Glossary of Cabinet Terminology

Interested in learning cabinet terminology so you can make educated decisions about your renovation? Review our glossary and be sure to contact us with your questions!


Backsplash is a type of paneling that is attached to the walls behind the countertops to protect the walls from spills or splashed liquids. A backsplash allows a homeowner great opportunity for kitchen personalization with different textures, colors and styles available, but it is the backsplash’s functionality that is key when choosing what to install in your kitchen.

The most common type of backsplash is a tiled backsplash because it can be easily wiped down and cleaned, but it also offers a lot of versatility in color and design. Ceramic tile comes in many different colors and patterns that can be added to enhance the kitchen detail. Alternative materials have also been used for a kitchen backsplash such as stone, glass, stainless steel, and beadboard. Each material has its own style that can bring new life to a kitchen quickly and easily.


Base Angle Cabinet

A base angle cabinet is a cabinet specifically designed to fit in a corner area. Without this type of cabinet, there is a lot of potential space that can be lost. Base Angle Cabinets are designed to maximize the usable space in your kitchen.


Base Cabinet

A base cabinet is defined as any cabinet that is installed directly on the floor. Base cabinets come in a variety of sizes, with the smallest being 9” base and the range going all the way up to a 42” base. The base cabinets set the stage for the room décor, and are the groundwork of storage for the kitchen itself.


Base Diagonal Corner Cabinet

Base diagonal corner cabinets are used to maximize the amount of available storage space. They are built to fit in the corners of kitchen walls, which could typically be wasted space. A base diagonal corner cabinet has one door, but that door will give access to the full counter space within the cabinet. Some base corner cabinets also offer a lazy Susan upgrade or pull out shelves for better organization.


Base End Cabinet

A base end cabinet is the last cabinet on the end of a line of base cabinets. These cabinets are typically smaller than other base cabinets, and will feature a finished end panel that will show on the outside of the cabinet row.


Base End Shelf

Base End Shelves are base cabinets with a shelf on the outside of the cabinet. There are no doors on a shelf cabinet, and these are mainly used for decorative purposes such as to showcase cookbooks, collectibles, or place settings in a fun way. These shelves will typically have the same finish as all other shelves in the series.


Base Spice Pull Out

A base spice pull out cabinet it a type of base cabinet designed for storing spices, seasonings and herbs. Individual spice cabinets can be as small as 6” wide and incorporated into your kitchen design for a seamless look and easy to reach storage space.


Bridge Cabinet

A bridge cabinet is a cabinet that is used to “bridge the gap” between two other wall cabinets. These are usually used over refrigerators, sinks and stoves as an extra form or storage. These cabinets are usually smaller in height than other wall cabinets, which make them ideal for storing small appliances, cookbooks or serving platters that are not used frequently.


Cam Lock

Cam lock systems are a type of fastener used to construct wood cabinets. They allow cabinet builders to quickly and easily assemble all cabinets, base and wall. They are often unseen after the cabinet is fully constructed, and are very easy to install which makes them appealing to customers for cabinet assembly.



A clamp is a fastening device to hold, position and secure cabinets tightly together to prevent movement or separation through the application of inward pressure. You will want to use this tool when installing your cabinets because they will need to be attached to one another.


Contemporary Style

Contemporary Style kitchens often incorporate traditional ideas for design, but with a streamlined feel. Clean lines and simple colors are used in contemporary style kitchens. Many contemporary kitchen designs feature the use of metals, so stainless steel appliances are typical with this type of kitchen design.


Corner Cabinet

A corner cabinet is designed specifically for making great use of storage within a corner of a kitchen or bathroom. Corner cabinets can be used both as base cabinets and wall cabinets, but typically base cabinets are the more common form. Many times a lazy-susan can be used to really maximize the storage potential of a corner cabinet.


Corner Sink Base

A corner sink base is a type of cabinet used to house the sink when the water supply is housed in the corner of the room. This type of sink placement can usually be found in U Shaped kitchens or L Shaped kitchens.


Country Style

Country style kitchens have gained popularity in recent years because of the aesthetic of warmth and coziness they present. These types of kitchens typically incorporate muted colors along with many patterns to set off the design. Cabinets in a country style kitchen can be distressed to create a unique look. Country kitchens can and do vary in style by the region they are used in.


Custom Cabinet

Custom cabinets are measured and built specifically for the room they are going to be designed for, and can be created as base cabinets or wall cabinets. Custom cabinets can be useful in rooms that are not a standard size or layout, or while trying to work around appliances that are not of a standard size.



This type of drawer construction features a joint in which there are two pieces of wood that come together to form a secure and smooth interlocking construction.


