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What are the Different Types of Kitchen Cabinet Hinges?

Sheri Cyprus
Sheri Cyprus

Visible and invisible are the two main categories of kitchen cabinet hinges. This means the hinge either shows on the outside of the cabinet doors or it's hidden because it's positioned inside the door, although many types of hinges are only partially hidden. Kitchen cabinet hinges are available in many different finishes, such as chrome, brass, copper, black, polished and hammered. The style and shape options of hinges are plentiful and the type of hinge to use on a particular kitchen cabinet depends on its design.

Flush or butt hinges are the most basic type of hinge and are not at all decorative. These are straight-edged rectangular hinges with the hinged section in the center and two or three holes on each side of it. The holes hold flat head screws. A butt or flush hinge fits flat on the frame of kitchen cabinets. Although this type of hinge doesn't add a decorative touch, it is versatile as it can be mounted on the inside or outside of a cabinet door.

Butt hinges are the traditional type of hinge commonly seen on doors.
Butt hinges are the traditional type of hinge commonly seen on doors.

Reverse bevel kitchen cabinet hinges are designed to fit at a 30 degree angle. A reverse bevel hinge has a square of metal on one side of the hinged section. Reverse bevel hinges give a clean look to kitchen cabinets because they allow a cabinet door to be opened at a backward angle, so there is no need for outer door handles or pulls. European style hinges are designed for frameless cabinet styles and they are invisible on the outside of kitchen cabinets.

All basic hinges are made of three parts: Two arms and one pin.
All basic hinges are made of three parts: Two arms and one pin.

Surface mount hinges are completely visible on cabinet surfaces as half the hinge is on the frame and the other half lies on the door. These hinges are typically attached using round head screws. A surface mount hinge may also be called a butterfly hinge as many of these types of kitchen cabinet hinges are beautifully embossed or scrolled and have shapes similar to butterflies. Despite their fancy appearance, the surface mount hinge is considered simple to install.

Inset kitchen cabinet hinges are available in different types and are designed for cabinet doors that sit flush against the frame. These hinges are only partly invisible as one metal section shows on the frame, while the other fits inside the door. Half wraparound overlay kitchen cabinet hinges are a type of hinge that is ideal for heavier doors. A metal section of the wraparound overlay hinge wraps from the front to the back of the cabinet door to give it extra support.

Discussion Comments


Hey, does anybody here have any advice on what kind of kitchen hinges to use if your kitchen cabinet doors are made of clear glass? From what I've seen of most cabinet hinges, they stick out way too far -- I need some cabinet hinges for kitchens that have a lot of glass.

They must make a specific glass door hinge that is also self-concealing for use on kitchen cabinets, right? I see glass kitchen cabinet doors in designer kitchens in magazines all the time, and I really love the look. I'm especially fond of being able to look at the cabinets and see my favorite dishes on display there without worrying about them getting covered in dust.

I want kitchen cabinets like that -- help me figure this hinge thing out, anybody?


@hanley79 - When you're looking for unique and especially fancy-looking kitchen cabinet hinges, European stores are the place to check. You can order cabinet hinges online for pretty cheap as far as shipping is concerned, but the hinges themselves might cost a lot depending on just how ornate and fancy you want.

So, Steampunk, huh? Sounds like you might be able to appreciate my own weird decorating sense.

My family gets a kick out of it, but strangers are perplexed; see, I like to mismatch things in my home. This includes kitchen cabinet hinges -- I get a different set that looks unique for each cabinet. I also mismatch my furniture, my dishes, my drapes and even my clothing. The variation in textures and patterns just makes me happy, so I don't care how bad anybody else thinks it looks.


@Hawthorne - Wow, it sounds like you really aren't fond of hinges! I'm your polar opposite -- I love them. I think cabinets (and doors, and front gates) look awesome with ornate, polished black hinges in swirly designs you might find in Victorian England.

Of course, I'm a fan of the Steampunk decorating style, and it sounds like you're more of the "clean, fresh paint and simple, smooth style" kind of person.

For anybody else reading this who likes kitchen cabinet hinges, do you have any suggestions for where I could buy kitchen cabinet hinges that match the hinges on my wrought iron from gate? Cabinet hinges in fancy Steampunk style designs are harder to come by than, say, door hinges or bathroom cabinet hinges, but I really want my place to match.


When it comes to kitchen cabinet door hinges, I prefer the butt or flush hinges by far. I don't want hinges to be visible -- I just want them to serve their function, which is holding my cabinet doors on and allowing me to open and close them easily.

I've remodeled my kitchen twice now; both times I used the flush hinges and put them on the insides of the cabinets, then painted over them with the same color of paint that I was painting the cabinets with. The first time I made the mistake of not choosing galvanized screws, and as a result the hinges themselves were pristine, but the screws holding them on rusted through my white paint.

Believe it or not, the rusted screws inside of the cabinets were one of my biggest motivators for remodeling the kitchen. Hinges bother me that much -- I want them out of sight, out of mind! If there was a way to stick hinges into the edge of the cabinets' boards so that they weren't visible inside or out, I would do it.

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    • Butt hinges are the traditional type of hinge commonly seen on doors.
      By: Mr Doomits
      Butt hinges are the traditional type of hinge commonly seen on doors.
    • All basic hinges are made of three parts: Two arms and one pin.
      By: Vladimirs Poplavskis
      All basic hinges are made of three parts: Two arms and one pin.