27 Meadow St., Willimantic, CT
Call Today For An Appointment! 860-450-8442


Welcome to the task of buying cabinets; we know that it can be overwhelming with the choices available in the market today. At Design Center East, we will help you make the proper cabinet selection for your project.

Buying cabinets is like buying a car, you may have a look in mind for the exterior or even a make, but do not know all of the particulars. It is these particulars that make up the quality and price differences from one manufacturer to the other.

All too often people come into our showroom, after having been to another, confused and frustrated with the process of choosing a cabinet line.

We feel that it is our job to give you the information you need to make the proper selection. We know the pros and cons of each of our lines, and give you honest factual information.

Design Center East carries frameless cabinets in Willimantic, CT

In order to compare lines from one manufacturer to another, you need a good overview of the different components that make up a cabinet.

The following is a quick overview to get you started:

  • Cabinet box: the outer shell of the cabinet. You can have either a framed or frameless box.
  • Box composition: boxes are generally made up of plywood, high density particle board, mdf and masonite in different combinations and thicknesses.
  • Interior finish: how the inside is finished. Wood veneer, melamine or finished to match exterior finish, this is usually done for an open wall unit or unit that has a glass door.
  • Exterior finish: flat side of box or door matched panel, either finished to match door color.
  • Shelves: wood, particle board or mdf in different thicknesses.
  • Shelf clips: plastic locking, metal plastic combination and metal posts.
  • Drawer box: metabox, partical board, plywood or hardwood.
  • Drawer box joinery: butt, overlap and dove tail.
  • Drawer glides: epoxy coated or steal. Side mounted or undermount. Partial extension, full extension and full extension soft close.
  • Door hinges: concealed or exposed. Barrel or cup pull. Standard or self-soft closing.
  • Door mounting: Full overlay, partial overlay, full inset and partial inset.
  • Door / drawer front materials: Solid wood, mdf, themofoil with particle board core, wood veneer center panels or plywood center panels.
  • Door joinery: mortise and tennon or miter with spline or dowels and a combination of the two
  • Door styles: slab, raised panel, raised panel arch and flat panel.
  • Drawer fronts styles: slab or 5 piece door match.
  • Woods: oak, hickory, alder, birch, red birch, maple and cherry.
  • Finish: painted, solid stain and stain. Distressed, rubbed, glazed and rustic with different sheens.
  • Accessories: most of the accessories installed in cabinets are made by after-market companies and purchased by the cabinet manufactures for installation.

We will put together the different components that are important to you and help you select the line that meets both your budget and sense of design.


A traditional cabinet box look is achieved with a face frame. This is referred to as a framed cabinet box. The face frame is a hardwood that matches the wood of the door and is generally about 1 1/2" wide and varies depending on the cabinet manufacturer. The face frame is attached to the box with glue and staples from the inside. The face frame is butted, glued and joined with  slot screws. The frame has a routed groove the thickness of the sides so there is an overlap. Doors are mounted to the face frame and depending on the look can be partial or full overlay, full or partial inset. Framed cabinets are especially good for stand-alone units since the face frame will hold the box truer or square over time. The bottom shelf will also be stronger over time. However, all the other shelves will perform the same as in a frameless box. Also, all the other cabinet options remain the same for both framed and frameless.


A streamlined cabinet box look is achieved without a face frame. This is referred to as a frameless cabinet box or full access or European style. These boxes are generally made from either 5/8" or 3/4" materials and have either a wood veneer or pvc edge treatment. They are assembled using dowels to fasten the sides to the top and bottom. The doors are mounted to the inside front edge of the box with fully adjustable hinges. The doors are a full overlay due to the nature of the construction. All of the other cabinet options remain the same for both frameless and framed cabinets. A frameless kitchen, will give you the feeling that the cabinets are continuous. It is important to remember that when designing with frameless cabinets you need to have fillers next to the walls to leave clearance for doors and drawers to properly operate.