Kitchen Cabinet Parts Terminology

Are you thinking about remodeling your kitchen? Here are some very important cabinet terms that will help you throughout the remodeling process. 


Kitchen Cabinet Parts Terminology  

white shaker kitchen cabinets and navy blue island cabinets

Corbel – an architectural or decorative element used as a support mechanism for mantels, bar tops, shelves etc.


Crown Molding – decorative molding applied to the top of wall cabinets providing a finished or decorative look. 

Drawer Front – finished front panel of a drawer. 

Finished Door Panel – door without handles used on the side of a cabinet box for aesthetics. Also known as a dummy door.

Flute – a concave shallow groove that is routed onto a wood surface. Common use is to overlay on a cabinet stile or filler for a decorative effect.

Light Molding – decorative molding applied to the bottom of wall cabinets providing a finished or decorative look. Specifically designed to help mask the installation of lighting under cabinets. 

Toe Kick – a term used to describe the recessed cut out area at the bottom of base, tall and vanity cabinets. It is also referred to as toe space. Finished material attached to the cabinet toe space is referred to as “Toe Kick” or “Toe Space Cover”. 

Valance – a decorative hardwood panel installed across an open area, generally used above sinks.

kitchen cabinet parts terminology 2

Base Cabinet – any cabinet type designed to be installed directly on the floor.

Fillers – fillers are used between kitchen cabinets or near a wall at the end of the cabinets to cover gaps or as decorative accents. Factory Plaza offers plain, fluted, and beaded fillers in a variety of our lines. 

Overlay – overlay refers to the amount of face frame that is covered by the cabinet door or drawer front.

Full Overlay Doors – a cabinet design where the cabinet door or drawer front covers the entire face frame so that only the cabinet door is seen, with no part of the face frame visible. A cabinet is also considered full overlay when the reveal is less than ¼ inch.

Mullion – a vertical strip of hardwood that is a component of the face frame. It usually divides a cabinet opening equally. Also referred to as a center stile.

Mullion Doors – a divided light door. The solid center panel is omitted and replaced with horizontal and vertical mullions dividing the open panel into smaller panels. This type of door creates a more stylish appearance and the feeling of increased space. Clear, bronzed, or leaded glass inserts (provided by the consumer) can fill these panels.

Wall Cabinets – any cabinet type designed to install directly to the wall.

More Kitchen Cabinet Parts Terminology

Accessories – supplemental parts of the cabinet such as: rollouts, pullouts, tilt-outs, hardware, corbels, and valances.


Air-Dried – lumber stacked and stored so that it is dried naturally by the exposure to air.


Appliance Panels – built-ins used for dishwashers or refrigerators to match the rest of the cabinetry.

Ball bearing glides for kitchen cabinets

Ball Bearing Glides – smooth gliding guides mounted on the side of the drawer. Also called side mounted glides which bear the weight of the drawer.

Picture of biscuit connection

Biscuit Connection – when two wooden pieces are connected together.

Blind corner kitchen cabinets with flat panel doors and bumper pads

Blind Corner Cabinet – any cabinet type, upper or lower, designed to install into a corner of a room. Another cabinet will be installed directly adjacent to it hiding the blind portion. This gives access to an otherwise dead corner providing more storage. 


Bumper Pads – protect cabinets from scratches and noise when closing the cabinet door.

Picture of butt joint

Butt Joint – when two pieces of wood are attached together.

Cathedral cabinet door style

Cathedral Door Style – A curve shaped panel, similar to church windows, used for cabinet doors.

Kitchen cabinets with concealed hinges and gas springs

Concealed Hinge – a hinge that is not visible on the front of a cabinet door. Concealed hinges are attached to the inside surface of the door.

Coped Joint – when two pieces fit together creating a 90 degree angle.

Picture of dado

Dado – a groove that is cut into a piece of material so that another piece may slide into it. The inside surface of cabinet drawers may be “dadoed” with a groove to accept the drawer bottom panel which helps make a stronger joint between the drawer side and bottom panels.

Picture of dado channel

Dado Channel– when two pieces of wood are inserted into one another to create a strong joint.

Picture of dovetail joint

Dovetail Joint – a very strong joint which uses more than one mortise and tenon. Also known as small finger joints.

Picture of dowel joint

Dowel Joint – used to put two wood pieces together.

Kitchen cabinet door parts - stile, rail, panel

Exploded Cabinet Door – different parts of a cabinet door.

Exposed Hinge – a hinge type that is visible on the outside edge of the cabinet door when the door is closed.

Framed cabinet and face frame

Face Frame – the wood frame that is attached to the front edges of the top, bottom, and sides of the cabinet box. The door gets hinged to the face frame. This frame helps provide rigidity to the box. Cabinet designs that incorporate this feature are called “face frame” or “framed” cabinets. 

Framed Cabinet – a cabinet design that uses a ‘face frame’ which is typically a wood frame attached to the front edges of the cabinet box where the door gets hinged to.

Frameless cabinet with fixed shelf

Frameless Cabinet – a cabinet design that does not use a frame on the front outside edges of the cabinet box. The front of the cabinet box is formed by the edges of the top, bottom and side panels of the cabinet box. The cabinet door typically covers these edges when closed.

Kitchen with soffit - finished side panel

Finished Side Panel – Also known as skin panel.

Picture of a finger joint

Finger Joint– a joint used in carpentry that resembles the interlocking of fingers.

