Frameless cabinetry: An insider design trick kitchen pros love

Are you nervous about designing the kitchen of your dreams because you want it to be perfect?

dream kitchen

You want your kitchen to be a sanctuary for nurturing and gathering. It makes sense that it needs to be functional to your unique needs, but also has to be welcoming and beautiful. You want everyone to love being in your kitchen! (And envy it…you know it’s true.)

Not to mention that kitchens are the most expensive remodel or design feature in your home. And rightfully so, as the kitchen brings the most return for your dollar on resale. All the more reason you need to. Get. It. Right.

Designing a new kitchen can be fraught with decision-making overload, and design phobia. Thank goodness for your trusty inspiration boards you’ve been pinning and pinning for years!

But wait!

To ensure that your future kitchen meets and exceeds your vision, you need to be familiar with frameless cabinetry and decide if that’s what you need.

There’s a good chance that many of the kitchen images you’ve been saving as inspiration use frameless, or European-style cabinetry.

Does it really matter? Absolutely!

There are nuances to frameless cabinetry that not only determine the finished look but contribute to the function of the cabinetry. Not to mention they are the cabinet of choice for professional kitchen designers.

What is frameless cabinetry?

Frameless cabinetry is a type of cabinet that does not have a face frame. The cabinets are constructed with only the sides, top, and bottom visible. The door hinges are also mounted to the inside of the cabinet box.

Photos courtesy of Canyon Creek Cabinets

The frameless cabinetry trend is one of the most popular design trends in recent years. This type of cabinetry offers a sleek look that can really transform the look of any kitchen.

For this reason, your finished kitchen will have a clean trendy appearance. The larger door and drawer fronts are inviting and orderly. The natural eye likes to follow strong horizontal and vertical lines and frameless cabinetry delivers!

However, the frameless cabinet offers more than just appearance perks.

Due to the lack of a face frame, which is what traditional cabinets have, there is more storage space. No more fighting that pesky middle frame!

With a wider and unobstructed cabinet opening, gone are the days of shoving large kitchenware in obscure closets and over appliances. You can now effortlessly store your platters and large bowls…in the kitchen within reach!

Can’t you feel the flow of working in a frameless cabinet kitchen already?

Where can you buy frameless cabinetry?

There are a few places where you can find frameless cabinetry. With that said, there are some important tips to consider before buying any.

Your first option is to look online, as there are a number of retailers that sell this type of cabinet direct to consumers. You can buy them directly from wholesale dealers as flatpacks. However, designing your kitchen with this type of cabinet takes some expertise. Not to mention potential assembly and install headaches. So make sure that you get some design help before finalizing your purchase. Some websites have in-house designers while others will require hiring outside help.

Another option is to check with your local home improvement store, as they may have some frameless cabinets in stock. Most likely they will have a frameless cabinet line they design with at their design center. They can design and order all your cabinetry from the manufacturer.

One word of caution going this route is the lack of attention to detail your project will get.

Another cautionary tale is one of home improvement stores using third-party installers who may or may not know cabinetry enough to do a great job. Many times in these scenarios, you end up playing your own design manager on the installation.

Additionally, you can also contact a custom cabinet maker to see if they offer frameless cabinetry. Keep in mind, you will want to work with a custom cabinet shop that has a professional designer on staff. There is more to kitchen design than building cabinetry.

The most ideal way to design with and purchase frameless cabinetry

independent kitchen designer

The best option in our opinion is to contact an independent cabinet dealer who offers and specializes in frameless cabinet lines.

Most likely a cabinet dealership has professional kitchen designers with many years of design experience working there. For this reason, they will be very familiar with frameless cabinetry.

Although this option sounds like an expensive way to go, it really isn’t. Considerably less expensive than novice cabinet makers and designers working on one of the most important investments you will make.

The model of the independent cabinet dealer is much like going to a home improvement store, but with some important differences.

