Imagine the gentle swing of a cabinet door, the whisper-soft close of a drawer — such simple pleasures hinge, quite literally, on a piece of hardware we hardly notice. Yet, the types of cabinet hinges you choose can redefine your space, infuse functionality, and spell the difference between a jarring slam and serene silence.
Embarking on a home renovation journey or dabbling in the artful craft of cabinetry, you’ll discover the pivotal role of these unsung heroes: hinges. They are the cornerstone of furniture hardware, as indispensable as beams in a skyscraper.
By the close of this article, you’ll hold the key to deciphering the mysteries of concealed hinges, overlay variations, and the European marvels that cushion your kitchen’s pulse. We’ll unlock the secrets to hinge installation that marry precision with elegance through hinge adjustment techniques.
Laced with practical insights into home improvement and woodworking joints, every paragraph aims to transform you into a connoisseur of cabinet design, fluent in the language of cabinet door hardware. Navigating the world of decorative to self-closing wonders, you’re in for a discovery of both aesthetic charm and unmatched utility.
Types of cabinet hinges
What a hinge does is that it attaches the cabinet door to a frame, and they come in all kinds of shapes and have different features. Making sure that you get the one that fits your needs is something important so don’t be in a rush when making up your mind.
Decorative Cabinet Hinges
These types of cabinet hinges are not only made for the decorative purpose they also do work properly. You install them on a door, and they act like a normal hinge but bring also the decorative element into play.
They are more done for decorative and not functional purposes. In this case, there might be a true hinge when we check the inner part of the door when the decorative hinge is on the outside of it. This means you will get more detail in your cabinet.
You can use this decorative hinge to complement other designs that you might have around. So, think about it and see if this style of hinge that is visible and functional at the same time can be an option.
Demountable Cabinet Hinges
Check this type of cabinet hinges if you want to remove the cabinet doors that they are attached to from time to time so that you can repair or clean them. Kitchen cabinets will probably benefit a lot from this hinge because you can remove them at any time for a quick clean up. They come in single and double demountable versions so choose the one for you.
Image source: Signature hardware
The difference between the single and the double demountable hinges is that the single one is installed on the face of the cabinet frame with screws and it fits into a slot at the edge of the door and the double demountable one has two slots where it fits in, one is on the face of the cabinet and the other one can be found on the edge of the door.
Heavy-Duty Cabinet Hinges
Image source: Hettich
For sure you are going to see this cabinet hinge is a more industrial environment rather than a residential environment. This is because they are more powerful and can hold a lot of weight compared with the regular ones. Military facilities can be an example of where they can be found.
However, you can use them for some cabinets in your own house especially if you want some strong ones. So, for sure they can hold a lot of weight and will also allow you to open the door easily. This sounds like a good deal, so why not put it on your own cabinet hinge list?
Free Swing Cabinet Hinges
Image source: Houzz
This is a hinge that can move freely no matter if you open or close it. There are no strings in the closing action. Because they don’t have a closing mechanism, they are commonly used with touch latches that pop the door open when you simply press it.
The effect given is also cool because your friends will be impressed by the slow movement it has. It really looks like you are controlling the movement with an app or something like that. In reality, it is just its simple mechanism that gets into play and makes this movement effect look so cool.
Self-Closing Cabinet Hinges
Image source: Houzz
This type of cabinets is like other cabinet hinges that help you to close the door without the need to close it completely. They work quite simple when the hinges get close to being completely shut the self-close mechanism will grab the door and will pull it closed. This also helps to keep the doors shut so they don’t stay open.
Spring-loaded hinges contain a string that when you open the door it uncoils. Once the pressure is from the door it recoils. Just be aware that these types of cabinet hinges use to wear down in time especially if you use your cabinets often.
The hydraulic self-closing hinge uses hydraulic pressure when your cabinets close. After you release the pressure from holding the door open, a vacuum of air within the hinge will make the hinge to close by itself. It sounds like something that you will fancy. Just have a go at it, you don’t need to invest a lot.
Soft Closing Cabinet Hinges
Image source: Houzz
For these types of cabinet hinges, you should know that they are a perfect fit if you were searching for something that closes gently. No Matter how much force you put on them for sure they will close gently.
This is quite useful if you wanted maybe some kitchen cabinet hinges that don’t make a lot of noise and don’t break that easily. Check them out, they might be what you need.
When you close a cabinet door using a close hinge you will need to push quite hard the door until the door reaches the position where the hinges do their job. Remember this when considering it as an option.
15 Types of Cabinet Hinges
Here are some examples of different types of cabinet hinges that can help you with your preferences so check them out.
