Kitchen Cabinets Guide: Door Overlay

There is so much more to picking out a kitchen cabinet than most people realize. With the different styles, designs, and types, it can be hard to figure out exactly what you want. To help, we have put together a kitchen cabinets guide to picking out your door overlay.

Finding The Right Builder

Before you work on figuring out the type of kitchen cabinets you want, it is important to note that you should be working with a professional cabinet builder who has licensed and bonded contractors.

Don’t just go for the cheapest option. When it comes to kitchen cabinets, you want to buy ones that won’t fall down on top of you or warp out of shape over time.

Do You Want Hardware on Your Doors?

Now that you are working with a professional, you can start to decide on the overall design of the door to your cabinet. An important question to ask yourself is if you want hardware on your doors and drawers.

Many people like the look of hardware but some prefer the sleek design without it. If you prefer to have doors and drawers that are hardware free, you are going to need a partial overlay door.

Partial Overlay

Partial overlay doors are the least expensive option. The doors sit on the frame, leaving about an inch of it showing which makes it very easy to open them.

Doors That Require Hardware

If you are someone who is interested in having hardware on their doors, there are two door overlay options for you.

Full Overlay

For this option, the door rests on top of the frame, leaving only about ¼ of an inch of the frame showing. With such little space available, it makes it very hard to open the doors and drawers, thus making hardware a required piece for these types.


Doors that are inset are within the frame of the cabinet. This provides a sleek design, but makes it impossible to open without hardware.

Making Your Decision

If you are going for a more modern design, often designers will recommend the inset style because it provides such a sleek look. However, if you are going for the most cost effective approach, the partial overlay is probably your best choice.