Choosing the best material
for your kitchen cabinets

Photo of parallel kitchen with black cabinet fronts, worktop and credence

What material should you choose for your kitchen? When starting a kitchen project, this is one of the many questions that undoubtedly arise. The choice of materials plays a fundamental role both from an aesthetic point of view and for the durability of the kitchen.

There are many options, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Beyond the purely qualitative aspects, it’s important to find the right material for your project. Here is a detailed presentation of the different options offered by our partner, the Spanish kitchen manufacturer Santos.

Melamine kitchen cabinets

Choosing the best material for your kitchen cabinets: matt grey melamine

Very common, because it’s more cost-efficient, melamine comes in the form of particle board covered on both sides with a decorative kraft film impregnated with resin. The quality of melamine kitchen cabinets, and therefore its cost, can vary depending on the type of resin used and the consistency of the board. Not all melamine is the same. It’s therefore important to choose a brand that cares about quality. This is the case with Santos, for example, thanks to its quality laboratory, which ensures the production of furniture that is resistant to time and daily use.

Melamine allows for a wide variety of finishes, from wood prints to plain gloss, satin or matt colours.

Laminate kitchen

Grey linear laminate kitchen with column units, smoked glass cabinet, drawers and plinth boxes in laminate

Visually quite similar to melamine, laminate is characterised by its manufacturing process. Laminate is also based on a particle board or MDF board covered with sheets of decorative paper impregnated with melamine resin, but with several layers of Kraft paper impregnated with phenolic resins, which offers additional resistance against daily wear and tear, impacts, scratches or humidity. This is why we advise you to use this type of material for your work surfaces.

Santos offers several finishes for this material, including wood and stone imitations.

See also: Melamine or laminate: what's the difference?

The wooden kitchen

Wooden kitchen project consisting of Walnut cabinets and marble worktop

Santos natural wood veneer finishes are obtained by gluing thin sheets of wood to the base panel. These sheets allow the properties of the original material to be maintained, while avoiding the problems inherent in solid wood, such as expansion and contraction, which would affect the structure of the furniture.

However, wooden kitchens are not for everyone. While there are undeniable advantages, particularly in terms of aesthetics, as it is a warm, natural and exclusive material (with its unique grain), wood is a living and constantly changing material, with nuances and textures that can change with the passage of time. If you are looking for a finish that remains uniform over time, this is probably not the material for you. Indeed, we only recommend it to customers who understand these constraints and truly love wood.

Lacquer kitchen cabinets

Light grey lacquer kitchen with central island, worktop and grey marble credence

The manufacture of lacquer cabinets is based on the addition of a lacquer coating to a melamine-coated board. This is a laborious process, which makes the final product more expensive, but from which a front with an impeccable aesthetic and without sharp edges can be obtained. This is one of the main attractions of lacquer furniture. This material is also distinguished by the versatility of the colours that can be used for the fronts. The furniture is available in any colour from the RAL colour chart.

However, lacquer is more sensitive to stains and scratches and therefore requires more careful maintenance.

Natural stone for the worktop

Kitchen composed of white column units and a white marbled central island equipped with a natural stone worktop

Natural stone is ideal for worktops and is renowned for its durability. Nevertheless, it requires maintenance and a few precautions, in particular to avoid thermal shocks that could damage the surface prematurely.
If these constraints put you off, you can always opt for melamine or laminate with an imitation natural stone finish.