Kitchen Doors and Panels Melbourne AN Essential Guide

So you’re excited about your new kitchen renovation but feeling a little overwhelmed your choices for your doors and panels?  Visited your friendly kitchen showroom but still unsure?


Here’s an essential guide for all you need to know about selecting the kitchen doors and panels that will be right for you.






Where do I start?

The material and style of your kitchen doors and panels can have a significant impact on your new kitchen design. 

Kitchen cabinets are likely to be one of the most visible elements of your kitchen and probably what you’ll spend most of your budget on. With so many different types of finishes to choose from there is a product that will suit your style and budget.


In this essential guide to kitchen doors and panels, we take you through the main types of material you could consider for your new kitchen renovation and the advantages and disadvantages of each.

materials AND PRODUCTS


Brands: Laminex, Formica


Laminate or melamine doors and panels are simple with a square edge giving a clean, crisp look. They are a great choice for architects, designers and clients who desire a minimalist feel for their kitchen cabinetry. Laminate doors offer both form and function which is essential in the kitchen environment. This product is known for its outstanding properties such as being scratch resistant, durable and moisture resistant. The more recent ABS edging technology is a plastic style edging which adds enhanced durability to these edged doors, making laminate very resistent to inevitable knocks and bumps.


There are many different choices of laminate doors including classic neutral colours, patterns, bold colours, textured woodgrains, a semi-gloss finish and now new matte laminate products which are anti-fingerprint and each have matching ABS edging.


There are many different brands of Laminate, including Laminex and Formica, which both offer a very large range of different types of laminate. Within each brand, there is a tiered pricing structure for different textures and finishes. Generally speaking, plain colours are the least expensive, with textured laminates being more expensive, and the super matte finishes with anti-fingerprinting technology will cost extra.


ABS edging technology gives laminate the major benefit of having well protected edges that will not peel and are unlikely to chip, even with a heavy knock. It is also a very cost-effective product – the most durable, yet the least expensive door finish.


We often recommend laminate to our clients who have young children, it is a great choice for a hard-working kitchen that will be durable enough take the knocks that having a young family will inevitable deliver.


Whilst there are really no disadvantages to laminate, there is a smaller colour range than what is available in a painted finish. Also, as the product is supplied as a board that is then cut and edged, the door has to have a flat face and cannot have a profile or mold in the door. Other clients choose against having laminate as they don’t like to see the 1mm ABS edge, and would prefer a small rounded edge of a painted door, purely a personal preference.

Overall, as the least expensive door finish that is the most durable, laminate is a popular selection for our clients.


Laminex Impressions Range, Colour Burnished Wood
Laminex Silk Finish, Colour Polar White


A 2-Pac painted finish is available in any Dulux colour, giving you the opportunity to be able to select the exact ‘white’ that will match your benchtop, or that perfect tint, tone or shade of a colour that you adore! 


This door finish is easy to wipe over offering a low maintenance option and is a hard finish that if looked after correctly, will stand the test of time.



The correct painting process for these doors is the same method that an automotive painter goes through when painting your new car. The doors and panels are sprayed in a dust free environment and spray booth before being oven baked for hardness and durability. If done correctly, this means that the paint will not peel off and nor will it show a distinctive edge to the outer perimeter of the door or panel. It also means that down the track, if the door is damaged in any way, it can be patched up and colour matched to an existing door.



2-Pac is available in different gloss levels including matte, satin, semi-gloss and full gloss, giving clients different options depending on where the cabinetry is going in the home and what sort of gloss finish they are after. Currently we are seeing a trend of more matte finishes within kitchens, hence clients are often choosing a satin finish, which still has a matte appearance but doesn’t show fingerprints as much as a flat matte.  



Clients that are after a glossy look often will select the semi-gloss finish which is still quite reflective and will help to brighten dark spaces. 



We don’t encourage a flat matte or full gloss 2-Pac surface for kitchen cabinets as scratches and fingerprints become more obvious. We recommend matte or full gloss only be used in display units which get less wear and tear.


