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June 13, 2024


If you're planning to remodel your kitchen, your cabinetry plays a significant role in how it'll look in the end. Since your cabinetry is your kitchen's focal point, it must be visually appealing and functional for your living space. You may also want to get a cabinet material that lasts a long time and can withstand your everyday household activities.

When choosing cabinetry for a project, you should consider how many cabinets fit in the space, how you plan on using them, their longevity and the full range of cabinet door styles that will suit your tastes and decor. Cabinet construction influences the appearance and functionality of your kitchen or bath.

When choosing your kitchen cabinetry, you typically have two options ‚ÄĒ framed or frameless. Each choice gives you a wide range of design options that can benefit your home, but they come with different advantages. Explore the qualities of each type of cabinet to find the right one for your brand-new kitchen.


Framed cabinets are by far the most common type of cabinetry. Framed cabinets have a solid wood or MDF (medium density fiberboard) face frame attached to the front of the cabinet box. The frame features two horizontal wood pieces, or rails, that are often an inch and a half wide and three-quarter inches thick, plus two vertical wood pieces, called stiles, with identical dimensions. 

The face frame covers the front of the cabinet box and serves both decorative and functional purposes. For instance, it provides structural support for the Cabinet Doors because they attach to the inside part of the frame. The cabinet door style also determines whether the hinges are visible or hidden. Doors and drawers attach differently to the frame to create distinct looks. The overlays define how much of the frame shows when you open and close the doors and drawers. Standard overlay cabinets feature a 1/2" overlay and full overlay cabinets feature a 1 1/4" overlay.

Framed Cabinet Construction

There are three types of framed cabinet construction.

  • Half overlay:¬†With half-overlay cabinets, the cabinet door and drawer front overlap the frame of the face by a half-inch. This style is more affordable than full overlay cabinets because it uses less material. You can also choose not to install hardware on the cabinet doors. On the other hand, with full-overlay construction, the doors are too close together to open the door without hardware.
  • Full overlay:¬†Full-overlay cabinets feature cabinet doors and drawer fronts that completely cover the face frame. You may notice a small gap of the face frame behind the drawer front or door about 1/4" wide. Full-overlay cabinetry is a popular style for American homeowners.
  • Inset:¬†Inset cabinetry features a door or drawer front flush with the face frame. Flush-inset cabinet doors provide a minimalist, sleek look for your kitchen. With inset cabinets, you have a full view of the cabinet frame. You might only notice small gaps or spacing between the different parts of the cabinet.


Framed cabinetry is sturdy, and it comes in a wide array of design options, making it an excellent choice for your new kitchen. Explore some of the following benefits of framed cabinets.

  • Traditional styling:¬†Framed cabinets are popular in traditional kitchens. This design aesthetic is typically more welcoming and warm than modern kitchens. If this is your design preference, you have a wide selection of options for your cabinets, from full overlay to partial overlay to inset. A traditional kitchen is an excellent place to relax and enjoy time with your loved ones.
  • Seamless look:¬†The larger frames allow you to have two cabinets with a seamless look. When you choose cabinetry with this straightforward design, you can invest in more attractive parts of your kitchen, such as the sink, countertops or backsplashes, for a unique focal point. The cabinet doors secured to the frame give the door front some extra dimension.
  • Design flexibility:¬†Interior designers enjoy working with framed cabinets because of their versatility. These doors can mount inside the frame with an inset cabinet or expose part of the frame with an overlay cabinet. You can also even have a style similar to frameless cabinetry with full-overlay framed cabinets.
  • Easy installation:¬†Since the face frame keeps the cabinet square, framed cabinets are easier to install than frameless ones. This style is also more convenient to install in the United States because it's the traditional style for this country. Frameless cabinets require special European hardware.
  • Strength and durability:¬†Framed cabinets are sturdy and durable because the cabinet doors secure to the frame with hinges. The solid wood face frames keep the cabinet in the right shape by reinforcing the sidewalls where they're attached. Even though the frame makes this cabinet style resilient, you may want to make sure the manufacturer uses sturdy materials so they last a long time.
  • Enhanced reliability:¬†Since framed cabinets are easier to install, they're less likely to develop problems during installation. Framed cabinets are unlikely to have racking, an issue that tilts the cabinet box and causes misaligned drawers and doors.
  • More durable hinges:¬†Cabinet doors and hinges attach to the face frame. Installers set up framed cabinets with exterior hinges, which are more reliable than interior hinges. This configuration provides more protection against issues or breakdowns.
  • More design options:¬†Framed cabinets are available in either partial-overlay, full-overlay or inset cabinet doors. They also feature more materials, including laminate, medium-density fiberboard, particleboard and solid wood. With all these options, you can find the best selection to match your kitchen's overall theme.
  • Cost-effectiveness:¬†Your cabinets' overall cost depends on the materials and how long they take for manufacturers to build them. Remember that framed cabinets are typically about $1,000 less expensive than frameless cabinets if all other factors are the same.
  • Convenience for oddly shaped kitchens:¬†Framed cabinets are more suitable for installing on uneven walls than frameless ones. If you have an unconventional or elaborate kitchen layout, framed cabinets can work better with your overall design. The frame also makes the cabinetry look more even.


