If you were to describe your dream kitchen, what style of cabinets would it have? Do your tastes lean more on the traditional side, or do you prefer a sleeker, more modern look? Today, we’re going to compare face frame vs. frameless cabinets. From structural quality and aesthetics to storage space and function, we’ll break down the key factors to consider when making your decision.
Why take our advice? At Holmes Cabinet Specialties, we have over 15 years of experience in the cabinetry industry and 500+ completed projects under our belt. As one of the best custom cabinet makers in Houston and the surrounding area, we’re ready to help you finally start that kitchen remodel or full house renovation you’ve been thinking about. We’ll help you decide whether framed or frameless cabinets are the better choice for you and your unique needs.
Here’s the Difference Between Face Framed and Frameless Cabinetry
Why are these two cabinet styles different? Basically, face frame cabinets have a different construction and overall look than frameless cabinets.
Face Framed Cabinets (American Style)
Face frame, or framed cabinets, evoke that classic Americana look. As the name suggests, this style consists of a face frame that sits snugly between the door and cabinet box. Vertical stiles and horizontal pieces called rails fit together, resembling an empty picture frame. Available face frame styles include inset cabinet doors, a partial overlay, or a full overlay.
Advantages of framed cabinetry include:
- Traditional American look
- Solid wood frame and sturdy construction
- Versatile design, door, and hardware options
- Prevents “racking,” or cabinet box misalignment
Drawbacks of framed cabinetry include:
- Face frame reduces interior cabinet space and drawers/roll-outs
- “Farmhouse” style may not suit luxury or high-end kitchens
- Longer installation process
Frameless Cabinets (European Style)
We already established that the difference between framed and frameless styles is the cabinet face frame (or lack thereof). This exclusion means a frameless cabinet has a sleeker, more streamlined cabinet box and doors and an ultra-modern appearance.
Unlike its counterpart, the doors and drawers on frameless cabinetry close flush against the cabinet sides and box for a neater look. However, only full overlay cabinet doors are available for this particular style.
The advantages of frameless cabinetry include:
- A modern aesthetic and clean lines
- More internal storage space
- Full-access cabinet interior
- The option for open-shelf storage
The drawbacks include:
- Only full overlay door style is available
- Risk of shifting door and drawer alignments
Direct Comparison of Framed and Frameless Kitchen Cabinets: Which Is Better?
Cabinet Construction Method & Durability
In years past, any contractor with industry experience would likely agree that face frame cabinets are sturdier and more durable than frameless. That’s no longer the case. Newer methods of frameless construction offer just as much strength and support as framed cabinets, even without a center stile or door frame. The key is working with a skilled contractor who can deliver the custom designs and quality cabinet construction you want for your home.
Style and Aesthetics
The look of frameless cabinets as a whole is best suited for high-end or luxury kitchens. As experts in the industry, we’ve found that frameless cabinets provide a more refined, sophisticated look, combining modern style with effortless functionality.
On the other hand, framed construction cabinets have a warmer, more traditional appearance that perfectly fits the classic Americana look or even a farmhouse-style home.
Cabinet Door Overlays
Face frame cabinets offer greater versatility in terms of door and drawer fronts. Inset door overlays have a flush fit that prominently displays the face frame. With a partial overlay, the drawer fronts overlap the outer face frame, whereas a full overlay covers almost the entire thing.
A frameless cabinet has door hinges that attach to the inside of the cabinet box, limiting your design choices to full overlay doors. Fortunately, there’s a loophole. We can utilize design techniques that mimic the look and appearance of framed cabinets. You get the advantages of frameless kitchen cabinetry with the more rustic appearance of the framed cabinet style.
Available Space and Storage
When comparing face frame vs. frameless cabinets, the latter usually has more interior space and easier access to the cabinet opening. Framed cabinet construction styles include a center stile between the two cabinet doors that prevents full access. Plus, a solid wood face frame creates a lip that extends over the cabinet door and drawer openings. This feature makes it more difficult to reach inside or store large items.
Frameless cabinets offer more efficient use of the entire box, allowing you to maximize space in your kitchen or bathroom. Its larger cabinet openings, doors, and drawers allow for effortless function and performance.
Why You Should Invest in Custom-Built Cabinets for Your Home
Maybe you prefer the rustic charm of framed cabinetry or find yourself drawn to the contemporary appeal of frameless kitchen cabinets. No matter which of these styles you prefer, the best way to maximize the return on your investment is with a custom cabinet maker.
When you settle for stock or off-the-rack cabinets, you sacrifice quality, construction, durability, and performance for a cheaper upfront cost. At Holmes Cabinet Specialties, we’re exclusively custom cabinet builders. Every project we complete has the backing of a one-year warranty on workmanship, which means you have full protection for your investment.
Our customization options include both face frame and frameless cabinets and a wide selection of different styles, designs, and finishes. From cabinet door style and premium-grade paints and stains to decorative hinges and wood grain directions, we leave no detail to chance.
The Final Verdict: Framed vs. Frameless Cabinets
It’s hard to say which is better when comparing the differences, benefits, and drawbacks of face frame and frameless cabinets. While there’s no denying the down-home charm framed cabinets offer, the beauty and elegance of frameless cabinets are just as appealing. If you need help deciding, our professionals will help you compare options like inset vs. overlay cabinets, box construction, materials, and more.
Do you want to learn more about face frame vs. frameless cabinet? Reach out to Holmes Cabinet Specialties now to request an estimate by calling 409-543-2706.