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Inset cabinet doors. What are the inset kitchen cabinets benefits?

October 04, 2022 | Updated on: October 04, 2022

Dark brown  inset cabinets in the kitchen

Inset kitchen cabinets are cabinets that are created to fit perfectly in the frame. The world of kitchen cabinetry is characterized by a wide variety of cabinet designs. Some are quite indistinguishable from one another but there are also those that stand out and look quite like any other. Inset cabinets in the kitchen are often mistaken for shaker cabinets

The best way to describe kitchen cabinets inset is that it is the complete opposite of overlay cabinets. The doors of an overlay cabinet sit on top of the frame whereas inset cabinetry kitchens are flush with the frame. Custom inset cabinets create a sense of opulence and grandeur in a kitchen space. If you want to create a kind of traditional ambiance in your kitchen, then having inset cabinets in your kitchen would be a great idea. Keep reading this blog as we unravel other significant characteristics of inset cabinets.

Inset cabinet door styles

unfinished wood inset cabinet drawers

Perhaps the most common feature that would instantly distinguish inset cabinets is the inset cabinet doors. Inset doors cabinets are flushed with the frame which creates a somehow streamlined appeal. Kitchen cabinet inset doors can be customized according to one’s own preferences. Cabinets with inset doors celebrate the heritage and elegance of the traditional era. It keeps the interior style of the past timeless and relevant.


Kitchen Cabinets


If inset door kitchen cabinets catch you, you should look into the construction method of inset frame cabinets and the different inset door cabinets design. Here are a few options for you to choose from.

  1. Flush inset cabinets

Flush inset kitchen cabinets are cabinets that are set into the frame so that when you close the cabinet, the entire door goes perfectly into the frame creating a flat surface. Doors and handles are necessary for kitchen cabinets' flush inset doors to be open. Inset flush cabinets are common in traditional and transitional homes. 

  1. Inset face frame cabinets

Framed inset cabinets are the type of cabinets that shows the full view of the cabinet’s frame. Face frame inset cabinets only have minimal gaps on the edges or framing components. Face frame inset kitchen cabinets are also easier to install compared to other types of inset cabinets. 

  1. Beaded inset kitchen cabinets

Beaded ones refer to the type of inset cabinets that has an additional decorative element. It is more detailed and ornamental than any other cabinet type. A tiny groove with a rounded edge that has been cut into the wood is known as a bead detail on the inset beaded cabinets. The doors and drawers that are framed by the bead,  create double frame inset cabinets with bead effect.

  1. Inset drawer fronts

Inset cabinet drawers give a fancy, streamlined, and more expensive look to your kitchen. Having inset drawer fonts offers a lot of advantages. Aside from their clean aesthetics, inset drawers are also more efficient to use. Their pulling and pushing mechanisms are brilliant because the gaps allow the drawer to be drawn and closed with very minimal effort.

Most popular inset style cabinets

White inset cabinets with a black island in a chic kitchen

The style of kitchen cabinets with inset doors came from the past. Their popularity started during the Georgian and Victorian eras where Regency-styled interior was sought-after by many homeowners. To this day, inset door kitchen cabinets remain a timeless feature that can be integrated into both traditional and modern interior spaces to evoke a sense of nostalgic vibe and an undeniable charm. 

Regardless of whether you want a traditional look or a modern look, inset cabinets can give your kitchen a fresh new look. If you're looking to add some flair to your kitchen, you should go with one of these styles:

  • Shaker inset cabinets

When it comes to charm and aesthetics, nothing can beat inset shaker cabinets. The shaker-style inset cabinets are a traditional visual element and design that captured the hearts of the previous era. Today, inset shaker-style cabinets remain a favorite among many homeowners, interior designers, and interior architects. If you want to create an attractive look in your kitchen but at the same time show some hints of a Victorian or Georgian house, then consider replacing your entire cabinetry with inset shaker kitchen caibnets.

