Why Metal Kitchen Cabinets Are Popular Again

Back in the 1930s and 1940s, stainless steel kitchen cabinets were all the rage. These terrific looking cabinets were low in cost, easy to care for, and usually came in white, though could be spray painted in a different color if you preferred. While they did look slightly cold and sterile, the trade-off of super easy maintenance was definitely worth it. All these cabinets needed to look good again was a scrubbing with a damp washcloth or a spray can of paint, which was a real plus for those of us on a budget.

Metal kitchen cabinets are back in style again as a new generation of homeowners are discovering how affordable and low maintenance these cabinets can be. These sleek looking cabinets are no longer limited to commercial kitchen use, but have been finding a niche in contemporary kitchen design.


Today’s metal cabinets offer many more features than the ones we remember from our Grandma’s kitchen.

This generation of cabinet is resistant to both stains and corrosion, and is easy to clean and disinfect. Metal cabinets also are non toxic and ideal for people with chemical sensitivities, and come in a wide range of colors and styles. And unlike the old metal cabinets of the 40s, modern metal kitchen cabinets can be dressed up with brass or copper molding, brushed nickel finishes, or even a inset glass panel. These cabinets can also be combined with a transitional cabinet for a more tempered look.

And what about scratches? Unlike Grandma’s metal cabinets, a minor scratch is not a big deal, and can burnished out within minutes.

The downside of metal cabinets

While all these features do sound quite appealing, there are some downsides to metal cabinets as well. This disadvantages should be considered before making a decision to replace your traditional kitchen cabinets with ones made of stainless steel.

The noise factor: Metal cabinets can be quite noisy, especially in a kitchen with tile floors.

Durability: Because noise can be an issue, many manufacturers offer a metal cabinet made of sheet metal overlaid onto a base material of either particle board, fiber board or plywood. Metal cabinets overlaid onto particle or fiber board aren’t designed for heavy use, and can sag from the weight of the dishes inside. Particle or fiber board cabinets also have problems with screws backing out over time. Be prepared to pay more money for a plywood base material if durability is a concern.

Shows fingerprints: Just like a stainless steel refrigerator, those metal cabinets show all kinds of grime, grease, and finger prints that need constant attention. If you are overworked already, constantly cleaning up cabinet fingerprints is one more task that you’ll have to squeeze into a busy day.

So where can you find metal kitchen cabinets?

If you are interested in vintage cabinets, builders’ salvage yards are a great resource for old metal cabinets. For modern kitchen cabinets, your best bet is to visit a local cabinet shop (not a Big Box hardware store) who can custom order and install these cabinets for you. One on-line resource I found is a place called Kitchen Cabinet Key, a one-stop metal cabinet distributor with installation experts in all 50 states. Here’s the link that will bring you to their web site.

If a commercial look is what you’re after, then a restaurant supply house is an another option. Restaurant supply houses are in the business of outfitting commercial kitchens and can steer you to sheet metal companies in your area that produce commercial cabinets. To give you an idea of pricing, this commercial site called Restaurant Services.com sells stainless steel tables, counters, and cabinets in a wide range of sizes and prices.

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