What is Cabinet Door Overlay?

Illustration of different types of Cabinet Door Overlays

The overlay of a cabinet door is determined by how the door fits in or on the front of the cabinet casing. There are four basic types of door mounting options:

  • Inset
  • Lipped, Half Inset, or Partial Inset
  • Partial Overlay
  • Full Overlay or Euro-Door

Inset Doors

An Inset door is mounted inside the face frame, flush with the front edge of the cabinet side frame, so the entire face frame is visible.

Lipped, Half Inset or Partial Inset

The lipped door has a groove (also what cabinetmakers refer to as a "rabbit") cut all the way around the door on the back edge. This cut allows part of the door to sit back into the cabinet and leaves the remaining part resting on the cabinet or face frame.

Hinge used: offset or semi-concealed hinge

Partial Overlay and Twin Overlay

Any overlay less than a full overlay is a partial overlay. Most common are half and three-quarter overlays which, as you might expect, conceal half and three-fourths respectively of the cabinet frame.

On wider frameless cabinets with four doors across (typically 42" or more) a center panel is present where the two center doors are mounted. In this application, there are two partial overlays, the twin overlay, to deal with but what is most important is the desired reveal or gap between these doors.

Hinges used: semi-concealed hinges

Full Overlay or Euro-Door

A full overlay door covers a majority of the side panel (in case of frameless) or frame in face frame applications. The full overlay door is used most often on contemporary, especially frameless European style cabinets.


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