Kitchen Cabinets 101 Header

Kitchen Cabinet Style Guide: 3 Types of Cabinets Explained

Kitchen Cabinet Style Guide: The 3 Types of Cabinets Explained


The style of your cabinets is often the first thing that people will see when they walk into your kitchen. When making selections for a kitchen renovation, the type of cabinets you choose determines whether your kitchen will look traditional, transitional, or contemporary. When it comes to choosing what style of cabinet doors you like, you may not be aware of the myriad of different options available.  This Kitchen Cabinet Style Guide will help you through the process of choosing the best cabinets for your kitchen. 


Kitchen Cabinet Guide to Color Palettes


custom cabinets east greenwich rhode island
Custom kitchen cabinets in East Greenwich, RI. Photography by Aaron Usher III.

When deciding on an overall design style for your kitchen, your first choices will probably be cabinet door style and color — whether refacing, getting new cabinetry, or designing a custom set. There are many options when selecting your color palette. White is overall the most popular color, followed by various shades of wood stains. Current 2020 trends also include blue, green, grey, and two-toned cabinets. Deciding on a color palette early on will make it easier to make other selections such as countertops, appliances, wall colors, and flooring.


custom cabinetry in rhode island
Accent cabinets with glass fronts are the perfect choice for a custom bar set up. Photography by Aaron Usher III.

Kitchen Cabinet Types and Styles


The cabinet door design sets the tone and style for your entire kitchen. In this article, we will break our cabinet door guide up into three sections: cabinet construction, cabinet types, and cabinet door styles. Cabinet construction refers to a cabinet being framed or frameless. Cabinet types define the way the door sits on or in the cabinet frame. There are three types of cabinets: partial overlay, full overlay, and inset. Cabinet door styles are the specific way the door looks. There are many styles of cabinet doors available today. In this guide, we will dive into 7 popular styles of cabinets doors. 


Part 1: Cabinet Construction

The cabinet construction type refers to just the cabinet box, not the cabinet doors. There are two types of cabinet construction: framed and frameless.

Frame Cabinets have a frame that attaches to the front of the cabinet. The face-frame gives the cabinet box extra strength. Framed cabinets are usually found in traditional designs.

Frameless Cabinets do not have a face-frame. Frameless cabinets offer increased space for storage. They lend themselves well to contemporary and modern designs as they look more sleek.


framed vs frameless cabinets


3 Types of Kitchen Cabinets

There are three types of cabinets: partial overlay, full overlay, and inset. Each term is used to describe how the cabinet door or drawer sits on or in the cabinet frame. The three types of cabinets also represent different budgets and styles. Here is an overview of the three types of cabinets:


Partial Overlay (also known as “standard” or “traditional” overlay) cabinetry was the industry standard for many years. In Partial Overlay, the door only partially covers the cabinet face frame, exposing large portions of the frame. Since the doors and drawer fronts are smaller and use less material than full overlay, this style is often used to cut manufacturing costs. It is usually seen in traditional-style kitchens.


Partial Overlay cabinets are a budget-saving option usually found in older homes.


In full overlay cabinet styles, the doors and drawer fronts almost completely cover the cabinet face. This look enhances a contemporary, modern, or transitional style. The cost of full-overlay cabinetry is higher than partial overlay, as there is a greater amount of material used during manufacturing. Full overlay cabinets often do not have a vertical face frame stile between the two doors, which allows for easy storage of larger items.


kitchen cabinet remodel in rhode island
Full Overlay is a great choice for transitional, modern, or contemporary kitchens.

Finally, inset cabinetry is very different than partial and full overlay. In inset cabinetry, the door and drawer fronts sit inside of the cabinet frame openings, flush with the frame. It is the most expensive option of cabinet doors due to the high level of craftsmanship and different hardware needed to create the flush panel. Inset cabinetry looks good in traditional, transitional, and craftsman-style homes. 


kitchen remodel in rhode island
Inset cabinets give a high-end look to a traditional or transitional kitchen.

Kitchen Cabinet Style

There are several styles of cabinet doors and deciding which one is right for you and your kitchen could be overwhelming. Although some types of cabinet doors work best for specific design themes (for example, slab panel doors are the most popular choice for contemporary designs) many door styles can work beautifully in a variety of designs. In this guide to kitchen cabinet styles, we will look at the most popular styles that best fit the 3 Most Popular Kitchen Styles: Traditional, Transitional, and Contemporary.


Cabinet Door Styles:

Shaker Style Cabinet Doors: The current most popular style of cabinet door is the Shaker Style. They offer clean lines, a recessed panel, and minimal ornamentation.

Signature Custom Cabinetry “Colonial” style door.

Slab Cabinet Doors: The flat-panel door style offers a clean and minimalist look. One slab of wood makes up the entire door with a flat panel.  Best suited for contemporary, modern, and European style kitchens. Contemporary cabinets are marked by an absence of ornamentation and simplicity of form and can come in a range of materials.

Signature Custom Cabinetry’s “Sierra” cabinet door style.


Raised Paneled Cabinet Doors: Featuring a center raised panel, these types of cabinets are seen mostly in traditional and older homes.

Signature Custom Cabinetry “Bentley” kitchen cabinet style.


Beadboard Cabinet Doors: Reminiscent of classic paneling, beadboard cabinet fronts are ideal for a variety of kitchen styles. They feature vertical paneling and bring texture to the kitchen cabinets.

Signature Custom Cabinetry “Yardley” kitchen cabinet style.


Louvered Cabinet Doors: Contrary to beadboard, Louvered kitchen cabinets are made with horizontal wood slats. They also provide texture and interest to the room. They also provide ventilation, which can be useful depending on what you are storing inside (potatoes, garlic, onions) if high humidity and mold are an issue.

Signature Custom Cabinetry “Shutter” kitchen cabinet style.


Glass Front Cabinet Doors: Glass front cabinets are often used in combination with solid cabinets as showcases for glass or decorative dishes. It can be a beautiful addition to many kitchen styles.

wet bar remodel rhode island
Glass-front cabinet doors. Photography by Aaron Usher III.

Open Shelving: Opening shelving is a great way to display items or keep them easily accessible. Often used in conjunction with cabinets, open shelving is a cool way to add interest to the wall.


Open shelving provides a fun visual interest to the kitchen.


For more information on which kitchen cabinets would fit best for your next project, contact Red House today!

  • Category :
  • Type :