Inset Cabinets Vs. Overlay: All You Need To Know About Cabinets

Inset Cabinets Vs. Overlay

Building or renovating a house is a daunting task. There are several decisions that you have to make when deciding about house furnishing.

In these decisions, you’ll have to choose the type of cabinet for your house. The most popular cabinets are the insert and overlay cabinets.

When it comes to cabinetry, you will have to think about the style and color. But this is not where the decision-making stops.

You also have to choose how you want the drawers and doors to be put on the cabinet. The cabinet doors can only be put in three ways: partial Overlay, Full Overlay, and inset. Decision-making is critical when it comes to building and renovations.

I hope the detailed information in this article will help you learn about the various cabinets and select the best one for your beautiful home. So let’s check out the two most popular cabinets.

Inset Cabinets Vs. Overlay

Inset Cabinets

The insert cabinets are pretty unique in their way. Its cabinet drawers and doors are usually set into the cabinet face frame.

The aim is to offer you a complete and perfect view of the frame. The spacing and gap between the cabinet components are always so minimal. The doors of the insert cabinet need knobs to open.

It’s because the door is always as flat as other parts of the cabinet, and you cannot grab it without the knob. The great thing about this type of door is that it offers options when it comes to hinges.

You can choose to either hide or expose the hinges. Many people are going for the inset cabinets today. They are perfect for various designs such as contemporary, transitional, and traditional.

The other great thing about the inset cabinet is that their appearance is clean and smooth. These cabinets are perfect for classic styling since they provide a distinctive and heritage look that many designers and homeowners desire.

However, the inset cabinets are pretty pricey. You will have to spend some extra dollars on this unique design and quality cabinet.

After paying the money, you will have to wait a bit longer for delivery. It’s because the cabinet needs extra craftsmanship. The price of the inset cabinets is about 15% to 30% higher than that of the Overlay.

Other than the great design and high price, there are things you need to know about the inset cabinet. These cabinets have limited storage space.

You won’t be able to store those large dinner dishes and other large items in this cabinet. There is also the issue of the expansion of the wood.

High humidity levels always cause this. The expansion leads to rubbing between the door and the frame.


Full Overlay Cabinets

The appearance of the full overlay cabinets is similar to that of the inset cabinets. The only huge difference between the two is the price.

The full overlay cabinets are way cheaper than the inset cabinets. Like the inset, the drawers and doors fully cover the cabinet’s face, which provides a flat front look that is similar to that of the inset.

Another great thing is that the full overlay cabinets offer an incredible amount of storage space. It’s the best choice for your basement bar, bathroom, and even laundry room.

For space, go for the double door. They do not have the vertical stile on the frame face, which offers extra space. Door knobs are also needed to be able to access the stored items.

If you need a cabinet that has a high-end look at a great price, then the full Overlay is the perfect choice for you.

Partial Overlay Cabinets

The partial cabinets are pretty standard, and this might be because they are cheap. This is a perfect choice if you need a cabinet to store items and do not want to spend heavily.

The partial Overlay does have a traditional look, plus it does not need any hardware. There is a gap because the door is placed on the cabinet space, allowing you to see the space.

It does offer ample storage space. The partial overlays are an excellent choice for the kitchen if you are under a tight budget. The only con of the partial cabinet is it does not have that high-end look like other cabinets.

The Importance Of A Great Cabinetry

Imagine what a designer kitchen, bathroom, or laundry should look like. Many of you are picturing shiny and new appliances that have great features.

What about the cabinetry? It’s one of the most critical additions in any room. It’s the cabinets that give the room an exquisite look or not.

Cabinetry is essential in your kitchen. It allows you to store various items from dishes to spices and many more. It also has a significant impact on kitchen design, look, and functionality.

Many people tend to choose the kitchen cabinets first before anything else. This is because it’s one of the most critical and essential investments. All in all, it’s the cabinetry that decides whether the design of the kitchen is excellent.

Why People Install New Cabinetry

The Existing Kitchen Design Is Outdated

This is among the significant reasons why many decide to remodel their kitchens or rooms. It’s easy to tell that your kitchen is outdated by looking at various issues.

Here are some of the issues you need to look into to know that your kitchen cabinetry needs an upgrade.

  • The looks

The look is the first and easiest thing to notice. You can know cabinetry is from the ’70s by simply looking at them.

The aesthetic influence of the cabinetry will not be as powerful as it was before. However, many styles of the cabinet do come back after some time.

Today you can find the most popular cabinet design was probably introduced in the ’60s. But the poorly maintained cabinets are simply old and cannot evoke the same feel.

Suppose you enter into your kitchen and feel like you are just in another past decade. Your kitchen certainly needs a quick fix.

Changing the cabinetry to a modern one will change the design and look of your kitchen. Go for the design that won’t get outdated too quickly.

  • Lacks safety measures

With technological advancements, the cabinets have also been transformed. Today many cabinet manufacturers make cabinets with switches and outlets.

They do come with GFCI outlets which are pretty crucial in ensuring safety. The GFCI outlets do shut down any abnormal electric flow. It’s a safety standard measure in your kitchen.

So if your cabinets do lack some of the modern features, you need to make an upgrade.

  • The appliances do not fit.

In the past decades, the designers made cabinets that would accommodate the appliances used during those days.

The layout was specific to the various appliances. Now you might have bought a new appliance like a refrigerator and cooker, and you notice they do not fit perfectly.

You will have to upgrade your kitchen cabinetry to fit the standard appliances that are made today.

The workflow of your kitchen is supposed to suit you. Plus, it would be best if you had modern cabinetry for your new appliance and configurations.

  • The storage does not fit your needs.

Today there are many appliances and utensils that need ample space for storage. In the olden days, the kitchen cabinetry did not have large spaces because the things to store were relatively less.

The only common things from the past are bowls, cups, and other essential utensils. Today we need enough cabinet space to store things like a stand mixer, electric pressure cooker, microwave, and many more.

Again the modern cabinets are quite an improvement. They come with built-in recipe cards, plastic wraps, and even knives. This specialized storage will surely be the perfect option for your modern kitchen.

It Doesn’t Fit Your Lifestyle.

The setting of modern families is quite different from that of traditional. Today we need kitchens with enough space for children to sit and play with toys or read while the parent cooks.

It makes it easier to monitor the tiny babies who cannot be left on their own. Today your kitchen space is limited and does not have extra space for activities like breakfast. You need to do something.

Again the cabinets should not block you from seeing your family or the television when cooking. In case of such issues, you have to consult with your designer for a quick fix.   


Deciding on the perfect type of cabinet can be a bit tricky. However, I can say that there is no wrong or right choice.

All you need to do when deciding is to go with the look that you love and a style that is within your budget frame.

With the information in this article, I hope you are now more confident in making a choice. The inset and the Overlay are the most popular cabinets today.

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Anything that concerns home improvement and gardening invariably mean that you have to give up on two things; your money and time! And depending on your home improvement project or size of your garden, you could spend even more. Well, the reason I am saying this is because I have been struck hard in the wallet. I own two homes (Well, I count myself lucky), and cherish both the same way. One is a tiny beach house (that’s what I like to call it), and the other is in the heart of California. Well, let me say I like making myself comfortable that’s why I embarked on a home improvement project that left a hole in a wallet, a whopping $70,000 gone, just like that. Keep Reading to know more.


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