-of-use. From knobs to pulls to hinges, there are many options available in various styles that can enhance both form and function.

Work with a professional designer or contractor who has experience working with wood cabinetry projects if needed.

Expert Insights On Wood Cabinets

We spoke with several interior designers and home renovation experts who shared their thoughts on the resurgence of wood cabinets.

According to designer Sarah Richardson, “Wood is a classic material that never goes out of style. It adds warmth and texture to any space.” Designer Emily Henderson agrees, adding that “wood cabinets can bring character and personality into a kitchen.”.

Renovation expert Scott McGillivray notes that while white kitchens have been popular in recent years, they can sometimes feel sterile or cold. Wood cabinetry offers an opportunity to add some natural warmth back into the space.

These experts agree that incorporating wood cabinetry into your kitchen design is a smart move if you want something timeless yet stylish.

kitchen Modern Open Shelving

There are some exciting new trends emerging in cabinet design that incorporate modern technology and innovative materials.

One trend is the use of mixed materials in cabinet construction. Designers are experimenting with combining wood with metal or glass for a sleek and contemporary look.

Another trend is the integration of smart technology into cabinets, such as touchless opening mechanisms or built-in charging stations.

Sustainability will also play an increasingly important role in kitchen cabinetry design. Homeowners are becoming more conscious about their environmental impact and seeking out eco-friendly options for their homes.

While classic styles like wood cabinets may never go out of fashion completely, designers will continue to push boundaries and innovate within this essential element of any home’s interior design scheme.


Are wood cabinets coming back 2023?

In 2023, wood cabinets are continuing their comeback with more muted tones, differing from the honey oak cabinets of the 1980s.

Is wood kitchen cabinets coming back?

Yes, in 2023, dark-stained wood kitchen cabinets are expected to make a comeback, as homeowners shift from lighter tones like birch and white oak towards deeper wood stains for a cozy, traditional vibe.

Are wood kitchen cabinets going out of style?

Wood kitchen cabinets, with their classic, authentic, and timeless design, will always come back into style despite any temporary trends.

What is the most popular kitchen cabinet color in 2023?

In 2023, the most popular kitchen cabinet color is white, specifically shades like Simply White, Dove White, and Chantilly Lace from Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams.

What types of wood are trending for kitchen cabinets in 2023?

In 2023, trending wood types for kitchen cabinets include oak, walnut, and cherry, according to recent design trends.

How can wood kitchen cabinets be combined with other materials for a modern look?

Wood kitchen cabinets can be combined with materials like stainless steel, glass, and concrete for a modern and stylish look.

Are eco-friendly and sustainable wood options gaining popularity for kitchen cabinets?

Yes, eco-friendly and sustainable wood options are gaining popularity for kitchen cabinets.

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