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Custom and Semi-Kitchen Cabinets | Kitchen Remodeling in Hawthorne and Point Pleasant NJ

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Inset Vs Frameless Cabinetry

They say that cabinets are the backbone or the face of the kitchen since you cannot miss this section every time you walk in the room. Many different factors determine the design of cabinets and a few of them include the wood species, material, door styles, finishes, and embellishments. The two main choices that homeowners look for when investing in their cabinet design include inset and frameless cabinetry. They both come with their benefits and downsides so it is important to go through them to have a clear preference. This article discusses the major differences between inset and frameless cabinetry to help you make the right choice.

What is an Inset Cabinet?

An inset cabinet is a type of cabinet whose drawers and doors are set inside the frame so that it can fit flush with the cabinet’s front when closed. You need handles and knobs to access inset kitchen cabinets because the drawers and doors sit flat within the frame.

Inset cabinets used to be common in the era of craftsmen and Victorian homes. Although it has more of a rustic and historic form, inset kitchen cabinets have made a comeback in the contemporary world as many homeowners appreciate their unique and traditional look. One of the most sought-after features of inset cabinetry is its distinctive appearance. A few downsides of inset cabinetry are that you lose space that would have otherwise been used as storage because the door is built into the frame. In addition, the seams between cabinet boxes can be noticed easily because everything is flat when the doors are flush with the frame.

What is Frameless Cabinetry?

Frameless cabinets have a full overlay on the cabinet’s front and hinges on the side attach them. Since they do not fit inside a frame, they offer a lot more storage than inset cabinets because of their spacious interiors. This style of the cabinet has its origins rooted in Europe but has gained a lot of popularity in the US over time. Just as the name suggests, a frameless cabinet is a cabinet whose door is directly attached to the box by a hinge and has no frame. The fact that there is no frame means more space and it is one of the cabinets that give your kitchen a very clean look. It is important to pay extra attention when designing with frameless cabinets. The goal is to get a sleek and clean look whether all panels, doors, and fillers appear to be on the same plane.

Major Differences between Inset and Frameless Cabinetry

Cabinet Construction

The cabinet doors in inset construction are located flush inside the face frame and have tight tolerances. You can choose between exposed or concealed cabinet hinges depending on your preference. If you prefer a more contemporary style cabinet, then frameless cabinetry could be the right choice for you. A frameless cabinet does not have a face frame and the space tolerances between drawer fronts and adjacent doors are considerably tighter.


Although pricing usually depends on the cabinet line, inset cabinetry tends to be more expensive than frameless options. Although the differences in cost could be steep, it can still be worth it if you are aiming for a specific look that is not available with other cabinet options. One of the factors that could drive the prices up for inset cabinetry is the artisanship involved in achieving its rustic and traditional look.


Inset cabinets have less storage space compared to frameless cabinets. One of the primary factors is that the drawers and doors are designed to fit inside the frame when opened which can take up a few extra inches that would have otherwise been used for storage. Frameless cabinets have interiors that are more spacious and provide easier access because they do not fit inside a frame.


Frameless cabinets last much longer and require less maintenance than inset cabinets. It is quite different from inset cabinets, which receive continual wear and tear when the drawers and doors slide in and out of the frame every time you access them. Furthermore, frameless cabinets are easier to clean because they have fewer nooks and crannies for dirt or debris to build up in.

Although the cons of inset cabinetry seem to outweigh its benefits, it is still worth investing in if it matches the style and design you are looking for. The decision to choose between inset and frameless cabinetry all comes down to individual preferences and what you feel works best for your kitchen. Whether you go with frameless or inset cabinetry, make sure you get exactly what you are looking for without compromising the looks and functionality of your kitchen.

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