What is the Right Cabinet for My Kitchen?

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It feels like there is an unlimited number of combinations to choose from in kitchen cabinet design.  Here is some cabinet style terminology to help choose.
kitchen, cabinet, style, framed, frameless, doors, frames, design, remodel, renovation, new build, new home, bathroom, construction, overlay, partial overlay, traditional, transitional, inset, recessed panel, raised panel, wood, madeval, wood mode

Cabinet design can be stressful with all the different options to choose from.  Do your eyes glaze over when y0ur contractor asks you what cabinet style you want? Do you want framed or frameless, overlay or insert?

It can feel like there is an unlimited number of options and combinations to choose from.  Let’s go over some of the terminology so you can feel more prepared when it’s time to choose the perfect cabinets for your dream kitchen.

Cabinet Construction

kitchen, cabinet, style, framed, frameless, doors, frames, design, remodel, renovation, new build, new home, bathroom, construction, overlay, partial overlay, traditional, transitional, inset, recessed panel, raised panel, wood
Framed vs Frameless Construction

Framed Construction

The framed cabinet is the construction that most of you are going to be familiar with.  The rails and stiles create the framing at the front of the cabinet box.  The frame is attached to the door front which gives them extra strength and dimension.

kitchen, cabinet, style, framed, frameless, doors, frames, design, remodel, renovation, new build, new home, bathroom, construction, overlay, partial overlay, traditional, transitional, inset, recessed panel, raised panel, wood, madeval, wood mode
Framed Construction | Wood Mode

Frameless Construction

You may prefer a frameless construction is you want a cleaner, more contemporary cabinet style.  Frameless construction eliminates the cabinet face frame, and a more compact box is used to achieve stability needed.  You will have to use full overlay doors ( in the next section) with frameless construction because they allow for the hinges to be attached directly to the sides of the cabinet box.

kitchen, cabinet, style, framed, frameless, doors, frames, design, remodel, renovation, new build, new home, bathroom, construction, overlay, partial overlay, traditional, transitional, inset, recessed panel, raised panel, wood, madeval, wood mode
Frameless Construction | Wood Mode

 Door Types

Overlay Doors

The term Overlay refers to how much of the face frame the cabinet door is covering.  They are available in full or partial overlay options.

  • Full overlay doors cover all of the cabinet box which creates an almost seamless and clean look.
  • Double door full overlay cabinet doors offer more flexibility because they do not have a vertical face frame stile between the two doors.  This would be ideal if you have large serving platters and cookware to store.
  • Partial Overlay doors cover part of the box, with a small portion left showing.  This gives you a more traditional look.  The doors and drawers for a partial overlay door will overlap the cabinet box evenly around the opening of each cabinet.  This is most common option and usually the most economical.
kitchen, cabinet, style, framed, frameless, doors, frames, design, remodel, renovation, new build, new home, bathroom, construction, overlay, partial overlay, traditional, transitional, inset, recessed panel, raised panel, wood, madeval, wood mode
Overlay Design | Wood Mode

Inset Doors

Inset cabinet doors and drawers fit inside the cabinet face frame openings.  This gives you a flush look with the front of the cabinet instead of on top of the cabinet box.

  • They have to be fit precisely into the frame opening with decorative hinges.
  • Inset cabinets are good for larger kitchens, because they offer less usable interior space with the door or drawer fronts sitting inside the frame.
  • In my opinion, the clean, elegant look of the inset cabinet style makes up for the loss of some storage space.
kitchen, cabinet, style, framed, frameless, doors, frames, design, remodel, renovation, new build, new home, bathroom, construction, overlay, partial overlay, traditional, transitional, inset, recessed panel, raised panel, wood
Kitchen with inset doors | Cabinet Innovations

Panel Types

Recessed Panel Doors

This cabinet door style has a center panel that is lower than the rest of the door, and they have a higher outer edge.  If you are designing a transitional or contemporary style kitchen, this is best option for you.

kitchen, cabinet, style, framed, frameless, doors, frames, design, remodel, renovation, new build, new home, bathroom, construction, overlay, partial overlay, traditional, transitional, inset, recessed panel, raised panel, wood
Shaker Style Door

Raised Panel Doors

Raised panel doors are commonly for traditional kitchen design.  Their center panel is raised from the rest of the door and usually has a contoured edge which gives them a very specific style.

Most Common Cabinet Door Styles

  • Shaker design is a very common door style.  They have clean lines that add depth and interest without being visually heavy.
kitchen, cabinet, style, framed, frameless, doors, frames, design, remodel, renovation, new build, new home, bathroom, construction, overlay, partial overlay, traditional, transitional, inset, recessed panel, raised panel, wood
Shaker Style
  • Slab doors do not have panels or any other embellishments.  They have a smooth surface which I would recommend for a sleek, minimalist look.  They are perfect for frameless construction.
kitchen, cabinet, style, framed, frameless, doors, frames, design, remodel, renovation, new build, new home, bathroom, construction, overlay, partial overlay, traditional, transitional, inset, recessed panel, raised panel, wood, madeval, wood mode
Slab Style | Madeval
  • Single Arched or Cathedral is a traditional design. They are curved at the top, and they are either recessed or raised within their door panel.  I only use them on the upper cabinets.

    kitchen, cabinet, style, framed, frameless, doors, frames, design, remodel, renovation, new build, new home, bathroom, construction, overlay, partial overlay, traditional, transitional, inset, recessed panel, raised panel, wood
    Arched or Cathedral Style
  • Beaded Cabinets are a shaker variation with vertical grooves on the interior panel.  This style is a good option if you want a rustic or country feel.
kitchen, cabinet, style, framed, frameless, doors, frames, design, remodel, renovation, new build, new home, bathroom, construction, overlay, partial overlay, traditional, transitional, inset, recessed panel, raised panel, wood, madeval, wood mode
Beaded Style
  • Mullion – Style Cabinets have glass inserts that let you display the contents of your cabinets.  When deciding how many glass cabinets to add, consider how many pretty things you really have vs how much clutter you may want to hide.

If you are working on a kitchen project and need help trying to decide what selections are right for your family, give us call.  We offer a variety of design services that can save you time, money, and stress.  🙂

Sherry Millien

Sherry Millien

Sherry Millien, one of America’s premier interior designers and is known for her unique, one-of-a-kind interiors she creates for prominent clients throughout the metropolitan Houston area.

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About Me

Sherry Millien, one of America’s premier interior designers and is known for the unique, one-of-a-kind interiors she creates for prominent clients throughout the metropolitan Houston area.

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