Cabinet Door Types and Styles

white shaker style cabinetry with subway tile backsplash and gray barn door

When discussing cabinet door types, we are not referring to fashion, although door style and door overlay are important elements of style. Rather, we mean how cabinet doors are constructed, described and classified by manufacturers. Since today’s kitchen seamlessly connects with living spaces, door styles can play a pivotal role in the look, feel and design not only of your kitchen, but of your entire home.

Cabinet Door Types: Partial Overlay, Full Overlay and Inset Cabinet Doors

CliqStudios offers full overlay and inset cabinetry styles, both appropriate for our custom kitchen cabinet designs. We will also modify a cabinet to be open (doorless), a way to integrate open shelves into the cabinetry.

Full-Overlay Cabinetry

In full overlay cabinet styles, the doors and drawer fronts almost completely cover the cabinet face, revealing as little as 1/4″ to 1/2″ of frame between cabinet units. This creates a continuous look and minimizes the visible gaps between each cabinet door. The resulting smooth profile enhances a transitional or contemporary style. Full overlays affect the cost of cabinet manufacturing, since the larger doors use more material.

Full overlay styles offered by CliqStudios are Shaker and Decorative. View door styles.

full overlay cabinet door

Partial Overlay Cabinetry

Partial overlay (also known as standard overlay) cabinetry was the industry standard for many years and looks exactly as it sounds; the door only partially covers the cabinet face frame, leaving large gaps. The design exposes 1″ to 2″ of the cabinet face frame between cabinet units. Since the doors and drawer fronts are smaller and use less material than full overlay, this style is often used to cut manufacturing costs. Partial overlay styles are typically used for low-end new construction such as apartments or entry-level homes.

partial overlay cabinet door type

Inset Cabinetry

The inset cabinetry style is dramatically different than overlay doors. The door and drawer fronts sit inside of the cabinet face frame openings, flush with the face frame. The inset door, closely associated with Shaker, Craftsman and Mission styles, was the first cabinet door type and has been around for centuries.

It takes precise craftsmanship to fit the inset door or drawer inside the face frame. It uses different hinges (revealed or concealed) than overlay styles. Door stops are required in the cabinet box because the door does not rest, or stop, on the face frame when it is closed. For those reasons, inset door styles are typically more expensive than overlay styles.

inset cabinet door type

Door Styles

The door style you select will set the character of your kitchen. Your choice will express your personal style and establish the base for a contemporary, traditional or transitional kitchen look.

Raised-Panel Doors

The raised-panel door style, where the center panel rises to the thickness of the door frame, has been by far the most popular style cabinet door over the past 40 years. Raised-panel door styles offer the most detail in the profiles and contours of the center panel and the door frame. This is a versatile look that can complement traditional and transitional decors.

raised panel cabinet door

Recessed Panel Doors

The recessed or flat-panel door style provides a cleaner and sleeker profile than the raised panel door. This works well with transitional and contemporary looks. The recessed-panel door has the most flexibility when it comes to design, and it is good choice if you want to be able to change the look of your kitchen down the road. CliqStudios offers recessed panel doors in the following styles: Shaker and Shaker Inset.

recessed panel cabinet door

Slab Doors

Slab door is the most self-descriptive door construction type – one slab of wood makes up the entire door or drawer front. The slab may be made out of hardwood staves, but most are made of engineered wood covered with hardwood veneer and edge-banded side edges. Sometimes considered a European style, slab doors do not have a frame face. Instead, the doors are attached directly to the cabinet sides. The slab door lends itself specifically to a contemporary style and modern design applications.

slab panel cabinet door

Mullion Frame Doors

Mullion refers to vertical and/or horizontal bars, or moldings, that divide an open door frame into panes, or sections. A mullion frame cabinet door is an attractive decorative accent for a kitchen, buffet or bookshelf. It is normally routed to accept a glass insert as the center panel of the door. The profile of a mullion door frame will typically match the profile of the main door style.

mullion frame door

Open Frame Doors

An open frame door has no center panel or mullion. This modification is often requested when a glass insert will replace the panel, but the insert can be almost any material less than ¼” thick. Open frame doors, like mullion frame doors, can be used as decorative accents or for all of the wall cabinets. Base cabinets can also have open framed doors, in which any glass insert must be tempered/safety glass.

open frame cabinet door
3d rendering of cliqstudios kitchen design with white shaker cabinets and green kitchen island with seating

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Frequently Asked Questions

Where to buy kitchen cabinet doors?

