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What are Inset Cabinets?

Inset Cabinets are HOT right now! But what is all the fuss about and what does inset mean exactly? Well inset kitchen cabinets very literally mean the door is built inside (or inset) into the cabinet frame. This is rather than the door being applied on top of the frame or 'overlay' or outside of the cabinet box.

Inset kitchen cabinets are available in a variety of finishes and styles, just as overlay cabinets are. Although they are beautiful, there are a few things to consider when selecting inset cabinets for your kitchen or bathroom.

  • Is your house well climate controlled? Since wood naturally expands and contracts with the seasons, this can be an important consideration. A climate controlled environment with low humidity is the best location to use inset kitchen cabinets to prevent wood swelling which could cause the door to rub on the frame.

  • Are you up to the task of adjusting your doors as needed? This goes hand in hand with the above mentioned discussion of a climate controlled environment. Inevitably, some wood expansion is bound to happen. When it does, this may require you to adjust your cabinet doors slightly to prevent rubbing. This is very simple to do on a concealed hinge as a few minor twists of a screw and the hinges are built to adjust the door in 3 different directions.

  • Do you prefer exposed hinges or concealed soft-close hinges? Both options have their benefits. The concealed hinge offers more adjustability and the soft-close (or kid- friendly-anti-slam) feature and, of course, is not visible while the doors are closed. They do, however, take up more space within the cabinet. While the exposed finial hinges are available in a wide variety of finishes and add a ton of character to your space, but are not adjustable or available with the soft-close feature. The below images show exposed hinges.

And if that wasn't enough to think about, there are also frame enhancement options. With overlay cabinets, the frame is not visible so this isn't usually something people are used to thinking about. However, with inset cabinetry the frame is front and center. Adding a beading detail can add design detail to the overall inset look.


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