Framed vs. Frameless Cabinets: Understanding the Differences

Framed vs. Frameless Cabinets: Understanding the Differences

Selecting cabinets for your kitchen renovation is a significant decision that can impact both the functionality and aesthetics of your space. Frameless cabinets vs framed cabinets are two primary options available, each offering distinct characteristics and benefits. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the differences between frameless cabinets vs framed cabinets to help you make an informed choice for your kitchen.

Framed Cabinets

Framed Gray Base Cabinets


Framed cabinets are a classic choice known for their traditional appearance and sturdy construction. These cabinets feature a face frame attached to the front of the cabinet box, providing structural support and defining the cabinet openings. The face frame surrounds the cabinet doors and drawers, adding visual interest to the design.

Types of Framed Cabinets:

1. Standard (Partial) Overlay

Two Tone Cabinet Kitchen with Stainless Steel Appliances


In standard overlay framed cabinets, the cabinet doors and drawers partially overlay the face frame, leaving a small portion of the frame visible around the edges. This overlay style offers a traditional look and allows for more economical use of materials.

2. Full Overlay

Colorado White Shaker Island Cabinets

Lily Ann Cabinets: Colorado White Shaker

Full overlay framed cabinets feature doors and drawers that completely cover the face frame, resulting in a seamless appearance with minimal visible framing. This overlay style creates a clean and modern aesthetic, maximizing the visual impact of the cabinet doors.

At Lily Ann Cabinets, our premium cabinetry options feature a full overlay look.

3. Inset Overlay

Inset overlay framed cabinets with gold pulls


Inset overlay framed cabinets have doors and drawers that are set flush with the face frame, creating a smooth and seamless look. With this overlay style, the doors and drawers fit precisely within the cabinet opening, providing a tailored and sophisticated appearance reminiscent of fine furniture craftsmanship.

Cabinet Frames



Advantages and Disadvantages of Framed Cabinets


  1. Durability: The face frame enhances the structural integrity of framed cabinets, making them durable and long-lasting.
  2. Versatility: Framed cabinets come in various door styles and configurations, offering versatility to match different design preferences.
  3. Timeless Charm: With their classic look, framed cabinets lend a timeless charm to any kitchen, making them a popular choice for traditional and transitional designs.


  1. Limited Space: The face frame in framed cabinets reduces usable space inside the cabinet openings, resulting in slightly less storage capacity compared to frameless cabinets.
  2. Aesthetic Constraints: The visible face frame may not align with modern aesthetics, limiting design flexibility and potentially affecting the overall look of the kitchen.
  3. Maintenance Challenges: Cleaning framed cabinets can be more difficult due to dust and debris accumulation around the face frame, requiring extra care during routine maintenance.
  4. Higher Cost: Framed cabinets tend to be more expensive than frameless cabinets due to the additional materials and labor required for the face frame construction.

Frameless Cabinets

Frameless white cabinets with gold pulls


Frameless cabinets, also known as European-style cabinets, have gained popularity for their sleek and contemporary aesthetic. Unlike framed cabinets, frameless cabinets do not have a face frame, resulting in a seamless appearance. The cabinet doors and drawers are directly mounted to the sides of the cabinet box, maximizing interior space and creating a minimalist look.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Frameless Cabinets


  1. Space Optimization: Without the face frame, frameless cabinets offer more storage space and easier access to contents, making them ideal for maximizing storage in small kitchens.
  2. Modern Design: The clean lines and minimalist design of frameless cabinets contribute to a modern and sophisticated kitchen aesthetic.
  3. Efficient Functionality: Frameless cabinets prioritize functionality and accessibility, with seamless storage solutions that enhance usability and organization.


  1. Structural Integrity: Frameless cabinets may have slightly less structural integrity than framed cabinets, which could lead to issues like warping or sagging over time, especially with heavy loads.
  2. Installation Challenges: Precise installation is crucial for frameless cabinets to ensure a seamless appearance, and any discrepancies can be more noticeable due to the absence of a face frame.
  3. Limited Hardware Options: Frameless cabinets may offer fewer hardware installation options, as there is no face frame to attach hardware such as hinges or drawer glides, limiting customization choices.
  4. Moisture Vulnerability: Without the added protection of a face frame, frameless cabinets may be more vulnerable to moisture damage along the edges of doors and drawer fronts, requiring proper sealing and maintenance.

Choosing the Right Cabinets for Your Kitchen

When deciding between frameless cabinets vs framed cabinets, it's essential to consider your design preferences, lifestyle, and kitchen layout. Framed cabinets offer durability, versatility, and timeless appeal, making them suitable for traditional and transitional kitchens. Conversely, frameless cabinets are prized for their space optimization, modern design, and efficient functionality, making them ideal for contemporary and minimalist spaces.

Ultimately, the choice between framed and frameless cabinets depends on your personal style and functional requirements. Consider factors such as aesthetics, storage needs, and budget when making your decision.

In Conclusion…

Understanding the differences between framed and frameless cabinets is essential for making informed decisions when designing or remodeling your kitchen. Both options have their unique advantages and disadvantages, catering to different preferences and design aesthetics. By considering factors such as cost, style, and functionality, you can determine which cabinet construction best suits your needs and preferences. Whether you opt for the classic look of framed cabinets or the sleek appearance of frameless cabinets, ensure to weigh all aspects to create a kitchen that meets your vision and requirements.

With a wide selection of high-quality cabinetry options, we at Lily Ann Cabinets are committed to helping you create the kitchen of your dreams. Our professional designers are available to assist you every step of the way, from selecting the perfect cabinets to designing a layout that maximizes both style and functionality. Additionally, we offer FREE samples and FREE 3D design consultations to ensure that your vision comes to life seamlessly. Explore our extensive collection of cabinets today and embark on your journey to a beautifully designed kitchen space!

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Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

1. Which type of cabinet is more expensive, frameless or framed?

Between framed vs. frameless cabinets, frameless cabinets are generally more expensive. The absence of a face frame in frameless cabinets requires precise construction and materials, contributing to higher costs compared to framed cabinets.

2. Which type of cabinet is easier to install, frameless or framed?

Between framed vs. frameless cabinets, framed cabinets are typically easier to install. The presence of a face frame in framed cabinets provides additional support and structure during installation, simplifying the process for installers.

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