Mission Style Cabinet Doors: All You Need To Know

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Last updated: August 26, 2023

What are mission style cabinet doors?

Straight off the bat, here are some key points on mission style cabinet doors:

  • Consider using a mix of solid wood and veneers to save money.
  • Choose a door style that complements your kitchen’s overall style.
  • Don’t be afraid to add some personality with your cabinet hardware.
  • Consider using glass panels in some of your cabinets to add light and space.
  • Get quotes from multiple vendors before making a decision.
  • Be prepared to spend some time and money on a quality set of kitchen cabinets.

Today, mission-style kitchen cabinet doors are popular with homeowners.

Given the different cabinet door styles available in the market today, mission-style doors have captured the imagination of homeowners because they look beautiful in white oak or red oak, with gorgeous panel doors and clean lines.

The color palette is generally consistent with the natural state of your kitchen design ideas.

Most homeowners ignore their kitchen cabinet doors and drawer fronts.

However, these serve as critical elements in a crafts kitchen, and shaker cabinets with mission style doors can offer a visual component that is quite appealing.

You may have seen examples of craftsman style kitchens in breakfast diner settings with the large square tops for the breakfast nook.

An example would be the Mission Breakfast Nook from DutchCrafters, priced at USD $3400+ but also available in monthly payments, interest-free, with Affirm Pay.

You have to look at mission cabinets and this type of cabinet hardware as a work of art.

It’s unique and resonates with homebuyers who are looking for a return to well-made, durable kitchen furniture, fixtures, and other elements.

Skilled master craftsmen and women look at every detail. The same could be said with interior designers and do-it-yourself stylists.

The wide-ranging options for cabinet knobs on Etsy alone will help you decide how unique your door front should look.

Cabinet pulls can be as simple as black cast iron for an appealing farmhouse feel.

Today, homeowners seek out the use of natural materials, clean geometric shapes and minimalism, and a color scheme that helps natural light radiate in the kitchen.

The same homeowners have also adopted new living principles of biophilic design, incorporating modern technologies and products into their interior design plans.

Respira Air is an excellent example of a Biophilic product on the market today.

You have options from the choice of unfinished wood to wood tones, or through the use of a variety of wood species like red oak, maple, mahogany.

White oak, light to dark brown, is hard and heavy and could be perfect in your white kitchen remodel, for example.

Pine is lightweight, and its knotty version will have tight small knots.

Table of Contents

Mission Style Cabinet Door: Key Characteristics

Like most common cabinet door types, the mission style is probably the first choice you can think of regarding kitchen cabinetry. 

Ideal for almost all kitchens, mission doors for cabinets feature clean lines and provide an easy to adapt appearance perfect for modern and traditional kitchens. 

You could swap the flat center panel and framed panels standard in inset door styles with a glass door to add a touch of additional appeal and beauty.

Most commonly made from oak, the true beauty of mission-style cabinets lies in the natural coloration and grain of the wood.

These mission-style cabinets can look and feel right at home in your kitchen, even if you change the room down the road.  

Mission cabinet doors feature clean straight lines and square-framed molding like Shaker cabinet doors.

What sets these two apart is the materials used and the proportion of the molding, and the wood door molding trim of mission cabinet doors are wide and thicker.

It is common for a mission cabinet to feature dovetail joints of drawers and mortise and tenon joints that attach the cabinetry’s corners.

Made of solid wood, cherry wood, maple wood, or quartersawn oak, they will last a long time.

The wood grain plays a significant role in the overall appearance, so it is common to find these cabinets in various stain finishes in earth tones that further improve the grain. 

Key Differences of Mission and Shaker Style Cabinets

The Shaker and mission cabinet styles trace back many centuries ago, rising in popularity with the arts and crafts movement. There is a timeless appeal to the simplicity of these two styles. 

A recessed and flat panel and a square frame are the elements that these two styles share in common with cabinet doors.

The classic wood often used in Shaker-style cabinets is maple, wherein the scale is light, and the lines are all clean. 

Classic maple Shaker doors are great for kitchen refacing or remodeling projects.

Actual Shakers also frown upon using any finish or stain on the door to prevent detracting from the wood’s innate beauty. 

Here’s a beautiful example of a wall-to-wall shaker-style kitchen set from BathDepot.

The clean open floor plan is supported by new cabinet doors, both upper and lower cabinets, which are accented by stainless steel drawer pulls.

This kitchen set with a white matte finish will fit nicely with rustic or contemporary kitchen designs.

You can find other craftsman style kitchen cabinets that use a completely flat-panel door style.

Craftsman and Mission are related as both tend to show off a bit more than the pure Shaker look.

The man behind this style of cabinetry and furniture was Gustav Stickley.

It is angular, and at the same time, it showcases all the details used by the Craftsman for building the door. 

This style typically features butterfly inlays and square pegs at corner joints.

Oak is the usual wood species used.

However, this is not the whirly grain large oaks installed in kitchens during the 1990s.

Quartersawn oak, common in the 1990s, is milled log, leaving the straight grain and the signature flake or medullary rays.

It is the wood used by Frank Lloyd Wright and Gustav Stickley. 

Craftsman and Mission styles get made cherry, yet the traditional choice is quartersawn white oak. 

Door Criteria for Your Lower and Upper Cabinets

There are several ways to evaluate the available cabinet door options.

The following are the usual criteria you should consider when searching for cabinet doors that will look great in your Mission or Craftsman kitchen.


Although there are numerous aesthetic designs for kitchen cabinets, a cabinet’s actual structural frames are available in two main construction options. 

