New Cabinet Ideas From Top Chicago Kitchen Designers

kitchen cabinets

Chicago Kitchen Cabinet Ideas

If you are in the process of planning a dream kitchen renovation in Chicago and are not sure what kitchen cabinet design would work best in your space, turn to our Chicago kitchen designers for the top cabinetry picks. Kitchen cabinetry is the largest statement in the kitchen so do not make it an afterthought when designing. Your cabinetry is very much like furniture and sets the tone for the space. Whether you are looking for a minimalist design, European inspiration, or rustic elements, cabinetry has come a long way with the customization options available to choose from. Pay attention to the details including finish, door style, and hardware.

If you are stuck deciding what type of cabinetry would work best in your space, consider the architecture of your home. Take into account the ceiling height, shape of the room, and any intricate period or architectural elements throughout your home that you want to highlight or contrast.

Install a Background Inside Glass Panel Cabinets

If you have a beautiful collection of glassware, antique dishware, or curio items that you want to display in glass panel cabinetry, add an extra layer of pop by incorporating wallpaper or another texture along the length of the back wall of the cabinet. This simple addition adds a layer of interest that will help your displayed items stand out.

Fluted Fronts

Texture is having a big moment. Ribbed or fluted wood doors make a significant impact on the overall kitchen design. When used strategically throughout the space, it can be very texturally intriguing. Incorporate fluting on appliance fronts, tall pantry doors, or island back panels. If you are looking for a more subtle approach to incorporate fluting, opt for fluted glass fronts in an oak door frame. The glass front leans towards modern but is also an easy design to incorporate into a more traditional home. The glass helps lighten the space while adding moderate “privacy” in seeing the cabinet contents inside.

Hide Imperfections

Sometimes a full cabinet replacement is not in the ideal investment range. If you are looking for an easy update that will pack a punch but be gentle on your budget, consider painting the doors and boxes. If your cabinetry is not in the best shape, opt for a deep or dark color in a matte finish that will help camouflage the blemishes. If you are concerned that a darker color will make the space feel smaller or too dark, offset the dark cabinetry with light wall paint, backsplash, and/or open shelving in place of upper cabinets. Painting cabinetry is also a great option for clients who need a quick update in preparation to list for sale.

Add Color

The all-white color palette is out. Green is the 2024 color of the year and shows no signs of stopping. The color spectrum that a beautiful green provides is limitless and pairs well with wood and natural stone. Incorporating green cabinetry into your kitchen design is a vibrant way to add color in a muted way. Green is a forever neutral that will never go out of style. Any color found in nature is timeless and classic.


Brass details add an air of elegance and luxury to any space. Brass is a timeless metal finish that is stunning against a walnut or other natural wood palette. There are several ways to add brass elements to your kitchen design. Top Chicago designers recommend incorporating brass through door hardware and drawer pulls, appliance lines that allow customization of metal accents on the knobs or pulls, brass trim inlaid into cabinet fronts to frame the door, or crosshatched panels inlaid into a wood frame door (similar to glass front doors).

Add Arches

Arched upper cabinetry and tall panel pantry doors add a sense of classic history. Arched cabinetry is an unexpected addition that appeals to vintage or traditional design. It is a beautiful way to add architecture to an otherwise empty box space without modifying the bones of your home. You can take archways a step further by creating an arched entryway into your kitchen or building out an archway above the sink and adding a pendant light above.

Floor-to-Ceiling Cabinetry

If your space allows, our designers recommend adding a wall of floor-to-ceiling cabinetry opposite your cooking zone to house all the extras – everyday dishes, appliances, kitchen linens, a full pantry, and the essential junk drawer. A wall of cabinets is perfect in a kitchen design that also incorporates an open layout and large windows to maximize light and not make the space feel enclosed.

Custom Cabinet Storage

Gone are the days when a lazy Susan or built-in spice rack were the epitome of cabinet storage customization. Now kitchen designs are all about maximizing every square inch of storage and minimizing false cabinet fronts. If you have a narrow spot next to the stove that would otherwise not be utilized, use that space to house a pan and cookie sheet organizer or canned goods rack.

The customization options are never-ending for the client who wants to make every effort to keep their kitchen clean and functional. Add pullout trays, custom flatware organizers, pullout doors attached to shelves for pots and pans, custom trash and recycling bins, and spice racks to bring your hidden storage to the next level.

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Replace Upper Cabinetry with Open Shelving

We are seeing a trend towards less upper cabinets and more open shelving. The goal is always to maximize storage but with a twist. Open shelving can be used to display personal art collections, beautiful cookware, and allow for more personal design style to make its way into the kitchen.

Built-in Appliances

Homeowners are becoming more interested in installing beverage stations in their kitchens. This addition includes coffee makers built into the cabinetry with storage for glassware and hidden ice drawers. This upgrade may also include smoothie stations or wet bars depending on your family’s flair for entertaining. You can complement your beverage station with under-countertop refrigeration drawers to allow functional use of the space and save the trip to the refrigerator to grab mixers coffee creamers or ice. Even though appliances are becoming more intelligent, efficient, and feature-packed, we love to see them hidden behind matching cabinet fronts to give a more streamlined and cohesive look. Let your cabinetry take the spotlight, not your appliances.

Shaker Cabinets

Shaker-style cabinet doors are far and wide the most popular choice for kitchen cabinets. Shaker doors come in carrying degrees of panel and trim width and appeal to a variety of design styles from contemporary to industrial to modern. Painted finishes are the most common finish for this door style, but we are also starting to see a comeback in full wood doors such as walnut or white oak.

A Punch of Color

White and gray kitchens were popular because they offered a clean, crisp, bright look. Now homeowners are wanting more of a warm, earthy, neutral design by way of greige, cream, or taupe undertones. Homeowners love to mix colors in their kitchen, and since cabinets take up the largest footprint the mixed color combo really packs a punch – think a dark and moody island surrounded by warm taupe natural stone and cabinetry. Greens, navy blues, and dark reds or terracottas topped with a neutral countertop and backsplash are becoming increasingly popular, mixing modern and contemporary.

Sustainability in Design

Sustainability is a huge movement across all consumer goods including kitchen cabinetry and home products. Eco-friendly seeking homeowners are paying attention to reclaimed wood and recycled materials and looking for this in a cabinet finish to minimize their environmental impact. Sustainability in kitchen cabinetry goes as far as considering the paint being used is low volatile organic compounds. The cabinet hardware could be repurposed metal. Work with a designer who can help you source reclaimed material and repurpose it for the perfect final addition in your kitchen design.

Partner with Chicago’s Premier Design-Build Contractor

Popular trends in kitchen cabinetry design emphasize personal style, colors, materials, textures, and functionality. Kitchens are transforming from minimalistic living spaces to a true extension of the living space creating a warm and enticing environment to socialize, cook, and entertain within. The Areté Renovators design and build team can bring balance to your dream kitchen and deliver beauty, convenience, and functionality.

Areté Renovators is a full-service design-build remodeling firm dedicated to creating a luxurious experience through personal touch, quality, accountability, timeless design, and attention to detail. Listed for 5 years as a Top 500 remodeling contractor in the nation, Areté Renovators through the partnership of their in-house design team, preferred team of architects, and skilled tradespeople have created a design-build process that is comfortable, streamlined, and a partnership between client and contractor. Browse our gallery of stunning kitchen remodels and schedule a consultation with our team today.