When selecting kitchen cabinets for your kitchen remodel one important concept is “overlay”, which refers to how much of the cabinet is covered by the doors and draw front.
The types or styles of overlay are:
Full overlay – none of the cabinet is visible behind the drawer front and door front.
Partial overlay – some of the cabinet is visible.
Full inset overlay – the cabinet doors and draw fronts fit into the cabinet frame.
The concept of overlay is independent of how the cabinet is built or what it is build out of.
It defines the appearance of the doors and draw fronts relative to the what is behind the doors and draw fronts.
The only functional aspect of overlay is with some partial overlay cabinets you do not need handles which some people prefer, whereas with full overlay and full inset overlay you always need handles.
I hope this information is useful to you. Other details about cabinet construction is available in other articles.