Cabinet Styles & Finishes


Cabinet Styles and Options

When it comes to remodeling your kitchen or bathroom, a major component of a successful renovation is replacing your cabinets. Cabinets come in a vast array of styles and options, each with their own unique benefits — both practical and stylistic.

When hiring a contractor to begin your home remodel, take some time to understand what type of cabinets are available for your renovation.

Payne & Payne Renovations and Design is a family-owned, full-service design and build firm that handles your project from beginning to end. If you are considering a kitchen or bathroom remodel, talk to our team about the array of cabinet options available.

From how the cabinet is constructed to the possibilities of organization customization, there are a number of decisions to make when you upgrade your home’s cabinetry. The following guide will cover some choices to make as you select your new cabinets!


Framed vs. Frameless

At the base of every cabinet is the carcass and, on some models, the frame. The carcass also called a carcass, is often made of plywood and is the core of the cabinet. If you were to remove all of the drawers, fronts, and hardware, the structure left is the carcass.

Depending on the style of cabinet, the carcass might also have a frame attached. One of the main distinguishers between cabinet styles is whether the cabinet is framed or frameless. Both cabinet styles offer their own unique benefits and design options.


Framed or Inset

Framed cabinets are a common style of cabinet, most often utilized in the United States. These American-style cabinets are designed by first building a frame, which allows for easy installation of doors and drawers.

Framed cabinets begin with the creation of what is essentially a box. This framed box is then used as the starting point for the construction of the rest of the cabinetry. Depending on the type of cabinet, the doors will either be installed with the frame still showing, or the cabinet doors will completely cover the frame.

Another option for framed cabinets is inset cabinet doors. These doors are set into the frame and fit flush with the cabinet. If an inset door is utilized, cabinet doors or knobs will be necessary to ensure that the door can be easily opened. The hinges on this style of cabinetry can be either flush or exposed.

On the other hand, if you opt for overlay doors, you will be able to choose from partial overlays or full overlays.


Partial Overlay vs. Full Overlay

Unlike an inset door, which reveals the whole frame, an overlay style covers up part of the frame with the door. These doors are placed over the top of the frame, resting outside of the initial box build. Full overlay doors will cover the entire frame, whereas partial overlays will expose a small portion of the frame.

If you have seen cabinet doors with gaps between the left and right door, this is a partial overlay. Full overlay Cabinets doors will rest flush against each other.

A benefit of both partial and full overlay cabinet doors is that they offer the most storage space. Another pro of choosing partial overlay or full overlay cabinets is the ease of installation. An exposed hinge can be attached to the cabinet frame, and the door can easily be affixed to the front of the frame.



A less common style of cabinet in the United States is the frameless cabinet. This is a sleek cabinet style that is extremely popular in Europe. For this reason, these cabinets are commonly referred to as Eurostyle cabinets.

Frameless cabinets are not built on-site, but rather are ordered as a full piece. These cabinets offer a modern design with a large amount of interior space. Without the use of a frame, these single-unit cabinets provide full access to the interior and often feature deep drawers.

The drawback to a frameless cabinet is that fewer modifications can be made. These are generally constructed in a factory, at which point the material and finish can be chosen. Outside of these choices, once a frameless cabinet is installed in your home, it will be difficult to change the structure of the unit.


Cabinet Door and Drawer Front Options

One of the most distinguishing features of cabinets is the style of door and drawer fronts chosen. From sleek modern styles to traditional panels, picking out the right cabinet door or drawer front can help tie your redesign together.


Raised Panel

A popular, traditional style of cabinet door and drawer front is the raised panel door. This front features a singular rectangular panel that is raised above the rest of the door or drawer front. This is commonly used with painted or stained wood cabinets.


Recessed Panel

Similar to a raised panel door, a recessed panel is a single rectangular section that is inset in the front of the door or drawer. This creates a contemporary look for the room and works well with an array of finish choices.


Slab or Flat Front

For the modern kitchen or bathroom, a slab or flat front door is an excellent choice. This style features one solid piece of wood or chosen material, creating a sleek and smooth design. These cabinet doors often feature an inset or fully concealed hinge. This provides the ultimate minimalist look.


Glass Front

Glass fronts are a cabinet door style that allows you to see the interior of your cabinets, even when the doors are closed. The glass usually rests within a wooden frame and is most often utilized for upper-level cabinets in a kitchen. While these cabinets are popular in country-style homes, they do require that your cabinets are kept organized and clean.


Types of Box Construction

Not only are there an array of options available for the type of cabinet fronts and door installation methods you choose, but there are also different styles of box construction utilized to build out cabinetry. From the joints used to the drawer slides installed, each detail of the initial construction of your cabinets will both play a practical role in the use of your cabinets, as well as offer you options for the style of the room.


