When you’re considering your new kitchen cabinets, one of the decisions you will need to make is how you want the cabinet doors and drawers to look. There are lots of fun details like the wood, the stain colour and the wood finish, but in this post we’re going to look at how the doors and drawers look on the overall cabinet box.

There are three different ways to attach doors and drawers to cabinet framework: inset, partial overlay, and full overlay (sometimes called Euro-style, although that’s a type of cabinet box construction). Each style involves different construction and installation techniques, which affects the overall cost.

kitchen cabinet door styles diagramClick to view larger version.

These also have an effect on the style: some look more urban and contemporary, while others will warm the hearts of traditional style lovers.

Full Overlay

Full overlay cabinet doors and drawer faces sit in front of the cabinet frame. No part of the door is inside the box, and the entire frame of the cabinet is hidden from view.

There are two advantages to full overlay doors. The main one is the chic, continuous modern look. Most of Laurysen’s customers are looking for this modern style. The other advantage is that you have full access to the inside of the cabinet or drawer, which means more room for storage.

Full Overlay

The challenge with this style is that it requires real cabinet-making know how to build and install full overlay cabinets and drawers so that they’re far enough apart so that they don’t scrape against each other when you’re opening and closing them. This is the kind of know-how that Laurysen’s team has.

Partial Overlay

Partial Overlay Kitchen Cabinet DoorsWith partial overlay doors, the door sits on top of the frame, but does not completely cover it, as with full overlay. You can see some of the cabinet frame between the doors.

With this style, you get full access to the interior of the cabinet or drawer, but the look is not as polished because of the gaps between the individual doors and drawers.


In this style of door, the door fits the opening to the cabinet box. The cabinet frame is not covered at all – the frame and the door are on the same plane. Hinges are almost always visible. This is a traditional style, mostly seen in cabinetry created around the early twentieth century and before. It can be custom made today, but can be more expensive than other options.

If you’re ready to start choosing cabinets for your dream kitchen, why not talk to one of our friendly kitchen design experts?