Many custom closets include cabinets to hide specific contents and keep dust at bay. For this reason, cabinet door hinges are an important part of the closet design process. But there are many kinds to choose from. You may be surprised to find there are so many ways to open and close a simple cabinet door. Investigate your options before making any decisions.

Typical Choices in Cabinet Door Hinges

If a shelving section inside the closet is covered by a door, it is considered to be a closet cabinet. Closet cabinets are typically frameless, meaning they lack the 1-1/2 to 2″ wood framing around the door opening. For this reason, any shelving section can become a cabinet if a door is added. The doors will completely cover the opening and sit flush to the adjoining door or drawer. Cabinet doors for closets operate on hinges to open out, up, or down like any other door for a cabinet. But there are certain hinges that are typically used with closets. These hinges tend to work well with the 3/4-inch laminate material used in custom closet construction.

Hinges that Open Out:

Closet safe behind cabinet door with concealed hinges that open out.
This closet safe is hidden behind a cabinet door that uses concealed hinges that open out. The safe is well hidden. When closed, it simply looks like more drawers.

Hinges that open out are the most common type selected for every application. In custom closets made from furniture grade laminate materials (high-end closets), they are installed from the back of the cabinet door and are usually hidden from view when the door is closed. Among the many options available when selecting this type of hinge is whether you want a 130-degree opening range or a 180-degree opening range for the cabinet door.

130-Degree Cabinet Door Hinges

Walk-in closet with cabinets and 130-degree hinges.
The hinges used for this cabinet door open out and are typical in high-quality custom closet construction. Notice how they open fully but won’t allow the door to lay flat against the adjoining cabinets.

Use the standard 130-degree hinge for most of your cabinet door needs inside the closet. This hinge provides a wide amount of clearance and is completely adequate for most needs. Although it doesn’t open flat, it will satisfy most needs. Use it for closet cabinets containing folded clothing, baskets, storage boxes, and more.

180-Degree Cabinet Door Hinges

Back of a mirrored closet door with a 180-degree hinge.
Back of a mirrored closet door with a 180-degree hinge.

Although it looks very similar to the standard 130-degree hinge, it’s not. This hinge opens a full 180-degrees so that the door will lie flat against the wall or adjoining cabinets. Although slightly more expensive than standard hinges, they provide the greatest clearance when moving things in and out of the cabinet. Use 180-degree hinges whenever you need your doors to open completely flat.

Hinges for Frameless Glass Doors:

Closeup of frameless glass door with special hinges used in a custom walk-in closet. The hinges cradle the glass panels used on the door and also use a touch latch so that no knobs or handles are needed.

Frameless glass doors are very attractive. However, they require special hardware in order to work properly. Instead of being drilled into the back of the door, this type of hinge surrounds and cradles the corner of the glass. It is always visible but attractive at the same time. Touch latches are recommended with this type of door so that you don’t need handles or knobs. But you will have to clean off the fingerprints periodically from the glass.

Hinges for Overhead Doors:

Close-up of a cabinet door that flips up to open.
Close-up of a closet cabinet door with a flip-up hinge and touch latch.

If you have high ceilings in your closet or simply want to cover the top shelves of the closet with a door, use a flip-up door. This will make it easier to open a cabinet that is over your head. You won’t need a step stool or chair for access like you might with a regular hinged door that opens out left or right. Touch latches are also recommended. to make it even easier. However, these overhead cabinet doors require special hinges to operate.

The hinges have a long arm so that they don’t have to be located where the door pivots to open. Rather, the hinge gets installed against the side panel of the cabinet. Unless the cabinet is very wide, you probably only need one. Always use soft-close with this type of hinge so that the door doesn’t inadvertently slam down and smash your fingers when you are trying to access the contents.

Soft Close Hinges for Cabinet Doors:

Use soft-close hinges so that your cabinet doors close smoothly and quietly every time. Doors will never bang shut, even if you try and slam them. Just like the soft-close hinges used on drawers, the hydraulic dampener on the hinge slows down the speed at which the door can be closed. It also makes sure the door closes completely every time. Just give the door a gentle shove. When it gets within about 10% of being fully closed, the soft-close mechanism takes over and finishes closing the door for you.

Bench Seat Hinges:

Although not technically a door, another area of the closet where you might see hinges is on a shoe bench. Many closet islands have this type of seating built-in so that you can conveniently put on footwear. Use these hidden hinges on the underside of the seat so that the top flips up, providing a box for storage.

Installation of cabinet door hinges for your closet is easy!

Installation of the standard hinges used in typical closet construction is very easy. Most closet companies will pre-drill the holes for the hinges. You just install the hinges onto the door panels by inserting them into these existing holes and tighten the screws. That’s all there is to it. A step-by-step visual guide for the installation of standard hinges is outlined below. The hole patterns for other types of hinges will look different, but the process is very similar no matter which types you are using.

Step 1

Step 1 of installing cabinet door hinges for a closet.
Locate the pre-drilled holes on the back of the cabinet door. There should be holes for the screws and another for the hinge cup.

Step 2

Step 2 of installing cabinet door hinges for closets.
Place the hinge in the holes.

Step 3

Step 3 of installing cabinet door hinges for closets.
Attach the hinge to the door with screws.

Step 4

Step 4 installing cabinet door hinges for a closet.
Install the door with the hinge attached to the interior side wall of the cabinet.

Ready to install some cabinet door hinges in your closet?

There are many reasons to install cabinet doors in your closet. For one, cabinet doors add a lot of pizazz to the typical closet. They also present a clean and tidy appearance by hiding clutter. Plus they prevent dust from settling on your clothing or accessories. Whatever your reason for wanting cabinet doors, don’t shy away from this easy DIY project. Installing doors centers around getting the hinges right. But choosing the right hinge is easy! And installing it is even easier. This is a project you and will want to do on your own.

Cabinet doors and hinges are available on CLOSETS.COM closet purchases that go through our free We-Design service. The closets and doors are shipped unassembled, but this is a project that the DIY homeowner can definitely complete with great results!

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