Drawer Base Cabinet

A drawer base cabinet is a cabinet that is mounted to the floor and is made with the addition of drawers rather than exclusively shelf space. This type of cabinet is very common in kitchens and bathrooms, and they can be made up of all drawers or a drawer/shelf combo depending on the type of storage needed.


End Panel

An end panel is a decorative piece that can be added to exposed end cabinets giving the cabinet a more cohesive, polished finish. These panels often look like the pattern on the cabinet doors, but they can also be flat pieces of matching stained wood veneer that can be applied to the cabinet end to complete the look.


End Shelf

An end shelf is a shelf placed at the exposed end of a cabinet to add additional storage space for items such as cookbooks, collectibles, or dinnerware.



The term finish describes the end treatment of a cabinet that will enhance its natural grain and definition. There different types of finishes such as stained, painted, or even a laminate wood glued to the front panel. There are different methods for creating different styles, and the different finishes can range from light to dark in many varying shades that will suit anyone’s tastes when it comes to cabinetry.


Framed Cabinet

A framed cabinet features a structural “frame” around the cabinet front that the door hinge will attach to. This is very common in North American cabinetry pieces. These cabinets have trim boards that are often made of a hardwood, adding to the overall strength of the sides of the cabinet.


Frameless Cabinet

A frameless cabinet, also known as a European style cabinet, features a hinge that is mounted to the inside of the cabinets, so a mounting board is not needed. With the removal of these trim boards, there is an ease of access to the interior of the cabinet.


Full Overlay

A full overlay door front covers the full frame of the cabinet box for a seamless look and feel, allowing the cabinets to fill the space of the frame easily. This door front leaves minute gaps in between each cabinet and in between the doors themselves, and they can be used on frameless and framed cabinet boxes.


G Shaped Kitchen

A G-Shaped kitchen is similar to the U-Shaped kitchen in that it has three areas of counter space and storage with an open floor area, but the G-Shaped kitchen also includes a peninsula or additional wall of cabinets for increased storage space and work area.


Galley Kitchen

A galley kitchen refers to a kitchen that has walls, cabinets and counter space on two sides of a walkway. Two pieces of the work triangle will be on one wall with the third on the opposite wall for optimum work space.


L-Shaped Kitchen

The L-shaped kitchen layout is the most common layout found in home kitchens today. In this type of layout, there is typically a longer wall perpendicular to a shorter wall which allows for the creation of the “work triangle” for preparation, cooking and cleaning areas. This type of layout is ideal for smaller kitchens to maximize the space when an island cannot be incorporated.


Lazy Susan

A lazy-susan is an upgrade feature to cabinets that is typically found in corner cabinets to really maximize the space provided. The design features a circular platform that is mounted on a base allowing that platform to be turned a full 360 degrees so that all space is utilized on the platform itself.



Molding is a strip of material used around the ceiling, walls, and floors of a room to give the cabinets a finished look. There are many different types of molding, such as chair molding or crown molding, which range from simple cuts to elaborate embellishments.


Open Door Frame

A cabinet door with an open door frame means the door is just a frame and there is no center panel. This type of door is used when you intend on inserting a glass pane, ultimately giving your cabinet a window. Adding a glass pane to the cabinet door allows you to see inside the cabinet door when closed and gives the cabinet a more customized, stylish and upscale look.


Partial Overlay

A door or drawer that has a partial overlay will show the spacing between cabinets and door fronts. This type of design is very traditional in versions of kitchen cabinets, and is also the most affordable style as it is the most common.


Raised Panel

A door that has a raised panel means that the center part of the cabinet door will not be flat, but instead will have a raised effect to it. These types of doors come in a variety of styles and can have either square panels or arched panels for a more decorative look.


Ready-to-Assemble Cabinet

Ready-to-Assemble (RTA) cabinets are cabinets that are shipped flat packed and unassembled. All of the components needed to assemble the cabinet are included in the box, and the flat box allows more items to be shipped at a time and usually for less cost than assembled cabinets.


Recessed Panel Door

Recessed panel doors have a center panel that is concave and slightly lower than the door frame. These types of doors typically include wood that is thinner than other cabinet doors and are made from different materials because of their thickness. Hardwood can still be used, but the front staining is typically a veneer that is attached to the outside so that the center panel will match the rest of the door.


Shaker Style Cabinet

Shaker Style Cabinets are widely sought after for their simplicity, yet highly customizable look and feel. These cabinets will have doors that have a recessed center panel, and are typically very simply in design. Different hardware can really set the stage for the type of kitchen design a shaker cabinet can be used in, and they are used in a lot of different styles of kitchens from traditional to contemporary.



