2021 Guide To Choosing Kitchen Cabinets

Alpine Kitchen Cabinets

Read our latest guide: How to Choose the Right Kitchen Cabinets for Your 2023 Kitchen Renovation

Who’s renovating their kitchen this year? You are, that’s great! I don’t know about you, but I found the sheer thought of my kitchen renovation exhilarating. Not the best of times, I began my entire home renovation in April of 2020, through the uncertainty of Covid. Thankfully it worked out well for me, but it could have been done anyway. Dealing with a renovation is stressful enough; doing one during a pandemic is another level.

With the worst now behind us, you can focus all your attention on your kitchen renovation, which, believe me, will require all of your attention! There are so many elements to consider in any renovation. And, with the kitchen being the heart of the home; the communal space that brings a family together, the space that can potentially sell your home; you want to get it right.

When renovating a kitchen or building a new one, you must consider the layout first and foremost. Is your chosen layout the best utilisation of space? Does it factor in the work triangle? Do you even know what the work triangle is?

Another important factor in any kitchen is the price. Kitchens can cost as little as $8,000 and as much as $40-50,000. How much or how little you spend greatly depends on your choice of kitchen cabinets, which we’re going to focus on today.

Kitchen cabinets come in all shapes and sizes. Some are flatpack, some are pre-assembled, and others are custom-made. Some are made from quality materials, and some are budget. Some look expensive, while others look cheap.

The key to choosing kitchen cabinets is to choose those that provide the best look, highest quality, and best value for money. And we firmly believe that our kitchen cabinets tick all three boxes. While we would love you to choose our kitchen cabinets for your new kitchen, continue reading for a non-bias guide to choosing kitchen cabinets in 2021.

Type of Manufacturing

The first step in choosing kitchen cabinets is to consider the type of manufacturing options available. Which you choose will have a significant effect on the total cost of your kitchen. There are three options at hand:

Flatpack Kitchen Cabinets

Flatpack Kitchen Cabinets

Flatpack kitchens are a budget option at the lowest end of the price range. They are delivered in a box format (think Ikea) and need to be DIY assembled after delivery. There are pros and cons to choosing flatpack kitchen cabinets.

The Pros: Flatpack kitchen cabinets are the cheapest option. They also come in a wide range of colours and laminate finishes to suit your liking. They are usually also available in a wide range of configurations, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding base cabinets and wall cabinets to fit your space.

The Cons: Flatpack kitchen cabinets are the lowest in quality and shouldn’t be expected to offer their counterparts’ longevity. They are more prone to having hinge problems and doors not aligning correctly to provide a professional finish. There’s also the strong possibility that some parts may be missing on delivery, making assembly challenging. Then there’s the time and patience needed to assemble the cabinets from scratch.

Summary: Flatpack kitchen cabinets won’t provide a custom fit to your space and won’t last as long as pre-assembled and custom kitchens, but they are the most budget-friendly option.

Pre-assembled Kitchen Cabinets

pre-assembled kitchen cabinets

Pre-assembled kitchen cabinets are those that we sell here at Ross’s Discount Home Center. They are similar to flatpack cabinets in the sense that they are available in set configurations of set sizes, but rather than being delivered as a flatpack; they are pre-assembled at the time of manufacturing. As such, they offer significant pros, along with a couple of cons.

The Pros: Pre-assembled kitchen cabinets are just that; pre-assembled. This means you don’t have to worry about any missing parts or spending days trying to put the puzzle together. Everything is done for you. The other advantage of this manufacturing option is that the end result is more robust. They are put together professionally to a higher quality to deliver a stronger product. They are often made from better quality materials and finishes than flatpack kitchens; closer to custom kitchen cabinets, yet they are considerably cheaper than custom kitchen cabinets.

The Cons: Pre-assembled kitchen cabinets are still pre-configured and not custom-made to fit a specific wall size. Therefore, you may not get an exact fit. The quality may not be as high as custom cabinets, but that will depend on the manufacturer. (Ross’s Discount Home Centre’s pre-assembled kitchen cabinets are made of the same, if not higher-quality, materials as many custom cabinets. See Cabinet Materials) They also cost a lot more than flatpack cabinets.

Summary: Pre-assembled kitchen cabinets provide a robust kitchen that will likely last as long as a custom kitchen but for a much lower price.

Custom Kitchen Cabinets

Custom Kitchen Cabinets

Custom kitchen cabinets are at the top end of the price range. They are made by a local kitchen cabinetmaker and made to measure. They are usually made in their factory and/or onsite. Like the other options, they, too, present pros and cons.

The Pros: Custom kitchen cabinets will deliver the most professional finish. They are 100% made to your linkings, with no compromises. They are considered to provide the highest level of quality and last the longest (though this will depend on the materials used).

The Cons: Custom kitchen cabinets are, of course, the most expensive option because you have to also pay for the cabinetmaker’s time.

Summary: Custom kitchen cabinets provide a professional kitchen to fit your space perfectly; however, they come at a cost. They are the most expensive option of all.