Another advantage with 2-Pac painted doors is that you can have any profile you like in the door face. This might be a flat door to create a more modern look, otherwise a simple profile to achieve a classic look; otherwise something more intricate with ornamental routing for a traditional aesthetic. As there are so many different options, whatever aesthetic you are after can be created! 



Due to the manufacturing process and the amount of work that needs to go into the making of these doors and the painting process, a 2-pac painted kitchen is usually around 30-40% more expensive than a laminate finish, where the board is simply cut and edged. This requires more time to manufacture than a laminate product.


kitchen design melbourne vinyl wrapped kitchen
White 2-Pac kitchen

vinyl wrap

A vinyl wrap door essentially starts off as a raw MDF door, which then has the vinyl laid over it, then under a lot of suction, the vinyl is thermoformed or ‘wrapped’ around the door, sticking the vinyl film onto the door itself. This vinyl surface is easy to clean, has a seamless edge and is durable to ‘wear and tear’.

Vinyl Wrap doors are available in a wide range of films including plain, matte, satin and gloss as well as other textured finishes. These doors are often considered the in between product of Laminate and a Painted 2-Pac finish. Like a laminate they have a large but limited colour range to choose between and due to the process used, you can have a profile in the door and select your gloss level, just like in a painted finish.

With the flexibility of selecting the colour, gloss level and profile, these doors are great to use on cabinetry throughout the home. However, it is important to keep in mind that in a kitchen environment where there is a lot of heat, steam and moisture that over time these doors may start showing signs of aging and start peeling.


For this reason, our clients tend to avoid vinyl wrap doors in the kitchen, instead, using them in other areas such as wardrobes, entertainment units and display cabinetry.


Kitchen doors and panels. White vinyl wrapped kitchen
White vinyl wrapped kitchen. Image via Pinterest.

natural veneer

Natural timber veneer is real timber, sliced very finely and then laid on MDF to create a door. Natural veneers have all the striking character and variation of timber and are a cost-effective alternative to solid timber.

There are two common ways of slicing veneer to give a different appearance, quarter cut and crown cut. Typically, quarter cut is when the timber is sliced at right angles to the growth rings and the result is a straight-line pattern. Crown cut is when the timber is sliced parallel to the growth rings and the result is a crown or ‘cathedral’ figure, usually with a straight grain pattern on either side of the feature.

Another form of veneers are those that are reconstructed, dyed and reconstituted. Reconstructed veneers are made from natural veneers sliced from plantation and managed forests, which are dyed and then re-glued in block moulds to form grain-patterns. These blocks are then re-sliced to produce a unique, innovative and consistent range of veneers. The veneer is dyed and provides colour to the natural grain.

Reconstituted veneers are made from different species of natural timber veneers sourced from managed forests. These veneers are re-glued into block moulds to form grain and pattern. The blocks are then re-sliced into veneer, resulting in a consistent grain of that species.

Many clients when selecting a natural veneer have a particular species in mind that they would like to incorporate into their kitchen. Other clients simply want a particular ‘colour’ of timber, it is then a process of elimination to find the exact veneer from a selection of different brands that will create their desired aesthetic.

It is important to note that timber veneers are not as durable as the other finishes. As a natural product it can bruise if it is knocked on an edge and you must be gentle when cleaning. We suggest that if you are looking at incorporating some natural timber veneer into your kitchen as a feature, that you strategically place these doors and panels in low traffic areas to minimize the amount of wear and tear they will be exposed to.

For example, you could incorporate timber veneer overheads as well as some custom display shelving, to help tie different areas of the kitchen in together. These doors and panels are likely to continue looking ‘new’ for a lot longer than doors under a sink, which may be subject to drops of water and constant use.


