Cabinets usually have one or more doors on the front, which are mounted with door hardware, and occasionally a lock. Cabinets may have one or more doors, drawers, and/or shelves. Short cabinets often have a finished surface on top that can be used for display, or as a working surface, such as the countertops found in kitchens.
A cabinet intended to be used in a bedroom and with several drawers typically placed one above another in one or more columns intended for clothing and small articles is called a chest of drawers. A small bedside cabinet is more frequently called a nightstand or night table. A tall cabinet intended for clothing storage including hanging of clothes is called a wardrobe or an armoire, or (in some countries) a closet if built-in.
Modern kitchen design has improved partly as a result of ergonomic research. Functionality is important; one research study had “anthropological scientists” observing homeowners “interact” with their kitchen cabinets. Kitchens are larger and have more cabinets; some kitchens may have as many as fifty drawers and cabinet doors. New features today include deep drawers for cookware, pull-out shelves to avoid excess bending, sponge trays on the front of sink cabinets, pullout hideaway garbage/recycling containers, pull-out spice cabinets, lazy susans in corner cabinets, vertical storage for cookie sheets, full-extension drawer slides, and drawers and doors with so-called soft-close/positive-close mechanisms enabling drawers to shut quietly, or which shut fully after being pushed only partially. As housing stocks get older, many homeowners face problems with visually unappealing older kitchen cabinets; in such situations, there is a choice to buy new (most expensive), reface existing (less expensive), or to strip and refinish existing (least expensive if done by the homeowner) cabinets. By 2009, there was more emphasis on cabinets designed with environmental factors in mind. So-called “green cabinets” were becoming more popular. As homes in Western countries became more airtight to save on heating and cooling costs, air quality has sometimes suffered as gases which are released from resins as they cure. Resins, organic materials which convert from liquid to solid form, are used to manufacture engineered wood (e.g., particleboard) frequently used to build kitchen cabinet carcases can be a factor. According to a recent report.