Cabinet Materials

Once you know what type of manufacturing to go with, you can start thinking about the materials. Remember, the type of material will impact the longevity offered.

Whether you choose flatpack, pre-assembled or custom kitchen cabinets, you want to ensure the materials used are high-quality. Look for HRM board for the carcase. HRM stands for High Moisture Resistant and is a melamine board – it’s what we use for our pre-assembled cabinets. Even if you change the doors down the track, you want to ensure the carcase will stand the test of time, and HRM board will ensure this.

Kitchen cabinet doors in 2021 are mostly made from particleboard or MDF (Medium-Density Fiberboard), which is what we use in our pre-assembled cabinet range. HDF (High-Density Fiberboard) is another viable option. Doors made from these materials are typically finished with either a laminate or two-tack finish (see Door Profile, Finish, & Design), which is what you can expect to see in 2021 and beyond. Seldom will you see solid timber doors in 2021 – they’re just not fashionable.

Kitchen Design Style

With the style and material sorted, you can now start thinking about the style you want to portray in your kitchen design.

There are plenty of design styles to choose from, but you want to ensure that the style you choose suits the rest of your house. If you have an older home, then a modern kitchen, for example, may look out of place. In this case, a traditional Hamptons or transitional design style may be a wise choice for your kitchen.

The most common kitchen design styles to consider in 2021 are:

  1. Modern
  2. Contemporary
  3. Hamptons
  4. Traditional
  5. Minimalistic
  6. Industrial
  7. Scandinavian
  8. Coastal/Beach
  9. Transitional

Door Profile, Finish, & Design

With your kitchen design style set, you can now focus on the door profile, finish, and design.

Door Profile

Your cabinet doors’ profile must be coherent with your overall kitchen design style.

Plain door profiles are better suited to Modern, Contemporary, Minimalistic, and Scandinavian design styles, while bordered profiles are better paired with Hamptons, Traditional, Coast/Beach, and Transitional design styles.

The profile you choose for your doors will play as big of a role as the door pattern/finish, so you want to make sure you choose wisely. It’s a good idea to turn to the internet for inspiration. I find Pinterest to be a great source. Just type in your design style, and you’ll be flooded with thousands of images to draw inspiration from.

Note, however, doors with bordered profiles cost a lot more than those with a plain profile, so if you’re on a budget, always opt for a plain profile.

Door Finish

In terms of finish, as mentioned above, the top two options in 2021 are laminate and two-pack.

Laminate kitchen doors

Laminate kitchen doors are made from factory laminated board, particleboard, MDF, or HDF coated with a laminate. There are several pros and cons to choosing laminate doors.

Pros: Laminate kitchen doors are available in an incredible range of colours, patterns, and finishes. In 2021, wood-grain laminate doors are very much on-trend. As such, laminate doors are currently the most popular option. Laminate doors are also the cheapest option.

Cons: Laminate kitchen doors are lower in quality and over time, the laminate may start to peel away from the corners and edges. It can also stain and discolour with time.

Two-pack kitchen doors

Two-pack kitchen doors are made from particleboard, MDF, or HDF, which is covered with two coats of a two-pack epoxy. The result is a high-gloss shiny finish with smooth edges.

Pros: The biggest advantage of two-pack kitchen doors is their robustness and quality. The epoxy coating cannot peel off like laminate; it is applied directly to a primer and is there for good. The shine that two-pack delivers is also unmatched by laminate.

Cons: Two-pack kitchen doors are more expensive than laminate doors, and they can chip if hit with a heavy object. Like laminate doors, they too may discolour over time. They are also limited in design, generally restricted to flat colours and not patterns.

Door Design

There are literally hundreds of options in terms of kitchen door designs. You can choose any colour under the sun and just about any design you can imagine. However, try to be conservative. You don’t want to choose a door design that will look old-fashion in just a few years time. There are generally two routes to take; the safe route of the trending route.

Safe door designs are plain white doors that go with everything and never go out of style, like subway tiles. Tending door designs are those that give off the ‘wow’ factor today but may make you cringe later down the track.

Current tending door designs include any wood-grain laminate, deep blues and deep greens. Choose if you dare!


If you’re renovating or building a new kitchen in 2021, then one of the most important decisions you will have to make is your kitchen cabinets. As one of the most costly items of a home, you don’t want to make the wrong choice.

To help you make the right choices in choosing your kitchen cabinets, consider the following; which manufacturing type best suits your budget; flatpack, pre-assembled, or custom kitchen cabinets? What material will provide you with longevity? What kitchen design style do you want to achieve, and what door profile, finish, and design will help you achieve that style?

Once you have taken into consideration all these items, you will be able to make a confident decision on which kitchen cabinets are best for your needs and budget.

If you’re looking for high-quality kitchen cabinets in Perth that are attractive, modern, and well-priced, then look no further than our range of pre-assembled kitchen cabinets. We have over 50 wall cabinets, base cabinets and pantry cabinets to help you create the kitchen of your dreams.

Visit our Guildford showroom to view our range and take advantage of our free in-store kitchen planning service, or shop online and design your kitchen at home with our 3D Kitchen Planner.

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