Many people ask “Which should I get, Full Overlay or Flush Inset cabinets?” Here are the differences: Full Overlay cabinets have the doors sit on top of the “box” of the cabinet. Flush Inset doors are fitted within the frame of the cabinet.
First, Full Overlay cabinets are typically 8-10% less expensive than Flush Inset. They have no frame which requires less labor and since they don’t have the doors sitting within a fixed frame, they can have greater tolerances when adjusting the doors. The hinges are hidden. And because there is no frame around the face of the cabinet, you gain 1-1/2” of horizontal space within each cabinet. With an average kitchen of 25 cabinets, that means a Full Overlay kitchen gains approximately 36” of cabinet interior space per kitchen vs. the same layout with inset cabinets.
Then why consider Flush Inset doors? It’s a classic look. This is how cabinets have been designed for hundreds of years – since the late Renaissance. Flush Inset hinges (barrel hinges) never wear out. Full overlay concealed hinges are not as strong, but they can be more easily adjusted. Flush Inset is more traditional and elegant. Concealed hinges are most appropriate with contemporary designs.