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Understanding Cabinet Lingo for Your Kitchen

Understanding Cabinet Lingo for Your Kitchen

If you're planning a kitchen cabinet remodel, get ready for an education in terminology on your array of cupboards. From boxes, faces, doors, drawers and materials to decorative patterns, hardware and finishes, the variety of options available can numb the mind. Let's discuss the two most important elements of cabinetry that drive the overall style of your kitchen: door mounting and popular face styles.

How Cabinet Doors are Mounted

With the exception of customized products, you have three door mounting options: inset, partial overlay and full overlay. This refers to how the doors interact with the face frame, which is the vertical strips between cabinet openings to which the hinges are attached and include the horizontal strips along the tops and bottoms.

Inset: Inset doors fill the space inside the face frame and remain flush with it. Like a window in a wall, the frame surrounds the door or drawer face. Usually, the barrels (spines) of the door hinges will be visible. 

Partial Overlay: Partial overlay systems have the doors mounted to the outside of the face frame with noticeable spaces around them. Because much of the frame remains exposed, they're typically clad with the same materials as the faces of the doors and drawers. Alternatively, the frames may sport a different but complementary finish to offset the doors. The hinges in partial overlay cabinets can be hidden on the inside.

Full Overlay: In a full overlay system, the doors and drawer faces cover the entire frame at top and bottom and leave only a minimal amount of space between faces for functionality. In this way, the cabinet doors and drawers render the frames invisible except when open. In full overlay cabinets, the hinges must be mounted on the inside for lack of room on the exterior of the doors.

Shaker style doors have a simple frame of four slats around the exterior, lending some depth and shadow. This feature is so classic that it never goes out of fashion.

Cabinet Door Face Styles

Because they tend to cover a lot of territory, the surface of the cabinets most always anchors the style of the kitchen. Some popular styles of cabinet doors include:

Slab: Slab, or flat, doors and drawers offer no surface extras. As the name implies, no added styling details, except maybe hardware, texture the front of the cabinetry. Elegant in their simplicity, slab doors define a modern, graceful kitchen especially in a full overlay arrangement.

Shaker: Shaker style doors have a simple frame of four slats around the exterior, lending some depth and shadow. This feature is so classic that it never goes out of fashion.

Mullion Glass: Mullion glass doors lend transparency and a sense of old-world charm to a kitchen. With the glass divided by mullions into smaller panes, the doors add a great deal of interest to the space. Glass options range from transparent to opaque and can serve as accents or as the complete door system.

At Kitchen Tune-Up, we can help you choose the perfect cabinet system for your tastes and budget. Check our blog, try our design tool, then give us a call to schedule your free consultation today.

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