Cabinet Door and Drawer Styles

Door and Drawer Styles

There are three main styles of door and drawer fronts. Flush mount, full overlay, or half overlay.

On the flush mount (sometimes referred to as inset) door; the door’s face is flush with the frame. That is, the door fits inside the frame. Picture 1 and 2.

It provides a clean, contemporary look but can be very hard to install to get a uniform gap all the way around the door. And it is even more difficult to keep the gap consistent as the doors, drawers, and cabinets settle.


A Flush-mounted door fits inside and is flush with the front of the face frame. Image 1

Flush Mount with Hidden Hinges: A Flush mounted door is sometimes called a full recess or inset door. Image 2

This one features a European style hinge that is hidden completely when the door is closed.

On a full overlay door; the door is mounted so it completely overlaps the frame. Sometimes the overlap is large enough that it will even hide the frame of a face frame cabinet or the front edge of a frame-less cabinet. Using full overlay doors can give a clean, modern look to a kitchen,  but the mass of a ¾ ” (19 mm) thick door sticking our beyond the frame can look a bit bulky.

Full-Overlay: This full overlay door fits in front of the frame less cabinet and uses a European-style, highly adjustable hinge. Image 3

The most widely used type of door, especially for face frame cabinets, is the half overlay door. It has a lip that runs all the way around the door. The lip serves two purposes. First, it makes the door look less bulky because it reveals only one-half or so of the door’s thickness.

Second, it is easier to mount because the lip hides any imperfections in the squareness of the door opening or the door itself that would cause uneven gaps.

A half overlay door has a lip that hides any gap between the door and the face frame.

Each of the door styles will require a slightly different kind of hinge. Some of the hinges are visible and some are hidden behind the door. So it is important to decide if you want the hinges to be shown throughout your kitchen or not.

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