The differences between using home improvement stores or an independent dealer will affect how you feel about your kitchen

Although big box stores are a perfectly acceptable resource for cabinetry and can produce beautiful kitchens, using an independent cabinet dealer brings some very specific benefits.

Imagine that you are shopping for a high-end piece of clothing. You see a model in a picture wearing exactly what you want, and it looks amazing!

You buy the same or similar item off the rack in your size. You might have some limited options in alterations, but for the most part, this piece of clothing will be worn as is. When you put the clothing on….it does not look how you thought it would.

Photo courtesy of Bellmont Cabinets

What you may have failed to realize is that the model in the picture was wearing a tailored piece of clothing made specifically for them! And although you look nice, it’s not what you were trying to pull off.

The same principle applies to the many kitchen design photos you find online. Your kitchen will look nice…but something will be not quite right.

In this case, hiring an independent cabinet supplier and designer is like getting tailor-made clothing. 

You can use off-the-shelf cabinetry and work with the sizes that are available, or you can design tailored to your space within a 1/8″ and create a space that is visually stunning.

With that in mind, just like you wouldn’t trust your clothing alternations to your kid sister and her plastic sewing machine, you wouldn’t turn over a high-ticket item like your kitchen to a novice either; especially designing with frameless cabinetry. So, don’t be afraid to ask your cabinet supplier what their experience with frameless cabinetry is!

frameless cabinet install

The perks of working with an independent cabinet dealer selling frameless cabinets

1.) First of all, there will be a higher level of attention given to your project. Professional kitchen designers like developing relationships with their clients. They go way beyond the “drag and drop” kitchen designer who relies on their software more than their experience.

2.) Secondly, your kitchen designer isn’t the only important person who determines the outcome of your kitchen. Whoever installs your cabinetry is a key player! Independent cabinet dealers work closely with their in-house installers; installers most likely work for the same dealership. Consider them an invested party and a member of your design team.

Home improvement stores rely on a list of third-party contractors. Some of those contractors have cabinet experience and some don’t.

One important thing to consider is this: kitchen cabinets are built square and houses are not. This means that the ripples in your walls, the sloped floors, and all the other imperfections that happened during the rough build of your home will not match the square-finished cabinetry.

Independent cabinet dealers work with these anomalies day in and day out. They pride themselves on making sure the design meets and overcomes these challenges and the key players are the installers. Installers who, again, consider themselves part of the design team and want to get it right.

Conclusion: Frameless cabinetry is what dream kitchens are made of

While face frame cabinetry is still prevalent in some circles (and an acceptable design choice), frameless cabinetry is quickly becoming the preferred choice for many homeowners and kitchen professionals.

To recap, here are three reasons why frameless cabinetry is preferred over face frame:

1. Kitchen designer’s choice: Frameless cabinetry is loved and often used by professional kitchen designers and independent cabinet dealers. As they work with their install team to make your kitchen vision come to life, frameless cabinetry achieves the look found in most online inspiration photos.

2. Clean lines: Frameless cabinetry has clean lines and a sleek look that face frame cabinetry can’t match. If you’re going for a modern or contemporary, or even a clean traditional kitchen design, frameless cabinetry is definitely the way to go…no matter which door style you choose.

3. More space…more accessories: When it comes to cabinet accessories, the magic is behind the door. Frameless cabinets offer more of that accessory than traditional framed cabinets. Because frameless cabinets have more space inside the cabinet box, there’s room for larger organizers and storage solutions. When you pay for upgrades like built-in accessories, getting more of it is always a good thing.

The bottom line is if you’re looking for cabinets that offer both style and function, frameless cabinetry is the way to go! You won’t regret getting more storage space, accessory options, and design options. Use a professional kitchen designer to help you, ideally from an independent cabinet dealer specializing in frameless cabinetry.

In the end…others will be pinning YOUR kitchen!

Do you live in Eastern Idaho? Looking for a professional kitchen designer or a bid on some frameless cabinetry? We'd love to help you get the kitchen you dream of!