  • Modern inset cabinets

Modern inset kitchen cabinets are having a moment in the interior design. With contemporary and minimalist interior designs being considered timeless interior styles, many people would prefer to have streamlined and sleek-looking cabinetry that they can complement with different interior decoration compositions. Inset slab cabinets can also be found easily and there are also pre-fabricated ones available in stores. If you want timeless cabinetry that would last for a long period of time and still look trendy, go for inset flat panel cabinets.

  • White inset cabinets

Wondering what color, you should paint your inset cabinets with? Go for white first if you are not quite sure. As we all know, white is a versatile color that can be accentuated with any other bold bright colors. White oak inset cabinets suit well in modern and minimalist kitchens. White shaker inset kitchen cabinets on the other hand are common in rustic chic and farmhouse kitchens. For people who are renovating or upgrading their kitchens for the very first time, you’ll never go wrong if you choose white inset kitchen cabinets.

Inset cabinets vs full overlay

Beautiful kitchen interior with inset cabinetry

The questions we often get asked a lot are: What is the best cabinet for my kitchen? Is it inset or overlay cabinets? While inset upper cabinets and inset base cabinets look harmonious and do not overwhelm the space, they can be easily combined with other styles. Face frame overlay and inset cabinets have certain distinctions. Refer to the table below to find out what distinguishes inset vs full overlay cabinets.

Inset cabinets

Full overlay cabinets

Doors are flat and flush with the cabinet frame

Doors are flat but sit on top of the frame

Costs more but depending on the scope of the project

Cost less than inset cabinets

Takes longer to deliver

Has two varieties: Partial and full overlay

Whether you are renovating or simply upgrading your cabinetry, it is important that you make the right choice when choosing cabinetry. Remember that it is an investment and can be a very costly one. Therefore, you should make a good and informed decision. 

Hinges and hardware for inset cabinets

inset cabinets with no-show hinges and knobs

The variety of hinges for inset cabinets may appear to be limitless, but the kind of cabinet and door style you are working with may greatly reduce your options. From there, you can start to focus on unique features, designs, and finishes in accordance with your requirements, stylistic choices, and the design of your home. People often wonder what are the best hinges for inset door cabinets. Because of the many options, it may be challenging to select the best one especially if you are new to the world of hinges and cabinet hardware. 

There are decorative strap hinges for inset door cabinets. You can also convert inset cabinets to no-show hinges. Invisible hinges for inset face frame cabinets are becoming common in minimalist and contemporary kitchens where everything has to be sleek and clean. However, many still go for inset cabinets with exposed hinges because of other advantages that it brings such as efficiency, convenience, and functionality. If you don’t know what hinge to buy for your inset cabinets go for the most common one. The most popular hinges for inset door cabinets are inset European and butt hinge or surface mount.

Pros and cons of inset cabinets

Choosing inset cabinets is a good idea. But remember that its efficiency and the overall feature will only be suitable if it fits your demands and needs in the kitchen. Take a look at several pros and cons of inset cabinets so you can make a better and informed decision.



There are RTA inset cabinets available which make it easier for homeowners who are renovating and need to finish the renovation fast. 

It’s a bit challenging to find affordable inset cabinets. Typically, they usually cost 15% more than average cabinetry types.

Inset cabinets acquires less damage and scratches because the doors are flush and they don’t stick out except for the countertop overhang for inset cabinets.

Other problems with inset cabinets are that they may expand over time because of humidity and moisture.

Semi-custom inset cabinets are usually very well made and handcrafted because they require very detailed and meticulous work.

Might have a lesser storage space compared to other cabinets.


Article by:

Valentina Melnikova - Lead Designer at Cut2Size

Office 403.366.7411

Hi there! I’m a millwork designer and an owner of a kitchen cabinet manufacturing company. With a team of professionals, I work on designing and manufacturing high-end millwork. Combining professional designing and manufacturing skills is what allows us to develop and translate our plans into a reality through our uniqueness and exclusive ideas. Our employees are highly skilled and creative thinkers that also utilize their professionalism and experience to take millwork to the next level. I’m very familiar with the industry and I take on each project from the design to the final product. With that said, if you’re looking for design advice or technician help, you’re in the right place.