Framed vs. Frameless Cabinets

Now that you’ve decided on the construction of your cabinets, it’s time to decide whether you would like your cabinets to be framed or frameless. Both options have advantages and framed cabinets offer various overlay options to fit your style. The three overlay options we’ll go over are Full Overlay, Standard/Partial Overlay and Inset.

Before we go over the overlay options, let’s break down the difference between framed and frameless cabinets.

Framed cabinets (pictured above) are often considered the standard style cabinet in the Midwest. The construction of framed cabinets requires a face frame attached to the front of the cabinet box that allows for easy installation and door and drawer adjustments.

Frameless cabinets (pictured above), also referred to as full-access cabinets, give a sleek and often more modern look to your cabinets. Unlike the Framed version, Frameless cabinets do not use a face frame and are constructed out of a simple cabinet box. This allows for full access to your cabinets and a slightly larger storage space.

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s talk overlays for framed cabinets! An overlay refers to how much of the face frame the doors and drawer fronts overlap. Depending on the overlay style you select, your cabinets will have something called a reveal. A reveal is the amount of face frame that is visible when the doors and drawers are closed.

Full Overlay Cabinets have doors and drawer fronts that nearly cover the entire face frame. This leaves a minimal reveal when the doors and drawers are closed.

Standard/Partial Overlay Cabinets are when the doors and drawer fronts slightly overlap the face frame but you notice a greater distance between them. This creates a larger reveal.

Inset Cabinets offer doors and drawer fronts that sit within the same plane as the face frame openings. They are flush with the face frame when the doors and drawers are closed.

Full Standard/Partial Inset

If you have more questions about cabinet styles or would like to learn more about what cabinet styles will work in your space please reach out to Bethany Nebel at 319-338-8275 or

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