Shaker Kitchen Cabinetry Which Is Right For You?

If you are thinking about purchasing a shaker style kitchen, you might have come across both front frame and lay on shaker terminology. But what exactly do they mean, and how do the affect how your kitchen will look?

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Both styles are used within shaker style kitchens, each giving a different finished look, with the finished result more often than not coming down to your own personal preference.

For decades, kitchen cabinets have been made using the front frame method; where the door of the cabinet is perfectly fitted within an outer wooden frame. However, advancements in manufacturing techniques, and a desire to reduce costs in the modern world saw the introduction of frameless kitchens (lay on shaker), which has quickly established itself as a popular and affordable alternative.

Whilst lay on shaker continues to be hugely popular, we’re seeing a revival of front frame cabinetry thanks in part to its durability and longevity, a by-product of the excellent craftsmanship that goes into this joinery technique.

So What are the Pros of Front Frame Shaker Kitchens?

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Front frame kitchens use traditional cabinetry construction and is more labour intensive, giving a higher quality finish than the lay on construction method. This utilises solid wood, and provides a durable and high-quality finish.

Choice of finishes
Your kitchen doors can be made from solid wood or veneered MDF, depending on the style of your kitchen and your budget. The result is also more traditional in appearance than lay on kitchens.

Finishing touches
Front frame cabinetry is fitted with butt hinges, with each one ‘chopped in’ by hand to ensure the perfect fit (this is actually a very skilled process, which our team are experts at!). Using hinges in this way, makes for an extremely strong bond which is unlikely to weaken with continued use. It also allows for the door to fit perfectly inside the frame without any further alterations needed over time.

The choice of metal used for the hinges is down to personal preference and can be brass, brushed, chrome and can be matched with sink, handles and accents across the kitchen.

But What can a Lay On Shaker Kitchen Offer Me?

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Lay on kitchen doors are just another name for overlay, i.e. the door lays over or on top of the carcass (internal box) Choosing this option also has many advantages including:

Less labour intensive, lay on kitchens are the more affordable option but can still create the shaker look that you are after.

Modern finish
The advantage of the lay on door style is that the finish is very consistent, with very clean lines and a continuous appearance.

More space to play with
Due to how the cabinets are made, with very small gaps between doors and drawers, it means you benefit from more space for storage – hurrah!

Finishing of both front frame and lay on shaker
One similarity that both styles of kitchen cabinetry have, is that they can be finished using the same paint and spray painted techniques. Popular colours such as cream, greys, and blues work well across both styles. However, one difference is that front frame cabinets can also be hand painted for a brushed, more rustic finish.

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Customer Reviews

The Wood Works

Customer Reviews


What a wonderful experience from beginning to end. We certainly weren’t the easiest customers , we weren’t sure what we wanted or when ! However Donna, Richard, Rich and their amazing team guided us through the process with utter professionalism as well as warmth and patience. The results exceeded our expectations, particularly the attention to every detail. They wouldn’t rest until they knew we were happy with everything. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them or use them again.

Leighton Home Style

Thanks to all the team at The Woodworks for working with me on yet another great project.
Beautiful design managed and delivered on time and VERY happy clients

Look forward to our future projects together!

Alan Burton

Woodworks provided us with excellent service, from planning and design to finished kitchen

Build quality is excellent and it really does give the house the WOW factor

Our kitchen was part of a new build process for house we have built from scratch. Deadlines constantly moved, and Woodworks worked around everybody to get the job done on time and in full

After sales is very good, with tweaks to doors and cupboards all part of the service!

Sarah Innes

It has been an absolute pleasure to deal with The Wood Works. Our existing kitchen was 20 years old, and the layout of the room did not make use of the available space. Josh produced inspired ideas for re-designing the whole area, and really listened to what we wanted to achieve, patiently fine-tuning the plans to our particular requirements. We are now the proud owners of a stunning and practical new kitchen which has completely exceeded our expectations. When my sister visited for the first time, she said "it looks like the kitchen of a celebrity chef!" (which I am not). What a transformation. The Wood Works is a family-run business, and that really shows in terms of their professional service, quality of fittings, attention to detail, reliability and easy communication. Nothing was too much trouble. At the start of the project, Josh promised we would have our kitchen by Christmas. I was sceptical as we were in the midst of the pandemic, but they delivered as promised, with no hitches. Thoroughly recommend.


Brilliant Service!
They designed, built, and fitted my new kitchen.
Extremely happy and will be recommending to my friends and family.

Sian Baker

Over the moon with our new kitchen!
The design is exactly what we wanted, the fitters were excellent, and the craftsmanship is fantastic.
Everyone at The Wood Works helped to make the process as smooth and as easy as possible.
I would recommend them to anyone looking at getting a new kitchen.

Ruhel 4 November, 2021

We are delighted with the kitchen supplied and fitted by The Woodworks. The design, look and quality is brilliant. The designer (Tom Dodd), the project manager (Andy Neville) and the fitters were all brilliant. Always helpful and responsive. A really pleasing experience with Woodworks and a brilliant finished kitchen.

The design collated by Tom was brilliant and tailored brilliantly to our exact requirements.

I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them.

Sue Finegold 22 December 2021

We have a beautiful kitchen of the highest quality The company are efficient friendly and nothing is too much trouble.
Richard and Donna designed everything for us to perfection. All their staff are really great.