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Recessed panel doors in kitchen cabinet designs

January 25, 2023 | Updated on: January 25, 2023

white kitchen cabinets with recessed panel doors in classic interior

To some people, all cabinets look the same. But to designers and cabinet makers, the world of cabinetry is complex and diverse. A lot of detailing and woodwork is involved in crafting the perfect cabinetry that will suit a particular kitchen style. If you have been checking out different kinds of cabinets for your upcoming kitchen renovation project, you’ve probably heard of recessed flat panel cabinet doors.

What is a recessed panel cabinet?  It refers to a cabinet that has a recessed center panel of the door that is lower than the raised frame. It is basically the opposite of a raised panel door where the flat panel cabinet door sticks out or slightly levels its surrounding frame. 

Kitchen Cabinets

The kitchen cabinetry is only complete with drawers. So, to match recessed kitchen cabinets, recessed panel drawers are also installed. Recessed doors kitchen cabinets are a great option if you’re looking for a sleek and professional look in your kitchen. To identify whether you have a kitchen with recessed-panel cabinets is to check whether the cabinets' center panels are recessed or slightly lower than the frame. Plus, they offer more storage space, which is always a bonus. They can be made from a variety of materials such as wood, laminate, or MDF and can be customized to fit any kitchen design.

If you want to learn more about recessed panel cabinet door styles and dimensions, stick to the end of this blog because we’re going to unravel everything there is to know about recessed kitchen cabinets.

Recessed panel cabinet door styles

two-tone recessed-panel cabinets white and green and a wood island in the kitchen

Kitchen cabinets recessed doors look versatile and flexible. However, they are not for every kitchen. Keep in mind that each kitchen requires a different design solution. It is still best to consult a professional designer to make an informed decision when choosing cabinets. 

Recessed panel kitchen cabinets are designed to blend into the kitchen interior. The features of a recessed cabinet kitchen don’t stand out compared to other decorative recessed panel cabinet door. However, paint color and hardware choice are what make recessed cabinets kitchen elegant and sophisticated in the kitchen. The right choice of hardware and the right choice of color can make recessed panel kitchen cabinet door fronts truly stand out from the backdrop.

Now that we know the definition of recessed panel kitchen cabinet doors let’s dive deeper into the different kitchen interior design styles they fit. 

  • Modern kitchen with recessed panel cabinet ideas

One of the most popular interior style where recessed panel cabinets can be incorporated is in a modern kitchen. It is best when recessed cabinets are painted in white. White recessed panel kitchen cabinets give the kitchen a cleaner and brighter look. White color recessed kitchen cabinet panel is also versatile. This basically means that you can pair a white recessed panel cabinet door with other kitchen colors, may it be neutral or bold. It’s also easy to find hardware colors and styles that will match perfectly in a white recessed cabinet panel. Painting your recessed panel cabinet door white is a great idea if it is your first time renovating your kitchen and you are planning to go for the modern look. 

  • Contemporary kitchen with recessed panel cabinet ideas

If you want a sleek, modern, and minimalist design for your kitchen, recessed panel cabinets in a contemporary style are a wonderful choice. Recessed panel cabinets feature a smooth, flush surface that gives them a modern, straightforward appearance that is frequently linked to contemporary design. The lines, colors, and shapes in a kitchen can be emphasized with the help of these cabinets, which can also give the room a feeling of spaciousness. 

The best material to use to create a contemporary recessed panel kitchen cabinetry is wood-mode recessed flat panel cabinet doors. Wood-mode cabinets are known for their high-quality construction and attention to detail. The recessed flat panel cabinet doors are no exception, they are built with precision and care to ensure they will last for many years. Wood recessed panel cabinet doors offers a wide range of bespoke options, including several wood species, treatments, and hardware choices. By doing this, you can design a look that is totally distinct and unique to your own personal taste.  

base recessed flat panel kitchen cabinets with golden hardware

  • Shaker style cabinet with transitional recessed panel

A cabinet door design that incorporates aspects of both the old shaker style and a more modern recessed panel design is known as a shaker style cabinet with transitional recessed panel cabinet door with small bead. Shaker type cabinets are renowned for their straightforward, unadorned design. The shaker style's simplicity is retained while the recessed panel subtly provides a touch of elegance. 

