Are More Expensive Kitchen Cabinets Worth the Cost?

A white kitchen with black kitchen cabinets.

There are many products on the market for which the phrase “you get what you pay for,” is a true statement. It is particularly valid for kitchen cabinets. There are many different options at a variety of price points, and understanding each option’s value along the spectrum of cost will help you make the right choice for your kitchen project.

When considering options, it helps to think about the kitchen you are designing. If you are building your dream kitchen, you will make different decisions than if you are putting a new kitchen into a house that you intend to flip. The one commonality is that both projects require some pre-planning and will be made easier with the help of a kitchen design professional. 

For a dream kitchen, working with a professional will help you take your vision and translate it to cabinet styles and materials. While it is important to do your homework, remember that this is a significant investment, so purchasing the best cabinets you can afford is usually a good rule to follow. There are basically three different categories of cabinets for kitchens

Stock Cabinets

Stock cabinets are usually available in ready-to-assemble or pre-assembled models. It is common for stock cabinets to use particle board materials for the box of the cabinet and they may have a wood veneer on particleboard or solid wood faces and doors. Stock cabinets are less expensive than other choices, but will not give you the same boost to your home’s value that would come with solid wood cabinets. Cabinets in this category typically come with very standard cabinet interiors, meaning shelves may be fixed or adjustable, so check. You may need to spend additional money to order special-purpose items, like pull-out shelving or soft-close doors and drawers.

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Ready-to-assemble cabinets may seem like a good way to save money, but unless you have some experience in precise assembly you may want to reconsider. Remember that base cabinets will be holding a lot of weight, and wall cabinets need to be assembled accurately to hang on the wall properly. Any mistakes in assembling cabinets may cost you more money and will show in the final product. When estimating the cost savings for your ready-to-assemble cabinets, consider your time as part of the investment. If you are flipping a house, using unassembled cabinets can add extra days to your timeline to finish. 

With stock cabinets, you will also be limited to pre-determined cabinet sizes. If you have tight spaces to fit or oddly shaped rooms, you may have wasted space when using stock cabinets.

Semi-Custom Cabinets

Semi-custom cabinets are a popular choice, typically made of solid woods and available in a variety of wood types and finish styles. Always double-check the construction standards for all areas of the cabinet to verify that the manufacturer uses solid wood throughout. 

While they also have pre-determined cabinet sizes, there are also some customizations available. Options like choosing between doors or drawers in base cabinets, wood selection and finish, changing drawers and door pulls, finish details and other customizations are ways to achieve more flexibility in your design at an affordable price. Some customizations will also allow you to better fit the design space and install a kitchen that adds value to your home. Accenting these cabinets with unique, quality hardware is one way to increase the visual appeal and custom look in your kitchen.

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Cabinets in this category may come with specialized interiors included in the price or as upgrades. Consider your usage and look at adding details like narrow slide out cabinets for spices or platters that take up very little room, or soft-close doors and drawers. 

When building a new home, semi-custom cabinets can be an option, especially if you can begin your kitchen design with a blank canvas. By using standard cabinet sizes with a few custom touches, you may find that you achieve a full custom look at a lower price point. 

For investment properties, semi-custom cabinets can give you a high-end look for a price that will put more money in your pocket at resale.

Custom Cabinets

Custom cabinets are somewhat self-explanatory. While the cost of customization is higher, you get a lot of benefits for the price you pay. For really unique kitchen designs, the wood and finish selection for your cabinets will set the tone for your overall look. More exotic woods, that would normally not be found in standard, mass-market cabinet brands, are one way to make a statement with custom cabinets.

With custom cabinets, you have the advantage of being able to fit any space in the way that works best for you. For this reason, putting a lot of thought into how you will use each space is especially helpful. Consider appliances that you use regularly and like to have handy. Remember to design vertically as well and use your custom options to really maximize the space. Custom cabinets are one of the most expensive options, but they can bring a tremendous amount of value and convenience to your home.


Remember that the cabinets you choose for your new or remodeled kitchen will be one of the most noticeable design statements you can make. Look at your overall budget to see if there are ways to maximize what is allocated to your cabinets to get the most for the dollars you invest. 

Professional Cabinet Installers

The most important aspect of using custom cabinetry is finding the right manufacturer. You want to work with a cabinet maker that understands the variety of options available, will listen to your kitchen plans, and help you sift through the choices to arrive at the perfect solution for you. When in doubt, contact an experienced and high-quality custom cabinet manufacturer like Authentic Custom Cabinetry to make the most of your dream kitchen.

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