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A Helpful Guide to the Different Types of Cabinets

July 05, 2022 8 min read

A Helpful Guide to the Different Types of Cabinets

 

Whether this is your first home or your fourth, you’ll eventually find yourself making the decision to put new cabinets into your space. A home’s cabinet choice is extremely important, and with so many different types of cabinets out there, it’s easy to see how homeowners can quickly feel overwhelmed. From colors to finishes to features, let’s walk through the different types of cabinet styles to help make your choices just a bit easier.

Types of Cabinets At-a-Glance

Price

Shipping Time

Customization

Great for

Stock

$

Shorter shipping time

Minimal customization

Apartments/rentals, bathrooms, laundry rooms

Semi-Custom

$$

Slightly longer shipping time

Somewhat customizable

Kitchens, offices, bathrooms

Custom

$$$

Long shipping time

Very customizable

Kitchens, closets, offices, living rooms

 

There are three main types of cabinets: stock, semi-custom and custom. Each has individual characteristics that can ultimately influence your choice for the type of cabinets to use in your home. Many people choose to use similar styles, brands and colors both for their kitchen base cabinets and the cabinets in any other area of their home. However, some choose to use different cabinets because of cost or features. 

Stock Cabinets

Stock cabinets are cabinets already in stock at a manufacturer. Typically regarded as one of the most general of cabinets, stock cabinets have a lower price and shorter shipping time. However, because they’re practically made-to-ship, they tend to have fewer features or customizable aspects of their design. This is what makes them so ideal for homeowners who are renting out their property, on a budget or even looking to make some minor upgrades to their bathrooms or laundry rooms. 

stock cabinets

Price: Did you know that the average kitchen renovation can cost upwards of $25,000 or more? You read that right kitchen remodels can cost as much as the down payment you put towards your house (or more!). Of course, some homeowners would argue that no price is too high to ensure your forever home is exactly to your needs, but others would agree that’s a slightly high cost. To put some money back in your own pocket, consider ordering stock cabinets instead of fully customizable ones. That way, you can put the money you save into getting more luxurious appliances or simply save on costs overall. 

Shipping time: Because stock cabinets don’t need to be cut, sanded, primed, painted or finished, they can be shipped out pretty quickly. Of course, the realistic turnaround time to your home can vary by brand, but most stock cabinets can be shipped out within two to three weeks of ordering. For homeowners who need a quick turnaround or can’t afford to have subcontractors waiting for parts to come in, stock cabinets are a great option. As with all ordered items, sometimes there can be shipping delays due to weather or material shortages. While there isn’t much you can do when that happens, your overall lead time will still be much shorter than ordering cabinets that are more custom. 

Customization: Many stock cabinets feature minimal customization to allow for the faster lead time and a lower price. For homeowners who are looking for standard cabinets, this usually isn’t a deal breaker. These days, most cabinets can come with soft-close doors and drawers. This includes stock cabinets! While they might not have many features, stock cabinets can still be a great option for first-time home buyers who are low on funds but want to renovate their spaces. 

Great for: Since stock cabinets have limited features, they’re great to use in bathrooms and laundry rooms. These areas of the home can be exposed more to moisture and other harsh chemicals, so it’s okay if the doors get nicked or the paint starts to wear a bit, especially if you opt for stock cabinets. Additionally, stock cabinets are great for landlords to use in apartments or rental units. That way, if tenants break pieces, you can easily replace doors without breaking the bank. 

Semi-Custom

Semi-custom cabinets are known as the happy medium between stock and custom cabinets. In fact, we’d argue that the average American home has semi-custom cabinets in the kitchen. This is simply because semi-custom cabinets allow for slightly more features than stock cabinets, including finish colors and styles. With a slightly longer lead time and higher price tag than stock cabinets, homeowners who have a bit more patience and higher budget tend to opt for semi-custom cabinets. You’ll often find semi-custom cabinets in kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms. 

Order a Set of Cabinet Samples

semi custom cabinets

Price: You can easily order a 10x10 kitchen of semi-custom cabinets for under $5,000. Of course, many homeowners have more complex kitchen layouts or are looking for some more unique individual cabinet features that can drive up the cost. Custom depths, soft-close doors and even varying finishes and colors can all lead to price increases. However, semi-custom cabinets are still pretty affordable. Ordering a set of kitchen cabinet samples prior to ordering can help you visualize the best cabinets for your space. That way, you don’t order cabinets that actually won’t look good and then have to order more, effectively spending double!

Shipping time: Semi-custom cabinets take a slightly longer time to ship, especially if you opt for any unique customizations. However, they still take less time to ship compared to custom cabinets. Most semi-custom orders will be shipping out within four weeks of ordering, barring any unforeseen delays. Even though the wait feels longer, most homeowners are more excited to receive slightly more custom cabinets, making the slightly longer wait worth it. 

Customization: Some of the most popular customizations for semi-custom cabinets include increased cabinet drawer depth and prepping for glass doors. These features allow for a unique look to the cabinets. Some other customizations include colors and finishes. While many stock cabinets only come in one finish and a few colors, many semi-custom cabinets include a couple of finish options and a variety of colors. Whether you’d like to mix and match your upper and lower cabinet colors or have some of the doors prepped for glass, semi-custom cabinets are great for any home.

