European Cabinets: The Sleek Choice

European Cabinets: The Sleek Choice

An overview of these special constructs

If you’ve been doing a little research into cabinets, by now you are possibly aware of the general differences between Euro-style cabinets and the common American “Shaker” design. As amazing as it sounds, together they make up the majority of cabinet types used worldwide. In fact, they’ve been the primary models used in kitchens for years.

A “Shaker” style cabinet is also known as “framed”. The door is literally a 4 piece frame that surrounds a middle recessed panel. The doors are hinged to, and lie on top of, its wooden box “face frame”. Euro style cabinets on the other hand are frameless; flat and smooth. They are also known as “full access” because the lack of a face frame and absence of a center stile allows unhindered entry into the cabinet. This brings us to another primary difference between the two, how the doors sit. The Shaker doors sit over the face frame, while a Euro style cabinet lies flush with it.

Despite being flat and sleek, Euro style cabinets manage to mix it up. They are also designed to be horizontal, opening from the long end on the bottom (like a garage door). Of course, the majority is built in the standard vertical motif, opening out from center (when there are two doors covering the interior) or in the case of a single door, out from the long edge on whatever side has the handle.

The frameless look extends to the matching drawers as well. With no frame, all that is visible is a drawer front. As a kitchen theme it is considered a bit more contemporary than the Shaker, its appeal being its simplicity (some call it “streamlined”). It is a smooth and basic look that has found wide acceptance internationally, even beyond Europe. The cabinetry drawers are also typically larger, creating an overall storage advantage.

Interestingly, it is the Shaker cabinet that mostly often relies on real wood or hardwood for its construction. It is a element that serves as part of its rustic appeal. The fact that most Euro style cabinets do not make use of real wood is a matter of practicality. Given that their sleek flat designs require large flat simple doors, they would be more prone to warping or bending if made from any type of real wood.  This is why the majority of euro style cabinets are made from other materials. Composite woods such as plywood or synthetic structures such as Medium Density Fiberboard, also known as “MDF”, are perfect for the sterile, intentionally unnatural look that makes Euros so popular. In lieu of any embellishments or wood grain a laminated surface is most often adhered.

The cabinets may be covered in a vinyl substance known as “Thermofoil”. It is a popular and affordable option that stretches and glues the material onto the outside surfaces. In recent years it has become sought after because it is available in a variety of finishes and designs that look quite modern.

For those that prefer a bit of texture, they can have the cabinets finished in “Melamine”. With this surface covering, there are no bare exposed sides (as with thermofoil) and it is similar to laminate although it offers much more by way of character. The wood grain like texture is truly unique and available in shades such as Cocoa and Milan, both of which are best described as elegantly handsome.

Of course Euro Style cabinets wouldn’t be fulfilling all preferences without a high gloss option. Classy and smooth, layers of high gloss paint help to create the ultramodern kitchen. No matter what color you choose – white, silver, charcoal, etc… shiny Euro-style cabinets NEVER fail to impress! And the choices don’t end there – you may decide on metal framed glass cabinets instead. Each one comes equipped with a soft close mechanism, ensuring that the integrity of the glass is maintained safely for years of use.

The cabinets are often equipped with adjustable shelves and the thick veneer also serves to protect the raw edges of the box. That’s just one of many options that you may choose. Typically, a great euro style cabinet package will include a MDF door that features soft close hinges and sits full overlay, concealing the natural interior finish. Get the box and shelves in sturdy 3/4 “plywood and you have the makings for the perfect Euro style cabinets. Select from endless varieties of hardware such as door pulls and handles and complete your kitchen with a lustrous collection of cabinetry sure to make a strong impression.

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