Cabinet 101

Cayhill kitchen cabinets in Maple Magnolia with a Cherry Riverbed island

Basic Cabinet Terminology

Learn to Speak Like a Cabinet Pro

Now that you are thinking about a project, you'll appreciate knowing the cabinet terminology that Designers and Contractors are talking about. While it can sound like a whole new language, we've added pictures and points to make it easy to understand.

Box Construction
Base cabinet with doors open to show interior construction
  • Face Frame – The structural portion of the cabinet to which doors are attached, consisting of both rails and stiles.
  • End Panel – The side of the cabinet that is grooved into the face frame and extends back to the wall.
  • Bottom – The floor of the cabinet. On a wall and tall cabinet, the same component is used as the top.
  • Back – The rear vertical surface used to mount the cabinet to the wall.
  • Adjustable Shelves – Horizontally placed storage surfaces that are adjusted by moving clips used to hold the shelf in place.
  • Toekick – The recessed toe space at the bottom of a base cabinet.
Cabinet Doors
Close-up detail of Bancroft cabinet door
  • Center Panel – The raised or flat panel in the middle of a door enclosed by stiles and rails.
  • Center Stile – Sometimes called a mullion, this is the raised rail in the middle of a door that is enclosed by stiles and rails.
  • Edge Profile – Shape put on the outside edge of a door or drawer front.
  • Rail – A horizontal framing member of a cabinet face frame or door.
  • Reveal – On a framed cabinet, the distance between the outside edge of the face frame and the outside edge of the door.
  • Stile – The vertical-framing members of a cabinet face frame or cabinet door.
Cabinet Drawers
Cabinet drawer with bowls inside
  • Dovetail Joint – An interlocking corner joint where pins on one piece fit into sockets on a second piece and dovetail together.
  • Drawer Glide – The system used to support the drawer in a cabinet and provide opening/closing operation.