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Luxury wood kitchen with granite countertop.

Cabinets are perhaps the most important element of any kitchen. Whether you’re taking on a remodeling project or building a brand new home, your cabinets should be built to last, and they should exhibit a look and feel that reflects your individual preferences and personality. Sooner or later during the decision-making process, you’ll be presented with the option of buying a pre-made set of cabinets or getting them custom built. While custom cabinetry offers a good amount of flexibility in terms of materials, style, finish, and sizing options, the obvious hesitation that most people have is in regards to price. So should you get custom cabinets, or go with a more wallet-friendly choice? Here are some key questions to ask yourself:

  1. What are the basic types of cabinets?

    Cabinets are generally categorized into three primary categories: In-Stock, Semi-Custom, and Custom. The unit of measurement used to price cabinets is known as a “linear foot,” and cabinet prices can run anywhere from $50 per linear foot to more than $1,400 per linear foot, depending on which category you choose. Below are the basic descriptions of each category:

    • In-Stock – The most common type of cabinets available are sold at home improvement retail chain stores, as well as through online suppliers. They’re often pre-assembled and pre-finished, and come in standardized sizes that range anywhere from 12 to 36 inches wide. These cabinets will often use filler panels of various sizes to cover up any gaps. In-Stock cabinets are widely considered to be the most economical option.
    • Semi-Custom – These cabinets offer a significantly higher degree of flexibility in terms of materials, styles, sizing, and finishes. With semi-custom cabinets, you’ll typically be able to select from a range of existing designs, and you can rely upon the expertise of in-house design consultants and installers to ensure that your cabinets will be the right fit for your home. Prices for semi-custom cabinets can average anywhere between $150 to $1,000 per linear foot.
    • Custom – Custom built cabinets can be likened to a tailor-made suit; all of the nuances of your particular height and size measurements are taken into account. You can have odd-sized cabinets built to certain specifications in order to accommodate the particular shape or dimensions of the room, and you can choose various drawer and cabinet combinations that will best reflect your cooking and baking style. Perhaps the biggest benefit of custom cabinets is that they’re able to fit into basically any form you specify, making the best use of whatever space is available. Prices for custom cabinets can average between $500 and $1,500 per linear foot.
  2. What type of budget am I working with?

    Since cabinet prices carry a very wide range, and custom cabinets are on the higher end of that range, you’ll need to scope your project carefully in order to get the most bang for your buck. You can establish a decent budget framework by measuring the number of linear feet you’ll need for your cabinets, both above and below the counter. Use a tape measure to help you determine the height, width, and depth of your desired cabinet space, and then multiply the total linear feet of these measurements by the price per linear foot. You can always enlist the help of a kitchen design consultant to ensure the accuracy of your measurements. Once you come up with a figure, you’ll know what you may need to adjust in terms of size, materials, etc., in order to keep your cabinet project within your budget.

  3. Do custom cabinets make sense for my particular space?

    One of the most common scenarios in which custom cabinets are used is when a kitchen has an irregular floor plan, or there are certain structural peculiarities of the kitchen space that require a custom made solution. When it comes to accommodating unconventional kitchen layouts, custom built cabinets are the best choice due to the fact that they can maximize every available inch of space in your kitchen. Simply put, with a custom solution, your cabinets will look like they “belong” there, instead of requiring various filler panels to cover the odds and ends of your kitchen space.

    The decision to get custom cabinets for your kitchen requires a substantial amount of consideration. With the help of a qualified design coach, you can have confidence that you will select the most sensible option in light of your preferences, budget, time frame, and the kitchen space itself.

For great ideas for your new kitchen design, click here!