Choosing kitchen cabinets doesn’t have to be confusing. With a little research on your part you’ll know what to ask for, what you want and need, and where to find it. All while saving the most money you possibly can.
First – Decide what you need, what you want, and what you can afford.
What style are you looking for? Shaker, Country, Retro, Classic, New England, Cottage?
Are you open to suggestions and ideas?
Do you want wood, laminate, frame cabinets or frameless (Euro-style)?
What type of countertops are you going with? Laminate, solid surface, marble, granite, quartz, concrete, tile, glass?
Do you need an entirely new kitchen, just a bath vanity, or only a rollout fixed?
Do you need help with the entire process, which means you might need to hire or be your own contractor, or is your project small?
What is your budget? If you have $200 you can paint your cabinets for a fresh look or get new handles or knobs. If you have $5,000 or more you will be able to get an entirely new kitchen, depending on size. If you have $10,000 you might even begin thinking about remodeling (changing walls, plumbing, etc.). Kitchens really can run from a few thousand to several tens of thousands depending on where you live and what you want. You’ll pay much more for a kitchen in New England or Oregon than you will in Kentucky or Wisconsin.
Thinking about these questions will help get you going in the right direction.
Second – Decide where you are going to look when choosing kitchen cabinets – don’t limit yourself to factory cabinets only.
After you’ve decided what you want and need and are choosing kitchen cabinets, check around. If you need to purchase new cabinets, don’t fall prey to the idea that all custom kitchen and bath cabinets are out of your pocket-book range. There may be cabinet shops out there that are less expensive than many factory cabinets (especially when you figure in all the costs like installation, tac, moldings, etc.). But, do be sure to check out the factory cabinets too. Some semi-custom cabinets (which are factory cabinets with more options) may be just what you’re looking for and what your budget can afford.
Bids should be free – at least once. If you must pay someone to bid on your project – RUN. But, don’t expect someone to bid on your cabinets more than once for free. If you make changes to your plan or change your mind as to what you want and it needs to be re-bid, expect to pay a small fee at a custom cabinet shop.
Factory cabinet bids will likely continue to be free no matter how many changes you make. But, remember, the more times you change your mind, the more chances there will be for errors, especially with factory or semi-custom cabinets.
Explore rural and small shops – you may find some bargains. If you are in a metro area, look on the internet or phone books from outside your area, under the heading’s cabinetry or kitchens. Rural cabinet shops have cropped up all over in the past 20 years. They are usually very good and usually less expensive than metro custom shops (although don’t rule them out either!). Again, check around.
Remember to always check any cabinet shop out first, before you put your hard-earned money down. Here are some things that you can do to protect yourself as you compare kitchen cabinet companies:
Check with the Better Business Bureau.
Go to the local grocery store or coffee shop and ask if anyone has heard of XYZ Cabinet Shop, and what kind of work they do.
Ask the cabinet shop for references.
Ask to see a kitchen they have completed.
Ask to talk to one or more of their previous customers, get phone numbers and call on your own.
Ask to tour their shop.
You can get some relative bargains out there, but you can also get taken – keep your eyes wide open while choosing kitchen cabinets!
Keep in mind: Sometimes factory quotes can be sneaky! (i.e. home centers, lumber yards)
When choosing kitchen cabinets, don’t just look at the bottom-line price. If you quote factory cabinets (even some custom shops will leave these things out, too) make sure that the following are included in the price, or that you get prices for and consider the following:
Is tax included?
Is top trim included? What kind?
What about toe kick? And if quoted, what kind is it? Just some black thing that won’t go with your kitchen and bath cabinets?
Are the handles an extra expense? If they are this could run, you $200 on up.
What about countertops? Are they anywhere in the price, and what kind were figured?
Who is going to install this, or is it included in the price?
How much will they deduct if I can install it myself?
How much will they deduct if I can stain and finish the kitchen and bath cabinets myself?
Third – Get what you need, what you want, and what you can afford.
While choosing kitchen cabinets, make sure you are given a quote for what kind of kitchen and bath cabinets you want. If any cabinet shop or salesperson is hesitant to quote what you really want (especially if they can’t explain why) be concerned.
They should be helpful and not just push what they want to sell or what they have on hand. If they think something won’t work for you, they should be able to give legitimate reasons as to why, not just that they don’t sell those things. It’s okay if they lead you in the right direction, but after you weigh your options, you should get what you want.
Finally – Don’t forget about countertop options. They really make a bid difference in price.
When choosing kitchen cabinets, ask your supplier what they offer for countertops.
Laminate Countertops – what edges do they offer?
Wood Edge Countertops – what edges do they offer?
Marble Countertops (be cautious, there are different qualities of marble). I’m talking about cultured marble here. Real marble is very spendy, but if it’s in your price range and you like it – go for it.
Solid Surface – what companies can they get? Do they install or does a third party? Can they make the seams look seamless? What kind of guarantee comes with the product and how long after the cabinets are installed will the countertop be installed?
Quartz Countertops – (Cambria, Silestone, Caesarstone, etc.)
Granite Countertops – for granite and quartz, also find out when installation will be. It is usually a week or more after the cabinets are installed (sometimes up to a month).
Tile – do they tile, do you tile, or do you hire someone else to tile? Also, who prepares the surface for tiling? Will there be a wood edge around the tiles, will the tiles be bull-nozed, or fully wrap-around?
If you want concrete, glass, or stainless steel – can they suggest a good supplier, or do you have to find your own? Please note that concrete, glass, and stainless steel are relatively rare and will be expensive – more so than granite or quartz.
Keep the above ideas in mind as you are choosing kitchen cabinets. You will make informed decisions and save yourself some money. If you are looking for company who can install and remodel your kitchen, then get in touch with A2Z KITCHEN & BATH GALLERY in South Florida.
You make a great point about how quartz countertops are ideal for a modern kitchen look. I need to get my kitchen expanded by 15 feet. I’ll have to consider getting a contractor who can offer guarantees and warranties.
I have a friend who wants to transform the appearance of his kitchen, and he wants to start with its cabinets. Your suggestion of how he should consider first how he’ll be using this cabinet and what materials he’d want to use for it. I should recommend that he reach out to a contractor that makes custom cabinets for expert advice.
My mom accidentally cracked one of her cabinet doors the other day. Since they’re all pretty old, she wants to get completely new kitchen cabinetry. It’s great that you explain the importance of choosing affordable kitchen cabinets.