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  • Writer's pictureADA JIANG


As home sales decline and mortgage restrictions tighten, more homeowners are finding it difficult to sell and move into bigger homes. Consequently, there's an uptick in home renovation projects, with many choosing to enhance their living spaces and boost home value, starting with kitchen renovations.

In any kitchen makeover, cabinets are typically the most significant expense. They play a central role in the kitchen's aesthetics, influencing the choice of countertops, appliances, and hardware based on their design and layout.

A major drawback of traditional, store-bought cabinets is the long wait time for delivery, often 8-10 weeks. It's crucial to select your cabinets early in the renovation process to avoid delays. Alternatively, some online options can deliver within 2-3 weeks, though availability varies by style and construction. More details on cabinet types will be discussed later.

Before diving into cabinet shopping, setting a budget and creating a basic kitchen layout is essential. With the average kitchen remodel costing between $40,000 and $50,000, it’s important to carefully plan your expenses. Even those with minimal DIY experience can design their own kitchen using accurate measurements and templates, potentially saving money by bypassing professional designers.

If you feel up to the challenge, consider utilizing free design services offered by kitchen designers or home improvement centers.

Cabinet costs can be influenced by brand, construction, wood type, and features. It's important to explore all options as a higher price doesn't necessarily guarantee superior quality, and some lesser-known brands may offer better-built products.

Here are some insights into kitchen cabinet shopping:

Kitchen Cabinet Wood Choices:

Custom, stock, or RTA (ready-to-assemble) cabinets offer various wood options. Hardwoods like cherry, maple, birch, hickory, and oak are typically more expensive than laminate or veneer finishes.

Framed Kitchen Cabinets:

The most common construction type in the U.S., framed cabinets are generally more affordable. They consist of a face frame built from hardwood which is attached to the front of a particleboard or plywood cabinet box. Opting for solid wood or plywood cabinets is advisable due to their durability.

Frameless Kitchen Cabinets:

These cabinets are gaining popularity for their contemporary look. Without a face frame, the doors attach directly to the cabinet box, allowing for easier access and hidden hinges.

Kitchen Cabinet Finishes:

Natural wood cabinets can be finished with stains, paints, or glazes. Distressing techniques such as rasping, antiquing, and rub-through are also options for those seeking a unique appearance.

Kitchen Cabinet Sizes:

While there are standard sizes known as stock cabinets, custom sizes are also available but tend to be pricier. Most manufacturers stock universal sizes, which means most kitchen designs are transferable between different cabinet lines.

Kitchen Cabinet Quality:

For those planning to stay in their home long-term, investing in high-quality kitchen cabinets is crucial. The best options feature solid frames, doors, and drawers, and have fully enclosed backs with reinforced corners. Regardless of purchase venue, including online, it’s wise to compare different cabinet lines to ensure you get the best quality for your investment.

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