Kitchen Design Decision Making: Frameless vs Framed Cabinets

Aesthetic decisions are for designers”, you think as you come out of a painfully slow design meeting your client asked you to attend. While they know your time is money, you’re annoyed that you have to listen to these comically small decisions that take up way too much time. Sure, if it was a personal home, you may be worried, but how will this affect the apartment building we’re putting together? Just designing kitchens, you find yourself tossed between appliances, framed or frameless cabinets, concealed hinges, soft closing mechanisms (and let’s not even get into color treatment). After years in the business, you understand that these are small decisions that won’t affect the overall schedule of your project, but you know how important it is to guide your client through the decision making process while design teams coax every possible option out of the suppliers with an endless array of samples. You do what you can to steer the owner into the right decision (any decision sometimes is the right decision) and we’re here to help.

Framed Cabinets and Frameless Cabinets, What’s the Difference?


We’re shedding light on a seemingly banal decision, but one that may be hard to make for some new developers or seasoned building owners who just like seeing all the options. So, what do I do if my client can’t decide between framed and frameless cabinets? The internet is filled with kitchen design tips, but let’s frame ourselves in the specific uses of the two.

Frameless cabinets are, in essence, cabinets that don’t feature a front-facing trim attached to the front side of the cabinet body. The doors of these cabinets are directly attached to the cabinet body and, for better or worse, they’re all the rage in Europe. Framed cabinets, on the other hand, have been used in the States for years and constitute a traditional alternative with a trim attached to the cabinet body. There are a few factors that stand out with these, but let’s focus on the uses below to give you a light overview to begin your research. Let’s talk uses.

Framed Cabinets: Uses and Brand Highlight


Framed cabinets have been loved by the American homeowner for decades. They add a traditional, homey feel to a space and generally frame out your individual compartments quite well. Larger spaces benefit from these types of cabinets. Many of Fabuwood’s lines feature framed cabinets. Check out the Fabuwood Allure Collection for more of a modern twist on a traditional favorite or the Fabuwood Classic Collection for elegant, classic home options. If you’ve got a specific buyer in mind, either of these collections could be perfect for your project.

Q/A! A common question is if the frame on a framed cabinet piece helps the structure and durability of the unit. In reality, this piece is mostly decorative. While it does help to have an extra element holding together your cabinets, this doesn’t necessarily mean that frameless cabinets are any less sturdy. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or a beginner to installing these cabinets, if you’re following the simple instructions given by the manufacturers, both cabinets will last you or your clients for years to come! 

Frameless Cabinets: Uses and Brand Highlight


Frameless cabinets typically carry a cleaner, sleeker look associated with modern design. They allow for a bit more space than traditional cabinets, which can play an important role in cozy apartments where every inch of space is vital. These are fantastic for creating flexible apartments for rental tenants. Executive Cabinetry are experts in frameless cabinets. Their wide variety of collections, the Bellini, the Vogue and the Executive and the Modello all provide online catalogues for you to pre-vet before your next meeting.

Tip! If you’re looking for more information on Executive Cabinetry and their many frameless cabinetry options, check out our kitchen design tips here to make sure the client isn’t overwhelmed with options.

Overall, kitchen design decisions are never easy, but once you have a clear idea of all of your options, it’s easy to give your clients a general walkthrough, understand their needs and nudge them towards that decision that will tie together the project they’ve spent so long preparing for. Browse our products page to find out more, find catalogues, framed and frameless cabinet collections and accessories for your project needs. Our sales team is also here to help for any and all of your personalized needs. Happy nudging!