Inset doors are set into the frame and provide a custom and smooth overall appearance. The doors, drawers, and frame all sit flush when closed.
Inset cabinets are priced quite a bit higher than overlay cabinets, and they do require hardware (or a push system) because you can’t simply open them with your fingers.
Pros: Custom and high end look and cleaner lines. Hinges can be visible or hidden.
Cons: Higher cost. Gaps can be obvious in places. Can be less storage space because the doors are inset.
Full Overlay Cabinets
Full Overlay cabinets offer a similar appearance to that of inset doors but with a lower price tag (yes, please!). The doors and drawers completely cover the cabinet face, providing a flat cabinet front similar to inset cabinets.
This is the way to go if you want a higher-end look but your budget doesn’t allow for inset cabinets.
Pros: Less expensive than inset. Gapping between frame and door (or drawer) is not obvious.
Partial Overlay Cabinets
Partial overlay cabinets are the most common and least expensive option. If you have a tight budget, this is the route you want to go! These offer more of a traditional look and do not require hardware because there is finger space between cabinet doors. The door sits on the cabinet face, leaving a gap of about 1” between the doors.
Pros: Least expensive option.
Cons: Doesn’t look as high-end.