cabinet door types

Cabinet Door Types

There are typically four cabinet door types; inset, traditional overlay, full overlay and frame-less, also known as European style. Each has a slightly different look and function.

Inset cabinet doors
The face of an inset cabinet door or drawer is in the same plane as the leading edge of the cabinet box. This traditional look is from early America and is the most expensive style compared to other options. Small narrow, barrow type hinges are the most popular and are mounted right on the face frame with the hinges visible when the door is closed. BLUM brand concealed soft close hinges are also available. Each door and drawer is custom fit to each box. The boxes are 100% All American made 3/4″ plywood with 1/2″ plywood backs and i-Beam construction. The drawer are 3/4″ solid hardwood dovetailed frames. This is the most expensive style of cabinet.

Wellborn Inset cabinet door Inset Cabinet Door 2 - Wellborn Inset Cabinet Door 3 - Wellborn

Traditional overlay cabinet doors
A modern upgrade from inset, traditional or partial overlay doors and drawers are mounted over the face frame of the box. The door covers the opening completely and partially covers the finished face frame. The aesthetics is that you can see the wide visible face frames, while some like this look, others do not. Hinges are typically frame mounted and visible from the exterior, but can be upgraded to a BLUM style concealed hinge with a soft close features. This is the least expensive style of cabinet.

Traditional Cabinet overlay Traditional Cabinet Door 2 - Cabinet Dealer Traditional Cabinet Door 3 - Cabinet Dealer

Full overlay
The most popular and more modern door style is a full overlay, meaning that the door or drawer face completely overlays the box — it covers not just the opening but the entire face of the box. There is little to no visible face frame with these cabinets when the doors are closed. The advantage of the overlay door style is that there are very small gaps between doors and drawers, creating a consistent and continuous appearance.

Full Overlay Cabinet Door Full Overlay Door - Cabinet Dealer Full Overlay Door - Cabinet Dealer


Frameless Cabinets are also know as Euro-style, modern, or contemporary and typically come with a flat or shaker style door. They have no face frames and the the doors are mounted directly to the box of the cabinet. From a visual standpoint, when all of the doors and drawers are closed, a smooth surface is created. From an accessible standpoint, frameless cabinets offer the widest openings, with no obstructing stiles or face frames.  The boxes are typically made out of 3/4″ plywood to make them stronger due to not having a face frame for strength. IKEA makes this style of cabinet and uses Particleboard as the box which is not recommended for longevity.

Frameless Cabinet Door Frameless Cabinet Door - Cabinet Dealer Framless Cabinet Door - Cabinet Door

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