When it comes to kitchen cabinet renovations, one of the most crucial choices you'll make is which type of cabinet doors to choose. Inset and overlay cabinet doors are two of the most popular options, but it can be hard to choose between them.

In this article, we'll take a closer look at inset and overlay cabinet doors, compare their benefits and drawbacks, and help you decide which are suitable for your home.

Inset Cabinet Doors

Inset cabinet doors fit perfectly into the cabinet frame and usually have concealed or exposed hinges but no door handle, so a knob is necessary to open them. Some people prefer this cabinet door because of its smooth and clean look; the fittings of inset cabinet doors are so precise that they easily appear to be custom-made for your home.

One downside is that inset cabinet doors cost 15% to 30% more than overlay options, and if you live in a humid climate, you’ll have to keep an eye on moisture levels, as they can cause these doors to swell and warp over time, which may make opening and closing them difficult.

If you have enough budget for a sleek, modern look for your kitchen cabinets, inset cabinet doors may be the right choice.


  • Have a sleek look due to minimal visible lines
  • Easy to clean
  • Appear tailored or custom-made
  • Take up no exterior space


  • More expensive than other types of doors
  • Less durable because they are set in the frame and do not sit on top of it
  • Offer slightly less storage space, making it harder to store larger items
  • May not be suitable for a humid climate

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Overlay Cabinet Doors

Overlay cabinet doors sit on top of the frame rather than being set into it, giving a slightly raised look that many homeowners find more traditional and inviting. You can integrate overlay cabinets into almost any kitchen design, depending on your door style. Overlay cabinets come in two varieties: full and partial.

Full overlay doors cover the entire face frame of the cabinet, while partial overlay doors only cover part of it. Because they aren't set into the frame of the cabinet, these doors offer more storage space than inset doors. These are usually a less expensive option, as there isn't much additional hardware necessary to install these kinds of doors.


  • Cheaper than inset cabinet doors
  • Offer more storage space
  • Can be used for both framed and frameless cabinets
  • Offer a contemporary and modern feel


  • Not as high-end as inset cabinets
  • Can chip or wear more quickly due to exposed corners

How to Choose the Right Type of Cabinet Door

Know Your Budget

Various materials and styles are available for cabinet doors, and the price can vary significantly from one option to the next. By knowing your spending limit from the start and selecting the right door for your budget, you can ensure you get the look you want without overspending.

Consider the Style of Your Home

The wrong door type can make your home feel dated or unaligned with your overall kitchen aesthetic, but the correct kind of door can help your home feel inviting, stylish, and welcoming.

Determine How Much Storage Space You Need

Apart from aesthetics, it is best to consider function. When choosing cabinet doors, it's essential to consider how much storage space you'll need, depending on the types and sizes of materials you need. plays a big part in ensuring that your cabinet doors are both stylish and functional.

In Summary

When deciding on the type of cabinet for your home, there is no wrong choice–it all comes down to personal preference. It's crucial to know the look you want to achieve while also considering practical factors like your budget, the overall aesthetic of your kitchen, and the required storage space.

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