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How Can I Save Money on New Kitchen Cabinets?

How Can I Save Money on New Kitchen Cabinets?

Posted by John C. on 2020-11-05

Whether you're remodeling or your cabinets need replacing, buying kitchen cabinets can be expensive. With so many materials, finishes, and hardware types to choose from, you can easily spend more than you had wanted to on your cabinets. But saving when buying kitchen cabinets is possible if you know which type of cabinet material to choose. Here are ten ways you can save money on new kitchen cabinets.

1. Avoid Pull-Outs

Whether used to store trash bin or spices, even though convenient, cabinet pull-outs are expensive. Any type of pull-out will drive your kitchen cabinets' price up, so try to avoid them. Instead, opt for a pantry cabinet to store food, spices, and other non-perishables. For your trash bin, you'll probably need to place it somewhere else. We advise that you stick to standard blind corners and base cabinets with no additional add-ons. (You can always add these on or DIY later!)

Open shelves filled with jars

2. Get Open Shelving Instead Of Wall Cabinets

In general, kitchen cabinets are not the most affordable storage option, so looking for alternatives might be your best bet. One of these alternatives is open shelving could replace your wall cabinets. Even though having open shelving in your kitchen means more maintenance and less storage space, it will cost less than standard wall cabinets. With the price difference, you can save several hundred dollars, which you could use for something else.

A large modern kitchen with slab style thermofoil cabinet doors

3. Pick A Budget-Friendly Door Styles

If your goal is to save money on your new kitchen cabinets, you need to go to a cabinets store with an open mind. Most people shop with a specific door style in mind, but this may not be to your benefit. Instead, start shopping with a few cabinet door ideas in mind and then compare each's costs. Door styles come at various price points that can differ dramatically.

The most cost-effective option would be slab door fronts, which are perfect for budget-conscious homeowners who want a modern kitchen. Alternatively, opt for shaker-style doors. Shaker doors are affordable, always in style, and can be easily customized to fit any kitchen. Avoid raised panel and inset door styles, which are almost always more expensive.

A row of shaker cabinets.

4. Pick An Affordable Wood Species

If you opt for solid wood kitchen cabinets, you must pick the right wood species to save you hundreds of dollars. For an affordable option, go with any of the following wood:

  • MDF panel/Paintable Hardwood Frame: Most of our unfinished cabinet doors are available with an MDF panel and paintable hardwood frame. This is a great affordable choice if you are planning to paint your kitchen cabinets.
  • Red Oak: Being able to grow all over the world, oak is not only a common wood but also an affordable one. Oak kitchen cabinets vary in color from dark brown to a light tan. It is suitable for most stain choices but does particularly well with yellow and red-toned stains.
  • Alder Select: Alder is a great choice for those looking to stain their kitchen cabinets warm and dark tones.

5. Opt For Engineered Wood

If solid wood is out of your budget, opt for engineered woods like thermofoil and laminate. These engineered woods are a lot more affordable than solid wood and a far better option than plywood. Unfortunately, engineered wood kitchen cabinets do not add value to your home. Here is a breakdown of both laminate and thermofoil:

  • Laminate Cabinets: As one of the cheapest options on the market are laminate kitchen cabinets. These types of cabinets are not only cost-effective but also durable and low maintenance.
  • Thermofoil Cabinets: Another affordable option is thermofoil cabinets that withstand wear, pressure, and damage. Plus, it has a lifespan of up to ten, and they are more moisture and heat resistant than average laminate.

A large two tone kitchen with thermofoil cabinets

6. Get Fewer Drawers

Even though drawers are the more functional option for your kitchen, standard base cabinets are the more cost-effective ones. Many homeowners love the idea of drawers as it is a more practical, efficient, and even family-friendly option. But what these homeowners don't take into account is its price tag. Opting with fewer drawers in your design could save you several hundred dollars per cabinet. Remember that both drawers and cabinets are excellent options for your kitchen, but if you're on a budget, go with cabinets. You can always upgrade to drawers when your bank balance allows.

7. Don't Get Ripped Off

There are plenty of handymen and installers that will take advantage of someone who does not know solid wood from engineered wood. The best way to avoid this is by asking for recommendations, reading reviews, and asking for examples of their work. Additionally, you need to know the average price of labor, materials, and installation. It is important to keep your budget and expectations in mind when choosing a handyman for installation. If your custom cabinetry and installation requirements are potentially tricky (from slightly slanted walls in your 100-year-old kitchen) make sure you are working with qualified installers. To ensure you don't get ripped off, here are a few average costs of things that you can expect pay when installing new kitchen cabinets:

Labor & Installation Costs

  • Cabinet Installer: $35-$65 per hour
  • Handyman: $60-90 per hour
  • Cabinet Removal & Disposal: $55-$85 per cabinet
  • Molding: $300-$2,400
  • Specialty Cabinetry: $300-$850
  • Sink Base Cabinet: $300 per linear foot

A person installing a countertop onto a base cabinet box.

8. Avoid Too Many Customizations

You want your kitchen to work with you instead of you trying to adapt it. One of the ways to do this is by customizing your kitchen cabinets. In theory, it may seem like no brainer, but overly custom cabinetry can break the bank. The fewer details you choose to add to your kitchen, the less you'll pay. So you should avoid the glass door fronts, crown molding, and matching end panel and stick to the basics. You can always opt to upgrade or add a few custom elements to your kitchen cabinets later on.

9. Don't Add A Glaze

If you've decided to paint or stain your cabinets, don't add a glaze to them. Yes, adding a glaze may be a minor detail that helps shape your kitchen cabinets aesthetic, it is also a costly one. Simply put, glazing your kitchen cabinets is a method of antiquing them, which gives it more of a traditional look. It is not something that will impact the functionality or practicality of your cabinet, it will just make it look better. Because it is more of a want than a need, it should be a no-brainer to take it off the table, especially when trying to save money.

10. Say No To Soft-Close Drawers

No one likes slamming kitchen drawers, so opting for soft-close drawers is a must-have for many homeowners. However, having this installed can cost you a few hundred dollars. Like adding a glaze to your cabinets, this add-on will not change your drawers' practicality and functionality. It will, however, make it a whole lot quieter. If you are concerned about the wear and tear of your kitchen cabinets, try door pulls instead. Door pulls are a more affordable option that will help preserve your door and drawer fronts' integrity if they are often slammed.

The Bottom Line

A modern U-shaped kitchen with thermofoil

The way in which these tips look in your project will vary, but they are excellent starting points. It is imperative to have a plan and a set budget when undertaking projects like this. The plan and budget can be used to help keep yourself accountable when you are exploring your options. Remember, the kitchen is the heart of the home and any improvements you make will help increase your home’s value.