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Kitchen Cabinets – What are my options?

Designing a new kitchen can be one of the most exciting home projects, especially when it comes to selecting components to match your style and inspiration. It’s also very important to think about durability and functionality, none more so than when it comes to kitchen cabinets.

So what are your kitchen cabinet options? Let’s take a look at some advice and tips from the experts – the Jag Kitchens Design Consultants team.

Cabinet Interiors

Kitchen Cabinet Consultation | Jag Kitchens

Firstly, it is important to note that when kitchen cabinet options and styles are discussed, we are primarily talking about cabinet doors. This is because the inside of your kitchen cabinets will almost always be constructed from melamine. This is a product manufactured from a wood bi-product core sandwiched between two layers of melamine material.

The board used for cabinet interiors will typically be white, but you can always specify a coloured interior at additional cost. Melamine is the accepted industry standard for cabinet construction because it is durable, easy to clean and reasonably priced.


Of all kitchen surfaces, kitchen cabinets shoulder a large share of tough treatment. Being opened and closed many times a day, as well as in the firing line for being bumped, kicked, splashed and spattered.

Choosing kitchen cabinets that can handle the pace requires some thought, not only for your budget but for the look and longevity of your kitchen. Moisture can also play a part in damaging your cabinets over time – this can be unavoidable due to the heating and cooling from steam, cooking and general seasonal activity.

At Jag Kitchens, we have designed a highly advanced edge banding system called AQUA-SEAL™ that gives melamine and acrylic doors a very moisture resistant advantage due to how we edge and seal them. It dramatically reduces the likelihood of moisture damage to doors and drawer fronts, further adding to their hard wearing appeal.

Below we break down the differences between the cabinet options available through Jag Kitchens – the pros, the cons and how to find the best option to suit your needs.

Melamine Cabinets

Melamine remain a top choice in New Zealand kitchen design, due to their stylish look, but cost effective price point. These quality, decorated kitchen panels have a tough coating that is easy to clean, with a highly durable, uniform finish. Whether you prefer a timeless white or one of their extensive colour palette choices, there is a Melamine product to bring your personalised modern kitchen to life.

Pros: Cost effective, extensive colour range, different finishes, very durable, compatible with Jag’s AQUA-SEAL™edge, water resistant, 10 year warranty.
Cons: Can be perceived as cheap at high end, colour range is set – not bespoke, no option for raised profile doors, no high gloss finish

Acrylic Cabinets

gloss acrylic kitchen cabinets

Gloss acrylic is a newer, cutting edge kitchen cabinet material that is rapidly gaining in popularity due to it’s durable, moisture resistant finish. A bold, simple and stunning kitchen cabinet that has the versatility of offering textured, satin or gloss finishes. Hardwearing and easy to clean, it is an international standard of finish.

Pros: Stylish gloss finish, available in a range of colours, very durable, compatible with Jag’s AQUA-SEAL™edge, water resistant, chip resistant, better value than alternatives, 10 year warranty.
Cons: No option for raised profile doors, less colour choice than melamine, approx 20% more $$ than melamine

Vacuum Formed Vinyl Cabinets

Vacuum Formed Vinyl provide a beautiful, versatile, clean line look to your kitchen and also has the advantage of being very hard wearing – perfect in your modern kitchen. Vacuum Formed Vinyl technology has been around for over forty years internationally and is formed by vacuuming a vinyl skin onto the face of water resistant mdf doors. Jag Kitchens use and recommend Dezignatek doors. Also referred to as Thermo Wrapping, this technology allows you to personalise your kitchen design to include patterned, textured, satin or gloss finishes on your kitchen cabinets.

Pros: Good range of colours, durable easy clean finish, water resistant, good choice of raised profile doors, 10 year warranty.
Cons: Tend to be more expensive.

Painted Lacquer Cabinets

While spray painted lacquer gives a sleek, quality cabinet look with a wide range of colours, the cons outweigh the pros and therefore Jag Kitchens does not offer this option as part of a kitchen redesign. A hardwearing alternative to this option is Dezignatek (vacuum formed vinyl) or Acrylic Gloss. You can read more on why we don’t offer painted lacquer cabinets here.

Pros: Unlimited choice of colours, water resistant, good choice of raised profile doors, 10 year warranty
Cons: Prone to chipping, more expensive than alternatives, longer wait time for kitchen, approx 50% more $$$ than melamine

timber veneer kitchen cabinetTimber Cabinets

Timber and timber veneer cabinets offer a more traditional look to your kitchen. New Zealanders tend towards native timbers such as Rimu or Kauri which although are a more natural, distinctive look as opposed to pine. Used for the whole kitchen, or even as a highlight in combination with another finish, the outcome is often a more natural looking kitchen design.

Pros: Timeless look, water resistant, can be refinished later, good choice of raised profile doors
Cons: Longer wait time for kitchen, approx double cost of melamine

You can view our full cabinet comparisons graph here.

With a great variation of kitchen cabinet options available, Jag Kitchens makes it easy to design your kitchen with the best look and functionality in mind. Ready to commence your kitchen design? Book your appointment for a free quote and consultation with one of our experience kitchen design consultants below.