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What are Concealed Hinges?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 16, 2024
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Concealed hinges are hinges used in furniture construction which are designed to be invisible when doors are closed. This hinge design is also known as the European cup hinge. Many hardware stores sell such hinges for people making furniture or replacing hinges, and they can be ordered in special materials and finishes by request from customers. It is also possible to order such hinges directly from manufacturers, and some companies will make custom hinges by request.

There are a number of reasons to opt for concealed hinges. From an aesthetic perspective, people may prefer invisible hinges because they create a cleaner, less cluttered look. Having hinges on the inside also makes cleaning easier, as the hinges are not on the exterior where they can trap dirt and grime. In areas where cleanliness is important, this can be a critical consideration.

Another advantage of concealed hinges is that they are very easy to adjust. Because the fittings are on the inside, if the hinges need to be moved or adjusted, the scars left behind will not be immediately visible. Some concealed hinges are actually designed for adjustment in situ, allowing people to leave the hinge in its original position and make small adjustments up or down if a door moves off center. Many concealed hinges are clip on-off, which allows people to take the entire door off very easily, another convenient feature.

When building new furniture, it is a good idea to select fittings such as hinges in the early stages. This ensures that the needs of the hinges can be accommodated in the original design, rather than being addressed as an afterthought. There may be special adjustments which need to be made, and these adjustments are easier to do in the planning phase than they are to accomplish after something is already built.

Like other hinges, concealed hinges do benefit from some regular maintenance. If they become stiff or creaky, it can be a good idea to wipe them down and oil them. Oiling will help reduce corrosion, and will make the movement of the hinge smoother and more even. People should try to avoid spilling paint or varnish in the hinges; it's better to take them off for refinishing projects, even though it adds an extra step. When replacing hinges, it may help to try and find a concealed hinge which closely matches the footprint of the original hinge so that the replacement will be less noticeable.

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Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a HomeQuestionsAnswered researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By wander — On Aug 22, 2011

All of the furniture I have purchased recently has had concealed hinges. I am starting to wonder if it is a bit of a trend?

I moved recently and when I went to buy a new TV stand and wardrobe I noticed that most of them used concealed hinges to give the pieces a uniform finish. I must admit, it looks a lot better than the unattractive hinges you used to see on older furniture.

The only time I really like traditional hinges is on antique furniture. Often in those cases the hinges are quite decorative and add to the piece instead of taking away from the look.

By Sara007 — On Aug 21, 2011

All of my kitchen cabinets have concealed hinges and I must say it does give it a really clean and modern look. As all of the cabinets are made to look like they have a uniform opaque glass finish which really makes our kitchen look sleek.

My only concern about the lack of visible hinges is that all of the cabinets are designed to open with a push. Sometimes though they stick and it can be a pain to pry them open because the doors are so close to one another. I guess you give up some functionality when you are trying to get the best appearance.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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