This style of cabinet door, which may be created from a number of woods or engineered materials, complements both traditional and modern kitchen designs. It's an excellent choice if you want to keep your kitchen traditional with a dash of modernism. 

  • Recessed-panel design for a classic look kitchen cabinet

The recessed panel style was influenced by the elaborate, intricate cabinetry of the past, which was frequently found in opulent, formal kitchens. The inset recessed panel cabinet doors lends a sense of heritage and history to the kitchen, and when paired with other traditional features like raised panel and applied molding, it can produce a unified and classic appearance. 

The kitchen cabinet with inset recessed panel can also be created from a variety of hardwoods, including oak, maple, cherry, and others. These woods are renowned for their strength and resistance to deterioration. They can also be painted or stained with a different color or finish to add elegance to a kitchen space. 

  • Rustic kitchen with recessed panel cabinet ideas

If you want your kitchen to have a cozy, welcoming, and natural appeal, a rustic kitchen with oak recessed panel cabinet door can be a wonderful choice. Natural elements like wood, stone, and brick are frequently used in rustic design, which may make the kitchen feel warm and inviting. Oak kitchen cabinet recessed panel can help increase storage space by blending into the background of the kitchen and contributing to the rustic aesthetic. Unfinished recessed panel cabinet doors can also offer the room a crisp, contemporary appearance.

To achieve the rustic kitchen interior aesthetic, unfinished oak recessed panel cabinet doors are the secret ingredient. Oak, especially golden oak kitchen recessed panel cabinet door is a great choice for rustic kitchen cabinets because of its durability, strength, and natural beauty. Recessed panel oak cabinet doors has a unique, natural grain pattern that can add character and warmth to a kitchen. It can be finished in a variety of ways, from a light and natural look to a dark and rustic finish, to match the desired aesthetic of your rustic kitchen.

Recessed panel vs raised panel kitchen cabinet doors

kitchen with recessed cabinet doors and open shelves

Recessed panel and raised panel kitchen cabinet doors are both popular choices, but they have some key differences.

Recessed panel vs raised panel kitchen cabinet doors

Recessed panel

Raised panel

Recessed panel doors have a center panel that sits inside the frame of the door, creating a subtle and elegant look. They are often used in traditional or classic kitchen designs, and their minimal design can complement a variety of decor styles. Because the panel sits inside the frame, these doors are also known for being more durable and resistant to warping. It has minimal similarities to shaker cabinets but has angles in the edges and a more defined frame.

Raised panel doors, on the other hand, have a panel that sits on top of the frame of the door, creating a more prominent and decorative look. They are often used in more formal or traditional kitchen designs and can add a touch of elegance to any space. The raised panel can be made from a variety of materials, such as wood, MDF, or metal, and can be finished in a variety of colors and styles.

Ultimately, the choice between raised or recessed panel cabinet doors will come down to personal preference and the overall design aesthetic of your kitchen.

Handles for recessed cabinet doors

black handles on white recessed cabinet doors

Recessed kitchen cabinet doors are simple and minimalistic in design, so the handles or knobs installed on them are usually simple and have a subtle style as well. If you are wondering what kind of handles and knobs to put in your recessed panel cabinet door, take a look at the list below.

Finger pulls

A finger pull is a small, narrow strip of metal or other material that is mounted on the edge of the cabinet doors recessed panel. It allows you to open the door by simply sliding your finger into the pull and pulling the door open. 


A push-to-open mechanism allows you to open the cabinet door by simply pushing on it, eliminating the need for hinges for recessed cabinet doors, handles, or knobs.

Recessed handles

These are handles that are flush with the cabinet door and recessed into the door. They can be integrated into the cabinet door itself or mounted on the side of the door, and they are a great way to keep the clean, minimalist look of recessed cabinet doors.


These are small black cabinet pulls on recessed panel drawers that have a D-shaped design, they can be installed recessed or surface mounted, and they are a great way to add a touch of elegance to your recessed cabinet doors.


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.