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Inset vs. Overlay: Which is best for you?

Planning new cabinets for your home? If you've been looking, you've probably realized that there are many options out there. Let's take a detailed look at three of the choices of cabinet doors: inset, full or partial overlay cabinets.


Inset cabinet doors

Inset Doors are set into the cabinet frame and sit flush with the rest of the cabinetry when shut. Homeowners need pulls or knobs on the doors in order to open them. Hinges on this type of door can be either exposed or concealed. There is an aesthetic to this type of door that reflects the amount of craftsmanship that goes into building them. This means that there is added cost, as inset doors typically are 15-30% higher in cost. The one downside to inset doors is that the doors take up space within the cabinet, making the usable space a bit less than an overlay door.





Full overlay door

Full Overlay Doors provide a similar clean-line look, and are set over the cabinet frame. They can give the look of inset doors without the higher cost. They are set outside of the cabinet frame so that they provide the most amount of storage within the cabinet.

Usually there is one 1/4" between cabinet doors so they will also need pulls or knobs.




Partial Overlay Doors are often traditional-looking doors and are the cheapest. The doors do not completely cover the frame (so they need less wood, making them more cost-effective). Because the door sits on the cabinet face, it leaves a gap of 1 1/4" between the doors, allowing the face of the cabinet frame to be visible. Pulls or knobs are not always needed with partial overlay doors and hinges are seen.


There is obviously no right or wrong when it comes to choosing your cabinetry, but think about price, functionality, and aesthetics when choosing. Let Trautman Design Group help you with the process.

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Bloomfield Hills, Michigan

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