When you’re planning for a new kitchen–either because you’re building a home or doing a remodel–choosing your kitchen cabinet door style is critical for the look you’ll achieve. When you’re looking at cabinet door choices, there are the obvious factors you’ll take into account such as color, stain, finish and whether you want a distressed or antiqued look or not. You might even be thinking about a glazing technique as a finishing touch.

Before you get to that point, you’ll want to choose your actual kitchen cabinet door style first. And there are three things you should keep in mind when doing so, to ensure you choose a door style you’ll be happy with for many years to come.

What look are you going for?
What kind of dream kitchen do you envision? Is it sleek and modern? Rustic? Elegant and elaborate? Refined? Casual? Formal? Your choices are endless, but your choice plays a huge role in determining which kitchen cabinet door style will work for you. Remember: This is a style you’ll be living with for years, so think about what you’ll be happy with 5 and 10 years from now. For some help in narrowing your choices, see our advice on the only five cabinet door styles you need to know.

Is maintenance a concern?
As much as we might love the look of certain kitchen cabinet door styles, they might not fit with our lifestyles. A busy family with young children and everyone busy and on the go might want door styles that are easy to wipe down and keep clean, like a flat or Shaker style. A family with older kids who probably won’t ram toys into cabinet doors or smear jelly on drawer fronts can enjoy a fancier kitchen cabinet door style. Consider your family’s lifestyle and life stage when choosing your kitchen cabinet door style.

What kind of cabinet hardware do you envision?
For some of us (present company included), the cabinet hardware, knobs, and pulls are important to the overall kitchen look we’re going for. But not all cabinet hardware works with all kitchen cabinet door styles. If the hardware is important to the look you’re trying to achieve in your dream kitchen, you might want to choose it first, and then choose your kitchen cabinet door style to complement the hardware—rather than the other way around.

As we said above, your kitchen design choices are almost endless and it can seem as if your door style choices are as well (only see our choices at Wellborn Forest for proof). Taking into account some other factors can help you narrow down your choices and choose a style you’ll be happy with for the long term.