Choose a Kitchen Cabinet Style

Wondering about the differences between full overlay, standard overlay, and frameless cabinets? Many of our clients are unsure about which cabinet style will be right for their kitchen, so we’ve created a detailed guide to help you find the perfect style.

To fully understand the differences between these different cabinetry styles, it’s important to understand the historical roots of the most popular kitchen cabinet designs. American cabinetmakers traditionally began by creating a cabinet box (the place in which goods were stored). A cabinet frame (also known as a face frame) was then constructed and anchored to the front of the box. The cabinet doors were then secured to the cabinet frame with durable hinges. The combination of solid frames and sturdy doors led to long-lasting cabinets that could be customized in a variety of ways. Cabinetmakers often designed their cabinetry in a way that would showcase both the frame and the door.

European cabinetmakers, on the other hand, created cabinets without the use of face frames. Rather than building a wooden frame to which the doors could be attached, European cabinetmakers opted to anchor the doors directly to the cabinets’ sidewalls with the use of hidden hinges.

Full Overlay Cabinets

Full overlay cabinets show very little of the face frame itself. The drawers and doors will almost completely cover the frame, creating a virtually seamless appearance. Given that full overlay cabinets are built using a sturdy face frame that can support ornately designed doors, they are often used to support heavy countertops. Buyers should be aware that while framed cabinets are incredibly durable, the face frame does sacrifice a small portion of the internal cabinet space. This style is ideal for contemporary, modern, and transitional kitchens, all of which utilize clean lines and minimalistic designs.

Standard Overlay Cabinets

Also known as partial overlay cabinets, this style utilizes smaller doors and drawers to expose more of the underlying face frame. Like full overlay cabinets, this style requires a face frame and can support luxurious countertop materials like quartz and granite. No hardware is required with this style, as there is generally enough room between the doors to open them by hand. Many homeowners choose to add hardware to further accent their doors and complement their chosen kitchen design. Standard overlay cabinets are often utilized in traditional kitchen designs.

Frameless Cabinets

As we noted in the section above, frameless cabinets are a more modern cabinetry option that utilizes European designs and features. Unlike standard and full overlay cabinets, frameless cabinets are crafted without a face frame and are instead secured directly to the cabinet body. The absence of a face frame allows you to utilize every inch of the space within, making them ideal for homeowners who are upgrading their kitchen cabinets with the intention of adding more storage space. Frameless cabinets tend to lend themselves to contemporary and minimalist designs, but they can be customized with ornate hardware and used in traditional, Victorian, farmhouse, and other popular kitchen designs.

You can view some of our most popular kitchen cabinet styles below, but please note that we have many different options available in our showrooms! Find a Kiba near you to get started!