American Oak veneer
Compact sintered
American Oak veneer

solid timber

Solid timber doors are unlike man-made materials and have a rich distinctive appearance with unique colour and grain variations. They can be used to create a contemporary, traditional or rustic aesthetic and there is a myriad of species available in both local and imported timbers to choose from.


Timber doors are usually made with an outer frame and inner panel that needs to float to stop it from cracking. The panel can be flat, routered or flush with the frame. As timber doors are made to order, the cost of them will vary depending on the style and timber specified.


Clients that are after the look of solid timber but cannot afford the price tag will often look at a natural veneer. Alternatively, some clients fall in love with a woodgrain laminate that has a very similar texture to natural timber and is now available in a lot of colour options.

Solid timber kitchen. Image via Pinterest.

The most popular materials that are selected by our clients are Laminate and 2-Pac Painted finishes. Laminate is a very economical and a durable door material and has a large range of colours, textures and semi-gloss silk finishes to choose between. 


Other clients prefer that with a 2-Pac door they have the option of selecting the exact colour and finish they like and can have a profile in the door. Many clients also prefer the 2-Pac over the laminate because of the smooth aris edge, as opposed to the square edge with the ABS edge on the laminate.

What is on trend?

We are seeing more and more textured woodgrain laminates being made and consequently the variety of choice keeps on growing. 


These are such a great way to introduce warmth, texture and create visual interest in the kitchen.  Often these timbers are offset with white cabinetry, although we are seeing more and more light greys and blacks being incorporated as well.

What finish / profile should I choose?


When working with clients to select their door and panel finishes, we encourage them to think about what qualities they’d like in their new kitchen renovation.

Families with young children are often looking for something durable and that will withstand toys being run into the face of the doors or that will be easily wiped down should they get grubby or dirty with food and drinks. For this reason, we would recommend selecting a laminate, as it is the most durable material for doors and panels. It is also the most economical, which is an added bonus.


If you would like to introduce a profiled door into your cabinets we would recommend a 2-Pac painted door. With 2-pac doors there are unlimited colours and the selection of flat matte, satin, semi-gloss and a full-gloss finishes. This is a hard finish that is easily wiped down and will stand the test of time if looked after.

There are so many different styled profile or ‘shaker’ doors to choose from. We recommend that you start to narrow your selections by thinking about if you want a more modern, classic or more traditional looking door. A modern door might have one square groove, whilst a more classic looking door could have several grooves shaped with curved edges. A traditional style door often has a very deep profile with larger grooves. 

When selecting also remember that the less grooves in the shaker profile, the easier it will be to clean and the less dust it will catch.

Working to a budget / timeline



Laminate is the least expensive door and panel finish and depending on the sort of laminate some finishes are more expensive than others. Due to the manufacturing process, laminates with a texture are more expensive than a natural finish in a solid colour. Vinyl wrap is more expenseive than laminate followed by a 2-Pac Painted finish.

Generally speaking natural timber veneers are around the same price as 2-pac, depending on the species and solid timber is the most expensive of all.




Each of the different door finishes have different lead times to be manufactured. Typically, laminate doors can be manufactured within 4 weeks and a 2-Pac finish, vinyl or veneer requires an estimated delivery time of 4-6 weeks. Introducing a profile into the door face can also add a approximately week.

If you’re working to a timeline to install a new kitchen we would suggest a laminate finish as it is the fastest to turn around and also the most economic and durable. If you are worried about the kitchen looking too plain, you can easily incorporate different laminate finishes into the design or select a feature benchtop to be the focal point of the room.


Speak to one of our friendly designers about how we can achieve a look you’ll love while looking after your budget and timeline.


When choosing materials used for your new kitchen doors and panels, it’s important to take the time to research the options available. Each material has advantages and disadvantages and not all finishes might be right for you and your lifestyle.

If you’re thinking of kitchen renovations Melbourne or would like a professional opinion on what materials to use in your kitchen. Contact us or visit one of our kitchen showrooms Melbourne and one of our friendly staff will take you through the options.

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