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Framed vs Frameless Cabinets

Updated: Aug 9, 2023

Left: Framed | Right: Frameless - Masterbrand-Mantra
Left: Framed | Right: Frameless

When choosing cabinets, there are two types of construction to consider: framed or frameless cabinetry. Both provide endless design possibilities and their own unique advantages. Here are some things to consider as you decide which type of cabinet construction is best for you.


Framed cabinetry is the most common cabinet type and is considered to be a more traditional cabinet style. A framed construction consists of sides, back, top, bottom, and a faceframe. This is considered a true framed construction. The most common specifications is 1/2" sides, 1/4" back with hanging rails, and 3/4" faceframe. Framed cabinets are typically considered easier to work with from an installation viewpoint than frameless.

Example of framed cabinetry
Example of framed cabinetry
What are the advantages of framed cabinetry?
  • Classic design

  • Doors are secured to the frame - offers strength and sturdiness

  • Door hinges attached to the frame face and shelves, and are usually, adjustable

  • Available in partial and full overlay options


Canyon Creek Corner Stone Equinox in Maple with Sand Paint
Canyon Creek Cornerstone Equinox in Maple with Sand Paint

Inset cabinetry is very similar to a framed cabinet, however the doors and drawers actually fit inside the face frame. Inset offers what many consider a classier and somewhat more traditional look. Inset cabinets have a very smooth, clean, and more custom feel as everything sits flush. This tends to be a pricier option than overlay cabinets.

What are the advantages of framed inset cabinetry?
  • Clean, minimal lines

  • A timeless, tailored, custom look

  • Prevents cabinet door corners from being nicked or damaged

  • Historical charm – they emulate the style of a period of time

  • Consume less exterior space – great for small kitchens you will save an additional 7/8″ which is ideal for upper cabinetry, providing you more workspace


Frameless cabinetry is another style of cabinetry that is essentially the same as framed, just without the face frame on the front of the cabinet. Frameless construction is seen as a more modern/contemporary way to construct cabinets. Removing the face frame gives many benefits including larger drawers, full accessibility, and tighter reveals. This is an ideal type of construction for thermofoil and acryllic door styles due to the less space between doors and drawers.

Example of framed cabinetry
Example of frameless cabinetry
What are the advantages of frameless cabinetry?
  • Cabinets do not have a face frame attached to the front of the cabinet box

  • Sleek, simple aesthetic

  • No center stile coming down in the middle of the two cabinet doors, providing easier access to the items inside, as well as more storage space to work with.

  • Shelves are typically adjustable.

  • Drawers tend to be larger because of the space saved by not having a face frame attached to the front.

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