We live in an era of excess of choices, starting with your morning cuppa at the café around the corner, where you have a bewildering range of options between latte and frappe, with cream or without, sugar or no sugar, brown sugar or white, hot or cold.

It’s a wonder we get through our day without losing our sanity!

If you are in the process of doing up your home interior, you must be getting more choices thrown at you than ever before. If (like most people) you are unaware of the inside of a piece of plywood while looking at it from the outside when looking for cabinet materials, we presume you must be very befuddled.

We’re here to uncomplicate your life and tell you what your designer is talking about. Let’s start by talking about cabinet materials and cabinet shutter materials.

kitchen cabinet shutter material

What Is a Cabinet?

A cabinet is the body or carcass of a modular kitchen design. It can be made of plywood, MDF, particleboard and a host of other materials.

  • When choosing cabinet materials, you should mainly look at quality and durability.
  • The front of the cabinet is fitted with a shutter, which can be made of different materials from the carcass. Your shutters are the most visible part of the kitchen, so they need to look good.
  • Keep your overall colour palette and design theme in mind when making your choices. They should be durable and sturdy.

From low-cost to high-end, here’s the lowdown on the most popular material choices for cabinet materials and cabinet shutter materials.

kitchen cabinet

Kitchen Cabinet Materials

1. Plywood

This is one of the most common cabinet materials, and if good quality plywood is used, your kitchen will stay in mint condition for a long time.

Plywood comprises thin layers of wood veneer glued together. A cross-section will show you these layers, with the grains alternated for added stability.

Several grades or types of plywood for cabinets are available, including commercial-grade plywood, boiling waterproof plywood (BWP) and marine-grade plywood. Since the kitchen is exposed to humidity and high temperatures, you should opt for only BWP or marine grades.

Ensure that the cabinets are made of sufficient thickness so they can bear the weight and stay structurally rigid. Plywood that is at least 18 mm thick is advised.

2. MDF (Medium Density Fibreboard)

MDF is an engineered wood made from wood fibre, resin and wax. It is dense, strong and durable, and the surface can be easily shaped into grooves or mouldings if you pick this out of all cabinet materials.

It has several advantages that make it a good choice for kitchen cabinet materials, including the fact that it does not warp and is eco-friendly and cost-effective.

MDF is available in several grades, including some exterior grades with higher humidity resistance.

3. Pre-laminated Particle Board

Pre-laminated particleboard is made of wood fibres that are pressed and glued, and finished on the surface with a layer of laminate. This is the most cost-effective of all cabinet materials but also the least durable one.

As it is glued together with resins, it may not be the most environmentally friendly option either. It has low resistance to moisture and tends to swell up if moisture enters through any crack on the surface.

If cost is not an issue, then browse other durable cabinet materials.

4. Solid Wood

In the olden days, all furniture used to be crafted out of wood, but most people opt out of this now due to environmental concerns.

If you do not mind paying a high premium on the price, consider opting for wood from all the cabinet materials available. Another option is to make only the shutters out of wood and use more eco-friendly material for the cabinet carcass.

Pro Tips

  • Rubberwood is a comparatively eco-friendly material and can be stained to look like teakwood, rosewood or other expensive varieties that are not readily available.
  • Do take care to buy only the best quality cabinet materials, as cheap wood that is not seasoned well will warp and bend easily and may have many knots and imperfections on the surface.
  • Also, you should note that real wood is tough to maintain, as it needs frequent polishing to maintain its texture and appearance.

tips to maintain kitchen cabinets

Kitchen Cabinet Shutter Materials

1. Laminates

Decorative laminates are machine-pressed onto MDF, plywood or particle boards and come in various colours, textures and finishes.

When it comes to contemporary style, laminates give you the most amount of flexibility and can suit different décor themes, ranging from wood look-alike finishes to bright solid colours.

2. Veneers

veneer is a fine slice of natural wood pasted on a coarser wood or plywood substrate. As the surface is completely natural, it gives you the same appearance as solid wood but at a fraction of the cost.

Veneers can be polished and sanded, just like real wood.

3. Natural Wood

If you’re willing to cough up the high costs, you can opt for natural wood shutters. While teak, rosewood and walnut look and feel beautiful, they are not easily available nowadays and, as a result, are prohibitively expensive.

Yellow teak or rubberwood are cheaper options that can be stained to mimic the more expensive varieties.

4. Painted Polyurethane

MDF shutters can be spray painted using high-gloss auto-coat paints and then covered in a clear polyurethane finish that is waterproof and durable.

The variety of colours available can make your choice difficult. Stick with your overall colour palette, and remember that lighter shades will open up a smaller space and make it look fresh and bright, while darker shades will make it appear smaller than it is.

5. PVC Membrane Laminate

A polyvinyl chloride (PVC) skin is moulded all around an MDF board at very high pressure to create a membrane shutter. The PVC wraps itself seamlessly around the grooves and mouldings on the shutter and even around the edges, resulting in a highly durable board that will not easily get damaged.

Depending on the finish you choose, this can suit budgets ranging from economical to costly.

Again, the range of options available is very attractive, and you can go for a wood finish or choose from a range of colours.

pvc laminates for cabinets


We hope this article has helped to cut through your confusion so that you can make the right choices for your home for the best material for kitchen cabinets.

If you’d like to know more, contact us on HomeLane, and our interior designers can guide you on the latest material for kitchen cabinets and even types of cupboard materials and work with you to create your dream home.


1. What Is the Best Material to Use for Kitchen Cabinets?

Engineered wood is often considered the best material for modular kitchen design. It is not as expensive as solid wood and is very sturdy.

2. What Is the Most Common Material for Kitchen Cabinets?

Laminates are among the most common cabinet materials for kitchens. They are economical, durable, and highly resistant to damage from water and heat.

3. What Are Cheap Kitchen Cabinets Made From?

Cheap kitchen cabinets are generally made of particle board, MDF, or other mixed synthetic materials. Laminates made from layers of plastic are extremely affordable cabinet materials.

4. What Are the Most Durable Kitchen Cabinets?

The most durable kitchen cabinets are made of solid natural hardwood. Wood cabinets are durable and can easily last up to two or even three decades.

5. What Wood Is Best for a Cabinet?

If you have decided to choose wood as your top choice out of all cabinet materials available, solid hardwood is the best option. Cherry, maple, birch, oak, and walnut wood can last for decades.

1 Comment

  1. Avatar
    Anil Saini Reply

    Great article indeed! uPVC and Acrylic materials are also being used for cabinets.

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