6 Ways to Save on New Kitchen Cabinets

Blue kitchen cabinets.

If you’re planning a kitchen remodel, your cabinets are likely to take up the majority of your budget. They’re an investment that’s worth it since you do use them so often, and they serve an aesthetic and functional purpose, but of course, you still want to save money. 

The following are some ways to save on new kitchen cabinets. 

Save On Cabinets

1. Don’t Buy From Big Box Stores

Big box stores will sell cabinets, and they can be a convenient option, but you’re not likely to get the best prices. There are a lot of smaller retailers you can opt for, many of which specialize in offering quality kitchen cabinets at wholesale prices.

Look for a company that is transparent about pricing. Some companies will provide things they say are free, like measuring, designs, and 3D rendering, but these can be a way to tack on more to the price of the cabinets themselves. 

If you can take the “fluff’ out of the process, you’re likely to save money. 

2. Choose Minimalist Styles

The more intricate a cabinet door design, the more expensive it’s likely to be. For example, a cabinet with a raised panel style is going to have more detail, and the thicker panel will need more material. These are factors that are going to mean you pay more. Opt instead for flat-panel or slab-style cabinet doors

You can also go with Shaker cabinet doors, which are incredibly popular right now but are a flat-panel design without expensive details. Shaker cabinets can be a good option if you’re budget conscious. 

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3. Compare Wood Species

Solid wood cabinetry is more than engineered materials, but the upside of solid wood is that it can last longer. You may be fine with engineered cabinets, but if you do want solid wood, there are a few things to remember. 

Design a black and white kitchen

First, if you get an MDF panel or paintable hardwood frame, you’re getting solid wood in the frame itself, and it paints well, so the panels don’t stand out when finished properly. 

Red oak is a common and affordable wood, and it can work with most stain choices, especially ones with yellow and red tones. 

Select alder is good if you want to stain your cabinets in a dark, warm tone. When you’re staining wood, you’re highlighting the natural beauty of the grain, and select alder wood can often be more uniform and even in color. 

For a lot of people, solid wood is simply out of the question for a project, which is why laminates and other engineered woods are a viable choice. These work especially well if you want your kitchen to look clean and modern. 

3. Limit Your Drawers

Drawers add storage space and functionality to a kitchen, but they can also be expensive. Go with fewer drawers in your design, and it can save you hundreds of dollars per cabinet. 

Also, drawer bases and cabinet bases are two options you have, and if budget is your biggest concern, cabinets are going to be the cheaper of the two. 

In general, any type of pullout is going to be more expensive. This includes a trash pull-out, sliding shelves, or corner pullouts. If you can find ways to work around the pullouts, that’ll help you save money and get high-quality base cabinets, but without some of the bells and whistles you might not even end up using that much anyway. 

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More doors and fewer drawers are a smart approach from a budget standpoint.  

4. Integrate Open Shelving

A good way to save money on your upper cabinets and perhaps even the lower cabinets is to use open shelving. Shelving gives you less storage, but it’s significantly less expensive. You can, of course, have cabinets, but with open shelving, you’ll just have fewer of them. 

A white kitchen with a center island and stools featuring kitchen cabinets.

5. Go With Semi-Custom

If you’ve had your eye on custom cabinets, but it’ll break your budget, semi-custom is a good middle ground. You can customize your sizes, including for difficult spots, but you’ll still pay less than you would if they were fully custom. 

Ready-to-assemble cabinets may be worth investigating. They are frameless, but they’re somewhat low-quality compared to other alternatives. IKEA is a retailer that offers ready-to-assemble cabinets. If the price point is appealing to you, think about whether or not they’ll be durable enough for your needs and if the tradeoff is really going to be worth it. 

6. DIY What You Can

When it comes to a kitchen remodel, anything you can do yourself is going to save you money. This might include measuring for cabinets and laying out your design, doing demo, and even installing some of the cabinets on your own. If you can do the work yourself, you can put more of your budget toward the actual design elements and less toward labor.

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