Face Your Kitchen
Your Guide to Kitchen Cabinet Refacing

5 cabinet doors you didn't know existed

by Karl Fendelander
Face Your Kitchen Columnist

Cabinet doors have been doing the same old thing for years: swinging open and swinging closed. If you're considering refacing your cabinets, break away from this classic, yet monotonous, design with doors that are sure to dazzle your guests -- and potentially baffle them while they figure out how to open your fancy, new cupboards. Here are some of the coolest ways to open and close your cabinetry, ordered by increasing hardware complexity:

  1. Track doors: Nothing particularly new here -- you see these doors all the time at the grocery store and potentially leading out into your yard. In the kitchen, though, these doors are just out of place enough to add flair. The doors slide side to side on a ball-bearing track. You won't fully be able to throw the doors open like you can with swinging doors, but you can get creative with super-long tracks that allow more than just two cabinets to be opened. These cabinets are great for tight spaces, where swing-out is an issue.
  2. Tambour doors: Like mini garage doors for your cabinets, these doors roll up, down or sideways to suit your fancy. Typically, they're made using thin wood slats with a fabric backing, making them a touch classier than a garage door -- although there are more modern/industrial-look versions that use metal and glass, too. You'll lose a little storage room to the door's compartment, but you'll gain a funky look and all the air space that a swinging door would use. Unlike track doors, you can open cupboards equipped with these all the way up.
  3. Pocket doors: These doors open in a way that isn't unexpected -- and then everything changes. After swinging open (up, down or sideways), the door continues its journey and slides nicely into a pocket to keep it out of the way. Closed, these doors look like everyday cabinets (without pulls or handles). Open, they tuck back for a clean, modern look. Like the tambour doors, you have to sacrifice a little storage space to the door, but the look and not having to worry about plowing into an open cabinet door are both worth it.
  4. Flip doors: Using hydraulics and heavily reinforced hinges, these doors can be installed to flip down to create workspace or flip up to move out of the way. You probably won't want these all over your kitchen, but one or two could be just the ticket to enhance your counter space.
  5. Sliding doors: These aren't your typical track doors. New sliding-door hinges sit flush with your other cabinets when closed, but when you open them, they pull out slightly and slide out of your way. The downside: when they're open they block whatever you've got to the right and left in the kitchen. The upside: these doors can be made monstrously large and conceal entire appliance cubbies or even small closets -- oh, and they look really cool.

Talk to your contractor about what kind of custom doors and crazy new hardware you can put into your kitchen -- and make your cupboard doors the talk of the block.

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