Kitchen Cabinets: Framed, Frameless or Inset?

Kitchen Cabinets: Framed, Frameless or Inset?

Selecting new cabinetry for your kitchen remodel involves more than choosing the door style and finish you love. Deciding on the construction style of the cabinetry is an equally important factor that will greatly influence the look of your kitchen.

Do you lean more towards classic or contemporary style in your home? Do you like the look of exposed hinges, such as finials, or do you prefer hidden hardware? When it comes to weighing cabinet construction options, personal preference is the key.

Framed cabinet constructionCabinet door sample

If you live in a home with traditional style, or you simply prefer a classic American look, framed cabinet construction is the likely option for you. In framed cabinet construction, component parts make up the sides, back, top and bottom of the cabinet box structure.  These parts are attached to, and supported by, a “face frame”, which acts as the front of the cabinet.

Framed cabinets are more forgiving to install because they do not require the tighter tolerances found in the frameless method of cabinet construction. However, this construction has less interior storage space than frameless construction. The interior sizes of drawers or roll-out accessories are narrower than the interior width of the cabinet.

Cabinet door sampleFrameless cabinet construction

If you prefer a more contemporary style, frameless construction, often called European construction, may be the right choice for you. On a frameless cabinet, there is no face frame, only sides, top, bottom and back.  Without a face frame or corresponding support, the frameless box components are thicker than the components of a framed cabinet.  The tolerances for spacing between adjacent doors and drawer fronts on frameless cabinets are considerably tighter.

There are advantages to choosing cabinets with frameless construction. One advantage is having total accessibility to the case interior, which means more room for dishware. The other is creating a clean, simple design statement in your home. Frameless cabinets add a touch of sophistication and modern appeal to any room.

Cabinet door sampleInset cabinet construction

If you enjoy a mix of styles, cabinetry with inset construction offers a transitional look perfect for any home décor. Inset cabinets are a great option for homeowners who want clean lines as well as traditional styling. With inset construction, cabinet doors are located flush inside the face frame with tight tolerances. Additionally, the interior of the cabinet box is smaller. Depending on your preference, you can choose concealed or exposed cabinet hinges.

Plain inset cabinetry features a flat face frame with no additional detailing, making it a good choice for styles that favor simple lines and minimal ornamentation. Beaded inset cabinets (as shown to the right) have an additional decorative detail on the face frame immediately surrounding the door or drawer. This detail is known as a bead, or a slight groove and rounded edge cut into the wood. The bead acts as a “frame within a frame” to outline your doors and drawers.

To learn more about cabinet construction options, give us a call or visit our showroom. We have many vignettes on display that feature an array of cabinet styles. Our design team is ready to help you turn your dream kitchen into a reality. Contact us today!