Cabinet & Countertop Inspirations

If you have looked even casually at kitchen cabinets, you already know that there are more than a few options available to you in everything from style to color. Another option to consider is the choice between Inset, Full, or Partial Overlay cabinet doors.

   Inset Cabinet Doors are set into the cabinet frame and fit flush with the face of the cabinet when closed.  Since the door is flat with the rest of the cabinet, a door pull or knob is needed to open the cabinet. With this type of door, the hinges can either be concealed or exposed. Inset cabinets are desired by many for their smooth, clean appearance, but there is a price to be paid for the look and quality of inset doors. That price is between 15-30% more than overlay doors. Beyond the increase in price, there are a couple of other things to keep in mind with these doors. Cabinets with inset doors provide the smallest amount of storage space, making the storage of large items sometimes difficult. Also, the expansion of wood caused by high levels of humidity can sometimes cause rubbing to occur between the door and the frame. A couple of examples of inset cabinetry are below.


Full Overlay Doors give a similar appearance to that of inset doors without the higher cost. They completely cover the cabinet face, providing the flat cabinet front so desired in inset cabinets. Since they are not set inside the cabinet frame, full overlay provides the greatest amount of storage with ample room for items such as pots and pans. Double doors in full overlay style come without the vertical stile on the face frame which allows for even better storage capacity and easier access of stored items. With only 1/4th of an inch between cabinet doors, pulls or knobs are needed.  Here are pictures of full overlay cabinet doors.

Partial Overlay Cabinets are the most common and least expensive option for your kitchen. The door sits on the cabinet face, leaving a “gap” of usually 1-1 ¼ inch between the doors, allowing the face frame of the cabinet to be seen. No hardware is required with these cabinet doors as there is finger space on the sides of the doors in which to open them. Though a more traditional look, cabinets with partial overlay doors are still a popular choice and a good option for many kitchens, especially if cost is a factor. Below is a church kitchen that utilized Partial Overlay doors.

   Whether you go with the classic appeal of partial overlay doors or opt for the more custom look of inset, your kitchen is sure to bring you years of enjoyment because it will reflect your style. There is no right or wrong choice- there’s just YOUR choice. Make it one that you will be satisfied with for years to come and you won’t go wrong. Stop in our Carmel Indiana kitchen design showroom to see examples of all three styles.

Depending on the style you want and the options you choose, a significant chunk of your kitchen remodeling budget will be applied towards the purchase of cabinets. Industry benchmarks have cabinetry making up approximately 40% of the project costs.  Many factors affect cabinetry’s portion of the budget. Knowing a few of these factors will arm you with the basic knowledge you need going forward.


Probably your first order of business is deciding the type of wood you would like for your cabinets. While much of that decision may be based simply on personal preference, price may also play a part in that decision. Oak and Birch are at the lower end of the price range, while the beauty and unique characteristics of Cherry place it at the top. The very popular Maple finds itself with a higher price tag than Oak, though not as expensive as other choices. 

The most cost effective option is a laminate “veneer”, often referred to as Thermofoil. This is a vinyl film applied to MDF (medium density fiberboard) using heat and pressure. Not only does it very closely resemble wood detailing, but it is also very easy to care for and less likely to chip than a cabinet with a painted surface.



The style of cabinet you choose is a reflection of the space you are creating. From sleek and elegant to a more rustic look, there are styles to fit everyone’s tastes. Whatever the look you are going for, remember this- the more detail you add to the cabinets, the more money you add to the final cost. For example, a flat or recessed panel door will be less expensive than a raised panel door. As details are added to the cabinet doors, more cost is also added.

A full overlay door (where the door covers the full frame of the cabinet) will be more expensive than a standard or partial overlay door. The most expensive door type is an inset style, where the doors and drawers are made to fit within the face frame opening.



With the construction of your cabinets, you can choose between the standard face-framed cabinet or a frameless (aka full access/european) style. The frameless construction is typically the more costly of the two options.  However, it also provides greater accessibility inside the cabinet due to the elimination of the face frame.

Your construction choices continue into the area of drawers. Though lower on the price scale, a drawer box that is stapled together will prove to be less durable than one that has a plywood bottom and has dovetail construction. 

The final cost of your cabinets will be determined by all of the above factors.  Knowing your budget is the best way to begin planning that perfect kitchen for your family.  Stop in or give us a call and our designers can help you make the best choices to meet your style preferences and budget choices for your remodeling project.


Today's cabinets come in numerous styles and finishes. There is a wide range of prices, allowing each budget to find that perfect fit. Cabinet options, construction, and pricing are major considerations when planning your renovation in order to make a wise investment in your home. Both the space and budget in which you're working will help determine whether your choice of cabinets is stock, semi-custom, or custom.

If you are working within strict time and budget parameters, stock cabinets can be an excellent option for you. They are pre-manufactured and mass produced in a factory, so they tend to deliver quickly. They come in standard measurements, so there is minimal modification to width, height, or depth. What you see is basically what you get with stock cabinets. They come in a variety of door styles, wood choices, and finishes, but your  options will be limited. While the face frames and drawer heads are primarily made from solid wood, your cabinet doors may or may not be depending on the manufacturer. Features such as dovetail joints are considered options and are not standard in stock cabinets.  The picture below shows a kitchen completed with stock cabinetry.


With more flexibility and options, semi-custom cabinets offer you choices in sizing and design not available with stock cabinets. For example, you may be able to alter the width, height, or depth of your cabinets in 1" increments, something that cannot be done using stock cabinets. Face frames, doors, and drawer heads are typically solid wood. Drawers are usually made from solid maple, joined with dovetail joints. Delivery times, though not as quick as stock cabinets, are shorter than custom cabinets, allowing faster completion of your home improvement project. Semi-custom cabinets were utilized in the kitchen remodel shown below.


The greatest number of options is found in custom cabinets. Built to your specifications, you have complete freedom in design. You are limited only by your imagination! Custom cabinets can be designed to match existing designs and colors, or fit unique sizes. Solid wood is used for face frames, doors, and drawer heads. The drawers feature maple dovetail construction with soft close hardware. The finishes can involve up to 25 steps to prepare, stain, and seal the wood for a lasting finish. Much work goes into creating such a detailed product, meaning not only increased time needed for delivery, but also increased price. From a cost perspective, custom cabinets are the most expensive. Below is a refrigerator designed to look like a piece of furniture using custom cabinetry.


No matter the budget or time frame, the perfect cabinets for you are found in one of these options. Whichever you choose, you are sure to end up with a room you will enjoy for years to come. 



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