//Setting the Record Straight on Cabinet Door Terms

Setting the Record Straight on Cabinet Door Terms

Wondering What Flat Panel Really Means? Let’s Fix That

Whether you have been performing merely cursory or fully investigative searches for discount rta kitchen cabinets online, you could easily be confused with all of the language surrounding cabinet door styles. We don’t blame you: Some sites and so-called cabinet professionals out there have their definitions crossed when it comes to design.

In particular, the phrase ‘flat panel’ is all over the map where descriptions are concerned. In one particularly egregious example, we found one purveyor of cabinets suggesting that “there is not a huge difference between raised panel and flat panel, but flat panel cabinets feature a flat center panel with a slight raised border around it”. This statement couldn’t be more wrong.

We want to set the record straight so that you can approach your remodel with an educated and knowledgeable perspective.

A Complete List of Cabinet Door Styles

Getting equipped with the basics and knowing your terms when it comes to design helps you have greater control over the end result of your remodel. Speaking in straight terms with your contractor can avoid mountains of confusion at the end of the day. Follow our primer here on the exhaustive list of existing cabinet door styles for your kitchen or bathroom.

Inset Cabinet Doors

This design style consists of the most common door styles of the previous century. The hinges are concealed within the frame itself, with large visible gaps surrounding doors and drawers for the internal space that this hardware demands. These are slowly falling into obscurity as more updated styles provide greater storage space.


Inset white shaker style kitchen cabinets

Partial Overlay Cabinet Doors

In terms of design evolution, partial overlay was the next step from inset style. The faces of the doors and drawers protrude from the front of the cabinet boxes, only concealing the face frame of the cabinets in part. There are typically around ¾” gaps between door sets to make space for the side hinges. While there are more elegant versions of this style in contemporary manufacturing, partial overlay is mostly represented in older and less aesthetically pleasing forms.


Modern partial overlay maple shaker style kitchen cabinets

Full Overlay Cabinet Doors

Here is where the greatest degree of confusion and false terminology comes into play online: so read closely!

Full overlay, at its most basic essence, is defined as cabinets with door and drawer faces which completely cover and obscure the face of the cabinet. No visible face frame, and no visible hinges either. From a purely functional perspective, this design is the NEXT evolutionary step from partial overlay. Visually, a more uniform appearance is presented.

Now, some important definitions under Full Overlay:

  • Euro / European Style Cabinet Doors: These are the modern version of full overlay cabinet doors that include no filigree, raised/recessed panels, and essentially provide the most reserved exterior. They are completely flat.
  • Flat Panel Cabinet Doors: Another term for Euro style cabinet doors.
  • Slab Cabinet Doors: Another term for Euro style cabinet doors.

You may already be catching on to the point here, but let us make it plain: you can have full overlay cabinets with traditional style cabinet doors! There are shaker kitchen cabinets, for example, as American style as you can get, with full overlay faces. These are not Euro style cabinets; they are American style full overlays. This essentially provides a traditional style door combined with the modern look of full overlay: the best of both worlds.


Full overlay mahogany shaker style kitchen cabinets

Searching for the right kitchen cabinets? There are numerous angles and mental gymnastics involved in picking out the perfect ones for your remodel–and it can be exhausting! In picking out the style, color, and design that works best with your affordable kitchen cabinets, a primary factor is the door style itself. We hope that you feel a little more in control of your material shopping experience!

Interested in browsing our online Euro style flat panel cabinets now? Check them out here.

By | 2018-07-03T15:01:14+00:00 June 12th, 2018|Kitchen Cabinets|0 Comments

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