Common Joint Types

One distinctive component of box construction is the style of joint utilized. Some joint styles are crafted to contribute to the overall design of the cabinet, such as a stunning dovetail joint. Others are designed to be sleek and unnoticed, such as the mortise and tenon. When choosing between joint types, the following are some of the most common styles utilized in cabinetry:
• Mortise and Tenon
• Dovetail
• Finger
• Bridle
• Tongue and Groove
• Miter-Lock Joints


Material Types

Once you have chosen the joint style for your cabinets, another distinguishing feature of the initial box construction will be the type of material utilized. Different materials offer different practical benefits and aesthetic design. The following are common materials for cabinet construction:
• Hardwood
• Fiberboard
• Venner


Drawer Slide Options

A less noticeable feature of your cabinets’ construction is the drawer slide utilized. While you might not spend much time admiring the slides installed, they will play a huge role in how well the drawers work for your needs.

Also called drawer runners, this hardware is what allows drawers to move in and out of the cabinet frame.

Depending on the style of drawers you choose, the slides might be mounted along the sides of the drawer, along the center of the unit, or underneath the sides. The length of the drawer runners will also be dependent on the size of your drawers and the amount to which they extend. In some cases, your drawer will be able to extend fully, while other drawers only extend around three-quarters of the way out. Drawer slides also play a critical role in how much weight the drawer can hold. For large appliance drawers, a higher
maximum load capacity will be required. Another way to customize the functionality of your drawer slides is by choosing between the mechanism style. Common slides include wooden, roller, and ball-bearing slides.

Finally, one of the distinguishing features in the practical use of your drawer slides is how they close. The following are all popular choices for drawer closing styles:

Lock-In: Lock-in, also known as lock-out drawers, feature a slide mechanism that allows the drawer to be locked in place. This is ideal for heavier appliance drawers.

Soft-Close: A popular upgrade to cabinets is soft-close. This is available for both soft- close doors and drawers. These mechanisms ensure that drawers and doors never slam shut by gently softening the closing process.

Push-to-Open: Similar to lock in place drawers, push to open drawers remain closed unless pressure is applied. These are often utilized for frameless cabinets, as they do not require any knobs or handles for opening. The end result is a sleek and minimalist style.


Door Hinges

When constructing cabinets, another important feature will be the type of hinges utilized on the cabinet doors. These hinges will play a role in how easily the doors open and close, as well as contributing to the overall cabinetry style. From traditional overlay hinges to sleek inset hinges, this practical hardware can be customized to offer the perfect meld of function and design.


Common door hinge styles include the following:
• Wrap-Around Hinges
• Semi-Concealed
• Surface Mount
• Inset Hinges
• Overlay Hinges

From the hinges you choose to the style of joints holding the cabinetry together, your contractor can help ensure that no detail is left out of the initial construction of your cabinets during your remodel.


Cabinet and Drawer Organization Options
Ultimately, your cabinets and drawers are there to help you keep your home organized and your countertops clean. As you invest in new cabinets and drawers, consider the organization customizations that you can implement to make your cabinets even more practical in use.

Appliance Garages
If you own large appliances, such as bulky mixers, an appliance garage allows you to easily tuck your appliances away from sight. These garages feature a counter level cabinet with a roll down or pull down door where an appliance can be stored without being visible. When in use, the door can be slid up and the appliance can be quickly pulled out.

Cutlery Inserts
A wonderful feature for kitchen drawers is a cutlery insert. These inserts are a built-in storage space for your cutlery, allowing for quick organization of forks, spoons, and knives. They can be customized to be detachable or to be a permanent fixture.

Lazy Susan Drawers
A classic kitchen feature, lazy Susan drawers and cabinets are often tucked into the corner section of the room, creating a more usable space. These drawers and cabinets swivel out with platforms that make it simple to access any stored items.

Swing-Up Appliance Platforms
A swing-up appliance platform acts as both storage space and a useful add-on to your countertop. These platforms articulate, allowing you to pull them out when you want to use an appliance and swivel them back in after use.

Pull-Out Pantry
For those who tire of digging through cabinets to find the right spice or canned good, a pull- out pantry is a must. These organizational pieces feature platforms that can be pulled out of a cabinet. From there, you can quickly access stored items.

Finish Options

When it comes to the design of your cabinets, there is perhaps no option that is more notable than the finish you choose for the outside of the cabinets. From a traditional farm- style paint finish to a modern stain, the finish you choose will play a big role in the overall look of the room.

Paint: Paint is one of the most versatile options for finishing your cabinets. Applied over wood cabinets, this option will allow you to pick any color you want to match any design scheme. Not only is paint a versatile choice, but it is easy to change later if you ever look to revamp the style of the room.

Stain: For high-quality hardwood cabinets, stain is a wonderful option. Stain simply protects the cabinets and enhances the natural grain of the wood.

Chalk Paint: A fun finish option is to utilize chalk paint on the exterior of one or a few of your cabinets. This allows you to create lists and leave notes throughout thekitchen.


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