I’m going to try to keep this very simple.

1. Stock, usually available 0-2 week lead-time, limited door and colors available.

2. Semi-Custom, usually 5-6 week lead time, made to order, increased door styles in all of their finishes, minor modifications to cabinets.

3. Full Custom, 6-12 week lead-time, even more door styles and extensive finishes available. Also extensive modifications and usually sky is the limit on choices.

Many jobs can have a great result with stock and semi-custom lines and a good designer. Remember, when buying full custom you are buying the designer.

Now on construction styles:

1. Framed, is a traditional style of cabinet box construction where a hardwood face frame forms the front structure of the cabinet and either and overlay or inset door is attached to the frame. Overlay and Full overlay (almost 100%) is the amount that the door covers the frame and an inset door sits inside the rails and stiles showing the complete face frame.

2. Frameless is really a European build style that uses the cabinet box as the so-called frame. Usually ¾” outer box with the door attached to the inside wall.

Now the real question, which is right for me? I could probably write an entire book on the pros, cons, styles, and installation reasons… A quick solution is to find some great pictures (magazines, houzz.com, brochures) that really emulate the feel of what you are looking for and then hire a good designer. On any level project a good designer will decipher your photos and help you with your dream kitchen. In the end it will cost you less.