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The Difference Between Framed and Frameless Cabinets

difference between framed and frameless cabinetsWhen choosing cabinets for your new kitchen, before you consider color and door style, you’ll first need to decide on the type of construction, which is divided into two main categories: framed and frameless. Each style has its own characteristics, along with pros and cons. So, it’s important to understand what they are before so you can select cabinetry that best suits your needs.

Framed Cabinets

Framed cabinets are what are referred to as the traditional choice, being a staple in kitchen design for decades. As their name indicates, they feature a frame around the front of the cabinet box that serves as structural support. This frame design feature also lends a more traditional look to the cabinet doors.

framed cabinetPros 

  • Versatility. Available in a wide range of styles, wood types, and finishes, framed cabinets allow for greater customization to fit your aesthetic.
  • Durability. The frame provides the cabinet structure with stability and strength, making the cabinets more durable.
  • Traditional. The visible hinges and framed detailing evoke a more classic American look, which many find cozy and homey.


  • Less Storage Space. Because the frame surrounds the cabinet openings, it slightly reduces the storage area.
  • Limited Access. The face frame can also impede your access to the interior of the cabinet, particularly in smaller cabinets. 
  • Small Lip. The frame forms a little lip so that the shelf is slightly below the frame making it more difficult to remove items.

Frameless Cabinets

Frameless cabinets have a more sleek, contemporary appearance. Common in Europe for quite some time, they are gaining more popularity in the United States. Instead of a face frame, the doors and drawers are attached to the edges of the cabinet box with hinges anchored to the cabinet side walls.


  • More Interior Space. Because there is no face frame, there is more accessible storage, which makes them particularly good for storing larger items.
  • Easy to Clean. The lack of a frame means no crevices or corners where dirt and grease can accumulate, so they are easier to maintain.
  • Modern Aesthetic. These cabinets’ clean, minimalistic lines make them ideal for those seeking a more contemporary design.


  • Require Full Overlays. Not having a frame means that you cannot choose semi-overlay or inset doors. You are limited to a full overlay.
  • Installation Challenges. Having the hinges mounted on the sides of the cabinets makes installation a bit trickier. Plus, without a face frame, precise measurements and alignment is crucial. These are best installed by a team with frameless expertise.

Choosing Between Framed and Frameless Cabinets

Each type of cabinet has its own distinct advantages. Deciding between framed and frameless cabinets comes down to your preferred style, storage needs, and budget, as frameless cabinets tend to be slightly more expensive due to their construction. 

If you live in the Rockland County, New York and Bergen County, NJ area and are planning to build your dream kitchen, come visit our showroom and see all the cabinet options we have available from the nation’s top cabinet manufacturers.

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