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Cabinet Door Styles & Differences

Cabinet doors are a main element of your space that often become a focal point for the room. When choosing cabinet doors and drawer fronts, you have several options in terms of overlay and style.

This can be confusing if you are not in the industry, so let’s break it down:


The overlay refers to whether and how much the cabinet door covers the frame of the cabinet. There are three main overlay options for doors: partial overlay, full overlay, and inset.

Partial overlay cabinets: This type of overlay has been the industry standard for decades. The cabinet door partially overlays the cabinet frame (usually by a half inch). It leaves space on every side of the door where the face frame is visible.

Full overlay cabinets: Full overlay provides a more modern look. They are a newer type cabinet door because they completely cover the cabinet face with a very small reveal between cabinet doors–just enough to allow opening/closing.

Inset cabinets: Inset cabinets have become much more popular in recent years. They lay flush within the cabinet frame opening, and leave all the face frame visible.

Image Credit: Dove Studio


Doors are available as slab, 5-piece, 5-piece miter, and MDF.

MDF Doors - MDF (medium density fiberboard) is the most cost-effective option for doors, and good for painted doors. For these, the material is cut on a CNC router to look like other styles of doors, and is great for apartments and starter homes.

Slab Doors - Slab doors are essentially a straight flat single piece of wood or plywood that is only cut to size, painted, and mounted. Slab doors provide a simple utilitarian look, but many homeowners prefer a little more character to their doors.

Shaker Cabinet Doors- Shaker style refers to a popular minimalist 5-piece construction door style with no ornate inside, edge, or panel profiles - everything is straight, flat, square, and clean-looking. Shaker doors are very popular now and are versatile enough for most decorating styles. As an additional option, the slant shaker inside profile or the standard bead inside profile allow for a similar look with a little more personality, which is easier to keep clean.

Raised Panel Cabinet Doors - While shaker is popular, we also have several traditional raised panel options for a classic look. Raised panel doors have a routed panel and routed stiles and rails for a more decorative look.

Miter Doors - Miter doors are a 5-piece construction that uses a moulding that is pieced together at a 45 degree angle in the corners. These can have either raised or flat panels, depending on whether you want to dress it up or down for your style.

Frame Only - All the 5-piece construction doors above are also available as frame only - meaning the center panel is left out so glass or decorative wire can be inserted. This is a great option for your cabinets with fine china or other pieces you want on display.

We hope this information gives clarity on the different cabinet door options. Our parent company, HGH Hardware, sells all types of custom cabinet doors. Please visit their website for more info

Avondale Specialty Hardware is a division of Richelieu America, which carries cabinet hardware and accessories, industrial coatings and finishing supplies, cabinet doors and drawers, convenience hardware and organizers, decorative hardware, and much more.


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