Inset Kitchen Cabinets: Upgrade Your Kitchen with Our RTA Options

If you don't like the look of cabinets with full overlay doors, you might want to consider inset cabinets instead. Inset cabinets are inspired by the work of craftsmen and artisans from the Georgian and Victorian periods, offering a unique and nostalgic style that many homeowners desire for their kitchen cabinetry.

Inset kitchen cabinets are a type of cabinet that fits seamlessly with the door frame. The doors are inset, or set back, from the front edge of the frame. The inset construction is fitted into the cabinet door, providing an edge detail that evokes fine craftsmanship. This construction gives the cabinets a clean look and allows easy opening and closing. Inset cabinetry is more expensive than other types of cabinets because they require more precise measurements and construction. However, their clean lines and lasting durability make them popular for many homeowners. RTA inset cabinets are a great option if you're looking for inset cabinets without a high price tag. RTA stands for "ready to assemble," meaning that the cabinets come pre-packaged and ready to be assembled. The RTA cabinet option makes them an excellent option for homeowners who want the look of inset cabinetry without the hassle of ordering them custom-made. RTA inset cabinets are a great way to get the look you want without breaking the bank.

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Snow White Shaker - RTA Inset Kitchen Cabinets

Snow White Inset Shaker

Our Snow White Inset Shaker features flush inset doors that exude fine craftsmanship. These cabinets have shaker-style doors and minimal spacing between the doors and drawers to the frame, resulting in a sleek and polished look.

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Tuscan Gray Inset Shaker - RTA Inset Kitchen Cabinets

Tuscan Gray Inset Shaker

Our Tuscan Gray Inset Shaker cabinets feature flush inset doors that exemplify superior craftsmanship. They are light gray in color, offering a modern yet timeless appeal. These shaker-style cabinets offer a sleek and polished look, perfect for a modern kitchen.

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Vintage White - RTA Inset Kitchen Cabinets

Vintage White Inset

Vintage White Inset Cabinets offer the same inset with a raised design for your beautiful kitchen. Elevate your home with flush white inset doors with only minimal spacing.

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Vintage Style Inset Cabinets

Advantages of Inset Cabinetry

Inset cabinets feature doors that are set inside the cabinet frame. This construction gives the kitchen a clean and seamless finished look. Inset cabinets are also known for their durability and longevity. The thicker cabinet face frame creates a sturdier construction than some frameless cabinets' assembly. In addition, the inset construction protects the corners of the doors from dings and scratches. This type of cabinet construction, inset cabinetry, gives a full view of the cabinet frame, with only minimal spacing or gaps between the cabinet components. Traditional cabinets expose the edges of the doors, resulting in corners and sides colliding with other objects or doors.

Unlike full or partial overlay doors, the inset offers a mix of traditional and modern design. The flat cabinet front mixes framed cabinets with the sleek finish of European cabinets. They don't have significant, noticeable gaps seen on overlay-style doors. This old-style cabinetry brings many historical elements back into the modern kitchen.

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Disadvantages of Inset Cabinets

Since these cabinet doors are set inside the cabinet frame, these cabinets naturally have a smaller opening. Framed traditional cabinets are known to have a smaller opening space than the size of the cabinet due to the frame. Flush inset doors have a much larger frame overlaying the cabinet box. With this construction, the opening of the cabinet may not fit what one would expect based on the original size. An example would be the frame measuring 1" to 1.5". With inset construction, the frame would add up to 2" to 3" on all four sides of the cabinet door. This design means that a standard-sized cabinet door will have a smaller opening, which may not accommodate larger plates easily. When selecting inset cabinetry, check to see if your pots, pans, baking trays, and plates will fit the opening of these cabinets.

Another thing to look out for is the expansion of wood material. As the wood expands with changing temperature, it may rub between the door and the frame when humidity occurs. The gaps are more noticeable with inset cabinet doors due to the frame surrounding the doors. For more information on the potential effects of moisture on cabinets, check out our blog post on the topic.

Inset Cabinet Frame Construction

Inset vs. Frameless

Inset cabinets offer a seamless and elegant design with minimal spacing between doors and drawers, creating a refined look for your kitchen. The doors are set within the cabinet frame, requiring precise measurements and high-quality craftsmanship to ensure a perfect fit. This style appeals to those who prefer a classic, traditional look.

