Framed VS Frameless Kitchen Cabinets

Framed VS Frameless Kitchen Cabinets

Kitchen cabinets are a one-time investment, and therefore you need to make sure that you get it absolutely right. While there are a variety of factors that one needs to address while selecting the right kitchen cabinet for their kitchen space, the first primary choice that is to be made is between a framed and a frameless kitchen cabinet. Both these settings have their own sets of pros and cons, and also various styles to choose from.

In this article, we will go over these sections to provide you a comprehensive knowledge of both and thus help you choose the best-fitted cabinet for your kitchen.

What are Framed Kitchen Cabinets?

Framed cabinets are the traditional form of kitchen cabinets which have been in use for a long time. As the name suggests, there is a frame covering the cabinet doors such that only a part of the cabinet can be opened. Framed kitchen cabinet doors can come in three styles, full overlay, partial overlay, and inset. The partial overlay is the most common among the three styles and can be seen in all vintage styled kitchen cabinets. In this case, the overlay cabinet door covers up only the central portion of the cabinet leaving an equal amount of framed area on each side to remain doorless. The full overlay doors cover the entire face of the cabinet frame and suit better with contemporary styles. The inset styled kitchen cabinet doors have a glass portion in the center of them giving a sense of exposure.

A framed cabinet provides a compact look and feels to a kitchen. They are also usually less expensive as the trend currently is not in its favor. Unless you want to go for a complete vintage look, in which case framed kitchen cabinets will be the perfect addition to your kitchen. Framed cabinets are also lighter and cheaper. They are also available in quite a few variant styles, so you get a lot of choices for your kitchen setting.

What are Frameless Kitchen Cabinets?

Frameless kitchen cabinet styles are a contemporary invention and are aimed to provide more usability of the cabinet space. Once again as the name suggests, in this case, the cabinet door covers the entire face of the cabinet and leaves no space on any side for frames. And so, in this case, the only style one can choose is the full overlay. Frameless kitchen cabinets are a popular choice for many for one primary reason and that is the fact that these provide much more space inside the cabinets. This is of course due to the fact that the frames are no longer allowed to eat up space around the cabinets. This is even more beneficial when it comes to a drawer like cabinet portions as these now have almost twice the space as compared to framed kitchen cabinet drawers.

Two frameless cabinets when placed side by side have only a few millimeters of the gap between them and give the appearance of being conjoined as a single unit. This provides a very contemporary look to the cabinet space and the entire kitchen as well. The material used is usually thicker than that of framed cabinets are these also cost higher than framed styles. And while the sleek contemporary look is preferred by many, there aren’t a lot of stylistic variations available when it comes to frameless kitchen cabinets. However, the amount of space and ease they provide far exceeds the requirement for further stylization.

What are the differences between Framed and Frameless Kitchen Cabinets?

Now that you have an idea about what a framed and a frameless kitchen cabinet looks like it’s time to understand the key differences between them. This is necessary in order to understand which one is truly required for your kitchen and will go right with the theme you have in mind. There are three primary characteristics of each that are to be compared when it comes to comparing these cabinets, these are appearance, space, and installation. In this segment, we will discuss these three aspects of both the kitchen cabinet styles.

  • Appearance

The framed kitchen cabinets are probably the winners when it comes to a comparison of the appearance of both these styles. The frame around the cabinet can be highly stylized and can also carry metallic embellishes to provide an experienced look for your kitchen. They add a vintage aura to the kitchen unlike any other. Since the most amount of the kitchen space is taken up by cabinets, it is very important to know what kind of aura they will be imparting to your kitchen and the rest of the stylization may depend upon the same.

The frameless cabinets are to be chosen if one’s approach is towards the contemporary and the trend of minimalism. While stylization of these cabinets is indeed possible, but the best-suited ones are the subtle ones with a monochromatic theme running across the entire structure. This provides a sense of continuity and gives the appearance of a single framework of cabinets throughout the entire kitchen.

  • Space

Space is one of the most important factors when it comes to kitchen cabinets since the primary purpose of them is to provide storage space for kitchen ingredients. Technically speaking, the amount of space kitchen cabinets provide depends upon the size of the cabinet that you choose for your kitchen. But even then, there is a certain difference when it comes to the space of a framed and a frameless kitchen cabinet.

The framed cabinets provide much less accessible space or make space harder to access. This is true for all of its three stylizations, and even more so for the drawers. This is because the frames often have expansions on the insides of the cabinets thereby covering up the necessary space.

Frameless cabinets are aimed to provide the most amount of space and usability of the cabinets. And since there is no frame at all in question, the entire interior space is open to use for any kind of storage. These also look bigger when installing than their framed counterparts.

  • Installation

Installation turns out to be an important factor when choosing kitchen cabinets because if this process becomes too complicated and does not suit the characteristics of your kitchen, both style and usability will be jeopardized. With a layman’s glance, one may not notice any evident difference between the installation procedures in either of the styles but there are certain subtle differences that make each one of the two a certain stylistic requirement for the kitchen.

One of the first things to consider in this aspect is the ability to install shelves within the cabinets. In case of framed cabinets, this can pose to be a little difficult of a task as the frames may get in the way of the shelf placement. However, any skilled carpenter should be able to ensure that the current measurements are provided keeping in mind the size of the frames on the inside. Another difference that arises between both the installation procedures is the type of hardware used. For example, the screws used for fixing framed cabinets are longer than the ones used for frameless cabinets. This is to ensure that the frame stays intact and does not become loose while the absence of the frame can allow for the use of shorter screws. Other than these most of the installation procedure for both upper and lower kitchen cabinets in both styles are quite similar.

Other than these three primary factors some other aspects that one can look into before buying a framed or a frameless kitchen cabinet are the variations in prices and material. Framed cabinets come in a variety of materials and therefore are also offers cheaper choices. Frameless cabinets are contemporary and in vogue and thus cost higher than framed ones. They, however, do use thicker and sturdier material in most cases.


One can’t simply pick up a furniture catalog and choose a kitchen cabinet style. There are various factors that need to be considered and this needs to be done in a proper manner as well. So, one of the primary choices, to begin with, is between whether to pick a kitchen cabinet with a frame or not. After having pointed out the various pros and cons for both, it is safe to say that it is rather a personal choice between the two that should guide a consumer.

While each one of them has their own purposes and benefits, neither of them have any major cons that place them over the other. So, the choice here needs to be made carefully after considering all factors such as appearance, space, installation requirements, cost, etc.

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