Face Your Kitchen
Your Guide to Kitchen Cabinet Refacing

Save money buying custom cabinets online

by Roger Diez
Face Your Kitchen Columnist

Cabinets are the key element that set the tone and style of your kitchen. Your cabinets define your kitchen as homey, elegant, efficient, or whatever mood you want to express. Cabinets are also one of the major cost factors in any kitchen remodel, accounting for up to 50 percent of the total cost, so it is important to budget and spend wisely.

Cabinet options

There are three basic options when fixing the cabinetry in a kitchen remodeling project:

  1. Refacing: Refinishing or repainting cabinet fronts, doors, and drawers, or adding veneer and new doors and drawer fronts is the most economical option.
  2. Replacing with standard cabinets: More expensive than refacing, this option should be used when existing cabinets are damaged, deteriorated, or too small.
  3. Replacing with custom cabinets: the most expensive option, but the one that provides the greatest range of options.

No matter which of the three options you choose, you can save money with smart online shopping and doing some of the work yourself.

Custom cabinets: online shopping

If you opted for custom cabinets twenty years ago, you would need to work with a local craftsman or a contractor who would help design and build to your request. You would also have to pay $15,000 or more for your custom cabinets in a 10-foot by 12-foot kitchen.

Fortunately, technology and the internet now enable you to design and order custom cabinets online at a variety of cabinet manufacturers' websites. Many of these websites have software tools that enable you to input your measurement and specifications to design your custom cabinets online. For example, IKEA.com has a downloadable 3D kitchen planner to help design your cabinet layout.

Custom cabinets will cost two to four times the price of basic stock cabinets, depending on the complexity of your design. You need to also add shipping costs into your budget. But if you are willing to do the assembly yourself, you can design and buy ready-to-assemble (RTA) custom cabinets at a discount of 30 to 50 percent.

Where to shop for custom cabinets online

There are literally hundreds of websites where you can shop online for custom cabinets. When selecting a manufacturer, make sure they are reputable and have a good track record. IKEA, Kraftmaid, Mills Pride, and Thomasville Cabinetry are all well-known names, but there are also many others that provide quality products.

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