Learn How to Design Kitchen Cabinets

What Is Kitchen Cabinet Design? 

From ancient times, designing kitchen cabinets was done manually using pencil and paper. This method provided a foundation for exploring kitchen cabinets ideas but modifying those designs proved cumbersome. Today, the digital revolution offers an effective solution: kitchen design software. Transitioning from traditional drawing to using design software allows more flexibility, accuracy, and convenience. This post will guide you through the process of designing kitchen cabinets, focusing on the merits of modern kitchen design software and the capabilities of woodworking planner and modeling software. 

Our kitchen designer software enables you to master how to design kitchen cabinets effortlessly. The overall sizes, the components and subassemblies, the use of doors and drawers, materials, and everything you need.  As with any good woodworking planner and modeling software, SketchList 3D provides the automatic generation of images, cut lists, shop drawings, and material layout diagrams.    It also is easy to learn and use without investing a considerable amount of time and effort. 

After all, you want to design and build, not learn computer programming.  This article covers a few main ideas and steps to take to get you started on your design-build journey. 

SketchList 3D is a free 3D modeling software that is useful for woodworkers.  This powerful and easy-to-use software allows you to design, build and straightforwardly modify your cabinet projects.  You can quickly explore and prototype your ideas.   The main idea behind it is to come up with a real-life, functional idea in 3D.  You simulate the workshop outcome as a 3D model. 

SketchList 3D can create one-piece or multiple-piece kitchen cabinet designs and easily add doors and drawers. It is an intuitive, visual and powerful tool. 

Designing kitchen cabinets with Sketchlist 3D

Why Should I Switch from Sketching My Kitchen Cabinet to Using a Kitchen Cabinet Design Software? 

Pros & Cons Using Kitchen Cabinet Design 


  • Easily Modify Designs: Alter elements without starting from scratch, making it simpler to try out different kitchen cabinet door designs and kitchen cabinet corner designs. 
  • Real-time Visualization: Get a 3D view of your kitchen cabinet, simulating real-world outcomes. 
  • Reports & Analysis: Obtain kitchen cabinet sketches, cut lists, shop drawings, material layout diagrams, and more to understand the fundamentals when designing new kitchen cabinets. 


  • Learning Curve: For those accustomed to kitchen cabinet drawing, familiarization with the software is necessary. 
  • Dependence on Tech: Requires a computer or compatible device. 
  • Initial Set-up Time: Setting up templates and preferences may take time initially. 

Pros & Cons of Using Manual Kitchen Cabinet Drawing & Sketches 


  • Tangibility: Unlike designing kitchen cabinets layout on software, physical sketches can be touched and felt. 
  • No Tech Dependency: Doesn’t rely on electricity or software. 
  • Simple & Direct: No need for extensive training. 


  • Time-Consuming: Redrawing is a tedious process for modifications. 
  • No Real-time Visualization: 3D perspective is hard to achieve. 
  • Errors & Mistakes: Manual measurements, unlike precise kitchen cabinet making software, can lead to costly errors. 

Get Started on Designing Your Kitchen Cabinet 

Plan Your Kitchen Cabinet Layout 

Dive into the fundamentals when designing new kitchen cabinets. This involves deciding the placement of each unit, such as shelves for displaying dishes or case drawers for storage. Decide how to break up the overall project into assemblies.  The number of assemblies you end up with depends on the cabinet’s function, its overall size, and the logical groupings of boards. 

Functionality of Your Cabinet Layout 

Consider the primary function – will the project store, display, or provide work surfaces? If so, does it make sense to group the parts in an obvious way?  For instance, kitchen cabinet corner design for displaying dishes might form one assembly, while a case of drawers forms another. 

The Size and Scope of Your Design Project 

Be mindful of the space in your shop, job site constraints, and standard measurements like base cabinet height. How big is too big? What fits in your shop and the way you cut and assemble?  What fits in the space on the job site – don’t forget the elevator or stairways.  Are there standards – like base cabinet height – to be adhered to for the design? 

As you advance in your kitchen cabinets custom design, you’ll notice that specific groupings of boards might be more aptly designed as one assembly.  You can then copy and modify this assembly to fit another space or purpose in the design.  For example, make a base unit one with and depth and add one shelf.  Copy that base unit and change the sizes to become an upper cabinet.  Insert more shelves or perhaps a divider. 

Setting A Budget for Your Kitchen Cabinet Design 

Investment in design software such as SketchList 3D pays off in the long run by saving time, reducing errors, and optimizing material use. 

Why You Should Consider Sketchlist 3D for Your Next Design Project 

SketchList 3D has rapidly gained popularity among woodworkers, particularly for those interested in how to design kitchen cabinets. It brings a myriad of advantages: 

Easy Adaptability  

Transition from traditional kitchen cabinet sketches to SketchList with minimal friction.  Its user-friendly interface requires no prior computer programming knowledge. 

Comprehensive Reports for Kitchen Cabinet Design 

From cut lists to shop drawings, SketchList 3D provides detailed and optimized layouts, ensuring no material wastage and accurate construction. There are several reports, but three are the most used in SketchList 3D.  These are as follows. 

  1. Cut list – which shows the sizes and materials for every part. 
  1. Shop drawing – which shows a 2D line drawing of the objects with dimension lines. 
  1. Optimized layout diagram shows how to best position parts on the materials from which they are cut. 

Any changes to the kitchen cabinet designs are automatically reflected in the reports. If you are wondering how it works, don’t miss out our tutorial video here. 

There are several utility types of tools that speed your designs.  For example, clone and space make any number of copies and space them, a set amount or equal spaces, across a distance in your design.  You can shape boards as needed by the project. 


Try before you invest! Check out the Free Trial and discover the vast features of SketchList 3D. 

And don’t forget to check our prices here. 


Designing kitchen cabinets has evolved significantly over the years. With the introduction of specialized software like SketchList 3D, the design process has become more streamlined, efficient, and effective. 

Key Takeaways 

  • Switching to kitchen designer software like SketchList 3D offers benefits such as real-time visualization and easy modifications. 
  • While manual sketches have their charm, design software saves time, reduces errors, and ensures precise measurements. 
  • Starting your design journey is as simple as planning the layout, understanding functionality, knowing the project’s size, and setting a budget. 

For more insights and detailed walkthroughs, explore other posts like Woodworking CAD and Cabinet Design. 

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