When it comes to kitchen cabinets, homeowners want to flaunt their style. Whether pairing multiple looks and colors in one space, using cabinetry that reflects furniture around the home, or picking more contemporary products, consumers are seeking pieces that reflect their personal tastes.

STYLISH: Left, Timberlake brings organization to kitchen cabinetry with specialized storage options. Right, Fieldstone's finishes can match furniture around the house and tie together light and dark cabinets. While raised panel doors are still the top seller for some manufacturers and dealers, a simple, recessed panel door in the Shaker style is gaining popularity. Because of its clean design, the Shaker door can support a variety of looks, ranging from contemporary to rustic. The doors can also feature small details or beading, but not heavier ornamentation, says Connie Edwards, director of design for Timberlake, which offers the Capistrano door to fit this trend.

"People's tastes are changing to become more clean lined and less fluffy," says Kalpesh Nanji, Armstrong Cabinets' product development manager.

The Shaker door, because of its flexibility, fits into two other trends: mixing and matching styles and colors within the kitchen and using furniture-style cabinets. Manufacturers say these are happening because floor plans are more open. The kitchen area connects to a living room or great room, and consumers want to have their tastes in furniture continue into the kitchen.

This leads to darker finishes, because darker colors are popular in furniture; cabinetry with furniture features such as columns and legs; and finishes that imitate furniture, such as distressed and painted options. Homeowners might use a light, Shaker-style door for their main cabinets, but at the focal points of the kitchen use furniture-style cabinetry and dark finishes.

"A freestanding island can be designed to look different from the rest of the cabinetry," says Cindy Draper, marketing manager for the Canyon Creek Cabinet Co.

Fieldstone Cabinetry offers a Bronze Glaze finish, where a light-colored door is accented with darker bronze hues to tie together white and dark cabinetry (Circle 108). Merillat last year introduced painted white finishes to its line; Armstrong introduced dark colors, including Espresso; HomeCrest has its Java line of dark cabinetry; and Medallion Cabinetry offers the Bella line that mixes two types of finishes and comes in a variety of stains and glazes.

Customers emphasize looks but still want cabinetry that functions well and promotes organization. For this reason, more manufactures offer soft-close doors as standard, and innovative storage options make cabinetry more appealing. Some popular inclusions are pull-out drawers for pots and appliances, Lazy Susans at corners, integrated niches for spice racks, and vertical pull-out drawers with pegs for hanging items. Bi-fold doors that lift vertically are another popular option. Along with Fieldstone, Canac and Dura Supreme offer these doors.

Customers "want to make everything come to them," says Jeff Ptacek, product manager for Fieldstone. "They do not want to crawl inside cabinets." Fieldstone, KraftMaid Cabinetry, Merillat, Timberlake, Canyon Creek, Diamond Cabinets, and Armstrong all offer unique storage options.

"I do see a demand for different accessories," says Rick Culver, cabinet design specialist for Dukes Lumber Co. in Laurel, Md. "It helps the dealer, too, because it adds more to the cost of the cabinet, which leads to a higher sale."

–Victoria Markovitz