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Image showing a framed cabinet on the left and a frameless cabinet on the right

Design Your Room

Framed vs. Frameless Cabinets

What's best for you?

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.

What is framed cabinetry?

Framed cabinet construction consists of rails and stiles that create a face frame

American cabinet manufacturers have traditionally built cabinets using a framed construction. In this type of cabinet construction, the rails and stiles form a 1-1/2 inch face "frame" at the front of the cabinet box. This frame resembles a flat picture frame that is attached to the door front, giving added dimension to the door front.

What are the advantages of framed cabinetry?

Close up of frame and hinge on framed cabinet door

In framed cabinetry, the cabinet doors are secured to the frame, which gives the cabinet strength and sturdiness. Framed cabinets attach the door hinges to the frame face and shelves, and are usually, but not always, adjustable. Partial and full overlay, as well as inset cabinet doors, can be used with framed cabinets, giving you many design possibilities for creating a customized look for your cabinetry.

What is frameless cabinetry?

A frameless cabinet open with bowls on shelves

Frameless cabinet construction is a European way of manufacturing cabinets that has become popular among American homeowners seeking simple, more contemporary cabinet designs. Frameless cabinetry is sometimes called "full access" cabinetry because it offers greater accessibility by eliminating the face frame. Instead, it relies on thicker box construction for stability. Only full overlay doors can be used, with hinges attached directly to the sides of the cabinet box.

What are the advantages of frameless cabinetry?

Frameless cabinet drawer opened

In frameless construction, cabinets do not have a face frame attached to the front of the cabinet box. After they have been installed, all you will see are the flat door and drawer fronts, providing a sleek, simple aesthetic that can work with many design themes throughout the home.

Frameless cabinets do not have a 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. The shelves are typically adjustable. Drawers in frameless cabinetry also tend to be larger because of the space saved by not having a face frame attached to the front.