Great for: Semi-custom cabinets are most often seen in kitchens, offices and laundry rooms due to a variety of factors. They offer a lot of features for the cost, so you can have the beautiful kitchen of your dreams without needing to break the bank and the same goes for offices and laundry rooms. When you want cabinets that look great, have some fun features but still allow you to bring in that custom flooring for your office or add a brand new washer and dryer to your laundry room, semi-custom cabinets are a great choice.

custom cabinets

Custom

Custom cabinets are considered the creme-de-la-creme of all cabinets. Featuring a variety of colors, depths and other unique characteristics, custom cabinets cost the most and take the longest to arrive. However, many homeowners who are searching for a very specific set up really feel that custom cabinets are worth the wait and every single penny they cost. Some homeowners save up for years to afford custom cabinets (even though we feel some of our custom cabinet lines are more affordable than you’d think!), while others just bite the bullet and order custom cabinets as soon as they can. 

Price: Custom cabinets can be the reason why those kitchen renovation prices are so high. The more unique the cabinets, the higher the price. Some custom cabinet sets can cost more than $15,000 and that’s not including the countertops. Because of this, many homeowners decide to purchase ready-to-assemble cabinets. While this means you have to put the cabinets together yourself and install them on your own, it also means you don’t have to pay for them to be pre-assembled at the warehouse. This is great for homeowners who have experience with cabinet installation or have hired a contractor. Of course, we don’t recommend that first-time renovators go this option, especially if they’re looking to DIY their entire reno. That’s just asking for trouble!

Find Ready-to-Assemble Cabinets Great for Every Budget

Shipping time: Custom cabinets can take up to 12 weeks to ship, but the average is usually around six to eight. Because custom cabinets are usually made-to-order, the time is longer. And, if you order them pre-assembled, then the amount of time it’ll take to assemble them at the warehouse, load them into the truck and send them off to your home can increase the shipping time. For homeowners who are truly invested in making their custom cabinet dreams come true, they don’t usually mind the wait. They know what’s coming!

Customization: Custom cabinets are just that custom cabinets. Whether you order some tall wall cabinets, order entirely doorless cabinets or unique paint colors, custom cabinets can typically be designed to meet your needs and design desires. Perfect for homeowners who prioritize unique function or eccentric design over anything else, the customization options for custom cabinets has yet to be beat. 

Great for: Kitchens, living rooms, closets and offices are all great choices for custom cabinets. For homeowners looking to create their dream spaces, custom cabinets are always the go-to. If you’ve ever seen a beautiful walk-in closet in an interior design magazine, then you’ve probably seen custom cabinetry. Custom cabinetry can be used in a variety of spaces, including hallways, laundry rooms, offices and even living rooms. However, in many homes, you’ll frequently see custom cabinetry used in kitchens, closets and living rooms. The customization means that you can find unique finishes, colors and features that other cabinets don’t have. Perfect for anyone who is looking for a truly one-of-a-kind cabinet design!

custom cabinets in laundry room

Other Things to Keep in Mind

There’s more to cabinets than just their type. Doors, frames, finishes and colors can all impact your cabinet design. But, that’s not all. Here are some additional things to keep in mind when you start choosing things for your renovations. 

Budget: What is your overall budget for your renovation? Is this budget just for this particular room, or is it for your overall project? Knowing the answers to these questions will go a long way in ensuring that you choose quality products that don’t break your budget. 

Timeline: You’ll want to ask yourself what your project timeline should be. This might determine what cabinets and other products you choose. While you might really want custom cabinets, if you need your space ready within a month, then stock cabinets might be a better decision. Don’t worryyou can create custom features in other areas of your design!

Overall aesthetic: Your overall design aesthetic can have a large impact on what cabinets you choose. Do you prefer a farmhouse style? Or, are you more about contemporary finishes and clean lines? Maybe you’re a big fan of the industrial look. Either way, the design you want to see in various rooms of your home can have a serious impact on your choices for cabinets. If you’re looking for a farmhouse style, then you probably shouldn’t choose cabinets with a glossy finish. However, if you’re looking to have an industrial design, glossy cabinets might be a fun way to emphasize the metallics and exposed brick in your space. It might seem like a small consideration to make now, but you’ll be much happier with your kitchen design if you do.

Professional assistance: Will you be having a contractor help, or are you DIY-ing this? You might be tempted to DIY your entire project. However, if you’ve never done any home renovations before or you’re unfamiliar with the process of installing cabinets, having professional assistance available is a must. For some homeowners, this can lead to botched work that breaks quickly or is done so incorrectly at first that you ultimately end up having to spend more money for another set of cabinets or bring a contractor out to help. So, if you can avoid all the hassle, consider hiring a contractor to help in the first place. However, if you’re a pro at home renovation, or you’ve got a close friend or family member who’s a professional contractor, consider asking them for some help!

 

Image Credits

brizmaker/Shutterstock.com

Hendrickson Photography/Shutterstock.com


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