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Framed Cabinetry vs. Frameless Cabinetry: Which Suits My Kitchen Needs?

Kitchen cabinetry in Kingston surely has a huge impact both on the appeal and value of your home. It’s true that first impressions last. And since cabinets will be one of the main objects in your kitchen, considering both functional needs and design style is of high use. A kitchen must not only look well but you must also get the most out of it.

Framed cabinetry and frameless cabinetry both have their own unique advantages and design capabilities. Deciding for your kitchen does not end in the color and style you want. What you might be missing is thinking of how you want your doors and drawers placed on the cabinets.

Let us discuss the things you must consider helping you decide the type of cabinetry in Kingston that is best for you. Furthermore, this article can give you insights about the functional need over design style.


Framed cabinet is commonly known as a “traditional” cabinetry or American style. It is a type of cabinet with a face frame covering the front of the cabinet box. Its doors are attached directly to the face frame itself. Thus, it creates a stronger and sturdy cabinet with a more stability for the box. Some of the most common framed door style options are as follows:


Cabinet industry refers to an “overlay” when the door partially covers the cabinet face frame while leaving large gaps. On the other hand, “reveal” refers to the amount of cabinet face frame or box visible when the doors and drawers are closed.

Types of Overlay Cabinets:

Partial Overlay Cabinet

The least expensive among the overlay cabinets. Its cabinet doors require no use of hardware as there is a finger space on the cabinet face while leaving about 1 – 1 ¼ inch of gap between doors. As a result, the face frame of the cabinet can be more seen. This traditional looking cabinet type is a good option if costing for you is a huge deal.

PROS: It can save you more amount of money.

CONS: It may not look as high-end as the others.

Full Overlay Cabinet

The doors and drawers of full overlay cabinet completely cover the cabinet face. It also provides a flat cabinet front like inset cabinets without the higher cost. Full overlay comes with a greater storage with an ample room for your kitchenware. Double doors in full overlay style have even bigger storage capacity and easier access of stored items. Doors knobs may be needed as there is only ¼ inch gap between cabinet doors.


  • Less expensive compared to inset.

  • Streamlined and smooth.

  • Unlike inset cabinets, gaps are less obvious between frame and door.


  • Hardware is required such as knobs or pulls because there’s nowhere to slide your fingers in between the doors.

  • The corners are exposed which makes them easily nicked or rounded over time.


This type of framed cabinet costs higher than overlay cabinets. A hardware should also be attached to it as you cannot open them with just fingers. It has a custom and smooth overall appearance, where doors, drawers, and frame are all sitting flush when closed.

Inset cabinet gives the cabinet frame a full view. It only has minimal spacing between the cabinet components, but it creates a sleek appearance to your kitchen. It can transform the standard look cabinet with a full overlay door.


  • Provides a higher end look for your kitchen.

  • Also, it has cleaner lines and hinges can either be visible or hidden.


  • Setting up inset cabinets into your kitchen will cost you more.

  • There will also be lesser storage for you since doors are inset.

  • Lastly, the gaps between cabinets are pretty obvious unlike those in partial overlay cabinets.


Frameless cabinets on the other hand do not have face frames. Removing the face frame means more storage space and ease of access. Furthermore, it appears to be sleeker with seamless lines, and cabinet doors are directly attached to the side of the box. It is known as European style or modern cabinetry that offers one full overlay style. Frameless cabinets do not show a frame reveal unlike full overlay cabinets that have approximately ¼-inch reveal of the face frame.

While this offers a higher quality finish and look, it can cost you more than the other types of cabinets. You can absolutely add some more decorative and embossed laminate veneers onto it.


The way these two types of cabinets are constructed makes them different. Face frame is made up of horizontal members known as rails, while vertical supports are called center stiles. Combining the wood grain directions in the face frame reinforces the horizontal strength of the cabinet at the front opening.

Depending on your available space of installation and design preferences, you can choose between the two types of cabinetry. Even though they differ in the construction method and outcome, both have equal structural quality and durability.


Regardless of the size, kitchen must function really well to get the most out of it. Installing and redesigning your kitchen cabinet does not simply mean picking up the colors and styles. There are bigger decisions to make such as how you want them to function; the way doors and drawers are framed; their accessibility; and many more.

Choosing between framed and frameless cabinets does not have a right or wrong choice. Both are good choices for your kitchen needs. Simply go with the look you want to achieve with space and costing in mind. Weigh the options and make the appropriate decisions for a successful cabinet installation. Contact Co-op Concept and Fabrication to discuss your kitchen cabinet needs. Unsure of the applicable service to your project? Check out our recent works to know more!

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