modular kitchen in salem

Inset cabinets vs. Overlay cabinets what is best for your Modular kitchen?

Looking to modernize or give your drab, outdated kitchen a fresh look? When it comes to remodeling a Modular kitchen, there is a ton of possibilities on the market. But you may limit your choices based on a few factors, like color, cabinet style, material, and more. You can still choose the kind of kitchen you wish to design by deciding between inset or overlay kitchen cabinets.

The appearance and atmosphere of a home can be completely altered by a kitchen cabinet. Your Modular kitchen can be significantly different depending on whether you use inset or overlay cabinets. However, in order to choose wisely and know which type would complement your space, you must learn more about inset and overlay cabinets.

As one of Salem’s top designers of modular kitchens, we have assisted numerous customers in creating their ideal kitchens. We’ll give you a better grasp of both types of kitchen cabinets in this post, along with their advantages and disadvantages.

What is the Inset cabinet door?

When closed, Inset Cabinet Doors are flush with the cabinet face because they are set into the cabinet frame. A door pull or knob is required to open the cabinet because the door is flat with the rest of the cabinet. The hinges on this kind of door can be hidden or visible. Many people prefer inset cabinets because of their sleek, modern design, however, inset doors have a cost associated with them.

The cost is 15–30% higher than for overlay doors. These doors have a few additional considerations in addition to the price increase. The least amount of storage space is provided by cabinets with inset doors, which makes it occasionally challenging to store heavy objects. In addition, the expansion of wood brought on by high humidity levels can occasionally result in friction between the door and the frame.

What is the Overlay cabinet door?

Full Overlay Doors provide an appearance akin to inset doors without being as expensive. They provide the flat cabinet front that is needed in inset cabinets since they completely cover the cabinet face. Full overlay cabinets offer the most storage with room for goods like pots and pans because they are not installed inside the cabinet frame. Full overlay double doors do not have a vertical stile on the face frame, which increases storage capacity and makes it simpler to access objects that are stored. Pulls or knobs are required since cabinet doors are spaced only 1/4 inch apart.

Overlay cabinet doors come in two types

  • Partial overlay cabinets are the most popular and affordable option. The door rests on the face of the cabinet, leaving a “gap” between them of typically 1 to 1 1/4 inches that makes it possible to see the face frame of the cabinet. These cabinet doors don’t need any hardware to open since there is finger room on the sides of the doors. Partial overlay cabinets are still a common choice and an excellent alternative for many kitchens, especially if money is a consideration. They have a more conventional appearance.
  • Full overlay cabinet doors are located outside of the cabinet frame. On overlay cabinets, you can use either hidden or visible hinges; however, if you choose to use entire overlay doors, you must use hidden hinges.

Let’s see which one is better?

With lovely results, you can select either inset cabinets or overlay cabinets. Choosing the ideal one for you depends on personal preference even though there are visible variations between the two.


Compared to partial overlay cabinets, inset cabinets offer a more traditional appearance with crisper lines. Inset cabinets seem identical to full overlay cabinets, and any gaps brought on by wood expanding and contracting are less noticeable. Although they look less upscale than full overlay and inset cabinets, partial overlay cabinets don’t need hardware because there is a space between the cabinet doors.

Choices and Personalization

The tweaks and settings are where you can really express your personal flair. You will have the choice to personalize inset and overlay cabinets, but you should expect to pay more for inset cabinets if you’re weighing the benefits and drawbacks of frameless cabinets or deciding whether to add face frame cabinets. You can use either hidden or visible hinges with inset cabinets; you must use hidden hinges with full overlay. Both styles can be customized with hardware, but only partial overlay cabinets can do without knobs and pull because they are so simple to open without them.


The kind of material you select has a big impact on how long your cabinets will last. The most resilient material is hardwood, whereas particleboard is at the other extreme of the scale. However, because the doors of inset cabinets lie inside the face frame, you’re more likely to scratch them than overlay cabinets when it comes to nicks and scratches.


In terms of price, inset cabinets typically run between 15% and 30% higher than overlay cabinets. Inset cabinets typically need more customizing than overlay cabinets, and they typically require more upkeep as the wood expands and contracts to keep them from adhering or gaping.

Self-installation simplicity and suitability

Inset cabinets are more challenging to DIY than overlay cabinets because they require customization and accuracy—and only allow for a 1/8-inch space between the doors and frame. Overlay cabinet installation is a DIY project as long as you have all the necessary equipment and supplies. You can always get assistance from a local cabinet installation expert if you don’t feel confident.


Overlay cabinets are the greatest option if you have a small kitchen. They give additional room to store larger goods because they’re offset from the face rather than nestling within it.

Arrival Time

Delivery of overlay cabinets often takes less time than that inset cabinets. Inset cabinets can often take months to create since they require additional labor. However, custom overlay cabinets can be created by cabinetmakers in a matter of days, and you won’t necessarily require a professional to install them.

Whether you choose the more traditional design of inset doors or the classic appeal of partial overlay doors, your kitchen will reflect your personal taste and bring you years of satisfaction. There is only YOUR choice; there is no right or incorrect decision. You won’t go wrong if you choose one that you will be happy with for years to come. Visit our Kitchen design experts at LeFreddo-