Cabinets: More Than Just Storage- Discover Their Surprising Uses

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  June 18, 2022
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What is a cabinet? It’s a piece of furniture used for storage or display. Cabinets come in various sizes and styles, and can be made from different materials such as wood, metal, or plastic. They can be used in different rooms of a house, such as the kitchen, bathroom, or living room. Cabinets can also be used in offices or other commercial spaces. Overall, a cabinet is a versatile and useful piece of furniture that can serve many purposes.

What is a cabinet

Stashing Your Stuff: What Exactly is a Cabinet for Storage?

Cabinets are an essential part of our daily lives, especially in the kitchen. They are used to store and organize our items, ensuring that they are readily accessible whenever we need them. Cabinets come in various shapes, sizes, and materials, and they serve different purposes depending on the room they are in. In this section, we will focus on cabinets used for storage, particularly in the kitchen.

The Anatomy of a Cabinet: Drawers and Doors

A cabinet is essentially a box with doors and drawers. The doors are used to access the items stored inside, while the drawers are used for separating and arranging items. Cabinets can be made from various materials, including wood, metal, and plastic. The type of material used will depend on the purpose of the cabinet and the room it is in.

Why Do We Need Cabinets for Storage?

Cabinets are essential for keeping our items organized and easily accessible. Here are some of the reasons why we need cabinets for storage:

  • Cabinets help us keep our items in one place, making it easier to find what we need.
  • They help us maximize space by allowing us to store items vertically.
  • Cabinets protect our items from dust, dirt, and other elements that could damage them.
  • They help us keep our homes clutter-free by providing a designated space for our items.

How to Choose the Right Cabinet for Your Needs

Choosing the right cabinet for your needs can be overwhelming, especially with so many options available. Here are some things to consider when choosing a cabinet for storage:

  • The size of the cabinet: Make sure the cabinet is the right size for the items you want to store.
  • The material of the cabinet: Consider the durability and maintenance requirements of the material.
  • The number of drawers and doors: Think about how many drawers and doors you need to store your items.
  • The style of the cabinet: Choose a style that complements the room it will be in.

Uncovering the Roots of Cabinet: A Short History

The word cabinet originated from the Italian word gabinetto, which means a small room. It was derived from the Latin word capanna, which was used to describe a small hut or cabin. The term was first used in the 16th century to refer to a small room or closet, particularly in the homes of nobility or royalty.

The Evolution of Cabinet: Changes Over the Centuries

Over the centuries, the meaning of the word cabinet has changed significantly. In the past, it mainly referred to a small room used for storage or to maintain important documents. Today, the term is used to describe a piece of furniture that consists of one or more shelves, drawers, or compartments for storage.

The Importance of Cabinet: Its Role in Modern Society

Despite the changes in its form and function, the cabinet remains an important piece of furniture in modern society. It is used to store a wide range of items, from clothes and books to important documents and valuables. Cabinets are also used in offices and other official settings to keep files and other important materials organized.

The Different Forms of Cabinet: Examples and Uses

Cabinets come in a variety of forms and sizes, each with its own unique set of uses. Some of the most prominent forms of cabinet include:

  • Kitchen cabinets: used for storing dishes, utensils, and food items
  • Medicine cabinets: used for storing medications and other medical supplies
  • File cabinets: used for storing important documents and files
  • Display cabinets: used for showcasing art, collectibles, and other items of value

The Building of Cabinet: Methods and Materials

Cabinets can be built using a variety of materials, including wood, metal, and plastic. The most common material used for building cabinets is wood, which is valued for its natural beauty and durability. Cabinets can be built using a variety of methods, including:

  • Frame and panel construction: a traditional method that involves building a frame and then attaching panels to it
  • Case construction: a more modern method that involves building a case and then adding shelves and drawers
  • Built-in construction: a method that involves creating a cabinet that is integrated into the wall or other structure

The Ultimate Value of Cabinet: Its Ability to Serve a Variety of Purposes

Despite the changes in its form and function over the years, the cabinet remains an important piece of furniture that is able to serve a variety of purposes. Whether it is used for storage, display, or as a work surface, the cabinet is a versatile piece of furniture that has stood the test of time.

What Can You Do With Cabinets?

Kitchen cabinets are the most fundamental use of cabinets. They are used to store kitchen items such as plates, glasses, and cutlery. Cabinets are a great way to keep your kitchen organized and tidy. Custom cabinets are becoming more popular in modern kitchens as they can be designed to fit the specific needs of the homeowner. Cabinets can be constructed using a variety of materials such as timber, chipboard, fibreboard, and plastic.

