Modern Metal Kitchen Cabinets Add Sparkle with Stainless Steel


Modern metal kitchen cabinets are increasingly popular in today’s homes due to their sleek and sophisticated look. Stainless steel is a popular metal choice for kitchen cabinets, offering a contemporary vibe along with exceptional durability. Combining stainless steel with other metal finishes like brushed nickel or oil-rubbed bronze creates a stylish kitchen design that really makes a statement.

Metal kitchen cabinets provide a brighter, more reflective surface than traditional wood cabinets, instantly lighting up the kitchen. The luster and shine of stainless steel bounces light around the room, creating the illusion of a larger, more open space. This reflective surface also serves as the perfect backdrop for displaying beautiful dishware, glassware, and decor.

Beyond aesthetics, stainless steel kitchen cabinets offer many functional benefits. The smooth, nonporous surface is hygienic and easy to clean. Stainless steel won’t chip or scratch like wood or laminate cabinets. It’s also heat and moisture resistant. Modern metal cabinets add a contemporary, industrial vibe while offering the ultimate in durability and low maintenance.

Benefits of Stainless Steel Kitchen Cabinets

Stainless steel kitchen cabinets provide a number of advantages that make them a popular choice in modern kitchen designs:

Durable and Strong

Stainless steel is well known for its strength and durability. It maintains its luster for decades and won’t dent, warp or crack under pressure like wood or laminate cabinets. Stainless steel cabinets can withstand the wear and tear of a busy household kitchen. Their longevity offsets the higher initial investment.

Easy to Clean and Hygienic

The nonporous, smooth surface of stainless steel resists bacteria growth and is easy to clean. All it takes is a wipe down with a soft cloth and mild detergent to keep steel cabinets looking like new. No need for strong chemical cleaners. Their stain-resistance also makes stainless steel a practical option for messy cooks!

Stylish and Modern

The sleek, reflective surface of stainless steel provides a contemporary accent. Stainless steel cabinets pair nicely with other finishes like nickel, bronze or black hardware for an edgy, modern look. The industrial vibe of metal cabinets adds visual interest to any kitchen.

Light and Bright

The mirror-like finish of stainless steel bounces light around the kitchen, opening up smaller spaces. That reflective surface gives depth and dimension to the room. The lighter color of stainless steel makes the kitchen feel more open and airy compared to darker wood cabinets.

Resists Moisture and Heat

Stainless steel won’t warp, peel or deteriorate when exposed to heat, steam and moisture like wood cabinets would. This makes it ideal for areas around ovens, microwaves and dishwashers. Stainless steel is also less likely to be damaged by water exposure if plumbing leaks.


Stainless steel is environmentally friendly as a sustainable and fully recyclable material. Stainless steel cabinets can be manufactured partly from recycled materials. And at the end of their very long life, they can be recycled again without losing any integrity.

Low Maintenance

Aside from occasional cleaning, stainless steel cabinets are virtually maintenance-free. No need for sanding and resealing the finish, like wood cabinets require. Their nonporous surface resists scratching and staining so they continue looking like new for years.

Style Options for Stainless Steel Kitchen Cabinets

Stainless steel kitchen cabinets are available in a range of styles to achieve different looks:

Brushed Stainless Steel

Brushed stainless has a satin-like finish with fine linear scratches running in one direction. This creates a soft, diffused look rather than highly polished shine. Brushed stainless has a more understated, industrial aesthetic.

Polished Stainless Steel

Polished stainless cabinets have an elegant, mirror-like shine. They showcase fingerprints but create beautiful reflections. Polished stainless has a more expensive, luxury look. The high shine finish acts like a mirror, bouncing light around the kitchen.

Textured Stainless Steel

New techniques create a faux hammered, pebbled or leathered finish on stainless steel. This adds dimension and disguises fingerprints. Textured cabinets have an antique, old-world look while retaining stainless steel’s durability.

Combination Finishes

Mixing stainless steel doors with another finish like black stainless or bronze hardware adds contrast. The mingling of metals creates an edgy, eclectic look. Pairing cool stainless with warm wood tones also softens the industrial vibe.

