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  • Writer's pictureSider Bros. Builders

Choosing the Right Cabinet Design for Your Kitchen

One of the first questions we will ask you when we begin designing your kitchen is what type of cabinets you like: inset or overlay. Don't be surprised if you're unsure of the difference, you're not alone. Let's take a moment to review these two design styles to help you settle on the perfect cabinet style for your new home.

This photo shows an example of inset cabinets built by Sider Bros. This is the style of cabinetry we became known for, and the type that we typically build and install. As the name suggests, inset cabinets have doors that are inset within a frame. The doors, drawers and frame are all flush, and hinges can be visible or hidden. This style of cabinetry is quite common in Britain and is typically associated with a more traditional aesthetic.

Overlay doors are predominantly seen throughout North America, and are available in full overlay or partial overlay. In full overlay designs, the cabinet doors and drawers completely cover the cabinet frame for a very clean, streamlined look. Partial overlay doors only cover a portion of the frame, leaving a gap between doors, unlike full overlay doors which fit snuggly against one another.

The above graphic from, offers a great illustration of the three different design styles.

Inset cabinet construction is a very tailored process, as each door is custom-fitted to the opening and face framing is traditionally done on site (rather than in a shop). The labor involved in inset design yields a very customized result, often referred to as “bespoke.” And, while it comes at a higher price point, we believe this type of cabinet design highlights the craftsmanship and attention to detail we pride ourselves on in this business.

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