A shim is a small piece of material in most cases wood, that may be used to align gaps between cabinets or a cabinet and the floor.

Sink Base Cabinet

The sink base cabinet is the cabinet that a sink will be housed in, so it is typically free of drawers. There will sometimes be false drawer fronts on the sink base to give the appearance of drawer space for continuity, but most of the time these base cabinets only feature double doors.


Soft Close Drawers

Soft Close Drawers feature an upgraded glide system that ensure that each time a drawer is shut, it will be closed smoothly and quietly. All drawers used with Life Design Home cabinet designs are soft close with the exception of the Madison Cherry line.


Spice Rack

A spice rack cabinet is a pull out unit that houses spices for the kitchen rather than taking up precious counter or pantry space. These specialty cabinets are typically 6 inches or 9 inches in width with two to three racks that are accessible from both sides when opened.



A stain on cabinets is a finish that is applied to the wood used to construct the cabinet. Stains can change the color of the wood, but they are also used to protect the wood from damage or sometimes to bring out the natural grain in a wood. There are many stain colors available in a range from very light to very dark.


Traditional Style

Traditional style kitchens are timeless. Many kitchens with this type of design feature all white cabinetry or dark wood stains while incorporating symmetry and warmth. Framed cabinetry is associated with traditional styles, many with a partial overlay instead of full overlay or frameless cabinets used in more contemporary designs. Luxury countertops such as granites and marble are generally seen in traditional style kitchens.


Transitional Style

Transitional style kitchens are a combination of styles. These kitchens feature the warmth and comfort of a traditional style kitchen while maintaining the clean and simple lines of a contemporary style kitchen. These kitchens are great for homeowners who have a taste for many types of kitchen designs and may not want to commit themselves to one over the other. Neutral colors are used on the walls, and accents are generally kept to a minimum in these types of kitchens.


U-Shaped Kitchen

U-Shaped Kitchens feature three walls that are lined with appliances and countertops. This effective design opens up floor space and allows easy access to various areas of the kitchen. Many times the work triangle that is created as a result of a U-shaped kitchen is an optimal size simply due to the nature of the layout. Islands can be used inside of the U for additional counter space and prep area.



A veneer is a very thin piece of wood that is attached to particle board or MDF which are stained to match the cabinet they are being used on. These veneers are used to give the appearance of solid hardwood but with the goal of lowering the cost of a product or project. Veneers are used primarily for door panels, exposed end panels of the cabinet and interior areas such as shelves.


Wall Angle Cabinet

A wall angle cabinet is a cabinet specifically designed to fit in a corner area in the wall while keeping the front flat. These are designed to make best use of the usable space in your kitchen so that space is not underutilized in the corner areas, but their irregular shape can sometimes limit their effectiveness since the spacing is not uniform.


Wall Cabinet

A wall cabinet is defined as any cabinet that is installed directly to the wall above the counter space. Wall cabinets come in a variety of sizes, both in width and height. Different height wall cabinets allow the look of cabinets to go all the way to the ceiling, depending on ceiling height. The most critical element of a wall cabinet is how the weight is distributed, so support for these types of cabinets are constructed differently than that of base cabinets.


Wall Diagonal Corner Cabinet

Wall diagonal corner cabinets are built to fit in the corners of walls, which could typically be wasted space. A wall diagonal corner cabinet typically has one door, but that door will give access to the full space within the cabinet. Some corner cabinets also offer a lazy Susan upgrade or pull out shelves for ease of use in the space.


Wall End Cabinet

A wall end cabinet is the cabinet that is on the end of a run of cabinets and will have one full side exposed. Typically the boxes are not finished to match the door front, so decorative end panels or veneers will be used to attach to the end of the cabinet that is exposed to match it to the door front.


Wall End Shelf

Wall End Shelves are a type of wall cabinet that functions primarily as a display shelf rather than a cabinet with a door. There are no doors on a shelf cabinet, and these are mainly used for adding embellishments to the kitchen or as a showcase for cookbooks, collectibles, or place settings. These shelves will typically have the same finish as all other shelves in the series, and this is usually achieved by using a veneer.


Wood Grain

Wood grain refers to the natural lines that appear in wood. These lines vary from tree to tree, and from species to species. These identifiers are unique to each tree, very similar in the way that fingerprints are unique – no two are the same!


Work Triangle

The work triangle is often referred to as the space that allows a person to easily move between three stations in the kitchen – the sink (cleaning area), the range (cooking area), and the refrigerator (storage area). This layout should be considered when remodeling a kitchen that allows for the least amount of steps between each station, but with a suitable amount of workspace.