Our guide to understanding different Kitchen Cabinet styles – Inspiration


When it comes to designing and handcrafting your kitchen, our team is here to help you create an aesthetically pleasing, harmonious, and functional space perfectly tailored to suit you and your family's needs. In our first consultation, our expert design team will ask you about the kind of kitchen you have in mind. 

Perhaps you have a vague idea of how you would like your kitchen to look overall but are unsure of all the options and types of kitchen cabinets that we can create? Maybe you have seen something in a magazine but are unsure how this will work in the rest of your culinary space?

Here is our insiders’ knowledge and practical guide to understanding different kitchen cabinet styles.

In-frame Vs. lay-on cabinetry

The first choice you have to make when selecting your kitchen cabinetry is between a lay-on or in-frame cabinet. These are the main differences between these two main cabinet construction categories

In-frame cabinetry

With a framed or in-frame cabinet, the kitchen doors are set within a frame that is seamlessly fitted to the front of the cabinet box. Resembling a flat picture frame at the front, the door of the cabinet opens from within the wooden frame.

The benefits

Simple, elegant, and timeless, taking its inspiration from traditional cabinet construction, in-frame cabinetry is time-honoured for its quality, sophistication, strength, and long-term durability. Whilst most homeowners opt for in-frame for a more traditional-looking kitchen, the design possibilities of in-frame cabinetry are limitless and can result in a truly bespoke look.

Example of in-frame cabinetry with cockbeading
Example of an In-frame kitchen cabinet with door open

Lay-on cabinetry

A lay-on cabinet is also known as a “‘frameless cabinet’. It features overlay doors that attach directly to the cabinet box using hinges that sit directly within the interior of the cabinet.

The benefits

Lay-on cabinets are an ideal solution for smaller kitchens as they offer more storage space. They can help make the most of every inch. The streamlined appearance of lay-on cabinets offers a modern and contemporary feel to your kitchen.

Example of lay-on kitchen cabinets closed
Lay-on with drawer open


Cabinet door styles

Now that you have a better understanding of the framework, the next step is to select a style for your cabinet doors.

Shaker style cabinets

The shaker kitchen cabinet is a highly popular and versatile style. It is made up of five pieces of flat panel. Four panels are used to make a frame and the fifth is the centre flat panel. Offering classic lines and a minimalist look, the shaker cabinet is as just at home within a traditional cosy cottage as in an industrial apartment.

Cockbead cabinetry

 Cockbead or ‘cockbeading’ is a traditional period embellishment.  It is where a thin moulding or bevelled lip, is carved on the inside edge of the frame of the cabinet. Aesthetically pleasing, it also helps protect the face and edges of the drawers and cabinets from wear and tear, increasing its durability over time

Flat panel or slab

Offering a paired-back highly modern and minimalist look, flat panel cabinetry gives you a sleek solid door without any additional framing or panels. Available in a kaleidoscope of colours and finishes you can add intrigue and enhance the look with your desired style of brassware.


Glass fronted cabinets

Looking to showcase your glassware and ceramics? Glass-fronted cabinets are also worth consideration when thinking about your overall design.  Similar to a window, glass-front cabinets can be made up of one or multiple panes.They can be a great way to enhance light within a darker kitchen also consider some Integral lighting to further accentuate the contents.

Looking to bring your vision to life?

Start your journey with Grand Union Designs today by arranging a consultation with our design team.

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