Bathroom Cabinets

Bathroom cabinets are another popular use of cabinets. They can be wall-hung, suspended, or floor-standing. Cabinets with mirrors are a great way to save space in a small bathroom. European-style frameless cabinets are becoming more popular in modern bathrooms. These cabinets have panels that overlay the cabinet box, giving them a sleek and modern look.

Cabinetry Alternatives

Cabinets are not just for storing items. They can also be used as furniture. Cabinets with drawers can be used as a dresser or a side table. Hinged or sliding doors can be used to create a unique piece of furniture. Cabinets can be custom designed to fit any space, making them a versatile alternative to traditional furniture.

Cabinet Construction

Cabinets can be constructed using a variety of materials. Timber is a popular choice for custom cabinets as it can be stained or painted to match any decor. Chipboard and fibreboard are affordable alternatives to timber. Plastic cabinets are a great option for outdoor kitchens or areas with high humidity.

Cabinet Doors

Cabinet doors are an important part of cabinet design. Hinged doors are the most common type of cabinet door. Sliding doors are a great option for cabinets in small spaces. Overlaying doors are a popular choice for modern cabinets. Mirrored doors are a great way to save space in a small bathroom.

Cabinet Materials: Choosing the Best One for Your Kitchen

When it comes to cabinet materials, wood is the most popular choice for creating a warm and inviting look in your kitchen. Natural wood offers a unique grain pattern and a smooth finish that is hard to replicate with other materials. The most widely used types of wood for cabinets are maple, ash, pine, and oak. Each type of wood has its own features and benefits, depending on your needs and design style. However, keep in mind that wood is one of the more expensive materials, and it requires regular sanding and finishing to keep it looking fresh.

Engineered Wood: A More Affordable and Versatile Option

If you’re looking for a more affordable and versatile option, engineered wood is a great choice. It’s made from thin layers of wood that are glued together, creating a strong and uniform structure. The most widely used kinds for cabinet boxes are constructed from medium density fiberboard (MDF), plywood, particleboard with melamine, and sometimes stainless steel. Engineered wood is pretty easy to work with, and it’s sold in a variety of finishes and styles to suit your design needs. However, keep in mind that it lacks the natural feel and obvious grain pattern of solid wood.

Mix and Match: Creating a Unique Look with Different Materials

If you want to create a unique look in your kitchen, consider mixing and matching different materials. For example, you could use wood for the cabinet doors and stainless steel for the handles and face parts. Or, you could use a mix of wood and engineered wood to create a more affordable yet still high-quality cabinet. Just be sure to properly handle the different materials, as they may have slightly different water and sanding needs.

Other Materials to Consider

Aside from wood and engineered wood, there are other materials you can consider for your cabinets. Here are some of the most widely used options:

  • Stainless steel: A great choice for a modern and industrial look. It’s easy to clean and highly durable, but it can be pretty heavy and expensive.
  • Melamine: A popular choice for lower-end cabinets. It’s affordable and comes in a variety of finishes, but it’s not as strong as other materials and can chip easily.
  • MDF: A good choice for creating a smooth and uniform finish. It’s affordable and easy to work with, but it’s not as strong as other materials and can warp if not properly handled.
  • Particleboard: A cheaper alternative to MDF. It’s not as strong or durable, but it can be a good choice for a temporary or budget-friendly kitchen.

The Role of Finishes in Cabinet Materials

When choosing a cabinet material, it’s important to consider the role of finishes. Finishes can significantly change the look and feel of your cabinets, and they can also offer greater protection against wear and tear. Here are some of the most common finishes to consider:

  • Stained (here’s how to apply it): A great choice for highlighting the natural grain pattern of wood. It involves applying a thin layer of color to the wood, which can be customized according to your preferences.
  • Painted: A good choice for creating a fresh and uniform look. It involves applying a layer of paint to the wood, which can be customized according to your preferences.
  • Varnished: A good choice for adding a protective layer to your cabinets. It involves applying a clear coat to the wood, which can help prevent scratches and water damage.
  • Double finish: A good choice for creating a unique look. It involves combining two different finishes, such as a stained and painted finish, to create a one-of-a-kind cabinet.

Knowing the different materials and finishes available can help you decide which one is best for your kitchen. Consider your needs, budget, and design style, and don’t be afraid to mix and match to create a truly unique look.


So, that’s what a cabinet is- a piece of furniture that stores things. They’re used in pretty much every room of the house, from the kitchen to the bathroom. 

So, don’t be afraid to ask your contractor about cabinets next time you’re remodeling!

I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Tools Doctor, content marketer, and dad. I love trying out new equipment, and together with my team I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with tools & crafting tips.