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Distinguishing Differences in Kitchen Cabinetry 

Distinguishing Differences in Kitchen Cabinetry

By Associates in Building + Design
Published November 28, 2017

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In the kitchen, the cabinetry is the most prominent and defining feature of the room. Finding the perfect style that fits your needs, as well as the style of the home, is not an easy task. When our clients are choosing the design of their cabinets, we often ask them, “Do you need space to store a complete dinner set? Do you need to display cookbooks or china, but don’t want exposed shelves? Do you prefer the minimalist look of slab cabinets, or would you rather have a more traditional shaker-style?”

Our ABD in-house showroom provides clients with products and knowledge in an all-inclusive setting so that we can show examples of their cabinet options as we go. However, for many of our clients, this is the first time they’ve been asked such detailed questions about their cabinetry, and it can be overwhelming! So, if you’re planning a home remodel or are building a new home, and have limited cabinetry knowledge, this blog is for you. Here is a quick breakdown of the basics of understanding cabinetry terms.

Framed CabinetsThere are two types of cabinet construction to choose from: classic American framed and European-style frameless. Framed cabinetry resembles a flat picture frame that is attached to the front of an open cabinet, adding extra dimension around doors. With framed cabinetry, the cabinet doors are secured to the frame for strength and sturdiness and depending on the frame face and shelving, there are many design possibilities for creating a custom look. Framed cabinetry is found in most standard new construction homes in kitchens and bathrooms and is typically a less-expensive option, but can limit accessibility due to the frame itself.

European-style cabinets are frameless with straight lines, and the emphasis is always on maximizing space. Considered a more modern approach, frameless cabinetry allows full access to the interior space with no bars or frames taking up room. Cabinets often appear larger as the doors are bigger, and you can typically achieve a much cleaner look with frameless cabinets. The biggest difference in frameless cabinetry is that the doors are hinged directly to the cabinet box itself instead of a frame.

A homeowner can choose from a variety of styles, colors and wood types of cabinets, but they also have the option to consider whether they want standard overlay or full overlay. What’s the difference? Standard overlay cabinets tend to be less expensive with a more exposed frame and do not require hardware because there is enough space to open the door from the side. Full overlay cabinets have a more custom look and require hardware for opening. The additional benefit of double-door cabinets with full overlay is the fact they do not have a vertical face frame stile between the two doors, allowing for larger items to be stored.

Depending on the architectural style of the home and the taste preference of the client, there are dozens of different cabinet face styles to choose from. Slab, flat panel, shaker, raised panel, or beaded panel door styles are all popular.

Shaker Style Cabinets“In Colorado, shaker is king,” stated Heather Schreiner, General Manager and Interior Designer at ABD. “White is still very popular, but we are seeing a lot of wood and maples coming back all of a sudden.”

The choice of cabinet hardware is a detail that makes a strong statement. Hardware can either blend in with the cabinetry or serve as a decorative accent, and it can dramatically change the look and feel of any space. With the hundreds of materials, finishes, shapes and sizes to choose from, it can be overwhelming. There are a few key things to keep in mind as you make your selection: you always want to ensure that your choice is proportionate to the size of the cabinet door, attaches firmly to the cabinet itself and has a secure grip that doesn’t pinch your fingers or hands.

As custom home builders, remodelers and interior designers, our team knows a little about kitchen design. If you’re thinking of redesigning your kitchen, your cabinetry is one of the first things to consider. Our ABD team is here to help! Visit us online today at