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Real wood or wood-look veneered cabinets?

8 years ago

We're just starting to shop for kitchen cabinets. I love the look of real wood veneered flat slab doors. We went with Semihandmade flat sawn walnut doors over Ikea cabinets in our master bath. The walnut is extremely warm and the horizontal grain matching adds a custom feel.

Now, we've moved on to the kitchen cabinets. Our kitchen designer is suggesting one of the wood look lines (similar to what you see in the high end European kitchen lines like Poggenpohl or Snaidero). She says that these engineered materials will hold up far better than a natural wood veneer, like walnut.

We have a toddler and a retriever, and my husband (the main cook) isn't exactly gentle in the kitchen, so durability is extremely important. We hope to use this kitchen for the next 20 years. But, we also don't have $50k to spend on cabinets alone.

I could settle for the wood look if it truly is more durable. What's the story? Does it depend on the quality of the materials, or is one generally better than the other?

(I Google searched for past threads on this topic, but mainly found solid door vs. veneer, not this topic. I expect that this has been discussed, but couldn't find anything on point.)

Thanks in advance!

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