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  • Writer's pictureShenley Schenk

With So Many Options, What Cabinet Door and Drawer Overlay is Right for You?

Walking into a showroom with hundreds of door style options mounted on the wall can instantly be overwhelming! There are thousands of combinations of woods, stains, paints and styles! Lets start with understanding three common door and drawer overlays; traditional, full and inset. The overlay of a cabinet refers to how the door and drawer is displayed on the frame of the cabinet box. Your design professional can easily help you narrow down what frame style is right for you by considering the style of your home, kitchen or bathroom measurements, and budget.

Traditional Overlay

Traditional overlay, as displayed in the first image, exposes a 1/2" to 1" of the cabinet box frame, also known as the stile. This option is ideal for those with restricted spaces, as the exposed stile allows for easy opening and closing of doors and drawers, without hitting or rubbing against walls or other cabinets. Traditional overlay is also a great option for those looking for a less modern appeal. Consider this overlay if you are looking for a budget friendly cabinet, as they tend to be less in cost than full overlay or inset.

Full Overlay

Full overlay, as shown in the second image, seems to be the current trend and craze! With a full overlay style, the door or drawer of the cabinet completely covers the frame or stile. This allows for a sleek updated appeal. Although full overlay is the trend, it may not be right for all spaces. With full overlay doors, additional fillers are often needed against walls and varying cabinet depths, in order to allow the doors and drawers to properly function. Fillers will cut into the usable cabinet space, making full overlay doors and drawers less desirable in designs with small or tight spaces.


As shown in the third image, the inset style displays the door and drawer recessed into the cabinet box. This style brings back the classic built-in cabinet design that was once the desired look of wealth! As this is a higher end cabinet style, not all cabinet lines offer the option. This cabinet design is suitable for most spaces as the doors and drawers can properly function in most applications. Be a trend setter with this overlay option, as it just may become the most popular overlay option!

Don't let the endless options overwhelm you! Contact me to set your appointment to review what cabinet overlay is best for your space!

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