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Kitchen Cabinet Design Styles
and Cabinet Door Overlay

The cabinet door overlay impacts the overall style of your kitchen cabinets as strongly as the finish or the door design. An often overlooked cabinet design feature, "overlay" refers to how much of the cabinet box front iscovered by the door. The cabinet box construction-- either face frame or frameless -- will determine the overlay options available.

Frameless Cabinets:

Frameless cabinets are constructed with the doors resting on the front edge of the cabinet box, usually to within a 1/16 inch margin of the box edges. With frameless cabinets, a full overlay is your only option.
Cabinet Design Styles: Contemporary, Updated Traditional

Face Frame Cabinets:

Face frame cabinets are constructed with a front supporting frame. This frame is typically 11/2-inch in width and constructed of solid wood. The cabinet door rests on the front frame of the cabinet box. This cabinet box style offers several cabinet door overlay options:

Full Overlay Cabinets

In full overlay cabinets, the door rests on top of the cabinet frame, covering it to within 1/4 inch of the cabinet face frame's edge.
Cabinet design styles: Traditional, Contemporary, Transitional, Farmhouse

Traditional Overlay Cabinets

With traditional overlay, the cabinet doors sit on top of the face frame but leaves exposed approximately 1-inch of the cabinet face frame edge. The resulting space between the cabinet doors allows for a back bevel or finger route to be added, eliminating the need for handles or knobs.
Cabinet design styles: Rustic, Traditional, Country

Modified Overlay Cabinet

This is a mixture of the traditional and full overlay cabinets. The cabinet doors typically extend to the side edge, similar to a full overlay cabinet. However, the drawer fronts and tops of the base cabinet doors may be shortened to accommodate finger routes. On wall or tall cabinets, some companies will manufacture the doors shorter at the top to accommodate crown molding.
Cabinet design styles: Traditional, Rustic, Mid-Century,

Modern Lipped Overlay Cabinets

Cabinets Drawer fronts and doors have a recessed groove, routed about 1/4-inch into the edge of the door and drawer front. This allows a small portion of a thicker door or drawer front to rest on the cabinet frame while the remainder recesses into the frame, achieving a cleaner look. Some manufacturers mix an inset door with a lipped drawer front as a style choice.
Cabinet design styles: Mid-Century, Shaker, Colonial

Inset Kitchen Cabinets

Technically, this cabinet design style is not an overlay, since drawer fronts and doors are recessed flush into the cabinet frame. This style is pricier than the others are , since more precision is necessary in building the product so that cabinet doors and drawers don’t stick or rub against the frames. Additionally, any slight bowing or warping of the doors and drawer fronts will be more noticeable than with other overlays.
Cabinet design styles: Shaker, Colonial, Farmhouse


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Kitchen Cabinet Design: Cabinet Design Styles | Finishes for Wood Cabinets | Kitchen Cabinet Door Styles | Faceframe vs Frameless Kitchen Cabinets |
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