What You Need To Know Before Buying Kitchen Cabinets

Kitchen cabinets will be a part of your kitchen and your life for decades, storing plates, bowls, pots, pans and setting the tone for meal preparation and feasts. In other words, kitchen cabinets are a major purchase that will affect your days for a long time. That is why it is so important that you learn everything you need to know before buying them.

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In this article, we will discuss all the important details to be accustomed to before making such a major purchase, so that you can get exactly what you want and feel happy for the coming decades with your kitchen cabinets.


There are really just three routes you can go down when buying kitchen cabinets:

  1. Stock Cabinets – These basic kitchen storage cabinets can be found in homes all over the country because they can be purchased already built and only needing to be installed from home improvement retailers. They come in standard sizes, styles, and colors and there is not much flexibility in how they can look. The advantage of stock cabinets is that they are the most affordable option, costing about $100-300 per linear foot, they are the fastest option, usually being delivered in a week or so and they can be installed anywhere there is enough space. The drawback of stock cabinets is that you do not have much choice for the styling and they will not last as long because they are made of less durable materials.
  2. Semi-Custom Cabinets – These are simply stock cabinets that offer a wider range of customization options. For instance, you can choose from a variety of door finishes and can change the size of drawers and shelves. Semi-custom cabinets range in price starting from $150 per linear foot and can take from four to eight weeks to be delivered and installed.
  3. Custom Kitchen Cabinets – This option is completely customizable and can be installed to fit your space to look exactly how you want them to. You can design custom kitchen cabinets to fill your entire space or just enough to hold all of your kitchen accessories. They can be finished any way you like, from different beautiful hardwoods to any color of paint. You could have a special wine rack or a hidden refrigerator, there is no end to the details you can add. But all of these options come with a higher price tag and longer installation time. Custom kitchen cabinets range from $500 to $1200 per linear foot. The installation time will be about four or more weeks. A custom cabinet maker will take care of all design, delivery, and installation.


This is an important and difficult part of buying kitchen cabinets. If you do not have some considerable experience with construction, you are going to need help from a pro to make sure that all the measurements are accurate and you can get a good design started.

Custom kitchen cabinet makers will come to your house and do all the measuring as part of their service so you will not have to worry about this so much if you are going that route. Also, if you agree to buy stock cabinets from a store they will likely send someone to measure for you as part of the deal.

You basically need to measure the dimensions of the kitchen, the lengths of the walls, the height of the ceiling, and where appliances, plumbing, and electrical outlets are located. During measurement, you can also start to imagine what sizes of kitchen cabinets you are going to need.

Try to imagine any problems you have with current cabinets and how that could be fixed. You can also think of other kitchens and get inspiration for cabinet styles, sizes, and shapes that you would like to have in your kitchen.


There are two major styles of cabinets, framed and frameless.

Framed Cabinet – This style uses a thinner material for the box of the cabinet, like where the dishes will sit. Then on the outside, there is a thicker frame which adds more support for the cabinet doors and drawers to attach to. Framed cabinets can fit into tighter spaces.

Frameless Cabinet – This style is made from a sturdier material so that the doors and drawers can attach right to the box of the cabinet. Modern kitchen cabinets employ this style giving the cabinets a clean look.


Hardware, like pulls, handles, and hinges are little details that need to be considered before buying kitchen cabinets. If you choose stock cabinets, you may not have much choice in the hardware, but it is something you should consider. There are different types of metal, like bronze, stainless, copper, or wood. Pick a material that will go with your cabinet finish, or you can even mix metals and materials.

Pulls take up more space, are easier to grip, and cost more. Knobs are compact, less expensive, and can be used for drawers or doors. Pulls and knobs come in all designs and shapes, and you can choose which ones fit your ascetic goals.


Now that you are thinking about some of your design choices, you can also make a budget of what you can or want to afford for your kitchen cabinets. You can take your measurements and multiply them by what kind of cabinet you would like to have.

All design choices will affect the price and it is important to keep in mind what things will cost and if they will fit your budget. When working with stock or semi-custom cabinets, any changes to the size of the cabinets will add a lot of costs.


When you are able to see a model of the cabinets you are choosing from, you can check for signs of quality to make sure you are getting a good value for your dollar.

Check the materials – see if drawers, doors, and boxes are made of solid wood, plywood, particleboard, or other materials. Solid wood will have visible wood grain and look solid on its ends. Plywood can have wood grain, but the ends will show that it is made of layers of wood glued together. Particleboard looks like a solidified wood mash and might crumble at the ends if you scratch it.

Check Openings – see if the doors open wide enough to have good access. Check if the hinges are adjustable, as this will help if the hinges get out of alignment and you need to fix them.

Shelves – should be at least three-quarters of an inch thick to prevent sagging.


There are many online cabinet stores you can check out and you can go to most big home improvement stores to talk to a salesperson. A local custom cabinet store will have great resources and helpful salespeople if you have any questions. When you are ready to purchase kitchen cabinets, it is best to make an appointment and know that it could be hours of making all the choices and setting up the logistics of installation.

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