Cabinet doors and drawers can be mounted to the front of cabinets in various ways in order to achieve many different looks. How much the door covers or overlays the cabinet face frame, and the manner in which it does so, is referred to as Door Overlay.
The three most common door overlays are described below.
Standard Overlay – The face frame of the cabinet is partially exposed and hinges may or may not be visible.
Face Frame Inset – The cabinet face frame is completely exposed, as are the hinges. The doors and drawer fronts are mounted inside, or Inset from, the face frame. The edge of the face frame itself may or may not have some detail to it. A small bead around the inside exposed edge of the face frame is a common option and offers a nice bit of detail.
Full Overlay – None of the cabinet face frame is exposed and the hinges are not visible.
Frameless or European Style Cabinetry – In this construction method there are no face frame components used and the cabinet case component edges are finished to match the cabinet doors. With the doors and drawers closed frameless cabinetry appears identical to the Full Overlay, face frame cabinetry.
Every cabinet manufacturer with the exception of local custom has its own unique selection of door styles. One of the key factors that separates the quality and price levels of cabinetry is door and drawer style and selection. Generally speaking in the Stock Cabinetry segment of products you will find many common door styles when comparing different manufacturers.
As you move up into Semi-Custom and Full Custom you will notice a much wider variety of door styles to choose from. All manufacturers base the price of their cabinetry, in large part, on the door style selection.
Other cost factors include material selection (i.e. Oak, Maple or Cherry) and finish type. Most manufacturers utilize the same method of box or case construction and then alter the look of the cabinet by applying different style doors.
Less expensive doors are usually constructed with thinner, veneer covered plywood center panels while the more expensive doors tend to be assembled using all solid wood materials. Applied molding and veneer inlays are options available in custom lines and, of course, add to the price. The rule of thumb for doors and drawer fronts is: the higher the quality of materials and/or the more time needed to fabricate the doors and drawer fronts – the higher the cost of the finished product.
Take away the beveled doors and fancy hardware and even the highest-price premium cabinets you'll see at stores are essentially wooden boxes.
The most important features to keep in mind: Drawer-box construction, pull-out drawer construction, drawer and pullout hardware and shelves.