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What Even Is Cabinet Overlay?

Let's be honest. Picking out cabinets can be overwhelming. You need to decide more than just the style and color. You have to think about what kind of extension you want, the overlay, the budget and the list goes on and on. To stay relaxed during this overwhelming process, we have gathered a list of key terms you will hear while you search for cabinets.


When meeting with your designer, you will hear the word "overlay," a few times. What exactly does that mean? It refers to how much the cabinet doors and drawers overlap the cabinet frame.

There are three different types of overlay when it comes to cabinets, and each of them has benefits and drawbacks. They are partial overlay, full overlay and inset cabinets.

Partial Overlay

Cabinets that have a partial overlay have cabinet doors and drawers are made slightly larger than the openings. When looking at the cabinets, you can see that both the drawers and doors are overlapping part of the face frame. Partial overlay cabinets are the most economical among the three. This look is more traditional and does not need hardware, unlike full overlay and inset cabinets, since you have finger space. Additionally, since the door sits outside of the frame, it provides more storage than inset cabinets.