The cabinets you choose for your kitchen can make or break your design. You could go with prefabricated store-bought stock cabinets, but for something with a bit more character, many people are looking to custom millwork. Custom cabinets can not only be customized to your personal tastes but also are generally of a much higher quality. You also have your pick of materials. To help you choose the right one for you, here are some of the most common millwork materials.


The benefit of using hardwood is the fact that every piece is different. There is a natural appeal that compliments many interior design schemes. More durable than other materials, hardwood is also easy to maintain. By sanding hardwood down, you can quickly eliminate scratches and other minor damage over the years.

It is important to note, however, that hardwood is typically not used to construct entire cabinets. If the whole unit is made out of hardwood and you risk the cabinet warping. It is also often considered too heavy to use for an entire cabinet.


Generally made by layering a minimum of three layers of wood and gluing them together, plywood doesn't have the same visual appeal of hardwood but is one of the most popular materials used. Plywood cabinets are lighter than hardwood but don’t compromise on strength. Plywood works well with commercial properties and can be made to look neutral. A lot of custom millwork design options use plywood due to its versatility. It is also hard wearing, which is one of the reasons it is so popular.


Otherwise known as chipboard, particle board represents a more cost-effective option. As with a lot of materials in this bracket, it doesn't have the same level of durability or performance as more expensive options. Particleboard isn't advisable if you want your cabinet to last. It is more likely to bend over time so that you won't get the same longevity out of it as other options.


Popular because it can be customized in so many ways, vinyl is a plastic material generally used for the front of cabinets. It is available in just about every colour you can imagine. The main issue with vinyl is how it reacts to heat. In warmer months you may find that it peels away and looks untidy as a result. In terms of humidity, it performs well though.

Medium-density fibreboard (MDF)

Made from wood fibres, MDF is mostly used for the exterior of cabinets. It is smooth and hard wearing, making it a common choice for many. Due to the way it is made, it can deal with the elements better than the likes of hardwood. MDF can be made to resemble wood finishes which is why so many people choose it.

With so many different choices, millwork can be made to look how you want. It doesn't matter what your room currently looks like, there is a finish for every style. By understanding the benefits of each, your choice should be a made a little easier.