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Are Inset Kitchen Cabinets Worth the Investment? A Closer Look at Pros and Cons

CEO Khai Intela
Are you looking to give your kitchen cabinetry a makeover? Adding inset cabinets to your kitchen upgrade can bring function, value, and character. These versatile cabinets work well with most home decor styles, giving you...

Are you looking to give your kitchen cabinetry a makeover? Adding inset cabinets to your kitchen upgrade can bring function, value, and character. These versatile cabinets work well with most home decor styles, giving you a wide range of choices. If you're new to the world of inset cabinets, we're here to help! In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of inset kitchen cabinets, helping you make an informed decision.

Inset Kitchen Cabinets: What Are They?

Inset Cabinets Photo: Nu Image

Inset cabinets are designed to fit into the frame of your kitchen cabinets, sitting flush with it. This creates clean lines and a tidy finish. When you run your hand over the surface, you should not feel a difference between the door and the frame. Unlike full overlay cabinets, which rest on the outside of the frame, inset cabinets provide a more refined and seamless look.

Whether you choose to buy inset kitchen cabinets online, visit a local carpentry store, or hire a carpenter, you'll find plenty of options to suit your budget and time constraints. Inset cabinets add a touch of craftsmanship and create a heritage feel, making your home look as though it has always belonged there.

These cabinets are so versatile that you can use them not only in the kitchen but also in bathrooms, book cabinets, and shelving units. Wherever you need a cabinet door, inset cabinets can provide a flawless finish.

What's the Difference Between Overlay & Inset?

Inset cabinet doors integrate into the cabinet as a whole, fitting into the frame and sitting flush with the face of the cabinet box. On the other hand, overlay doors cover the cabinet box's face but do not sit flush with the frame, resulting in a less purposeful look in the room design.

Will You Lose Space to Inset Cabinets?

Yes, you will lose a small amount of depth inside the cabinet itself with inset cabinets. The doors sit inside the frame, so you lose an amount equal to the thickness of the cabinet door. If you primarily store larger plates and boxes in your cabinets, this may be a concern. However, if you're not fully utilizing the depth of your cabinets, inset cabinets can actually save space. They stick out from the wall less and are not as high as traditional cabinets.

Inset Vs Overlay Cabinets: The Pros and Cons

Inset Cabinets Photo: Nu Image

Now, let's take a closer look at the pros and cons of inset cabinets compared to traditional overlay options.

The Pros:

  • Minimal lines give a clean look
  • Even ready-to-assemble (RTA) cabinets look tailored and custom-made
  • The finish is timeless and blends seamlessly with any decor
  • Cabinet doors are less likely to get nicked, chipped, or damaged
  • Historical charm fits well with period homes

From a functional standpoint, one of the advantages of inset cabinets is that they take up less exterior space. This makes them ideal for smaller kitchens, as they can save up to 7/8" on upper cabinetry, providing more workspace below.

The Cons:

  • Inset cabinets can cost 15-30% more than overlay options
  • You lose space inside the cabinet, equivalent to the width of the door
  • You need hardware, as the doors sit inside the frame
  • Swelling and moisture can cause doors to stick or warp over time

Ultimately, the choice between inset and overlay cabinets comes down to personal preference. While inset cabinets add historical charm, they can also be modern and stylish. Consider your budget, space requirements, and design preferences when making a decision.

The Different Types of Inset Cabinet Doors

Inset Cabinets Photo: Nu Image

Inset cabinets work well with various kitchen styles, but they originated from English-style kitchens for a sleek, poised, and professional finish. You can choose from different options like solid front or beaded doors. Solid front doors provide a more modern look, while beaded doors exude historical charm.

The main types of inset cabinet doors are:

  • Mission
  • Raised
  • Shaker

Mission-style doors have an inset panel and feature a high arch design. Raised styles are more commonly used in overlay installations but can also work with inset cabinets. Shaker-style doors usually consist of five pieces that form a box, which is then flush with the inset cabinetry, creating a recessed appearance.

How the Hinges Work

Contrary to common belief, there is no requirement to use exposed hinges with inset cabinets. You have various hinge options, including surface hinges (exposed), butt hinges, and invisible hinges (also known as European, hidden, or concealed hinges). This versatility allows you to achieve a completely concealed look if desired, making inset cabinets suitable for both traditional and modern homes.

End Panel Choices

Most people choose to stick with the same door style for their end panels to create a cohesive design. However, you may come across terms like "designer end panels" or "furniture ends." Furniture ends tend to be the high-end option, offering upscale detailing. When making your choice, consider your cabinets and the overall design of your kitchen. Ensure that all elements tie together and complement each other for a cohesive and visually appealing result.

Inset Kitchen Cabinets: A Timeless Addition to Your Home

Inset Cabinets Photo: Nu Image

Inset kitchen cabinets are a fantastic addition to any kitchen, whether you're aiming for a modern look or seeking period charm. With options ranging from ready-to-assemble cabinets to custom builds, there is something to suit every budget. At Best Online Cabinets, we offer a wide range of cabinets in various styles. Browse our catalog today to find the perfect cabinets for your kitchen renovation project.