Frameless cabinets provide more storage space by attaching the doors directly to the cabinet box, eliminating the need for a face frame. This construction results in smaller gaps between doors and drawers, giving a sleek, modern appearance. Properly designed door sizes are essential to cover the cabinet front effectively. Frameless cabinets allow larger cookware and appliances to fit more easily, making them ideal for homeowners seeking functionality and contemporary aesthetics.

Inset vs. Overlay

Overlay cabinets feature doors larger than the cabinet face frame openings, covering the face frame and creating a more modern and streamlined look. They are easier to adjust during installation, as the installer only needs to align the doors and leave proper gaps without worrying about precise spacing between doors, drawers, and frames. This practicality makes overlay cabinets a popular choice for many homeowners.

In contrast, inset cabinets offer a more tailored and custom look, with doors and drawers fitting flush within the face frame, eliminating visible gaps. This precise fit adds a touch of elegance and creates a cohesive appearance in the kitchen or bathroom. However, the precise craftsmanship required for inset cabinets results in slightly less usable space inside the drawers. Despite this, many choose inset cabinets for their classic and refined aesthetic, which stands out compared to the more utilitarian appearance of overlay cabinets.

Tips from the Pros

Inset cabinets are becoming a more popular choice for homeowners. But what are they, and why are they gaining in popularity?

This video will briefly introduce inset cabinetry, including what it is, how it differs from traditional cabinets, and some pros and cons of choosing this style.

Inset Cabinet Components

Many customers are picky about the cabinet joint on the cabinet door. Our inset cabinetry features doors that are made with five-piece construction. The cabinet components that make up the door are interlocked to not show any visible spacing between the joints.


Inset cabinet hinges are attached from the door to the inside of the frame. The cabinet doors can fully open with the clean design that inset is known for.

Beaded Inset Construction

Beaded inset construction has a recessed lip around the frame. The bead edge detail accents drawers and door fronts. At Best Online Cabinets, our inset frames are planned to have a clean, high-end finish, keeping the lines simple and minimal.


Unlike overlay doors, opening an inset cabinet door without a handle will seem impossible. All versions of inset cabinets will always need handles or hardware. Handle-less cabinets will have a groove at the edge of the cabinet door, allowing one to open the door without individual cabinet handles. Since the edges of the inset are cut to fit exactly in the cabinet frame, these cannot have a sleek bar handle seen on European cabinets or even a handle-less option.

Inset Cabinets Buying Guide

Do you lose space with inset cabinets?

While one doesn't lose space inside the cabinets, the opening is drastically smaller than typical cabinetry. The interior storage space of the cabinet box remains the same. However, access is drastically limited. Full overlay and even partial overlay do not have a center stile in the double-door cabinets. Inset cabinetry will have a larger frame on the sides of the door and in between double doors. A 24" cabinet will thus lose about 9" for a cabinet opening.

Why are inset cabinets so popular?

Inset cabinets are becoming increasingly popular in modern homes due to their clean, sleek look and high-quality craftsmanship. Their seamless design, with doors and drawers that fit flush within the frame, offers a refined and elegant appearance that appeals to many homeowners. This timeless style combines traditional and contemporary elements, making it versatile for various kitchen designs. Additionally, the precise fit of inset cabinets showcases superior craftsmanship, which adds to their appeal and makes them a preferred choice for those looking to achieve a high-end, custom look in their kitchen. It's no surprise that inset cabinets are a typical selection among designers, who appreciate their aesthetic versatility and ability to elevate any kitchen space.

Why choose inset cabinets that are Ready-to-assemble?

Inset cabinets are not typical cabinets you will find in big box stores. Rather, they are crafted by a custom cabinet maker. Inset cabinets are much more costly compared to traditional RTA cabinets. This is because the technical aspect of creating the cabinet must be precise. The gap between the door and the frame is minimal and must be cut precisely. This craftsmanship done for custom cabinetry is traditionally kept as a luxury. Cabinet makers must be precise with their cuts to perfectly align the door inside the frame.

So why would someone want RTA inset cabinets over RTA traditional shaker cabinets? There are two reasons: the price and the design. Since most inset cabinets are custom-made, they are more than twice as expensive as ready-to-assemble cabinets. Having RTA inset cabinets reduces the price tag drastically. The other is the look. Not everyone wants to see a full overlay door on their cabinets. Full overlay cabinets may have a gap in between the doors that some homeowners may not desire. They may not care about the exact storage space but the visual aspect of the kitchen. They want their cabinets to resemble the cover of a magazine or what you see on social media platforms.

