Cupboard Vs. Cabinet: How To Tell The Differences?

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The terms cupboard vs cabinet is almost synonymous. Both types of objects are used for the same purposes, so many people cannot distinguish between the two. 

There are even many people using a cabinet in place of a cupboard or referring to a cabinet as a cupboard. So if you are confused between cupboard and cabinet or cannot tell them apart, you were in the right place just now!

This article will give you a detailed understanding of the difference between a cupboard and a cabinet to shed more light on these terms.

Overview Of Cupboards & Cabinets

Before delving deeper into the difference between cupboard and cabinet, let’s scroll beyond the section below to understand more about each. Or you can check out this YouTube video to better understand the difference between cupboard vs. cabinet.

What Is A Cabinet?

The term cabinet refers to a box-shaped furniture or storage object with drawers and/or doors. This type of item is often used to store miscellaneous items at home or the workplace.

Cabinets are designed in many different shapes; some are made to stand independently, while others are pre-assembled or mounted on the wall. They are often created from materials such as wood or stainless steel and other synthetic materials. 


Depending on the material and commercial value, they are often called with different names such as case goods, casework, or case furniture.

A cabinet usually has one or more doors on its front. Cabinet doors are usually mounted with door hardware and lock-in in most cases.

Cabinet has always been known for its nobility and statement-making presence. In the old days, people made cabinets with unique woods and expensive materials as a royal family element and passed it on to the family tradition.

Cabinets are created with many different versions. The different types of cabinets are distinguished based on different aspects and preferences regarding shape and size where it is installed.

Read More:

Cabinet Knobs Vs Pulls: Which Is Better For Your Cabinets?

Custom Cabinets Vs Stock: What Is The Best Choice For Your Home?

What Is A Cupboard?

A cupboard is a closed piece of furniture that is very popular with users today. It is a kind of self-contained furniture used to display cookeries and other kitchen utensils mainly.

Initially, the term cupboard was often used to refer to side tables with open shelves to display old utensils such as cups, saucers, and plates. Still, over time the purpose of using this term has also gradually changed.

This type of object usually has one to three floors for display. In addition, they sometimes have one or more drawers to hold smaller items.


In UK English, the term cupboard refers to what the US English calls a closet.

The cupboard is known for three main types, including:

  • Airing cupboard: This is a cupboard with a water heater. This water heater is a boiler for central water heating or an immersion heater for hot running water in your home.
  • This type of cupboard has slatted shelves to allow for maximum heat circulation. They are also often designed next to or above the heater to dry clothes, avoiding mold.
  • Built-in cupboard: This type of cupboard is usually designed as part of the area it is to be installed in. They are not movable, are not free-standing, and are not the same as a cabinet.
  • Linen cupboard: This type of cupboard is usually designed as enclosed recesses of a room. They are often used to store fabrics such as towels, tablecloths, and bed linens.

Cupboard Vs. Cabinet: Detailed Comparison 

Most of us often use cupboards and cabinets but do not remember their exact meaning. Yet, even when we speak, we often confuse these two words with each other. If you are also facing this situation, here are the things to know the difference between them.


A cabinet is usually used to store clothes, bags, accessories, and other similar items, while a cupboard will be used to store cooking utensils such as pots or cups.

However, a cabinet can be multipurpose and hold some things like pots and pans on lower shelves beneath a countertop.

Presence of shelves

Cabinets are usually designed with multiple shelves inside, while cupboards may or may not have shelves. The doors of cupboards are usually glass pane doors.


In the past, cabinets were often created with luxurious and expensive materials to store and hide valuables. Until now, they are often used in high-level offices to keep important documents.

On the other hand, cupboards are usually less expensive because they are not made with such expensive materials. 

They usually have a simple design, and the materials that make them up are also very ordinary. Their primary use is to store objects such as cooking utensils and food preservation.

In short, the cupboard often appeared in a luxurious lifestyle and was costlier than the cupboard; on the contrary, the cupboard comes from a simple lifestyle and is cheap.

Which Should You Choose Between A Cupboard & A Cabinet?

Except for the points we mentioned above, they have other differences in physics and usage depending on the area where they are installed or due to the owner’s preferences.

If your kitchen friend is piled up with items like cooking utensils, bowls, chopsticks, etc., then buy a cupboard to preserve them.

If you are looking for a piece of furniture that both beautifies your home and can store miscellaneous items, choose a cabinet.

To Sum Up

By now, you’ve probably figured out the differences between a cupboard vs. cabinet. To put it in a nutshell, they have a lot of differences.

Hopefully, this article will help you shed more light on each of their uses and characteristics. This makes it possible to distinguish between them and no longer confuse them with each other.

However, a cupboard and a cabinet will generally serve the same purposes regardless of the actual difference. Finally, if you found this article helpful, please share it with others!