I'm about to build a kitchen cabinet upper unit. 45" wide, 42" high
with a face frame and inset doors, arts & crafts style. But I don't
know whether to use 2 doors or 3.
If two, I think they might be too big and unwieldy at nearly 20x40".
But three doors would be barely more than 12" wide, and I'm not sure
whether I'd even be able to insert adjustable shelves through the door
I don't really want to make the frame asymmetric, ie a pair of double
doors and a single with only one inside stile, but maybe it would look
OK? Does anyone have thoughts on what would work/look best?
TIA from a not-too-experienced wooddorker ...
What is the upper unit going to be above ~ sink, stove, other? What sizes
are the rest (if any) of the other cabinets around the room? Will you be
replacing them eventually? There's a number of factors to take into account
when dealing with kitchen cabinets. Except in extremely unusual
circumstances, 20x40 sounds much too big. Even the 42" high for the upper
cabinets sound's much too high, but it all depends on your details.
I suppose a bit more hidden space inside from broader face frame members on
either side, and exposed middle would help. Have you take a look at
mullioned doors, where two become four visually? Would also make the doors
You're really not thinking of a 40+ inch span on your shelves are you?
You're going to lose more shelf space supporting them than you would with a
center divider, and they would be a lot more proof against sag at 20+.
As a general rule of thumb, I try to keep cabinet door widths between 12"
and 24" when possible.
20" x 40" doors will look fine. Because the doors are tall, you will want
to be careful that your stiles are perfectly straight, without any bow at
all. Don't think the panels will pull them flat. With doors that tall, the
stiles really have to be dead on. Also, using a center stile and two panels
can add stability to a tall door. The panels don't have to be the same
size, that is, the center stiles don't have to be in the center. Having a
shorter panel at the top or bottom of the door can look nice. It can also
look sharp, if there are similar but shorter doors adjacent, for example, on
a cab over a sink or a range, to match the center stile of the tall doors to
the lower stile of the adjacent shorter doors.
Have fun with your project!
When in doubt, I usually do a mockup of sorts. I take some cheap
poplar i usually have around, cut rails and stiles to length(no
joinery), lay them out on the floor of the shop and then decide. You
cna run thru several variants in a matter of a few minutes. Much
easier to decide in full scale rather than guessing or looking on
A mockup, why didn't I think of that!
I discovered 20" doors would not look right in my small kitchen. But
there's space for three 13" doors, and the shelves will fit in after all.
I made the mockup from 1/32" air-cored MDF (cardboard) though. And it
convinced my wife the final product will look a lot better!
thanks for the suggestions and comments, Will A.
How about making a cardboard mockup of each option and taping it in place to
see how it looks? I do this quite a bit when I'm not sure how something
will look. I draw everything in CAD first, but sometimes, I still need to
see it in place first, and a mockup really helps. I draw all the rails,
stiles, doors and handles and it really does help.
Just an idea.
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