/ Cabinets

Inserts Provide a Great Design Option for Cabinets

Dark and Light Wood Cabinets

Contrasting wood types and glass inserts give this kitchen visual interest

A kitchen loaded with base and wall cabinets can look like a storage room or feel dark and heavy. Inserts such as glass, metal or chicken wire present a great design option to add visual interest, especially on stock cabinets that might otherwise lack unique touches. Glass will also reflect light, brightening your kitchen and making it appear larger.

Clear glass can showcase fine china or collectibles, but also reveals fingerprints and clutter. Luckily, inserts come in a variety of textures and patterns that make the glass translucent or opaque rather than transparent. Options include:

  • Beveled: polished angle-ground glass with prismatic characteristics

  • Bubbled: air bubbles sprinkled in the glass to enhance the illusion of age

  • Camed: strips (or "cames") of lead, brass, or copper lie between the glass

  • Colored: tinted glass

  • Etched: a design is carved into glass using hydrofluoric acid

  • Frosted: glass blown with fine sand under high pressure for an opaque look

  • Leaded: a popular type of camed glass

  • Mullion: thin strips of wood separate panes of glass

  • Ribbed: vertical, horizontal, or diagonal lines


Some manufacturers also offer the option of sandwiching materials such as rice paper or fabric between the layers of glass.

Install halogen lights inside the cabinets for an additional glow or to highlight the contents. Use glass shelves to allow the light to shine all the way through. Or consider a colored interior; for example, a hunter green interior against a white cabinet can emphasize a country motif. You can also decorate the interior with stenciled patterns, faux finishes or wallpaper.