Frameless, Framed, Inset Cabinets: What's the difference?

One of the first steps in selecting new cabinets for your kitchen remodel is deciding on a cabinet type. There are three main types of cabinets to choose from – frameless, framed, and inset. Each type has its advantage and purpose, however, there is truly no right or wrong answer. Whether you are looking for frameless, framed, or inset cabinets, or you are not sure which direction to go, this guide will help you make your decision.

Frameless Cabinet 1

Frameless Cabinets

Frameless cabinets are often seen in modern and contemporary kitchens. In frameless cabinet construction, there is no face frame attached to the front of the cabinet box. Instead, cabinet doors are attached directly to the box, leaving a simple and clean aesthetic view when installed.

Frameless Cabinets

Advantages of Frameless Cabinets

  1. Full Accessibility. This means you have access to the entire cabinet with no frame or center style in your way, leaving plenty of room to store larger dishes or cookware.
  2. Little to No Reveal. With most frameless cabinets, you will not see the cabinet box. This creates a smooth and seamless appearance between the cabinets when installed.
  3. Design Flexibility. With frameless cabinets, since there is no frame, you have the ability to void doors and create open shelf storage.


If you are interested in frameless cabinets, here at Cabinet IQ we have two lines that offer frameless cabinetry – Bellmont and Design-Craft. Both lines have endless style and color options, and you are guaranteed to find the perfect selection for your frameless cabinet kitchen.

Framed Cabinet

Framed Cabinets

Framed cabinets are often called the traditional American cabinet. In framed cabinet construction, the face frame is attached directly to the cabinet box creating strength and sturdiness. Framed cabinets are often seen in all different styles of kitchens ranging from traditional, transitional, and modern.

Traditional kitchen with framed cabinets

Advantages of Framed Cabinets

  1. Strength. The frame is attached to the box and the doors are secured to the frame, which provides overall cabinet stability.
  2. Classic Look. Americans love quality wood products which immediately attracts many to the familiar look and feel of framed cabinetry.
  3. Flexibility. With framed cabinets, there is a wide array of doors and drawers providing lots of style flexibility.


If you are interested in framed cabinets, here at Cabinet IQ we have two lines that offer framed cabinetry – Kraftmaid and Yorktowne. Both lines have endless style, color, and overlay options, and you are guaranteed to find the perfect selection for your framed cabinet kitchen.

Inset Cabinet

Inset Cabinets

Inset cabinets are often seen in minimalistic kitchens. Inset cabinets are when the doors sit directly inside of the cabinet frame, leaving the entire cabinet frame visible. Inset cabinets are more expensive than other types of cabinetry, due to the precise measurements required to assure the doors and drawers fit seamlessly within the face frame.

Kitchen with inset cabinets

Advantages of Inset Cabinets

  1. Protection. Since the doors and drawers are set into the cabinet frame, this provides more protection from everyday wear and tear.
  2. Seamless. With the doors and drawers being inside of the cabinet frame, it creates an overall clean and seamless appearance.
  3. Style Flexibility. Inset cabinets offer a mix of both traditional and modern styles. With the sleek appearance of the cabinet doors set into the frame, this provides a more modern look. However, if you decide on a more traditional door style, this combines the two styles creating a more transitional look that can lean either way.


If you are interested in inset cabinets, here at Cabinet IQ we have one line that offers inset cabinetry – Yorktowne Historic. This line has endless style and color options, guaranteed to fit the vision for your inset cabinet kitchen.

Inspection of Cabinet Design

In conclusion, there are advantages in choosing a frameless, framed, or inset cabinet. Whether you are interested in a mid-century modern kitchen with frameless cabinets, a traditional looking kitchen with framed cabinets, or a clean transitional kitchen with inset cabinets, you cannot go wrong. It all comes down to your specific wants, needs, and personal aesthetic desired for your kitchen. No matter if you choose a frameless, framed, or inset cabinet, Cabinet IQ is here to help you bring your dream kitchen to life.