The Complete Guide to Average Kitchen Cabinet Costs

If you’re planning a kitchen remodel, one of the biggest investments will be new cabinets. But how much should you budget for your kitchen cabinets? The cost can vary dramatically based on the size of your kitchen, materials, door styles and other factors. This complete guide examines the key considerations that influence the price of new kitchen cabinets.

Cabinet Materials Impact Cost

The materials used to construct kitchen cabinets make a significant difference in the overall price. Solid wood species like oak, maple and hickory are generally the most expensive option for cabinet boxes and doors. Plywood provides a more affordable alternative to solid wood, while retaining strength and durability. Manufactured materials like particleboard and medium density fiberboard (MDF) with laminate finishes offer the lowest cost for cabinet components.

Popular Wood Species for Cabinets

Oak remains a perennial favorite wood for cabinetry. Its appealing grain patterns and range of stain colors make it a versatile choice. Maple is prized for its smooth, consistent grain that takes paint beautifully. Cherry provides a sophisticated look with a reddish-brown hue that darkens over time. Popular regional woods like hickory and alder have rustic visual textures. Exotic imported woods can cost a premium but supply striking visual appeal.

Opting for plywood over solid wood cuts down on cost considerably, while still providing sturdiness for cabinet boxes. Plywood is made by gluing layers of wood together in alternating grain patterns. The cross-lamination increases strength. Hardwood plywood uses oak or other wood veneers over less expensive wood cores.

Affordable Alternatives to Wood

While wood cabinets carry premium pricing, alternative materials like laminates and thermally fused melamine provide significant cost savings. Laminate fuses decorative paper-like patterns onto particleboard or MDF under high heat and pressure. The result is an extremely durable and affordable product. Melamine utilizes a similar thermal fusion process but with a colored plastic layer for the finish instead of laminate paper.

average kitchen cabinet costs

Manufactured materials like particleboard and MDF can also be used for cabinet boxes, combined with wood or laminate doors and drawer fronts. Metal and glass add contemporary flair for a unique look, but typically cost more than traditional all-wood cabinetry.

Door Styles Impact Price

Along with materials, the style and construction of cabinet doors and drawers influences cost. Custom doors with intricate details and ornate finishes fall on the high end of the spectrum. Simple slab doors made from laminate offer an economy-friendly option. Door configurations like full overlay versus inset also change price points.

Cost-Effective Slab Cabinet Doors

Slab cabinet doors provide a clean, minimalist look. They consist of a flat panel attached to the cabinet box, without a separate frame around the perimeter. Mitered edges softly finish the shape. Slab doors work well with contemporary and modern aesthetics. Laminate and thermofoil slabs offer an affordable choice, while wood slab doors occupy the higher end.

Popular Shaker Style Cabinets

Shaker cabinets embrace simplicity with their hallmark recessed center panels bordered by a frame. The style originated centuries ago with the Shaker religious community, but remains popular today in both traditional and contemporary kitchens. Expect to pay a moderate price for quality wood shaker doors with dovetail joinery in the frame and drawer boxes.

Inset vs Full Overlay Door Styles

Inset cabinet doors fit snugly within the cabinet face frame, providing a formal, ornate appearance. But extra precision construction bumps up the cost. Full overlay doors completely cover the cabinet box for a more streamlined look. They eliminate the need for a face frame for cheaper cabinet construction.

Custom vs. Stock Cabinet Comparison

Another major factor affecting kitchen cabinet pricing is the decision between stock versus custom cabinetry. Stock cabinets provide an affordable starting point, while custom designs offer luxury upgrades.

Affordable Stock Cabinet Options

Stock kitchen cabinets provide a budget-friendly choice for a streamlined remodel. Big box stores like Home Depot sell ready-made stock cabinetry starting around $100 per linear foot. Selections are limited to standard sizes and configurations. Online retailers can offer more flexibility with styles and finishes in the $200-$500 per linear foot range for stock cabinets.

Investing in Custom Cabinetry

Custom cabinets give homeowners unlimited options for sizes, storage design, door styles, finishes and decorative details. Expect to pay at least $800-$1000 per linear foot for semi-custom designs. Prices for fully customized luxury cabinetry can exceed $1500-$2000 per linear foot. The high price brings exclusivity and heirloom-quality craftsmanship.

Semi-Custom Cabinets Bridge the Gap

Semi-custom cabinets merge the best of both worlds. Start with a stock cabinet box in standard sizes. Then customize it with made-to-order doors, drawer configurations, hardware and finishes. Semi-custom cabinetry fills the need between basic stock designs and exorbitant full customization, with average costs around $400-$800 per linear foot.

Features That Increase Cost

Certain high-end features jack up the price of kitchen cabinets significantly. While not strictly necessary, they provide enhanced function and aesthetic appeal in contemporary kitchen designs.

  • Drawers and pull-out shelves for increased accessibility
  • Soft-close hinges and glides for smooth operation
  • Glass cabinet doors for open display space
  • Built-in racks and organizers for specialized storage
  • Unique finish techniques like glazing and distressing

DIY vs Hiring a Contractor

Who you choose for kitchen cabinet installation also impacts the bottom line. Hiring a contractor typically costs 25-40% of total project price. But for DIYers with carpentry skills, self-installation can yield significant savings.

Factor in the complexity of your kitchen layout and available access to the space. Removing existing cabinets ups the installation challenge. Any electrical or plumbing system modifications add cost whether DIY or hired out. Ensure you can fully complete quality cabinet installations before taking on a DIY project.

Tips for Staying on Budget

While kitchen cabinet costs can add up quickly, you don’t have to blow your remodel budget on high-end options. Apply these creative cost-cutting tips:

  • Compare cabinet quotes from at least 3 manufacturers
  • Consider lower-priced laminates instead of solid wood
  • Mix stock and semi-custom cabinets to cut costs
  • Take advantage of online ordering directly from factories
  • Optimize layout to reduce cabinets needed
  • Install on your own if you have the DIY skills

From materials to features to installation, many considerations influence the total investment for new kitchen cabinets. Keep the following factors in mind when developing your cabinetry budget:

  • Type of cabinets: stock, semi-custom or fully custom
  • Materials used for cabinet boxes and doors
  • Door styles and decorative details selected
  • Overall kitchen size and layout
  • Specialty storage solutions and organizational features
  • Cost of professional installation if not DIYing

While it’s possible to spend over $50,000 outfitting a luxury kitchen, you can also upgrade your cabinets on a $5,000 budget with careful planning. Solicit multiple quotes to compare pricing. Be flexible on finishes and door styles to control costs. With some savvy decisions, you can achieve a beautiful, functional kitchen tailored to your needs and budget.

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