Full access cabinets are the first option, and it is more of European style, allowing a bit more storage space within the sophisticated frameless construction. 

Framed cabinets are the second more famous option, and it is a more standard style in the US, featuring door frames constructed in various sub-styles.

Other aspects of construction consider smooth-close hinges, dovetail drawers, and others.

Door Finish and Style

Aesthetic is a crucial aspect of the selection process.

Determine the specific styles and finishes you like the best to find the one that best suits your kitchen design.

This factor alone can help you considerably narrow down your choices.

A Standard door overlay and full overlay are the two primary styles of cabinet doors.

Standard overlay, or partial overlay, has long been the norm in cabinetry.

Based on the name itself, the doors partially cover the cabinet face frame openings, leaving more significant gaps between units of one inch to two inches. 

WalzCraft has an excellent page that provides a comparison for panel door styles, door frame design, and options for wood species and wood finishes.

This tool may help you find the ideal cabinet for your crafts

Full overlay doors and drawers, also called Euro-style, almost entirely overlay the box, which leaves gaps of only ¼ inch to ½ inch between cabinet units.

Since there are small gaps between every door unit, it forms a seamless look.

These doors have a smooth profile and are more appropriate for contemporary or transitional style cabinets. 

Kitchen Style and Layout

Every house has a style, a feeling, and a theme that carries throughout.

All furniture pieces, carpets, and light fixtures contribute to the overall feel, with no room exempted from this.

Although the style may differ from the hall to the bedroom and the dining room to the living room, the entire house will probably have a consistent theme.  

The same rule is also applicable to the kitchen.

When choosing your cabinet doors, you should consider the overall style of your home.

Does your home have an elegant and classic vibe? Is it minimalistic and modern?

Is your house fun, bright, and bold?

No matter what style you want for your house, make sure that you carry it through with the doors of your kitchen cabinets. 

When reviewing your home’s style, please consider the layout of your kitchen. Is it U-shaped or L-shaped?

Try to imagine how different door styles will look in your existing traditional design and use it as your guide in decision-making. 

Options for the Variety of Door Styles Available

Aside from the door overlays alone, there are many other ways that cabinet doors can differ in terms of design styles. 

For instance, drawer fonts have two different styles.

The styles include the five-piece drawer fonts, also called decorative, and one-piece drawer fonts, also known as slab doors.

Aside from customizing your cabinets, you can also enjoy some expression and freedom with your cabinet drawers. 

Finishes and stains are also crucial elements for craftsman-style kitchens. 

Drawers and cabinets have several finishes, shades, and colors.

Your choice should consider factors like taste, price, and overall compatibility with your kitchen’s style.

Other features to consider include ring pull and different styles of drawer pull. 


All cabinet doors and panel cabinet door styles are also available at a wide range of prices.

Replacement cabinet doors can less expensive, and there are also more choices with functional design, which means that you can find a modern style perfect for all budgets.

When browsing different options for cabinet doors, consider if you like your doors to be in dark color or natural color.

This matters for open floor plans and traditional kitchen designs.

Check the butt joints of the large panel, whether the doors will blend well with your granite countertops, or if you need mineral oil to clean them.

Also, review your budget and determine how much money you are willing to spend. 

Mission Cabinet Doors: Frequently Asked Questions

How wide should rails and stiles be on shaker cabinets?

The rails and stiles on Shaker cabinets almost always have a thickness of ¾ inch.

To build simple shaker doors or panels, you can create frames using rails and stiles with a width of ¾ by two ¼ inches.

You can then measure and cut a plywood panel of ¼ inch whose size is similar to the frames. 

Who made Shaker furniture?

The United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing, popularly called Shakers, developed the distinctive furniture style known as Shaker furniture.

Shaker is a religious sect with guiding utility, honesty, and simplicity principles. 

Is mission style the same as craftsman style?

Arts and Crafts and Craftsman were almost synonymous in the US and used interchangeably.

Meanwhile, Americans commonly used the term Mission style on the east coast. Mission, similar to Craftsman, was a trading name, yet it marketed factory-made furniture. 

Are there any differences between inset and frameless cabinets?

Inset cabinets come as framed cabinets where drawer fronts and doors sit inset inside the door opening.

Many drawer fronts and cabinet doors overlay the door opening.

In contrast, frameless cabinets don’t have a frame, thus offering more storage space than framed cabinets. 

Do inset cabinets have less space?

Unfortunately, inset cabinets have lesser space, such as larger dinner dishes. 

Are inset cabinetry style door panels more expensive?

The cost of cabinet manufacturing varies wildly.

Mass-produced cabinets made of medium-density fiberboard (MDF) will be cheaper but requires some do-it-yourself (DIY) effort.

Think IKEA. Other cabinets are made of high-grade wood species with patterned designs.

Custom cabinetry will always cost more.

Inset cabinets can be more expensive than overlay cabinets.

The range is highly variable and will depend on workmanship, quality, and durability.

I have seen inset cabinet price ranges, about 15-45% pricier, compared to overlay cabinets.

Mission Kitchen Cabinets: My Closing Thoughts

When it comes to mission style cabinets, here are some additional tips:

  • Consider using a shaker-style door for your upper cabinets and a mission-style door for your lower cabinets.
  • Use solid wood for your cabinets for durability and longevity.
  • Choose a stain or finish that complements your overall kitchen style.
  • Add decorative hardware to add visual interest to your cabinets.
  • Don’t be afraid to mix and match different styles of cabinets to create a unique look.
  • Work with a professional kitchen designer to get the best results.

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