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Sevenoaks A21 / M25 junction 4
Sevenoaks A21 / M25 J4

In-frame versus lay-on (frameless) cabinets

When we create your dream kitchen there will be lots of decisions to make. Understanding some fundamentals of design and a bit of kitchen terminology before we begin will help you get the most from the design process.

This article looks at two very different ways of constructing your kitchen cabinets, either lay-on or in-frame.

Definitions in brief

Definition of in-frame cabinet

AKA face frame, inset or framed up.

These cabinets have a visible frame around the door or drawer face and the doors are traditionally hung on exposed butt hinges.

An example of in-frame kitchen cabinets

Definition of lay-on cabinet

AKA frameless

In this style the door or drawer face sits on the front of the cabinet, with doors hung on soft close Blum hinges.

An example of lay-on kitchen drawers

Let’s look at each one in a bit more detail…


Constructing a frame around each door gives the cabinets a luxuriously traditional look. It’s also a wonderful way to display fabulous workmanship – each frame must be perfectly measured to ensure that the drawer or door can be used smoothly time after time.

While these doors are traditionally hung on exposed butt hinges, we also offer in-frame with soss hinges. Unlike a butt hinge, a soss hinge is completely concealed when the door is closed. The hinge is attached by cutting mortises into both the door and the cabinet frame, which also gives the door additional strength and support.


The lay-on, or frameless, style of door generally gives a more contemporary look to your kitchen. Each door or drawer front is positioned in perfect harmony with its neighbour, creating a sleek and smooth finish across the cabinets, particularly when flat doors are used. The doors are hung on the technically advanced Blum hinges, providing great support and stability to your chosen door, as well as performing a soft close function.

Example of a contemporary lay-on kitchen fitted for the Cain family in Hayes.

Vince Hone

Vince Hone

Since founding Great British Kitchens & Interiors back in 1984, Vince has worked tirelessly to create exquisite spaces for hundreds of clients to cook, entertain, work and relax in.