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Arched cabinets in the kitchen. Updating cathedral cabinet doors to make them look modern

February 20, 2023 | Updated on: May 08, 2024

oak cabinets with cathedral doors in the modern kitchen

While arched kitchen cabinets are often associated with old traditional houses that you just purchased or got as an inheritance, they shouldn't be removed simply for being outdated. The influence of Gothic architecture even spread into interior designs and modern cabinet styles. And actually, the curved arch at the top of the cabinet door is mostly considered as timeless classics rather than as an outgoing trend.

Have you ever thought about why cathedral kitchens occur so often that they have already set your teeth on edge? Because they are extremely durable! For all these 30-40 years, so much nothing has happened to them, that there is not a single reason to replace arched cathedral kitchen cabinets.

Still, many homeowners question, how to update the arched cabinets kitchen? In fact, kitchen cabinets with cathedral doors are quite difficult to upgrade. But when you choose the right design technique, they can blend in seamlessly with a modern space. Mostly, the cabinets are not to blame; rather, the surrounding finishes like laminate counters, vinyl flooring and outdated tile, even cabinet hardware, can be the culprit.

There are numerous options for how you can update kitchen cabinets with arched doors behind a painting. Stick to the Cut2Size blog, and we’ll show you how to turn what you have into a modern kitchen interior.

Types of arched-style cabinets in the kitchen

Grey double arch door cabinets and black appliance

Before we dive deeper into the different ideas on how to update a cathedral raised panel cabinet door, let’s first determine what is kitchen cabinets arched doors. Cathedral-style kitchen cabinets are cabinets with an elegantly curving arch at the top of the cabinet door that resembles the arches of conventional cathedrals or churches. The cabinets' inner panel curved shape gives them an elegant appearance that might offer your kitchen a hint of architectural intrigue.

  • Arch top cabinet door

Arch top kitchen cabinets have a curved arch at the top of the cabinet door, giving them a distinctive and opulent appearance that can immediately improve the kitchen's decor. Depending on the arch panel kitchen cabinets' style and design, the arch cabinet door top may be more apparent or subtle. If you’re aiming for a more modern or minimalist look in your kitchen, you can choose to make your arch cabinet doors subtle or modest in appearance. 

  • Double arch door cabinet

Double arch kitchen cabinet doors have two arches at the top and at the bottom of the cabinet door, giving the design a more complex and refined appearance. This type of kitchen cabinet door with an arch is frequently used in classic or elaborate kitchen designs and can give your room a touch of opulence and sophistication. 

  • Cathedral cabinet door

The arch top cabinet doors of cathedral design cabinets have a tall, narrow arch that resembles the pointed arches found in gothic architecture. This cabinet style, which is frequently seen in homes with a more formal or vintage style, can give your kitchen a classic and traditional look.

  • Double cathedral door cabinets

Two tall, slender arches are included at the top and bottom of double-arched kitchen cabinet doors giving the piece a dramatic, eye-catching look. This cabinet door with arch panel type, which is frequently used in opulent and elaborate kitchen designs, and can give your kitchen a feeling of grandeur and elegance. The intricate design of double cathedral arch cabinet doors can be enhanced with the use of decorative moldings, carvings, or embellishments, further adding to the grandeur of the design. Double cathedral arch cabinets are a popular choice for homeowners who want to create a sense of luxury and elegance in their kitchen.

How to modernize cathedral cabinets?

classic kitchen style with arched wall cabinets and granite counters

If you're looking to update your kitchen, cathedral cabinets may feel a bit outdated. The good news is that there are several ways to give a cathedral cabinet door makeover a modern twist while still preserving its timeless beauty. In this section, we'll explore some tips and tricks for modernizing your kitchen cabinets, from simple changes like updating hardware to more involved projects like repainting or refacing your cabinets.

  1. Paint the cabinets

One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to modernize your cathedral-style cabinets is to paint them. Oak cabinets with cathedral doors usually have a natural grain of wood effect on their surface. Updating cathedral oak cabinets involves repainting them. Painted cathedral oak cabinets look much sleeker and more modern compared to the natural wood cabinet surface design. Painting oak cathedral kitchen cabinets is pretty straightforward. This is also one of the reasons why many homeowners prefer oak cathedral kitchen cabinets. Choose a light, neutral color like white painted cathedral oak cabinets or grey to give the cabinets a fresh, modern look. 

  1. Change the hardware

While painted arched kitchen cabinets are a good method to modernize a traditional cabinet design, there is, however, a growing audience wanting to modernize kitchen cabinets which involves more complex updates. Swapping out the cabinet hardware can also help modernize the look of your cabinets. Choose sleek and modern hardware like brushed nickel or stainless steel to give your cabinets a contemporary edge.

  1. Add lighting

Under-cabinet lighting can make a big difference in modernizing your cabinets. Install LED strip lighting underneath the cabinets to add a warm and inviting glow to your kitchen.

  1. Remove decorative elements

Cathedral-style cabinets often have decorative moldings or embellishments that can make them look outdated. Consider removing these elements to give the cabinets a cleaner and more modern look.

Kitchen Cabinets

  1. Replace the doors

If your cabinets are in good condition, but you still want to modernize the look, consider replacing just the cabinet doors. Choose simple, flat-panel doors for a sleek and contemporary look.

  1. Add glass inserts

If you want to add some visual interest to your cathedral cabinets painted white, consider adding glass inserts to the doors. This will give your cabinets a more modern and open look, while still retaining their unique architectural charm.

  1. Mix and match

To fully modernize your cathedral-style cabinets, pair them with modern elements like stainless steel appliances, a sleek backsplash, or a minimalistic countertop. This will create a cohesive and contemporary look throughout your kitchen. Cathedral cabinets, for example, are originally for traditional spaces but adding or painting it in white cathedral arch kitchen cabinet doors will make a kitchen space appear modern. You can also pair white kitchen cabinets with arched doors with dark or bold contrasting colors to create distinction and character.

Different arched cabinet styles you'll see in kitchens

white cathedral arch kitchen cabinets and stainess steel appliances

If you are looking for different arched cabinets style, there are a lot of options available in the market today. Here are a few of them.



Gothic arched kitchen cabinets

These cabinets have a pointed arch at the top, creating a dramatic and elegant look. They are often made of dark, rich woods like cherry or mahogany and are perfect for traditional or transitional kitchens.

Romanesque arched kitchen cabinets

This style features a rounded arch at the top, giving the cabinets a softer, more organic look. They are often made of lighter woods like maple or oak and are perfect for Mediterranean or Tuscan-inspired kitchens. 


Contemporary arched kitchen cabinets feature a sleek and minimalist arched design, often with clean lines and simple finishes. They are perfect for modern or contemporary kitchens and can be made from a variety of materials such as MDF or laminate.

Cottage style

These cabinets have a whimsical and charming look, often featuring arched doors with glass panels or decorative cutouts. They are perfect for cozy and inviting cottage-style kitchens and are often made from painted or distressed wood.


Article by:

Valentina Melnikova - Lead Designer at Cut2Size

Office 403.366.7411

Hi there! I’m a millwork designer and an owner of a kitchen cabinet manufacturing company. With a team of professionals, I work on designing and manufacturing high-end millwork. Combining professional designing and manufacturing skills is what allows us to develop and translate our plans into a reality through our uniqueness and exclusive ideas. Our employees are highly skilled and creative thinkers that also utilize their professionalism and experience to take millwork to the next level. I’m very familiar with the industry and I take on each project from the design to the final product. With that said, if you’re looking for design advice or technician help, you’re in the right place.