One would think that Kitchen Cabinet manufacturers just sell doors but for the vast majority they sell the entire cabinet. The two best places is a local custom cabinet manufacturer and the web. There are many internet cabinet door manufacturers that will sell to the general public.

How to buy kitchen cabinet doors?

It varies greatly depending on if you are working online or with a local custom cabinet manufacturer. You will need the height and width of every single cabinet and what style and over-lay you are looking to purchase and don't forget the drawer fronts, hinges and glides.

How to install cabinet doors?

There isn't one way to install replacement cabinet doors. They are all specific to the manufacturer, your existing cabinets and the hinges and drawer boxes and glides that you will be using.

How much are cabinet doors?

Cabinet doors vary greatly in cost due to size, type of material (wood specie), style, shape, overlay, and finish. Replacing cabinet door is a highly customized project. In the cabinet manufacturing industry the doors and drawer fronts (including hinges and glides) account for approximately 80-85% of the entire cabinet cost.

How much are new cabinet doors?

The total cost of cabinet doors depends on the size, material used in construction, style, overlay, finish, etc. This is why the price varies so much. Installing new cabinets is a custom project, which means each project will vary in price. Usually, a majority of the cost is taken up by cabinet doors and drawer fronts, about 85% of the cost.

How to clean cabinet doors?

Cleaning your cabinet doors depends on you finish type; paint, stain, laminate? All of these should be cleaned using only a mild cleaner such as Ivory® Soap diluted with warm water. Never, ever, use harsh abrasive cleaners or scour pads.

How much do cabinet doors cost?

The cost of cabinet doors vary from project to project quite a bit. This is due to the fact that a cabinet installation project is a custom project. Therefore, each cabinet project will have a different price. Usually, about 85% of the total cost is taken up by cabinet doors and drawer fronts.

How much does it cost to replace cabinet doors?

The cost of replacing cabinet doors varies greatly from project to project. The overall project cost depends on the materials used, style, overlay, and several other factors. Commonly you will find that about 85% of the project cost goes to the cabinet doors and drawer fronts.

What are the different styles of kitchen cabinet doors?

There are two areas to cabinet door styles. One, is the overlay which relates to how much of the cabinet frame is visible. Two, is the type which there are three main types; raised panel, recessed (flat) panel, and slab. All of these types have many various subtypes relating to style such as traditional or modern.

How to remodel kitchen cabinet doors?

Remodeling kitchen doors is most likely referring to refinishing the doors. This would involve removing, preparing and applying a new finish such as a paint or stain. Don't forget about the cabinet frames and molding.

What are standard cabinet door sizes?

There are no standard size cabinet doors.

What paint to use on kitchen cabinet doors?

If you are researching painting cabinet doors it's best to start at your local paint retailer. There are many, many options to select from beginning with what type of paint; water or oil based.

Why are cabinet doors so expensive?

Cabinets doors (and drawer fronts) are the most expensive part of a kitchen cabinet because they are basically furniture that most likely has been worked from solid hardwood to provide strength. Finish (paint or stain) is also a large part of the cost.

How to clean white cabinet doors?

Use only a mild cleaner such as Ivory® Soap diluted with warm water. Never, ever, use harsh abrasive cleaners or scour pads. The key to keeping white cabinets white is to clean spills and stains immediately and clean all of your cabinets on a regular basis.

How to make custom cabinet doors?

Making your own cabinet doors most likely is not a possibility for the average homeowner. Cabinet doors are basically furniture with a highly specialized process. And it's just not doors. You will need hinges and drawer fronts and glides. There are plenty of websites that can provide you beginning information if you want to tackle this type of DIY project.

How to order cabinet doors?

Depending on if you choose to order online or to work with a cabinet manufacturer to create custom cabinets, the process will vary. You will need the precise measurements of each cabinet in your kitchen and will need to purchase drawer fronts, glides, and hinges as well.

How to order new cabinet doors?

The ordering process greatly depends on if you are ordering online or in-person with a local cabinet manufacturer. Either way, you will need the exact measurements of each cabinet, to choose a style and overlay, as well as purchase glides, hinges, and drawer fronts.

What are the different types of cabinet doors?

Cabinet doors are categorized into styles depending on the overlay and the type of panel. An overlay refers to how much of the cabinet frame is visible after installation. There are 3 types of panels often used in kitchen designs: raised panels, recessed panels, and slab. The various cabinet door types branch off from there.