What is the Difference Between Shaker Cabinets and Regular Cabinets?

Posted on: June 2, 2022

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Walk around a kitchen design or home improvement store and you’ll realize just how many assorted styles of cabinets there are these days. You’ll find colors ranging from pure white to wood tones to black, grey, or even blue. And, certainly, you’ll see that the cabinet doors themselves are available in a vast variety of styles.
One of the cabinet designs that remain popular today is Shaker style. These have been around for decades and it’s easy to see why they remain trendy, even though Shaker style kitchen cabinets get their name from an old, now-defunct religious sect that came to American in the 1800s. In fact, kitchen design surveys show that there have been years during which the sales of Shaker cabinets were much higher than those of regular cabinets, which design professionals refer to as “raised” cabinets.
However, there are plenty of homeowners considering a cabinet refacing project that prefer regular raised cabinets instead. They find them more pleasing to the eye and a better match for the décor throughout the rest of their home.
So, what’s the difference between Shaker style cabinets and regular cabinets and which is right for you?


Of course, the first difference you’ll notice between Shaker style kitchen cabinets and so-called raised cabinets is the way they look. In a raised cabinet, there’s a center panel and an outer rim or overlay. The center panel is raised or carved in the middle and then it slopes backward toward the edges. In addition, the overlay has some sort of decorative edge. As such, the cabinet should look like it’s carved from one big wood plank. These doors tend to look a little more formal or traditional in design and more decorative than Shaker cabinets.
Conversely, the Shaker style cabinet is quite simple. Though it also has a center panel, the panel is flat with nothing decorative on the panel or overlay. This plain style is favored by homeowners who are looking for a very minimalist design in their kitchen. They’re also good for transitional designs, such as modern rustic but not great for kitchens meant to look traditional like country or French.

Framed and frameless construction

Framed cabinets have a supporting frame around the front of the cabinet box. The door is then hung on that frame. Frameless cabinets do not use a supporting frame. The door is hung directly on the side of the cabinet itself.
You can find Shaker style kitchen cabinets and regular raised cabinets in both styles. However, frameless cabinets look much more contemporary, so they pair well with Shaker doors. Framed cabinets, on the other hand, look much more traditional so you’ll find that most raised cabinets use framed construction.


Since the style of cabinet refers to the door, not the entire cabinet, the way in which these cabinets are installed shouldn’t differ. If the cabinets are constructed identically – framed or frameless – they will be installed in the same manner and take the same amount of time to hang.


Shaker style cabinets, just because they are simpler in construction, tend to cost less than raised cabinets. Basically, this is because the labor costs for building the Shaker door is less than the labor cost for constructing the regular cabinet door. However, other elements enter the cost picture too, including the box construction, what type of wood is used, and more.
Your kitchen design expert can help you compare costs between raised and Shaker style kitchen cabinets so that you can make the right decision for your budget.


If you’re in a hurry for your new cabinet doors and drawer fronts, you shouldn’t have a longer wait for one style than for the other. You might find, however, that there are more frameless than framed Shaker cabinets available, simply because more are manufactured due to popularity.

At KCR, we’re eager to teach you more about the difference between Shaker cabinets and regular cabinets and to help you determine which is best for your design aesthetic AND your budget. For further details on all our products and services, visit us at www.kitchencabinetrefacing.com.