Colorful Accents

While most stainless steel cabinets maintain a uniform metallic appearance, some manufacturers like Emtek offer colorful powder coat finishes on stainless steel. Vibrant colors like red, orange and purple on stainless steel cabinet hardware really make a statement.

Design Ideas for Stainless Steel Kitchen Cabinets

Stainless steel kitchen cabinets offer great versatility in design. Here are some creative ideas to make them the centerpiece:

Mix and Match

Combine stainless steel cabinets with contrasting textures and colors for visual interest. White quartz countertops, exposed brick walls, concrete floors and black pendant lights play up the industrial edge. Include some warm wood elements to soften the look.


Lean into the edgy, rockstar vibe with an all-metal kitchen. Use stainless steel for cabinets, brass or copper for hardware and range hood, nickel sink and a zinc countertop.Include some softer textures like marble backsplash to keep the space inviting.

Scandinavian Style

The minimalist look of stainless steel aligns with Scandi design. White walls, light wood flooring, subway tile and marble counters keep the look airy. Add texture with rattan pendants, cozy textiles and green plants.

Urban Loft

Exposed ductwork, pipes, brick walls and concrete floors complement stainless cabinets for an urban loft aesthetic. Include a large kitchen island for casual gathering. Leave some cabinets open for display.

Retro Diner

Channel a retro diner with stainless steel cabinets, chrome hardware, black and white checkerboard tile, and pops of cherry red. Add old-fashioned diner details like counter seating, neon signs and a jukebox.

Farmhouse Chic

Soften the stainless steel’s industrial edge with farmhouse accents like shiplap walls, granite counters, ceramic knobs, and antique-style lighting. White subway tile and warm wood flooring also helps give a cozy, countryside feel.

Choosing the Best Stainless Steel Cabinets

Not all stainless steel cabinets are created equal. Here’s what to look for when selecting high-quality stainless steel kitchen cabinets:


The gauge indicates the thickness of the steel used. Look for 18 to 20 gauge steel, which provides the best durability and resistance to dents. Thinner 24 gauge steel is more prone to damage.


304 and 316 are the highest quality stainless steel grades. 304 is the most common and resistant to corrosion and rust. 316 offers even more protection from salt water and chemicals. Avoid cheaper 201 grade steel.


Look for welded cabinets instead of cheaper screw or cam constructions. Welded cabinets have cleaner lines and are less likely to loosen over time. Check that doors, drawers and shelves are also made of stainless steel.


Ensure handles, hinges and pulls are stainless steel or solid brass/nickel. Flimsy hardware undermines the quality of the cabinets. Soft-close hinges are also a nice feature for smooth, quiet closing.


Inspect the finish for smooth consistency. Polished finishes should be mirror-like without grainy patches. Brushed textures should have uniform visible brushing lines without defects.

Brand Reputation

Stick with established brands known for stainless steel workmanship like Signature Custom Cabinetry, Sawdust City, and Stainless Works to ensure quality construction and durable finishes.

Cost of Stainless Steel Kitchen Cabinets

Stainless steel kitchen cabinets come at a premium cost, ranging anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000 or more depending on the size of the kitchen, features, and customization. On average, expect to pay:**

  • Ready-to-Assemble Cabinets – $150-$300 per linear foot
  • Semi-Custom Cabinets- $200-$400 per linear foot
  • Custom Cabinets- $500+ per linear foot

The higher initial investment pays off long-term thanks to their extreme durability. Well-constructed stainless steel cabinets can easily last 50 years with minimal upkeep required. And their timeless style never goes out of fashion.

