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  • Writer's pictureEric Goetting, COO, Millwork

Front & Center: Shop Series Part 4

Choosing the face of your cabinets.

When it comes to the interior design of your home, first impressions count—and choosing the right fronts for your custom cabinets is one way to ensure that the impression your space makes is always a good one.

But first, what exactly do we mean by a “front”? As the name suggests, a front is basically everything you see on the front-facing portion of your cabinet, from doors and drawers to hinges and knobs. Think of a front as the “face” of your cabinet. Selecting a face for your project is one of the easier decisions you get to make because, in our experience, your choice comes down to two attractive options: Full Overlay or a Face Frame with Flush Insets.

Which one is right for you? Let’s review their features.

The sleek modernity of Full Overlay.

When you encounter cabinets with a Full Overlay style, you immediately notice the doors and drawer fronts positioned close together, with minimal gaps between them, creating a seamless and contemporary appearance. That’s because Full Overlay is all about the door, with no part of the frame visible from the front.

This modern and sleek design maximizes the front surface of the cabinets, bringing a visually appealing and streamlined look to your kitchen or any other space where custom cabinets reign.

With doors and drawers that completely cover the cabinet frame, Full Overlay cabinets comprise a

crucial component in any space seeking to establish a clean and modern tone. Closing all the doors and drawers creates a flush surface that gives everything a smooth and polished appearance. Hiding hardware like hinges and drawer slides maintains this modern, uncluttered feel.

Beyond its style, Full Overlay cabinets offer practical benefits. Completely covering the front of a cabinet with doors and drawers maximizes the storage space behind it. Additionally, Full Overlay cabinets are easy to clean, as their flush surface eliminates hidden nooks where dirt and grime can accumulate.

More frame means more options with Face Frame with Flush Insets.

As the name suggests, Face Frame with Flush Inset style cabinets showcase the frame of the cabinet with all its doors and drawers set inside that visible frame.

While providing the same flush and seamless appearance as Full Overlay cabinets, the Face Frame with Flush Inset cabinet style exudes a clean and classic look ideally suited for traditional or transitional kitchen designs. Its timeless appeal complements various interior styles, while the flush surface achieved when doors and drawers are closed creates a polished and cohesive appearance that elevates the sophistication of the space.

Features of this style include the visible face frame, as each cabinet proudly displays the frame around its front edges. Additionally, visible hinges and hardware provide a decorative touch and an opportunity to choose various hardware options that complement the space's overall design.

While Face Frame with Flush Inset cabinets offer a classic charm, it's worth noting that they provide slightly less storage space, as doors and drawers are set inside the face frame. They also require a little more effort when cleaning due to the edges and corners this design creates. A third difference between Overlay and Face Frame with Flush Inset is the cost, with the latter being more expensive due to the additional labor involved in its construction. The cost difference is not huge in most cases but when it comes to choosing the fronts that are right for your tastes, lifestyle, and budget, it’s important to consider every detail.

No wrong answers.

Choosing between Full Overlay and Face Frame with Flush Inset fronts offers another opportunity to personalize your kitchen or living space while expressing your unique taste and style. Ultimately, the decision rests with you, and that's the beauty of custom cabinets. Trust your instincts, evaluate your needs and priorities, and we’ll help you create something extraordinary.

Now that you've taken the first step in determining the perfect style for your cabinets, it's time to move on to the next exciting chapter. In our next post, we’ll dive into the world of custom cabinet finishes and their role in elevating whatever front style you choose into something truly special.


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