Kitchen furniture | How in-frame kitchens have evolved to broaden appeal

We take a look at the  in-frame kitchen and how it has developed, becoming simpler to design and more cost-effective to appeal to more consumers

20 Jun, 24

We take a look at the in-frame kitchen and how it has developed, becoming simpler to design and more cost-effective to appeal to more consumers

Kitchen furniture | How in-frame kitchens have evolved

Sunflower has been added across the Alku in-frame kitchen ranges, including as an option on Bergen (shown) which is available in a palette of painted finishes

With a move towards timeless, quiet interiors, in-frame styles have increasingly found favour in kitchen projects.

Offering classical, beaded doors through to transitional, contemporary Shakers, in-frame kitchens provide a variety of elevated living space looks.

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“With contemporary and classic kitchen styles continuing to merge, in-frame designs are a popular choice for a wide range of homes – from period properties and country cottages to Victorian houses and modern new-builds in need of character”, explains design manager at Symphony and Laura Ashley Josie Medved.

In fact, kitchen category manager at LochAnna Kitchens Sinead Trainor points out in-frame is the most popular kitchen by value: “Out of 18 kitchen styles, across eight price groups, LochAnna Kitchens’ Durham collection ranks as our fourth best-selling range by value and accounts for more than 15% of LochAnna Kitchens sold.”

It is no surprise then, that in-frame is influencing the furniture choices offered by manufacturers, as sales director of Getley UK John Sheehan of Getley points out: “We have had to increase from one in-frame door design to seven, to be able to cover all design aspects requested by the end consumer.”

Shaker inspirations

Ultimately, the Shaker style is at the heart of in-frame kitchen sales, probably due to its versatility in satisfying a broad church of consumer tastes.

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Linton is a narrow-framed Shaker, from Daval, made from solid ash and is shown here in a Porcelain finish. It includes full height doors with double cross rails, skirting plinths and island pilasters


Industry experts state the chameleon nature of the Shaker means it can be dressed with detailing or simplified to suit not only the kitchen space but throughout the home.

Managing director of Daval Simons Bodsworth explains: “The beauty of this design is that it can be easily carried through the rest of the home in custom fitted furniture, including the utility room and home office, as homeowners are increasingly embracing a signature whole house style and retailers are keen to support these needs through supplying bespoke storage.”

Kitchen complexity

Unsurprisingly, then, the in-frame commands a premium price tag, not only due to a large-scale kitchen or project encompasses more rooms but, the in-frame is undoubtedly more complex.

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The true-in frame Durham, from LochAnna Kitchens, is available in 30 colours and has beaded detailing on the inner door


The carcases are bespoke, requiring greater work when fitting, and retailers have to pay greater attention to internal storage, which is part taken up by the frame.

It means suppliers have to support retailers on the considerations for in-frame furniture and provide internal storage solutions specially adapted  for in-frame kitchens, to minimise design and specification errors.

Getley UK offers one-to-one in-house training, with a full list of all CAD drawings including unit sizes, hinge and feet locations, and customer order confirmation.

John Sheehan of Getley UK adds: “A lot of retailers shy away from in-frame kitchen saY they are unfamiliar with the products, but with our help and training it’s no more complicated than standard kitchen designs.”

Further helping retailers simplify in-frame kitchens, Hafele UK offers a range of furniture fittings and even bespoke timber drawers, to fit within the frame.

Category manager – furniture construction at Hafele UK Justin Crofts explains: “With in-frame kitchens, the frame that’s put in place around drawer and cabinet openings means there is less storage space on offer.

“As such, drawers and cabinet doors need to be narrower to fit the carcase, compared to a frameless kitchens. This requires the use of smaller width drawer boxes, for example, or cabinet hinges or flaps which take us a little space as possible – products we have readily in stock.”

Common mistakes

It is the wide-ranging customisation that can be forgotten, explains furniture manager at Caple Doug Haswell.

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Sutton is an in-frame kitchen made from solid timber, which comes with oak dovetail drawer. Available from Caple, it is shown, here, in Cashmere and Smoke


He says: “Kitchen retailers can overlook the potential for unique unit configurations and accessories when designing an in-frame kitchen.

“Incorporating specialised unit layouts and clever storage solutions can optimise space and functionality.

“Similarly, adding unique handles, lighting fixtures or decorative elements can elevate the design’s sophistication. These details not only enhance aesthetics but also cater to customers seeking personalised and functional kitchens.”

However, retailers also have to remember it will take additional time, both in ordering and fitting, and must factor in the cost accordingly.

The in-frame effect

Both the premium cost of the in-frame kitchen and its complexity has naturally deterred consumers and retailers alike from the furniture.

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The Contour Collection from TKC offers four in-frame effect door styles, including Shaker-style Stirling (shown)


However, manufacturers have responded by creating in-frame effect furniture at an accessible price point, and industry experts have reported a noticeable upturn in sales. Masterclass Kitchens recently introduced two faux in-frames and TKC has introduced the Contour Collection of in-frame effect kitchens.

Marketing manager at TKC Neil Taggart states: “The response from customers has been incredibly positive. What makes in-frame effect appealing is its lower price point and the flexibility to install it on standard cabinets, offering retailers a genuine alternative to true in-frame.”

Having launched its sub-brand LochAnna Handmade at Kbb Birmingham, LochAnna Kitchens is aslo set to unveil an in-frame effect.

“We are introducing a new, feature-rich, in-frame effect door in June, which will allow consumers to achieve stunning designs with the in-frame look at a more affordable price point”, explains Sinead Trainor.

Certainly, the market for the in-frame aesthetic is strong and industry experts suggest it is set for continued growth over the next couple of years.

Doug Haswell of Caple points out: “With in-frame kitchens already accounting for nearly 20% of our kitchen sales, there’s a clear trend towards this style.”

He believes in-frame sales will be buoyed by a greater variety of contemporary variations, adding: “his trajectory suggests a promising future for in-frame kitchens, with ongoing innovation and diversity in styles to meet market demands.”

So, take a look at the variety of in-frame kitchens on offer to satisfy both customer tastes and budgets.

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Part of the Laura Ashley Kitchens Collection is Helmsley, which is available in a choice of painted finishes, including Bottle Green