Dennis Serge: Cabinet Overlay

Dennis Serge, Designer at Kitchen Views in Mansfield, MA

In this era of instant communication and access to just about anything on the Internet, I have noticed that the customers who come into our showrooms are much more well versed regarding cabinet terminology and construction features than they ever have been before. I have also noticed, however, that there still seems to be confusion in some people’s minds when it comes to discussing cabinet “overlay”.

Basically, there are three terms to remember, standard or partial overlay, full overlay, and inset. In all three, the cabinet box size does not change — the differences are in the size of the doors and drawer fronts.


Partial Frame Overlay

When viewing standard overlay cabinets, the front frames of the cabinetry are visible around the doors and drawer fronts. This is also sometimes referred to as a traditional overlay and is still a popular choice, particularly in older, more vintage homes. It also has the advantage of being the least expensive option.


Full Framed Overlay

On full overlay cabinetry, the doors and drawer fronts are over-sized and virtually all of the cabinet framework is hidden by them. Although a more expensive option than the standard overlay, there are two advantages to this construction. First is accessibility. Full overlay cabinets with double doors do not have a center stile between the doors as part of the frame that you need to reach around or behind. Many customers are very appreciative of this feature. Also, most manufacturers will offer a wider variety of door styles to choose from in full overlay than they do in standard.


Inset Overlay

Inset doors are the most expensive of the three options, and until recently were usually available only from the manufacturers of custom cabinetry. In this option, the doors and drawer fronts do not overlay the cabinet frames at all. Rather, as the name suggests, they are inset flush with the cabinet frame. This can create some dramatic effects and the rich look of fine furniture.

Let your Kitchen Views design professional help choose the overlay style that is right for your tastes, your home, and your budget.

Dennis Serge
Showroom Manager
Kitchen Views at National Lumber
71 Maple St
Mansfield, MA 02048
Tel: 508-339-8020 x 5617

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