Whether you plan to renovate your kitchen entirely or simply upgrade your kitchen cabinets, you have many decisions ahead. The choice you make for kitchen cabinets starts the ball rolling. Before you settle on a color, style, hardware, and storage accessories, you’ll need to decide if you want framed or frameless cabinets.
What are framed cabinets?
Most U.S. homeowners are familiar with framed kitchen cabinets. These cabinets are constructed with a front face or frame to delineate the placement of drawers and doors. You can find them in most new-home construction over the past several decades.
A four-sided box forms the front face. This frame reinforces the cabinet to help it remain square and prevent the cabinet and shelves from sagging over time. Framed construction makes the addition of drawers and doors easier.
What are frameless cabinets?
Frameless kitchen cabinets have long been popular in European cabinet construction. As Scandinavian and modern cabinet styles have gained traction in the U.S., frameless cabinets represent an increasing market share in the U.S.
For frameless kitchen cabinets, the door attaches directly to the cabinet box itself. This allows extra space in the cabinet’s interior, a feature many homeowners appreciate. Frameless cabinets, also known as “faceless cabinets,” offer the sleek look and clean lines that many homeowners seek in a contemporary kitchen design.
5 frameless cabinet benefits
1. Ample storage
Frameless cabinets allow installing two cabinets side by side without the middle stile needed for framed cabinets. The absence of a face frame creates a few inches of extra storage space per cabinet. You will often see frameless cabinets described as “full access” because there’s no frame to get in the way of access to items in your cabinets.
2. Sleek lines
The sleek design of frameless cabinets suits a minimalist kitchen look. If you want a more contemporary or modern style kitchen, frameless kitchen cabinets are a natural choice. (Like cabinets that are smooth and frameless, shaker cabinets have a clean line around their frame.)
3. Durable and sturdy
While the framed cabinets’ face frame does increase their stability, well-constructed frameless cabinets can be equally sturdy. At Simply Kitchens, we build frameless kitchen cabinets to last, using all-plywood materials proven to resist large variations in temperature and humidity. Frameless kitchen cabinets have a thicker box built with 3/4″ plywood.
4. Fully customizable
You can choose from many different styles of frameless cabinets. You can fully customize frameless cabinets to meet your exact needs and preferences. Customizable hinges and door placement allow you to choose partially or fully open cabinets – this helps if cabinets are tucked in a corner. Plus, down the road, you can easily change the color of frameless cabinets with a new finish for the cabinet doors; with no frame to refinish, your future update can be fast and simple. Frameless kitchen cabinets come in four different finishes to match your home’s decor.
5. More affordable
Frameless cabinets require less material, which makes them more affordable to purchase compared with framed cabinets. Many homeowners purchase ready-to-assemble (RTA) frameless cabinets to assemble themselves at home. Frameless RTA cabinets pack flat for easy, cost-effective shipping. RTA orders usually ship within 48 hours for delivery within 4-6 days. This can save you money since fully assembled cabinets involve more factory labor and extra packaging for safe shipping.
A few drawbacks of frameless kitchen cabinets
- Not quite as durable as framed cabinets. While frameless cabinets from Simply Kitchens are durable and sturdy, the fact remains that frameless cabinets do not have the interior stability of framed cabinets. The extra framing on framed cabinets adds more support to the entire cabinet. Proper installation of frameless cabinets makes this less of an issue.
- Higher installation costs. Although your upfront cost for frameless cabinets is lower, you may pay more to have them appropriately installed – a must to ensure durability and strength. Unless you have significant experience and the right tools, it is worth hiring a professional contractor to help.
- Possible shifting. Frameless cabinets may not be the right choice if you live in an area prone to shifting ground caused by natural events or temperature fluctuations. If your house is in an area where soil settles naturally, you may have noticed small cracks in your walls or doors that fall out of the square. In that case, you’ll need to take extra precautions to install your frameless cabinets successfully. You can likely avoid shifting issue by adding extra support during installation. However, if there is a strong enough earthquake, it doesn’t matter what kind of cabinets you have in your kitchen!
Are frameless cabinets better?
Frameless cabinets maximize interior cabinet space while providing a sleek and contemporary style to the kitchen. You have greater options available to customize frameless cabinets – with no face frame; the entire interior can accommodate adjustable shelving. You also gain larger drawers.
Your ultimate decision about frameless kitchen cabinets really boils down to your particular taste and style. Make sure to look at plenty of styles in both framed and frameless cabinets to decide which appearance you prefer.
Are frameless cabinets right for your kitchen?
For a closer look at frameless kitchen cabinets and the advantages they offer, visit our photo gallery to see all the options. You can also speak to one of our expert kitchen designers to better understand if frameless cabinets are right for your kitchen.