DIY Built-Ins Series: How to Install Inset Cabinet Doors with European Hinges

Here is the next step in our DIY Built-Ins Series.  If you missed our previous posts for the reveal and how to build your own base cabinets be sure to check them out.  Today we are going to go through how we installed the doors and drawers (which is step five in the base cabinet post).

One of the aspects of our built-ins that we just love are the fact that we were able to install inset cabinet doors.  We feel that this adds to the character of the cabinets and makes it look like the cabinets are original.

Our first step was to add strips of wood on the inside of the cabinet at the top and bottom to act as bumpers to stop the doors from swinging in.  We simply used some glue and finish nails.

Forgive the terrible lighting in these photos..projects these days are after Bray is in bed!

Doors and Drawers: 

For our doors we decided to order them from Cabinetnow. We could have spent the time to make our own but we felt that just ordering these was well worth the extra money.  We got all the doors and drawer fronts for $230 {instead of DIYing them for probably around $90}, which isn’t nothing but probably saved J two days of work, so totally worth it.

Here is the style that we ordered for the doors and drawers:

Door fronts: here

Drawer fronts: here

On their website is a guide to measuring for your doors, but basically you just measure the height and width of the opening and subtract 3/32″ from both.  This will allow the door to fit inside the opening.  J made a mistake here.  He actually ordered the doors 1/8″ smaller since we were painting the doors.  We figured that the paint would add just a fraction to the doors and he did not want to have to cut the doors down at all.  This was not needed and actually left a slightly large gap than we wanted (although not that noticeable).  So from this we learned that the 3/32″ deduction would be plenty even after the doors/drawers are painted.


Originally we wanted to use hinges that mounted to the front of the doors so we could add some more brass to the cabinets.  J searched and searched but he could not find ones that worked.  So after some debate we settled on using these european hinges:

We used the frameless inset hinges.  We also used these mounting plates and screws:


If we had known that we were going to use these hinges prior to ordering the doors we would have had Cabinetnow bore the holes for the hinges for us, but since we didn’t we just did it ourselves.  It was very easy and probably saved a few dollars, so that is nice as well.

To bore the hinge hole we purchased this kit from Home Depot and followed the directions on the package.  Just mark and drill.  Easy and quick, but a little messy.

Once the hole was bored we used a triangle to place the hinge in square and used the cabinets screws to secure the hinge to the door.  The hinge sits inside the hole and the flaps have holes for the screws.

Next we had to add some blocks on the inside of our cabinet so that the hinge would sit flush with the cabinet face.  To do this J just bought a 4×4 and measured the depth of the cabinet from the inside of the face to the cabinet wall.  He measured where the hinges would need to be placed and then cut the 4×4 to that width and he glued and secured them to the cabinet wall.   The measurements did not have to be exact as the hinge can be adjusted later.

Next we secured the wall plate to the block of wood with the screws and attached the hinge and door to the plate.  To find the placement of the wall plate we attached the wall plate to the hinge and door and then marked the screw holes on the block.

Once the cabinet door was in it was time to adjust the door so it fit correctly.  As you can see the door is not perfect but with few twists of a screw driver you are able to adjust the door up/down/left/right/back/forward.  It was really easy and efficient to adjust the doors and made the decision to use the euro hinges feel like it was the best decision we could have made.

The drawers are false drawer fronts, so to install these we just attached a couple strips of wood on the inside of the cabinet and nailed and glued the doors to the cabinet from the inside. To space the drawers properly we used some paint stirrers we had from home depot.  They were the perfect 1/8″ spacers.

We installed the cabinet pulls just like we did in our kitchen (here).  We got the pulls from amazon  and the cabinet latches from ebay.

And there you have it a step by step guide installing inset cabinet doors.  We hope it gives you the knowledge to courage to try it out.



  1. says

    I think they look absolutely beautiful! I am staring at my end family room and hoping they materialize there (only with the center portion a desk) but no luck yet! May I ask why the fake-o drawer fronts rather than, um, drawers?

  2. says

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