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How Much Are Custom Kitchen Cabinets: True Cost Uncovered

by Gary Wade • February 27, 2024

A kitchen remodel is a significant investment and custom kitchen cabinets often take the lion's share of the budget. Understanding how much are custom kitchen cabinets can help you plan your project better and avoid any unpleasant surprises. This article will break down the costs associated with custom kitchen cabinets and walk you through the various factors that can affect the final price.

What are Custom Kitchen Cabinets?

Before we delve into the cost, it's essential to understand what custom kitchen cabinets are. Unlike stock or semi-custom cabinets, custom cabinets are tailor-made to meet your specific requirements. Whether it's the size, style, material, color or features, everything can be customized to your liking.

This level of customization allows you to overcome challenges like awkward corners or exceptionally high ceilings, which might not be possible with pre-built cabinets. However, this customization comes with a cost.

How Much Do Custom Kitchen Cabinets Cost

Breaking Down Custom Kitchen Cabinets Cost

The price of custom kitchen cabinets can range from $500 to $1,200 per linear foot, with the average cost for an average-sized kitchen falling between $15,000 and $30,000. Remember, these are just average costs and the final price can be influenced by several factors such as:

  • Type of Cabinets: The type of cabinets you choose can largely dictate the cost. For instance, kitchen cabinets usually cost more than bathroom or garage cabinets due to their size and complexity.
  • Size and Design: The size, shape, and design of your cabinets can significantly impact the cost. Base and island cabinets typically cost more than upper wall cabinets due to their larger size and the need for more material.
  • Materials: The material of your cabinets will be a major cost factor. Natural woods like oak, birch, and maple often cost less than rare woods like cherry or walnut. Additionally, alternatives like MDF or laminate can be more affordable.
  • Finish: The finish you choose, whether it's a stain, paint or thermofoil, can also add to the cost. Painted cabinets typically cost more than stained ones due to the extra labor involved in the painting process.
  • Labor: The labor costs involved in building and installing the cabinets can account for 25% to 40% of the total project cost.
  • Accessories: Additional features and accessories like pull-out spice racks, pan dividers, or lazy Susans can increase the cost but also add functionality to your cabinets.
  • Hardware: The cost of installing new cabinet handles and hinges can also add to your total cost.
  • Permits: Depending on the scope of your project, you may also need to factor in the cost of building permits.

Diving Deeper into the Cost Factors

Custom Kitchen Cabinet Cost

Cost of Cabinet Materials

Let's delve deeper into the cost of the materials used for custom kitchen cabinets. The material you select can have a massive impact on the overall cost. Here's a breakdown of the average prices for custom wood cabinetry:

Wood Cabinet Material
Average Cost Per Linear Foot
White Oak

Cost of Cabinet Finishes

The finish you choose can significantly impact the overall cost of your cabinets. Here's a general idea of what each finish might cost:

  • Stain Finishes: Stains and glazes can vary in quality and price, but typically, the species of wood will influence the cost to a greater degree than the stain.
  • Paint: Painted cabinets typically cost 10-15% more than stained cabinets due to the extra labor involved in painting.
  • Thermofoil (Thermo): Thermofoil is the least expensive of the three main finishing options, providing a seamless surface, typically in a solid color or faux wood grain pattern.

Cost of Cabinet Design and Size

The size and design of your cabinets can have a huge impact on the cost. For instance, base and island cabinets usually cost more than upper wall cabinets due to their larger size and the need for more material.

The design's complexity, whether you need finished sides, and the number of cabinets required will all contribute to the final cost.

Cost of Custom Kitchen Cabinets

Cost of Cabinet Accessories

The accessories you choose will also affect the cost. For instance, pull-out spice racks, lazy Susans or custom pantry systems can add a substantial amount to your total cost.

However, these accessories can also make your cabinets more functional and easy to use, which might be worth the extra cost.

Cost of Decorative Add-Ons

Decorative add-ons like crown molding, panels, and custom range hoods can add aesthetic appeal to your kitchen design and increase the cost. Depending on the quality of the finish and species, a finished side will add roughly $150 to $300 of additional cost per cabinet.

Cost of Cabinet Hardware

The cost of kitchen cabinet hardware can range from $5 to $30 per piece. If you have a large kitchen with many cabinet doors and you opt for high-end hardware, this can add up to a significant amount.

True Cost of Custom Kitchen Cabinets

Saving Money on Custom Kitchen Cabinets

While custom kitchen cabinets can be costly, there are ways to save money on your project:

  • Get Multiple Quotes: Always get at least three quotes from reputable custom cabinet makers to ensure you're getting the best price.
  • Choose Less Expensive Materials and Finishes: Opting for less expensive wood and finishes can significantly reduce the cost.
  • Opt for Open Shelving: Consider adding open shelving to some parts of your cabinetry project to save on costs.

To DIY or Not To DIY?

Building custom cabinets can be a rewarding DIY project if you have the time, tools, and carpentry skills. However, the process can be time-consuming and complex, and there's a risk of costly mistakes. Hiring a professional cabinet maker may be more expensive upfront, but it ensures high-quality, durable cabinets that will last for years to come.

Custom Kitchen Cabinets Cost

The question of how much are custom kitchen cabinets can't be answered with a simple figure. The total cost can vary significantly based on several factors, including the size, material, finish, and design of the cabinets, labor costs, and whether you choose to add any accessories or decorative add-ons.

By understanding these cost factors, you can make informed decisions about your kitchen remodel and ensure that you get the most value for your money.

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