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Inset Kitchen Cabinets - What You Need to Know

inset kitchen cabinets

You've decided it's finally time for a kitchen remodel. You're picturing shiny new appliances, sparkling counters, and beautiful custom cabinetry. When looking at cabinets, you may have come across the term "inset." Unsure what that means? Don't worry, we've got you covered. Inset kitchen cabinets have a very distinct look that sets them apart from other cabinet styles. If you're considering them for your new kitchen, there are a few key things you'll want to know first.

From the pros and cons to cost considerations, we'll walk through everything inset cabinets entail so you can decide if they're the right choice for your home and style. With the right information, you'll be ready to choose the perfect cabinets to make your kitchen dreams a reality.


What Are Inset Kitchen Cabinets?

Inset kitchen cabinets, also known as flush inset cabinets, sit inside the cabinet opening with the door front flush with the frame. This creates a seamless built-in look that's perfect for contemporary kitchens.

Style and Design

The clean lines and custom feel of inset cabinets provide an upscale style that instantly transforms your kitchen. Since the doors sit inside the cabinet frame, you have to pay extra attention to the wood and finish quality. Any imperfections will be front and center.

Precision and Cost

Inset cabinets require extremely precise manufacturing and installation to get everything lined up properly. This level of customization means inset cabinets typically cost 15-30% more than regular framed cabinets. However, for many homeowners, the added style and architectural detail is well worth the investment.

Pros and Cons

On the plus side, inset cabinets provide an upscale custom look and easier access to cabinet contents since there's no center stile. However, they can be trickier to install and the lack of center support means doors may sag or warp over time. Inset doors are also more prone to sticking or rubbing if there's any cabinet shift or foundation settling.

Overall, inset kitchen cabinets create a high-end bespoke style. If done right and with high-quality materials, inset cabinets can make a dramatic statement in your kitchen for years to come. The key is finding a reputable cabinet maker or installer with experience designing and installing inset cabinetry. With their seamless built-in aesthetic and custom feel, inset cabinets are worth considering if you want an upscale kitchen remodel.


The Pros and Cons of Inset Kitchen Cabinets

Aesthetic Appeal

Inset cabinets have a sleek, custom look that blends in beautifully with your kitchen decor. The doors sit flush with the cabinet face for a seamless appearance. This high-end style is perfect if you want a luxury kitchen design. However, inset cabinets tend to cost significantly more than regular cabinets due to their custom nature and extra labor required for installation.

Easy to Clean

The inset cabinet design prevents dust and grime buildup around the edges of cabinet doors. Debris has nowhere to hide, so your kitchen will always look spotless. Wipe down the cabinet faces and your kitchen instantly looks sparkling clean.

Challenging Installation

Inset cabinets require extremely precise measurements and installation. If not done properly, the doors and drawers won't close or open correctly. Only highly skilled cabinet installers have the expertise to put in inset cabinets. Installing them yourself is not recommended and may end up costing you more in the long run.

Limited Accessibility

The tight tolerances of inset cabinets can make some of the contents hard to reach. Pulling out drawers or opening doors may be difficult if you have mobility issues or a physical disability. Inset cabinets typically have smaller door and drawer openings, limiting storage space and access. For ease of use, you may prefer framed or semi-custom cabinets instead.

While inset kitchen cabinets have significant aesthetic and practical benefits, you need to go in with realistic expectations about their higher price point and complicated installation. For some, the pros of an elegant custom kitchen outweigh the potential downsides. For others, more standard cabinet options may be preferable. It comes down to your priorities and budget.


Design Ideas for Inset Kitchen Cabinets

When designing your kitchen with inset cabinets, you have several stylish options to consider.

Contrasting Wood Tones

Combining inset cabinets in different wood tones creates an eye-catching contrast. For example, choose a dark wood like walnut for the lower cabinets and a lighter wood such as maple for the uppers. The contrast between the woods will give your kitchen a custom, high-end look. You can also choose one wood for the doors and a different wood for the cabinet frames.

Glass Doors

For an open, airy feel, consider inset cabinets with glass doors. Glass front doors showcase pretty dishware and glassware and make a small kitchen seem more spacious. They also reflect light around the room. For extra style, look for decorative glass designs or glass doors with wood muntins.

Molding and Trim

Adding molding and trim to inset cabinets helps highlight their traditional styling. Consider crown molding along the tops of the cabinets, decorative corbels to support open shelving, or bun feet at the cabinet bases. Chair rail molding running along the backsplash is another way to emphasize the inset cabinet look.

Open Shelving

Inset cabinets pair well with open shelving, which gives a kitchen a casual vibe. The open shelves create visual contrast next to the inset cabinet doors. They are also an easy way to display decorative items like colorful dishware, pottery or cookbooks. For a cohesive look, choose shelving made of the same wood as your inset cabinets.

Using some of these design ideas together, such as contrasting woods and glass doors or molding details and open shelving, will make your kitchen uniquely stylish. Inset cabinets give you the opportunity to create a custom space tailored to your tastes.


So there you have it - the key things to know if you're considering inset cabinets for your kitchen remodel. With their sleek, seamless look and premium quality, they can be a great option to elevate your space. Just remember that precision and quality come at a cost. Inset cabinets are pricey and you'll want to hire an experienced installer.

But if your budget allows and you prioritize aesthetics, inset cabinets let you achieve that high-end, furniture-like look. Take your time weighing the pros and cons. And if you decide to take the inset route, get ready for a kitchen that will wow your guests!

Contact Edesia for help designing your new kitchen cabinets.


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