Frameless cabinet with fixed shelf

Fixed Shelves – shelves that are constructed into the kitchen cabinet. They cannot be moved and provide added stability to the cabinet.

Blind corner kitchen cabinets with flat panel doors and bumper pads

Flat Panel Door – a recessed panel door with detailing on the edges making the panel appear inward. 

Kitchen cabinet drawer with full extension undermount glides

Full Extension Undermount Glides:


Full Extension – hardware that provides full access to drawers and allows the drawer to pass the face frame.


Undermount Glides – smooth gliding guides that are mounted underneath a drawer. Undermount glides can usually carry more weight than side mounted glides.

Kitchen cabinets with concealed hinges and gas springs

Gas Spring – versatile device used for door support.

Grain – the appearance, size, and direction of the alignment of the fibers of the wood. 

Hardwood – dense, close-grained wood of a tree, such as oak, cherry and maple. 


Inset – a cabinet design whereby the doors fit inside of the face frame when closed rather than overlapping and sitting on top of the face frame.


Kiln-dried – the process of removing excess moisture from wood to minimize the shrinkage and swelling of wood. All solid woods used in Factory Plaza cabinets are kiln–dried to remove the moisture to a level appropriate for processing.

Knot – a hard node in any wood species where a branch once grew.

Picture of lock rabbet joint

Lock Rabbet Joint – a joint used to construct a strong cabinet box.

Luan Plywood – very lightweight wood.

Maple – a close-grained hardwood that is predominantly white to creamy white in color, with occasional reddish-brown tones. While maple typically features uniform graining as compared to other wood species, characteristic markings may include bird’s-eye, fiddle back, mineral streaks and curly grain patterns. These traits are natural and serve to enhance maple’s inherent beauty. Maple is a very popular choice for home cabinetry, office cabinetry and flooring.

MDF and melamine kitchen cabinets

Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) – a wood-based product that’s produced by the combination of very small wood fibers and a glue, resin or similar bonding agent. MDF can be more easily shaped than products like particle boards due to the consistency of the material formed by the small fibers. MDF can be used for shelves, doors (typically painted or covered with melamine) and other cabinet parts. It is very dense and resists warping. It is commonly seen in the center panels of recessed cabinet door styles (like a Shaker door) to prevent warping and cracking of the center panel during the wood’s natural expansion and contraction.

Melamine – a slick plastic-like material used to cover a substrate of particleboard or MDF. This material is popular because it is durable and easy to clean.

Picture of miter joint on kitchen cabinet door

Miter Joint – a woodworking joint where two beveled pieces adjoin to make a 45 degree angle.

Kitchen cabinet moldings and onlay

Molding – decorative finishes used on the top, sides, or under wall cabinets.

Kitchen cabinet door parts - mortise and tenon

Mortise and Tenon – wood joint that involves part of one piece being inserted into a notch or hole in the matching piece. A typical mortise and tenon joint has a square protrusion coming off the end of one piece that fits tightly into a square ‘hole’ or notch in the piece it’s joined to. The pieces that make up the outer frame of a cabinet door might be joined using this technique. 

Kitchen cabinet moldings and onlay

Onlay – a decoratively carved wood ornament applied to cabinet surfaces. Used to embellish the design. Sometimes referred to as an appliqué.

Kitchen cabinet door parts - stile, rail, panel

Panel –  the center part of a cabinet door.

Kitchen with a peninsula

Peninsula – often used in ‘L” shaped kitchens. Similar to an island but with only 3 accessible sides.

Picture of pocket holes in cabinetry

Pocket Holes – found inside a cabinet box. They allow you to adjust and move a shelf up or down as needed.

Kitchen cabinets with raised panel doors and pull out trays

Pull-out Trays – used to conserve kitchen space. Also known as roll-out.

Kitchen cabinet door parts - stile, rail, panel

Rail – the horizontal pieces of frames, such as cabinet face frames and door frames. 

Kitchen cabinets with raised panel doors and pull out trays

Raised Panel – doors that have slightly raised center panels.

Recessed panel door cabinets with soft closing drawers

Recessed Panel – door style where the center panel is inset or recessed. A common example is a Shaker door style.

Reveal – the exposed portion between the end of the cabinet face frame and the door.

Rubber balls for wood parts

Rubber Balls – Also known as space balls.

Scribe Molding – a piece of molding, usually 1/4” thick and up to 1” wide, for the purpose of trimming and concealing any discrepancy where the cabinet meets a sheetrock wall.

Shaker style cabinet door with stain color

Shaker Style Doors – a cabinet door style with minimal detail, a flat panel and square edges.

Kitchen with soffit - finished side panel

Soffit – usually installed above wall cabinets to close the gap between the cabinets and the ceiling. 

Recessed panel door cabinets with soft closing drawers


Soft Closing Drawers – drawers with a mechanisms to pull the drawer to close automatically.

Shaker style cabinet door with stain color

Stain – a finish applied to natural wood cabinets to enhance color and add protection. 

Kitchen cabinet door parts - stile, rail, panel

Stile – the vertical pieces of frames, such as face frames and door frames.

T bar handles for kitchen cabinets

T-Bar Handles – hardware used to open cabinet doors.

Thermofoil Door – a door wrapped with plastic vinyl.

Kitchen cabinet with tilt out

Tilt-out – a cabinet door that can be pulled out and tilted for extra storage usage.

Veneer – thin layers of wood applied to plywood or MDF. The wood veneer can be treated with stain.

Wood Species – different types of hardwoods or softwoods. Examples are Maple, Oak, Cherry.


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