What variants of inset cabinets are there?

Inset cabinets are traditional cabinets with the flush aesthetic of a modern design. However, the doors of these cabinets can vary from one another. There are two popular options with inset door variations.

Shaker Style RTA Inset Kitchen Cabinets

Shaker Inset Kitchen Cabinets

The most common are shaker doors. Shaker cabinets have a square inlay that adds a sleek design compared to flat panel doors. These are commonly assembled with a 5-piece construction to reduce warping during weather changes.

Snow White Inset Shaker, Tuscan Grey Inset Shaker

Raised Door Inset Kitchen Cabinets

The second variant is raised cabinet inset doors. Like the inset, these cabinets have flush frames and doors. The big difference is that the door is not a shaker but a raised panel, adding a different dimension.

Vintage White Inset

Raised Panel Style RTA Inset Kitchen Cabinets

Are inset cabinets more expensive?

Inset cabinets have a good reputation as they look smooth but costly. These prices cost around 18-30% more than door overlays. Many other factors should not be overlooked when looking at these doors. The price of these high-end cabinets rivals the cost of having semi-custom cabinets. The biggest difference is the flush inset doors, the minimal spacing from the frame to the doors and drawers, and the fine craftsmanship that is put into creating a masterpiece. If you're interested in inset cabinets, check out our design services page for more information.

Kitchen with Inset Cabinets
Kitchen with Full Overlay Cabinets

Are RTA inset kitchen cabinets for you?

Inset kitchen cabinets are popular for many homeowners because they offer a clean, traditional look from the Victorian period. While they may be more expensive than other types of cabinets, their quality construction and timeless style can make them a worthy investment. Inset cabinets are constructed with the door and drawer fronts flush with the frame, creating a smooth, uninterrupted surface. This type of construction also makes it easy to clean and maintain, as there are no nooks or crannies for dirt and dust to accumulate. This level of detail in an RTA cabinet evokes fine craftsmanship and reflects the latest trends. If you're considering inset cabinetry for your kitchen, work with a reputable dealer who can help you choose the right style and finish for your space. With proper care, your inset kitchen cabinets will provide years of beauty and function.

Is there a PDF assembly instructions guide provided for the cabinets?

We ensure that most of our products include comprehensive assembly instructions inside the box for your convenience. Additionally, to further assist you in the assembly process, we offer detailed video tutorials demonstrating step-by-step how to assemble our cabinets efficiently. These resources are designed to make the assembly process as straightforward and hassle-free as possible, ensuring you can enjoy your new cabinet quickly.

What materials are the cabinets made from?

At Bestonlinecabinets, we pride ourselves on the exceptional quality of our cabinet construction. Unlike many others, we strictly avoid using particleboard in our cabinet carcasses. Instead, our cabinets are meticulously crafted from premium materials, ensuring unparalleled longevity and durability. Our commitment to using only the finest materials guarantees that our cabinets look luxurious and are built to last, providing you with the utmost satisfaction and peace of mind.

Are there any special cabinets available, such as blind corner cabinets or lazy susan cabinets?

Absolutely, our selection includes a variety of special cabinet configurations designed to enhance the functionality and aesthetics of your kitchen. Among our offerings, you'll find innovative blind corner cabinets and versatile lazy susan cabinets, each available in carefully selected sizes to accommodate different kitchen layouts and storage needs. These special cabinets are not only practical solutions for maximizing storage in challenging spaces but also come in various designs to seamlessly integrate with your kitchen's style. Explore our range to discover the perfect cabinet solutions that cater to your unique preferences and requirements.

Work with Our Experts on Your Kitchen

Ready to transform your kitchen with the elegance and timeless appeal of inset cabinets? Explore our wide range of styles and finishes to find the perfect match for your home. Our team of experts is here to assist you with any questions and help you design your dream kitchen. Contact us today or start your free design consultation to experience the unparalleled quality and craftsmanship of our inset cabinets. Don't miss out on creating the kitchen you've always envisioned – browse our collection and contact our design team for personalized assistance with inset cabinets.