Kitchen cabinets can be made from a wide range of materials, including wood, laminate, stainless steel, thermofoil, melamine, lacquer and acrylic. Wood reigns supreme in the United States, though, with wood doors accounting for about 91 percent of sales in 2007, according to Kitchen & Bath Business magazine's most recent industry survey. Themofoil came in at 4 percent, with melamine at 1.6 percent, and laminate and lacquer each over 1 percent.
The study also showed maple as the most popular wood choice, followed in order by cherry, red or white oak, and hickory.
Each option has its merits. At first glance, wood offers natural beauty and a more traditional, country or rustic look, while manmade materials have an endless range of colors and a more modern style. With a little imagination, though, almost any material can work in any kitchen style. In fact, kitchen designers today often use more than one material in cabinet designs, or use the same material but in two different finishes or colors.
So choose your material not just by style, but by cost, durability, available door styles and finishes, and just plain old personal preference.