Types of Cabinet Hinges
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Types of Cabinet Hinges

The basic designs of cabinet door hinge.

Cabinet door hinges are important kitchen and bathroom accent pieces that can complete the look presented by a room and the cabinets installed within. Amongst the most basic and slightly less common cabinet hinges every design aesthetic and function can be met. When remodeling your cabinets it is vital to keep in mind what kind of hinges you plan on using and understanding what need your chosen hinge style fills.

Basic Hinges

Most hinges that you will find at the hardware or home store fall into one of the four most basic designs. Different styles of cabinet hinges are designed for either framed or frameless cabinet doors. A framed cabinet door will most likely have some or the entire hinge visible while a frameless cabinet door is meant to be installed with a hidden, unseen hinge design.

Wrap Around

Both full and partial wrap around cabinet hinges are beat suited to cabinets that feature doors which overlap its frame. A full wrap around cabinet hinge screws into the inner edge of the cabinet frame and the hinge’s frame wing literally wraps around the cabinet frame. A partial wrap around cabinet hinge, conversely, will wrap only two sides of the frame and attaches to outer edge. Not only do these hinges allow for a strong, structural element on a heavy, overlapping cabinet door but they will usually also have a slightly more polished and designed look and feel, as they will be seen.


The dovetail hinge has several name variations that may differ depending on the region in which they are purchased. Also know as butterfly, UK or Parliament hinges this design features a pair of butterfly shaped plates set around a central pin. Dovetail hinges are considered visible hinges meant for a small, lightweight framed cabinet. The central pin design and scrolled edges are subtle decorative touches well suited to a traditional or class room atmosphere.


Mortise hinges, more commonly referred to as a butt hinge, are both the simplest in design and installation of all the basic hinge designs. Most amateur cabinet remodelers installing hinges themselves would feel most comfortable installed this simple hinge. A butt hinge is similar to the dovetail hinge in that it uses two plates set along a central pin. The difference between dovetail hinges and mortise hinges is that mortise hinges can support more weight and cannot be changed once fit and installed to a door.


The best cabinet hinge for a frameless cabinet design is the concealed or European cabinet hinge. Unlike hinges suited to framed cabinets, a concealed hinge is installed in two separate parts. The arm and cup, which work essentially as the central pin does in mortise and dovetail hinges, and the plates is installed separately allowing for an entirely concealed hinge. A large benefit of using a concealed hinge, other than the hidden hinge aspect, is that most concealed hinges are very strong, durable and can close a forgotten open cabinet door itself.

By understanding the basic cabinet door hinge designs, you can match the correct hinge to the cabinet door and frame you chose for your kitchen or bathroom. A well chosen hinge can tie together a design aesthetic or solve issues of functionality.

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Comments (1)

Great facts here Dawn, sharing this one at FB :)