Framed vs frameless cabinets: Which one should I choose? Just to be clear, one isn’t better than the other. It’s all personal choice. However, they are quite different. Framed and frameless cabinets are merely two types of construction of kitchen and bath cabinetry. We feel like it’s important for customers to know the difference when choosing new cabinets for their upcoming kitchen or bath cabinetry needs.

What are framed cabinetry?

Frame cabinetry is the standard type of cabinet construction made by American cabinet manufacturers. There are two types of framed cabinetry: partial and full overlay. Partial overlay cabinets are the easiest to mass produce because the cabinet doors and drawers don’t have to be as precise. The reason being is due to the fact that when the cabinet doors or drawers are closed, you will see about an inch reveal of the face frame on all four sides; top, bottom, left and right sides. What that essentially means is that the cabinet doors and drawers don’t have to be the same size because even if one door’s a little bit bigger than the other, it’ll still cover the cabinet opening when closed and won’t hit the cabinet door on both sides. If you happen to have oak kitchen cabinets at home, it will most likely be of a partial overlay construction. Also, partial overlay cabinetry will have a center stile on two (butt) door cabinets, which causes inconvenience.

On the other hand, full overlay framed cabinets are a lot harder to mass produce. Unlike the partial overlay, full overlay cabinets only have about a 1/4″ reveal on all four sides. Therefore, the maker or manufacturer have to be precise on every single door; very little of margin for error. On butt door cabinets, if one door is slightly bigger than the other, then the doors will be bigger than the cabinet box itself and that wouldn’t work too well. There are also no center stile on butt door cabinets on full overlay construction. That means no obstacle in the way to put away large plates. (At Luxurable Kitchen and Bath, we only carry full over lay cabinetry with the exception of the Wolf Classic Cabinets in the Saginaw line

There are also three different thickness of the sides of the framed cabinets; 3/8″, 1/2″, and 5/8″. The thicker the sides, the better and sturdier the cabinets are built. Cheap manufacturers use thinner sides because less materials are used to enhance their bottom line. When you’re looking for cabinets, purchase cabinets that have sides of atleast 1/2″ thickness. A thing to remember is that those thickness mentioned above, when measuring, it’s going to be slightly less. For instance, on 1/2″ thickness sides, the actual measurement is actually 7/16″. (At Luxurable Kitchen and Bath, we only carry 1/2″ and 5/8″ thick side panels.)

What are frameless AKA European-style cabinetry?

As the name suggests, European-style cabinetry is the standard cabinet construction in European countries as well as the rest of the world (the United States are the only country in the world to use framed cabinets.) Just like the framed full over lay cabinetry, frameless cabinets are also full overlay. The reveal is somewhere around 1/8″. It is constructed of 3/4″ thick side panels. It’s so much thicker than the framed cabinets because there’s no face frame holding the cabinets together. The margin of error to manufacturer or make these types of cabinets are very little. It has to be extremely precise. (Luxurable Kitchen and Bath also carries frameless cabinets by

Please leave comments or questions!