Cabinet Overlays

June 9, 2019 News

The often-overlooked option that can help your cabinet design go from average to awesome.

While most of us focus on the many colors and door styles available to us when we start looking at adding new cabinets, we often overlook the cabinet door overlay option. Most of us skip this design element, however, because we are simply unaware it exists.

Overlay refers to the correlation of the cabinet door in relation to how it covers the cabinet frame. In other words, the overlay is the amount of the cabinet frame the door conceals when the door is closed. Below is a brief description of the most common types of cabinet door overlays.

Inset Cabinets

Inset cabinets show the most amount of cabinet frame. When the door is closed, the door sits inside the cabinet frame, flush with the cabinet face, leaving 100% of the frame exposed. Because of this, a knob or pull is generally required to open the door.
While the inset cabinet isn’t new in the cabinet world, it has been in hibernation for quite some time. Because of its classic style and simplicity, however, it has been making a comeback.

The craftsmanship in making an inset cabinet requires a tremendous amount of precision, causing the price point to be 30% – 40% higher than standard overlay cabinets.


Overlay Cabinets

The opposite of inset, the overlay door sits on top of the cabinet frame, covering some or all of the cabinet face. The amount of overlay varies depending on the overall style of the cabinet.

Standard Overlay cabinets are the most common and inexpensive cabinet style. These doors sit on top of the frame and generally leave a 1” – 1 1/4” gap between the cabinet doors. Because of the gaps between the doors, cabinet hardware isn’t required, but is often used, to open the doors. This cabinet style provides a more traditional look at an affordable cost.


Full Overlay doors show the very least amount of the cabinet frame. These doors sit on top of the frame and, when closed, cover the face of the cabinet almost entirely. Depending on the door style selected, this type of cabinet can be either traditional or ultra-modern. With a full overlay door, cabinets with two doors can be built without a center mullion between the two doors allowing maximum access to the inside of the cabinet. These doors generally require knobs or pulls to open the doors.


No matter which overlay is right for your personal taste, style and budget, Studio 510 is ready to help design your project to be the perfect reflection of you. Are you ready to Love Where You Live?