A butt hinge is probably the most known one because it is used for different doors and cabinets. They have two rectangular leaves that are usually joined by a pin that can easily be removed when you want to take off the door. Only the pin shows that the door is closed.
Usually, you can see its joint from the outside of the cabinet so make sure to choose a finish that will look good with the rest.
This is also known as a semi-concealed hinge. It has a design that allows more movement on the cabinet door that can overlay the face frame. If the cabinet that you have is frameless then you for sure are going to need a different type of hidden hinge that goes in the inside of the cabinet frame.
Image source: Amazon
Some other useful types of cabinet hinges are the reverse ones. They are particular good because they help you close the cabinet door completely to the last inch. It helps you to keep the door closed and you can be sure it is going to do a great job.
This type of hinges is different from other ones because they pivot around a single point and not along with a long hinge pin. This makes a big difference because the only visible part of a hinge is usually the pin or the axis point where the hinge rotates.
This cabinet hinge is perfect for overlay doors and partial inset doors. They can be installed easily and can carry a lot of weight because the door weight is supported by the bottom arm and the floor. This helps a lot because there is no pressure on the frame, and it should last a lot longer.
Surface Mount (Frameless)
Image source: Lowes
The well-known surface mount cabinet hinges are installed in the inside of a cabinet frame and they don’t require any mortise installation. They are concealed so you don’t have to worry about the fact they will look bad. Most of them are highly adjustable and you don’t have to do a hole for the installation.
Image source: Lowes
These types of cabinet hinges are very similar to the butt ones. They go in the inside of the cabinet door and frame, but they take less space. This is because when you close the door the small part of the hinge closes into the larger one, so it makes it look like just one piece.
Image source: Merillat Cabinetry
Usually, full overlay doors are used in order to cover the face frame. The hinges are hidden, and the doors have less than 1/8″ between them meaning that this type of door can be used with framed cabinets or frameless ones.
Slowly they are becoming quite popular because they can adapt easily to different styles. They do not interfere with the interior space of your cabinet and this doesn’t happen for example when you are using a half overlay or a full-insert door.
Image source: Lowes
This cabinet door hinge types are made for pairs of doors that go in the middle of your cabinets. The hinge can be interior or exterior and you can put the doors so that when they are closed, they cover the entire cabinet frame.
These hinges for kitchen cabinets and not only are great if you want some that hide and can’t be seen from the outside of the doors. They are perfect also for projects like wooden storage boxes because you can move up and down the lid and the exterior look is not changed at all.
Barrel hinges come in different diameters so you will need to go for the smaller ones when you want to do your cabinet doors and frames.
Image source: Dallas North Builders Hardware
Offset hinges are the best choice when you have cabinet doors that protrude a bit from the cabinet frame. They don’t align and this means the door can extend out of the frame. They are helpful especially when you have thick cabinet doors that need to extend out from the frame, so they don’t go in the frame when they are opened up.
The Inset hinges have just a narrow side that is attached to the door frame while the wider side is attached to the inside part of the door. This means you will see a narrow part from the outside as well and this is one reason why inset hinges usually have decorations pieces.
Image source: Home Depot
As you can see in its name this type of cabinet hinge has two parts, the hinge up and the mounting plate. They were developed in Europe and usually use metric installation standards. Most of them offer the advantages of full adjustability for standoff distance, especially from the cabinet face.
Butterfly hinges, or parliament (UK) hinges
Image source: Strong Hold Direct
These types of cabinet hinges were known even back in the 17th century and can be found in antiques that date from that period like desks or cabinets. Today their size ranges from large to small depending on the type of door that needs to be installed. Some of them are even used on jewelry boxes for example.
Strap hinges have two flaps that are in the shape of a triangle. What happens is that one is screwed in the surface of the moving part and the other one on the stationary surface. They provide stability and a great choice if you want something simple for your door.
This hinge wraps around the frame and can be done in multiple ways. It can partially wrap by just touching the two sides of the frame, or it can go in a full wrap and touch the three frame sides. You will see them pretty much in residential furniture and different institutions.
Things to Consider When Changing Your Cabinet Hinges
If the day has come when you want to replace your cabinet hinges there are some things to consider. Indeed, they can be replaced fast and the price is quite cheap. The result can be a new look for your kitchen or cabinetry but before you start being aware of:
Choose Cabinet Type
You will find two types of cabinets:
- Face-frame cabinets that have a frame attached to the face. Hinges go to this face frame and the most common one is the American style cabinets. This type is perfect for simple designs spaces like the one you can see below
- Frameless cabinets- Frameless cabinets are a four-sided box that is made out of thick stock. The hinges are mount in the interior of the cabinet and the doors get installed directly to the cabinet box. They have good quality but lack a frame.
