Louvered Cabinets – Everything to Know
What is it about louvered cabinet doors that always get stuck somewhere in the middle of the kitchen design? One second they’re incredibly popular and then the next, they’re as outdated as the clothing style of 1980s Miami Vice. Here are some interesting features of louvered doors that you may not have considered and why they are as timeless as they are practical.
What Is A Louvered Cabinet Door?
Much like any other cabinet door, a louvered door consists of a frame with four pieces that create the outer frame. However, instead of a center insert that’s installed, there are several slats of wood (called louvers) that are inserted into the frame- horizontally. Each slat is angled downward and creates an overlapping appearance from the top to the bottom of the door itself. Each louver is spaced with a pre-measured gap in between each slat so there is just enough air to flow through it.
Many louvered cabinets have side stiles on the frame with grooves that hold each louver in place -so they don’t move around. Some louvers are designed to pivot, so the spacing can be increased or decreased using a control rod connected to all of the louvers. There are also non-functional louvered cabinets that have louvers that are stacked onto each other simply for appearance and aren’t allowing air through at all.
Types Of Louver Doors
Usually, you can find louvered cabinet doors made from wood but not exclusively from one single type of wood. There can be many choices for the woods used in addition to the finished colors, stains, and finishes. A good example of wood that always is appealing is pine. This is because pine has excellent resistance to the weather and is great for getting smooth louvers with a light wood finish that can be stained and colored in nearly any color of the rainbow.
But since the advancements in modern materials, louvered cabinet doors also include a wide variety of other materials that are ideal for louvered cabinets.
Fine Wood Louvers
Choice woods such as Oak, Basswood, and many other varieties of hardwood are also available for people who like quality wood grain that is always classy. The choice of outer frames will also range from manufacturer to manufacturer, so the style and decorative elements of a cabinet door frame are best-suited for everyone’s taste.
It’s not completely uncommon that metal louvers would find their way into your kitchen, but not completely impossible. Because of the weight issues, many of these louver doors are constructed from aluminum frames and will have a variety of finishes.
Plastics and special composite materials are substitute choices for louvers that will last for years. There are injected plastics now that mimic wood grain and is hard to distinguish between real wood and composite materials. These are highly resistant to staining and make them ideal for keeping them cleaner
If you’ve seen glass cabinets that install mullion designs, it’s not difficult to imagine louvered glass cabinets. The glass louvers can be frosted or clear and are highly decorative when backlit with lighting inside the cabinet itself. In the example depicted above, you’ll notice the glass shutter louvers look as if though they can be adjusted – and they can – providing a dynamic décor style.
One of the economical ways to enjoy louvered cabinet doors is by selecting pre-assembled louver door panels. There are hundreds of styles from dozens and dozens of manufacturers available. They also have a wide variety of finishes and colors that make it easier to choose from catalog selections.
The fine art of woodworking and carpentry is always an option for those who are looking for something special. When it comes to creating custom-crafted louvered cabinets, Hunt’s Kitchen & Design has an in-house service that can design and create custom louvers to your exact wishes.
These are often reserved for kitchen windows or pantry doorways and will hinge down the middle of two separate panels when the louvers are opened completely. Essentially, a panel piece swings outward and the second half folds inward upon the opened panel.
These are louvers that pivot on a control rod to let in more light and increase airflow. They are great when used for windows or special cabinets that need some extra breathing room. This is also ideal for bathrooms and pantry’s when these spaces become stuffy from excessive moisture or humidity.
Are Louvered Doors Expensive?
The average cost of louvered cabinet doors that are pre-assembled will range from $70-300 per linear square foot depending on the materials used. On average, the price can vary because louvered doors are often a bit higher in cost compared to standard cabinet doors. The average cost for pre-fabricated cabinets will cost $100-300 per linear square foot in general. Semi-custom is always higher which averages $200-550 (LSF), while custom louvered cabinets will be the most expensive (on average) running between $500-1200 linear square feet.
The price also has an influence on the range of materials that are used and differs greatly if you choose pre-fabricated cabinets made from various kinds of wood and construction materials. The reasoning is that louvered doors are intricate with many pieces that need to be assembled. Considering that there’s more work that goes into building them, the overall cost does see a slight increase over traditional cabinet frame styles.
Are Louvered Doors Out-Of-Style?
Despite some interior design trends that have pigeonholed louvered cabinets over the years, louvered doors never seem to go out of style. Their aesthetic design is always pleasing to look at and its functionality often goes beyond what most people give them credit for. And in terms of style, the louvered door has enjoyed a long and extensive history that spans back to the Middle Ages when they were used extensively for a wide range of architectural uses.
A Short History Lesson On Louvered Doors
In many castles that were built in the Middle Ages, turrets that were added on rooftops used louvered slats of wood within the turrets to allow air to escape. The angled design would reduce rain and snow from entering and still allow air to enter (or escape) just as easily. In later years, this design was added to outdoor windows as a protective covering for the same reasons. This proved to be very popular as far away as Italy where they were installed on doors and windows.
Likely this style was borrowed by the French who brought their building skills to New Orleans with the Spanish and French Colonial look. It suited the weather nicely with the advantage of gaining better airflow in the humid and balmy summers.
Why Are Louvered Cabinet Doors So Versatile?
At some point, louvered cabinet doors found their way indoors and were increasingly used as kitchen door coverings. They are also very popular when used as doorway entrances too, which gives a continual and versatile application wherever they happen to be installed.
Among the top 5 reasons why louver cabinets remain popular is simple:
- They are very lightweight
- Light can pass through the open slats
- Air ventilation is always a major plus for airflow
- The convenience of privacy since they aren’t see-thru
- A wide variety of widths and slat configurations
Are There Other Types Of Louvered Doors?
Some styles may or may not come back in fashion, but let’s admit, Saloon doors are pretty cool. And if you recall that most saloon doors have louvered frames, this makes a great addition for any kitchen with a farmhouse or rustic interior design to feel more at home. There are also types of cabinet door frames that can be further customized to include rounded arches or dome-like crests.
These types of kitchen cabinets do tend to lean on the custom-built design (like this guy did) for his kitchen cabinets. Yet, it wouldn’t look out of place for a special spice cabinet or centerpiece using louvered arched doors either.
Why Should Louvered Cabinet Doors Be Right For Your Kitchen?
Phoenix, Arizona isn’t known for being overly humid, but that doesn’t rule out the reasoning that all louvered doors are good for airflow. The appearance is what counts the most here and luckily a louvered cabinet style adds appeal to kitchen design that will be attractive to some but not everyone. You can expect that Hunt’s Kitchen & Design has many more tips to provide you when deciding on louvered cabinets.
In the grand scheme of things, adding louvered cabinets to your kitchen is a break away from the everyday look that is often classier and exotic. It’s also a personal touch that will give cabinets a deeper degree of detail that isn’t overused or tired by any standards from what the mainstream design gurus are typically flip-flopping about.