In this post we’re going to explore the differences between frameless (also known as euro style) and face frame cabinets. We’ll discuss the pros and cons of each.
If you’re wondering which type is best, there is no right or wrong answer. Framed cabinets can work with all three major door types (inset, full overlay, and partial overlay) while frameless cabinets will only work with inset or full overlay doors, giving them a more modern design.
Frameless vs Framed Cabinets
The difference between frameless and framed cabinets is exactly what it sounds like. One has a frame, or face frame, and the other does not. Framed cabinets are also known as face frame cabinets. Frameless cabinets are also known as euro or European style cabinets.
Frameless Cabinets aka Euro Style Cabinets
Frameless or Euro style cabinets are simply a box. The sides and bottom of the cabinet are what you see from the front. Euro style cabinets generally provide a more modern look and are typically more expensive than cabinets with face frames.
If building your own frameless cabinets from plywood, I recommend applying edge banding to cover an exposed plywood edge, or you can spackle the edge if painting.
- Clean, modern look
- Easier access to insides of cabinets (no face frame to get in the way)
- Frameless cabinets do not have a center stile, providing easier access to cabinet contents
- Shelves are easier to adjust
- May require more adjustments over time, especially in high humidity areas or areas prone to earthquakes
- Generally cost more than face frame cabinets
- Some cabinet companies will only offer the full overlay door option with frameless cabinets
Face Frame Cabinets
Framed cabinets, or face frame cabinets, have a face frame attached to the front of the cabinet box. The face frame is usually made with wood that is 1.5” wide.
The face frames can include dividers between doors and drawers that will be later installed to the cabinet. With the face frame style, all three door options (inset, full overlay, and partial overlay) are a possibility.
- Generally less expensive option
- Sturdy and frame prevents cabinet from going out of square
- Can be used with any door style
- Face frame may limit storage with it being more difficult to see behind the face frame
- May have a center divider that makes storing certain items in the cabinet more difficult
- Face frame may make adjusting shelves more difficult
- Some people are bothered by the lip on the bottom since you cannot slide items in and out without lifting them up
Now that you know the differences between euro style (frameless) and face frame cabinets, you might be wondering…which is better?
You can’t go wrong with frameless or framed cabinets. The answer to “which is better” is a matter of personal preference and may change based on the situation. Both cabinet designs are sturdy, functional options.