Frameless cabinets, or full-access cabinets, are a modern construction style that does not include the face frame. This European construction style has rapidly gained worldwide popularity. The doors or drawers create the face of the cabinet for a smooth, contemporary finish. The doors cover the entire front of the cabinet box and attach to the cabinet sides with concealed hinges.

Full-access cabinets adopt a full-overlay style with minimal space between doors and drawers and no horizontal rails or vertical stiles. They often use heavier wood materials like MDF (medium density fiberboard) to compensate for the lack of the face frame, ensuring more stability. Frameless cabinetry is ideal for several styles, including modern, transitional, contemporary decor. 


Instead of using a face frame, most cabinets need a thicker material for the box to be as stable as framed ones. Frameless cabinet construction features four sides and a back, creating a cabinet box. Since there's not a designated top or bottom, you can have your frameless cabinets flipped and installed either way. Frameless cabinets have door hinges that attach directly to the cabinet box's sides. Most frameless cabinets contain an MDF core, making them heavier than framed cabinets. 


Frameless cabinetry typically offers more storage and provides a clean look for your living space. Consider the following benefits of frameless cabinetry to find out if they fit in your contemporary kitchen design.

  • More storage space: If you have a small kitchen, you may dream of having more room for your cooking gear. Framed cabinets have a lip around their openings, making them smaller. With frameless cabinets, you can easily store larger appliances, such as juicers, mixers or blenders. Your drawers will also be more spacious. Instead of having your extra items on your countertops, you can put everything away and out of sight.
  • Sleek look: Frameless cabinets have seamless, clean lines, providing a shiny look for your modern or contemporary kitchen. Since these cabinets don't have a frame secured in front of the cabinet box, you'll only see the flat door and drawer fronts after installation. With this sleek look, you can choose more extravagant elements in the rest of your kitchen. Frameless cabinets usually feature Shaker or slab cabinet doors and drawer fronts for a cleaner design.
  • Ease of access: Since there‚Äôs no center stile in the middle of the two cabinet doors, you can easily get at the items inside. Because of this ease of access, you can store more cookware, plates and platters and avoid clutter in your kitchen.
  • Ability to fit different design themes: Frameless cabinets may not have the same design options as framed ones, but they are popular in both traditional and modern kitchens.
  • Fast, easy shelving:¬†You can slide shelves directly into the open frameless cabinets because there's no center stile in the way. By saving this time and energy during installation, you can start using your kitchen more quickly.
  • Open shelving:¬†Since frameless shelves have no frames around the cabinet openings, you can omit the cabinet doors entirely to have open-shelf storage in your living space.


There are many variables to consider, but there isn't a correct choice between framed or frameless cabinetry. It's all personal preference, so go with the style and finish that best suits your tastes. Before you pick your cabinets, ask yourself the following questions about your kitchen remodeling project.

  • What do you like about your current kitchen?¬†Before completely transforming your kitchen's look and functionality, think about what you enjoy about it. You might have plenty of space, or like your current layout. Consider what qualities you want in your kitchen to decide whether framed or frameless cabinets can enhance your daily cooking and cleaning schedule.
  • What would you change about your kitchen? If you loved everything about your current kitchen, you wouldn't be remodeling it. After noting what you like about your kitchen, think about what you want to change. Then, you can better decide which cabinet style is right for you and your family.
  • What‚Äôs your family's lifestyle?¬†Your family's day-to-day activities affect how your kitchen should look and work. Framed cabinetry can provide more flexibility with your design, but you may also want to consider frameless if you need more storage space. On the other hand, if you rarely cook and your kitchen is more for show, you can choose visually appealing cabinets that fit your design theme.
  • Do you need more storage?¬†Frameless cabinetry offers more storage for your kitchen, especially if you have a small kitchen. You may want to consider frameless cabinets if you have lots of appliances and need more counter space. On the other hand, if you're willing to give up a little bit of storage to have more design options, you may want framed cabinets.
  • How much room do you have in your budget? When remodeling your kitchen, your budget will be another factor. Even though the cost difference between framed and frameless cabinets isn‚Äôt that substantial, framed cabinets are slightly more affordable. If you want to splurge on other items in your kitchen, you can find cost-effective, aesthetically appealing framed cabinets that won't compromise the room's overall appearance.
  • What is your design theme? Framed and frameless cabinets each offer different aesthetic elements for your kitchen. You may want to install frameless cabinets if you're designing a modern or contemporary kitchen. On the other hand, framed cabinets fit the traditional kitchen design. Remember that since framed cabinets are available in full overlay, partial overlay and inset design, they can accommodate more design aesthetics for your kitchen.


Partnering with Cabinet Doors 'N' More for your DIY kitchen cabinet project is one decision you won't regret. We're an industry leader in online kitchen and bathroom cabinetry, providing various customized cabinet components to help you complete your remodeling project quickly and easily. Order as little as one cabinet component for a quick repair or get multiple cabinet doors for a large-scale renovation. Whatever you choose, you will enjoy free shipping on all orders, fast delivery and exceptional customer service.

For new, replacement cabinet doors, drawer fronts, drawer boxesand all your cabinet remodeling needs, turn to the leader in the online kitchen cabinetry industry ‚Äď Cabinet Doors 'N' More. Click through our extensive collection, and start our easy-to-use ordering process today! Learn more about our products by¬†contacting Cabinet Doors 'N' More today¬†or calling us at 667-877-8777.


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