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The Difference between Framed and Frameless Cabinets

Cabinetry plays an important role in the overall style and design of your kitchen. There are two types of cabinets you will come across when choosing kitchen cabinetry: framed and frameless style cabinets. When it comes to differentiating between the two, you’ll notice subtle differences in the way that cabinets are put together. What exactly are these differences? We discuss them below.


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Image Source: Pinterest












Framed cabinets — American style 


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Framed cabinets generally have considerable storage space. Their base cabinet depth is 24″ while the wall cabinet depth is 12″. The center stile in framed cabinets is 2″ to 3″.


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The doors on framed cabinets are usually attached to the face frame with concealed hinges. Framed cabinets have doors that are not very square simply because they do not need to be. They are usually finished along the walls with a piece of trim mold.

∗A trim mold is a thin piece of wood about an inch wide. It’s pressed to the contours of the wall and nailed on to the face and sides. It is mostly used to fill any gaps that may exist after installation.

Even though framed cabinets are much easier to install, it is difficult to make any changes to the design.


On average, the cost of framed cabinets is between $5,000 to $20,000. Be sure to shop around to find the highest quality at the best price.

If you are someone who prefers a more traditional theme with larger framed cabinets, then Nelson Cabinetry’s products are the perfect fit. The cabinets’ features include:

  • A wood frame
  • Quality plywood cabinet box
  • Soft-close glides/hinges
  • Easy assembly

They also come with finished cabinet sides and interiors as well as a fully finished toe kick. You get high-quality cabinets at a great price.


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Frameless cabinets — European-style 


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The base cabinet depth is the same as for framed cabinets, which is 24″, but the wall cabinet depth is slightly different at 13 1/2”. Frameless style cabinets have no center stile. They don’t have an additional frame.


Frameless cabinets are built with the box serving as the main structure, and a thin edge is applied to the box to match the exterior of the cabinet. Box materials have to be stronger and much thicker than most framed cabinets because the box does all the work. Unlike framed style, the doors and drawer glides are attached to the box itself instead of to a face frame.

Both styles of cabinetry typically use concealed hinges. The only difference is that hinges for frameless cabinets are bigger and sturdier. The doors on the European-style cabinet must be square. Also, the lines between the doors and drawers have to be straight and consistent. All the finishing details are scribed and cut to fit the walls instead of adding a trim molding.

Since changes to the design are possible, you can paint your frameless cabinets any color you want. They can match any room style as well. The style can be based on your personal preference: rustic, modern, industrial, traditional, contemporary, or anywhere between.



Frameless cabinets are more labor-intensive to make, so it takes longer. The cost of frameless style cabinets is usually between $5,000 to $35,000. The low-range costs are about the same, while there’s a difference of about $15,000 for larger-scale projects.


Frameless cabinets are much better for smaller kitchens. If you’re having issues with space, they provide more cabinet and drawer storage.

In the end, the decision to go framed or frameless usually comes down to cost. Opt for what your budget allows and the look or style you want for your new kitchen.





If you’re getting ready to remodel your kitchen or bath, be sure to take a look at  framed cabinets. There are many benefits, especially when it comes to cost and quality.  We’d love to be a part of your next remodel!


Check out our free 3D design page. 



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Nelson Cabinetry

Nelson Cabinetry is an online distributor of high quality kitchen and bathroom cabinetry. We pride ourselves in delivering a high quality product via an easy to use, convenient website. Placing your cabinet order has never been easier and you can do so from the comfort of your home, office or job site.


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