What this does is that it allows better access to the cabinetry and most frameless cabinets have a thicker side compared to framed cabinetry. There is no lip or drawers/doors that are wide.
Full access cabinets offer you more storage room and they work great in traditional spaces. Just play around with the style and see which one can be a match for what you want to get.
Determine Door installation
The types of cabinet hinges that you use will also change the way your door behaves. The position of the door when it gets closed is the thing you need to pay attention to. Remember that if a door is going to close inside the cabinet opening then it an inset. When an inset door is closed it sits flush with the face frame.
When a door opens on the front of the cabinet then it is called an overlay door. This type of doors covers the full front edge of your cabinet.
Measuring for cabinet hinges
If you want to measure right the overlay, you need to put the cabinet door where it will be located after you install the hinges. This is the best way to do it and you will get some precise numbers. The resulting measurement should be the measurement of your overlay.
And when you want to measure the cabinet hinge inset you need to close the door because the thickness of the door that goes inside the cabinet is called the inset. So basically, just measure the edge of the door, you should get something like 3/8″ or 5/8″ most of the time.
FAQ on cabinet hinges
What’s the difference between concealed and European cabinet hinges?
European hinges are a subset of concealed hinges, featuring a cup that’s drilled into the cabinet door. They’re sleek, adjustable, and work well with frameless cabinets — truly the epitome of a modern, minimalist vibe.
How do I choose the right hinge for my cabinets?
Focus on the cabinet design. Overlay or inset? Frameless or face frame? Match the hinge to these specifics. Think about function, too. Soft-close for a touch of silent luxury? Self-closing for assured shut? Measure, match, then choose.
Can you explain what overlay means in cabinet hinges?
Overlay refers to the extent a cabinet door covers its frame – like a blanket over a bed. It dictates hinge type. More overlay, more coverage, specific hinge. Precise measurement is key. It affects alignment. It holds the look together.
What are the advantages of soft-close hinges?
Whisper-quiet closure. Say goodbye to slammed doors. These beauties slow down the motion as the door closes, preventing loud noises and reducing wear on your cabinets. Minds at peace, doors in grace.
How do I install new cabinet hinges?
A drill, a screwdriver, patience. Align new hinges with door and frame. Drill pilot holes — not too deep! Fasten screws snugly. Test the swing. Adjust as needed, for that perfect alignment. It’s meticulous but gratifying.
What does self-closing mean for cabinet hinges?
Self-closing hinges pull doors shut the last little stretch, gently but firmly. No more doors ajar. A small internal spring does the trick. A true marvel to keep everything tidy.
How do I adjust cabinet hinges for perfect alignment?
Patience, a screwdriver, and a discerning eye. Loosen screws, adjust the angle, tighten back up — bit by bit. Repeat. Test. There’s usually a three-axis play: up/down, left/right, in/out. Align to perfection.
Are there decorative hinge options that are still functional?
Indeed. Decorative hinges come out to play, standing out rather than hiding. Fancy scrolls, vintage finishes. But they’re not just a pretty face — they hold their own, combining function with flair.
Can pivot hinges be used for all types of cabinet doors?
Pivot hinges work like a charm for tall, heavy doors. They run top to bottom, sharing the load. Smaller doors? Maybe overdoing it a bit. Best fit? Large, weighty panels needing that pivot-point support.
How do I ensure I’m getting durable cabinet hinges?
Research the brand. Blum? Hettich? Salice? Heavy-duty materials. Stainless steel? Brass? Weight capacity is crucial. And consider the finish – it’s not just about looks, but protection against wear and tear. Go for the long haul.
So, we’ve journeyed through a maze of types of cabinet hinges, from the sleek, virtually invisible concealed hinges to the robust and audibly satisfying soft-close marvels. We discovered that the right hinge can elevate a simple storage box into a whispering companion of your daily life.
- Precision in hinge installation isn’t just a detail; it’s the linchpin to ensuring a flawless door dance.
- The mastery of cabinet design, profound.
- And the allure of decorative hinges, a nod to tradition with a modern twist.
Whether you’re knee-deep in wood shavings, spinning the yarn of a DIY project, or colluding with the sharp minds behind a kitchen renovation, remember this: Cabinet hinges are the unspoken heroes, the silent partners to your creativity. They turn the page, quietly, every time you reach for that secret ingredient or cherished china. Let’s hear it for the hinges – those splendid little guardians of order and tranquility.
If you enjoyed reading this article on the types of cabinet hinges, you should read these as well: