How to Choose Kitchen Cabinets: Inset vs. Frameless
Is your kitchen in need of a refresh? A simple and effective way to completely transform the look and feel of your kitchen is by updating your cabinets. Depending on the type of kitchen cabinet you choose, you can give your kitchen a whole new aesthetic, whether it’s cozy country chic or sleek modern sophistication.
Your two main choices for kitchen cabinets are inset and frameless. They both have their pros and cons (although, we definitely have a clear preference—keep reading to find out why).
So what are the differences between inset and frameless kitchen cabinets? Let’s look at each one in turn.
Inset kitchen cabinets
Inset kitchen cabinets are ones whose doors and drawers are set inside the frame of the cabinet, fitting flush with the front of the cabinet when closed. Knobs and handles are required to open inset kitchen cabinets since the doors and drawers sit flat within the frame.
If you were born in the 80s or earlier, it’s likely that the home you grew up in had inset kitchen cabinets since they were the dominant decor choice at the time. It’s also why they’ve come to be associated with a retro or vintage style these days.
Pros of inset kitchen cabinets
The best thing about inset kitchen cabinets is their looks. They are a favored option among high-end interior designers and are a popular item to pin on Pinterest boards because of their distinctive appearance.
Cons of inset kitchen cabinets
The truth about inset kitchen cabinets is that their cons far outweigh their pros. While they do look nice, they’re less functional and require a lot more upkeep than their frameless counterparts.
Why is this?
Because inset cabinets sit within a frame, they have to be built “just so” in order to fit snugly inside that frame. This alone is a difficult feat to achieve, but even the most well-designed and carefully installed inset cabinets will age and warp over time, making them difficult to open and close properly. This also leads to a lot more wear and tear on the frames.
They also have less storage space than frameless cabinets. Since the front of the doors and drawers fit inside the frame, they actually take up precious inches of interior cabinet space that could be used for storing items.
Frameless kitchen cabinets
Frameless kitchen cabinets are ones that have a full overlay on the front of the cabinet, attached by hinges on the side. They tend to be flat, sleek, and modern-looking. Because they don’t fit inside a frame, they have more spacious interiors. In two-door cabinets, that larger interior is also easier to access since they don’t have a center stile running down the middle of the frame.
Pros of frameless kitchen cabinets
So the cat’s out of the bag—we’re 100% on the side of frameless cabinets. It’s hard not to be since they have so many pros that inset cabinets can’t even begin to touch.
As we mentioned, they’re sleek and have more inner space. They also last much longer and require far less maintenance since they aren’t subject to the continual wear and tear of the doors and drawers sliding in and out of a frame.
Another bonus is that they’re easier to clean. No frames mean fewer nooks and crannies for stuff to build up in. Just wipe the inner and outer surfaces and you’re good to go.
Cons of frameless kitchen cabinets
To be honest, we don’t think there are any cons to frameless kitchen cabinets, aside from the fact that they don’t look like inset cabinets. But frameless cabinets have their own aesthetic charm and provide truly versatile design options that look at home in all kinds of modern kitchen designs.
Why Bellmont is our frameless kitchen cabinet maker of choice
There are lots of frameless kitchen cabinets on the market, but our hands-down favorites are made by Bellmont Cabinetry (we’re also the only retailer in Tallahassee that carries this exclusive brand). Their product line has a ton of unique cabinet options and door styles (92 in total!) that offer incredible versatility and top-of-the-line quality. Plus, they’re customizable, so you can get exactly what you want without having to compromise looks or functionality.
If you’re looking to remodel your kitchen, frameless cabinets are an excellent way to get started. To find out more, check out our design services page.
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McManus Kitchen and Bath is a design and build company specializing in kitchen and bath remodels.