Pros and Cons of Stainless Steel Kitchen Cabinets

Stainless steel kitchen cabinets offer many benefits but also some downsides to consider:


  • Extremely durable and dent-resistant surface
  • Resists stains, rust, moisture and heat
  • Provides a modern, contemporary look
  • Brightens the kitchen with reflective surface
  • Low maintenance and easy to clean
  • Eco-friendly and recyclable material


  • More expensive upfront cost
  • Shows fingerprints readily
  • Can appear sterile and cold without warmth
  • Limited style options compared to wood cabinetry
  • Needs frequent polishing to maintain shine
  • Prone to rattling and clanging from contents

Maintaining Your Stainless Steel Kitchen Cabinets

While stainless steel cabinets are low maintenance, proper care is required to keep them looking pristine:

  • Wipe down cabinets regularly using a soft, lint-free cloth and mild soap and water. Avoid abrasive cleaners or pads.
  • Use a stainless steel polish weekly to maintain the shine. Apply using a microfiber cloth rubbing in the direction of the grain.
  • Remove spills promptly to avoid residue. Use an appropriate stainless steel cleaner for stubborn stains.
  • Avoid exposure to harsh chemicals like bleach, oven cleaners or acidic foods that can damage the finish.
  • Use cabinet liners to prevent metal-on-metal contact that causes scratches. Felt liners also dampen noise.
  • Use bowl rests and padding inside cabinets to minimize rattling of contents.
  • Keep cabinets dry to prevent mineral deposits from water spots.


Are stainless steel cabinets better than wood?

Stainless steel cabinets are more durable, stain resistant and easier to clean than wood cabinets. But wood brings warmth and traditional styling. Choose stainless steel for a sleek, contemporary look and virtually indestructible surface. Go for wood if you prefer a classic, softer aesthetic.

Do stainless steel cabinets dent or scratch easily?

Quality stainless steel cabinets are highly resistant to dents, scratches and other damage thanks to the properties of steel. Brushed stainless steel better hides minor scratches. Ensure cabinets have a gauge of 18 or higher for the most durable steel.

Do stainless steel cabinets rust?

Rust is not a concern with stainless steel kitchen cabinets. The chromium in stainless steel creates an invisible passive layer that protects from corrosion. Quality grades like 304 and 316 are most rust-resistant. Avoid moisture and keep your cabinets dry.

Are stainless steel cabinets expensive?

Stainless steel cabinets come at a premium cost, ranging from $150 – $500+ per linear foot for semi-custom to fully custom. The higher price reflects their durability and low maintenance requirements. Well-constructed stainless steel cabinets can easily last 50 years.

Do stainless steel cabinets show fingerprints?

Yes, fingerprints readily show on the reflective surface of stainless steel. Choosing a brushed finish helps minimize smudges. For polished stainless, commit to regularly wiping down cabinets to keep them spotless. Using microfiber cloths also reduces marks.

How do you clean stainless steel cabinets?

Use a soft cloth with mild soap and water to wipe down stainless steel cabinets regularly. Avoid abrasive cleaners or pads. For best results, use a stainless steel polish weekly. Remove any spills promptly before they have a chance to dry and leave residue.

Can you paint over stainless steel cabinets?

It’s not advisable to paint over stainless steel cabinets. Paint adheres poorly and will quickly crack and peel. The prep work required will also remove the desirable brushed finish. Instead, look for stainless steel cabinets with colored finishes like a powder coat, or replace cabinets if you want a different color.

Do stainless steel cabinets make noise?

Yes, the hard surface of stainless steel causes contents to rattle and clang. Bowls sliding in and out of cabinets also make noise. Using rubber mats or felt liners helps dampen sound. Avoid stainless steel if you’re highly noise sensitive.

Stainless Steel Kitchen Cabinets: An On-Trend Choice

With their sleek contemporary styling, unmatched durability and hygienic properties, it’s no wonder stainless steel reigns supreme as a choice for modern kitchen cabinets. Stainless steel adds a professional, upscale look while being easy to care for. Thanks to the variety of finishes and design possibilities, there are stainless cabinet options suitable for many aesthetics from urban loft to farmhouse chic.

While stainless steel cabinets require a significant upfront investment, they are truly a lifetime purchase that will never go out of style. For those desiring a low-maintenance, ultra-modern kitchen, stainless steel cabinets are a trend that’s here to stay. Their luster, shine and reflectivity brighten any space both visually and energetically.

Modern Metal Kitchen Cabinets Add Sparkle with Stainless Steel

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