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Framed or Frameless? Choosing The Right Construction For Your Kitchen Cabinets

When remodeling your kitchen, one of the first questions your kitchen designer will ask is what style of kitchen cabinet you prefer. Not just the paint or stain color, or the door style, but the cabinet frame as well. Your design preferences can affect the overall look and feel of your entire kitchen remodel.

Whether you prefer the traditional framed cabinet or the modern frameless cabinet is up to you. However, knowing the details of your kitchen cabinet design is essential in ensuring that you are happy with the end result. Here are a few essential facts about the different cabinet frame options:

Framed Cabinet Drawer

Framed Cabinet Drawer

Frameless Cabinet Drawer

Frameless Cabinet Drawer

Framed Cabinetry

Framed kitchen cabinets are currently the most popular in today’s market. They are called “framed” cabinets because of the “face-frame” that constitutes the front of the cabinet, the front-facing side of the wood box. This face-frame adds sturdiness to your cabinet, increasing the longevity of your kitchen design and supporting the heavy weight of a stone countertop.

Framed cabinetry can come in three different door styles: full overlay, partial overlay, and inset. Full overlay doors cover almost the entire face frame, hiding the cabinet box. This results in a seamless appearance of door and drawer fronts. Partial overlay construction leaves a portion of the face-frame exposed. Inset cabinets leave the entire face-frame exposed, with the door mounted inside of the face-frame. This creates a uniform, flush look with the rest of the cabinet.

Full Overlay Cabinet

Full Overlay

Partial Overlay Cabinet

Partial Overlay

Inset Cabinet Drawers


Frameless (Full-Access) Cabinetry

Frameless cabinetry is built without the face-frame. The cabinet door attaches directly to the side of the box and covers the entire cavity space with a full-overlay door. Since these cabinets do not need a face-frame, they allow for maximum use of space within the kitchen cabinets, which is why some people call frameless cabinets “full-access” cabinets. Cavity space and drawers in frameless cabinets are slightly larger than in framed cabinets, giving you maximum storage potential per cabinet. Frameless cabinets are often considered a modern-style cabinet, because of their simple appearance and clean lines.

Full Overlay Cabinet

Budget Considerations

If you are interested in a classic cabinet appearance, face-framed cabinets with drawer fronts and doors made of solid wood are your best bet. Despite being more expensive than many of the frameless options, these cabinets are built to last and a solid choice for your investment. The face-framed cabinet has been around for decades, and isn’t likely to go anywhere anytime soon. Depending on which brand of framed kitchen cabinet you choose, you may be able to find the sturdy, classic appearance you want at an affordable price.

If keeping a low budget while creating a stylish, modern design is your main concern, frameless cabinets may be the way to go. Frameless cabinets tend to be more economical than the framed cabinet, because of simpler construction methods. With many design options available, you are likely to find the look you want with a price you’ll love.

We’re Here To Help

No matter what you choose, Norfolk Kitchen & Bath is here to help with your kitchen remodeling project. We have five premier showrooms in the Greater Boston area, and would love to help make your renovation even easier with free design assistance, quality framed and frameless cabinets for all budgets, and professional installation. Call our experts and get started on your kitchen remodel today at (877) 336-9652.