Buying kitchen cabinets on a budget? Choosing prefabricated over custom is a good starting point, but the savings don’t have to stop there. Sometimes it’s all about the wood species you pick or the number of drawers you include in your design. Best of all, you won’t always have to sacrifice decorative details.
When you begin your cabinet installation, it's a clue that you are almost done with your home build, at least from the stand-point of your lender. So, before we expound on how to save money on cabinets, remember to schedule a call to your lender and let them know where you are in the build. They need to start the process of converting your construction loan into a more traditional loan.
1. Compare door styles. You’ll probably have a specific door style in mind before you head to your local cabinet shop, but if your goal is to save money, it’s best to select two or three options and compare the cost. Door styles can make a dramatic difference in the price of your cabinets.
Raised panel and inset door styles will almost always cost more. Oftentimes Shaker-style doors cost less, but that isn’t always the case. It can vary based on the cabinet manufacturer.
Slab door fronts are normally less expensive across the board, which is a perfect fit for thrifty homeowners designing a modern or contemporary kitchen.
2. Replace wall cabinets with open shelving. Shelves do wonders for your bank account. Yes, you’re sacrificing storage space. Yes, they’re more maintenance. However, you’re definitely not sacrificing your retirement funds. Standard wall cabinets can account for several thousand dollars of your total cost. The price difference is nothing short of dramatic.
3. Choose an affordable wood species. The right wood species can shave several hundred dollars off your total cost. Oak is almost always affordable. Hickory is normally an upgrade from oak. Species such as maple can hike up the price tag by up to $1,000. Ultimately, wood species price will be determined by the cabinet manufacturer. Ask your local cabinet shop about the most affordable species.
Though many homeowners are drawn to it, cherry is usually expensive. You’ll probably want to keep shopping if you’re trying to cut costs.
4. Consider thermofoil or laminate. You don’t always have to go with an all-plywood construction. Thermofoil and laminate are both excellent budget-friendly options.
Thermofoil is a type of plastic finish applied to a medium-density fiberboard or other type of engineered wood core. It’s durable and easy to clean, and costs significantly less than wood. Laminate is likewise much less expensive than wood. It generally holds up well over time, though it isn’t as strong as wood. It’s more susceptible to moisture as well.
5. Say no to pullouts. You’ve got to decide whether the added convenience is worth the expense or not. Any type of pullout, be it a trash bin, sliding shelves or miracle corner, will drive up the bill. Plan to place your trash bin somewhere else, such as a pantry or at the end of your island. Stick to standard blind corners and base cabinets without the bells and whistles.
6. Customize less. You may be tired of hearing it, but it’s true: The fewer details you choose, the less you’ll pay. Corbels, decorative legs, matching end panels, glass door fronts, crown moulding and more are surprisingly costly. These customized options are a surefire way to increase the cost.
7. Don’t add a glaze to your paint or stain. A glaze is tempting since the small detail goes a long way in shaping the aesthetics of your cabinets. However, a glaze adds significant cost to kitchen cabinets. Since it’s more of a want than a need, don’t hesitate to take it off the table.
8. Opt for more doors, fewer drawers. So you’re in love with a raised panel door style, and you want a clean-looking wood species like maple. There’s good news: saving money isn’t a totally lost cause. To offset the extra costs that these two selections bring, include fewer drawers in your design. Drawer bases cost more than standard base cabinets, hands down. You can save up to several hundred dollars per cabinet piece.
One more tip: You want to save money, but also want great quality. Buy factory direct and cut out the middle man and big box stores. Check out the pricing at Willow Lane Cabinetry.