Why Are Kitchen Cabinets So Expensive?

Kitchen cabinets are vital furniture that the modern kitchen cannot do with. But doing a kitchen cabinet these days seems very expensive, and most of us are forced to ask, why are kitchen cabinets so expensive?

In this article, you will understand why kitchen cabinets are expensive and the step to take to get one on a budget in your kitchen.

Why Are Kitchen Cabinets Are So Expensive

The reasons below help us in understanding why kitchen cabinets are expensive. In understanding them, we can better plan.

1. Wood Cost

The cost of wood keeps rising daily in the market. On an average scale, wood is pretty expensive. And, regular lumber is not used for making cabinets; cabinets demand a special kind of wood, which is even more costly. To make a cabinet, you need to use treated Pine.

The other types of wood used for cabinet making are:

  • Pine
  • Cherry
  • Maple
  • Oak
  • Hickory
  • Birch
  • Mahogany

Of the above types, Pine is regarded as the cheapest, with Oak and Maple pretty cheap. Cheery is expensive to use, and Birch and Mahogany are on the very high side. 

Among the six treated wood types, oak and maple come in multiple colours and can be done and finished differently. So if you are looking for a variety of colors, you can go for Oak and Maple.

2. Manufacturing

The nature of the manufacturing determines the pricing of the cabinets.  Kitchen cabinets can either be mass-produced or custom-made. Custom cabinets are more known to be more popular. So, for a lower price, go for ready-made custom cabinets.

Stores like Home Depot are known to sell mass-produced custom cabinets. This is cheaper than going for a specially designed cabinet to fit your kitchen. However, the latter is more refined, a sit tends to suit your kitchen better, but it is expensive.

To remediate this, you can go for custom cabinetry designed to give your kitchen a broader outlook to carry any cabinet. So, in this light, you can go for frameless cabinet designs which require you not to build any frame.

So avoid uniquely designed custom cabinetry, except you have the money to the foot for it.

3. Hardware Cost

Building cabinets requires more than wood, and you need to use metal hardware, like handles, hinges, rails, and latches. This hardware comes in different varieties and shapes. There is special hardware for certain kinds of cabinets, but they are usually expensive. For a lower price, go for basic silver hardware than brushed or plated hardware.

4. Added Functionalities

Modern kitchens are known for their added features and functionalities. Some people want a buildup cutting board, pull-out pantries, step stools, pull-out trash brackets, but in wine racks, and all these additional demand money.

It would help if you understood that you might add the manufacturing fee, the shipping fee, and the labour cost for any functionality you add. So do your calculation very well before making a choice.

5. Labor Cost

Labour cost is one unavoidable cost, except you are a cabinet professional yourself. Whether mass-produced cabinets or custom-made cabinets need to be installed by a professional. So, as a result, you need to pay a professional.

For a more cost-effective approach, go for simple mass-manufactured cabinets, which you can easily install yourself without needing external help.

6. Shipping Costs

Shipping cost is one avoidable cost. Even if you go with your vehicle to get this furniture, you will need to buy fuel for that vehicle.

The shipping cost depends on how far your home is from the centre where they are produced. If the distance is short, the shipping fee is low, and sometimes, you can get it free from the sellers.

How Much Do Kitchen Cabinets Cost?

There is no specific answer to this question. How much a kitchen cabinet cost is dependent on certain variables like the type of cabinets (be it customer vs. semi-custom vs. stock), finishes, materials, features, and labour costs

For stock cabinets, you should spend between $100 and $300 per linear foot. These cabinets are pretty cheap, but they are built from more affordable materials.

For the semi-custom cabinets, you can get them between $150 and $650 per linear foot. These cabinets are a great choice as they are quite beautiful and fit your kitchen more than the stock cabinets. And, compared to the stock cabinets, they have more options for speciality finishes and features.

Also, custom cabinets can be gotten between $500 to $1200 per linear foot. Custom cabinets allow you to choose the wood, the kind of finish, and the style you want. However, it is costly.

Location plays a vital role. Kitchen cabinet prices vary from region to region. Other cost variables like labour cost and delivery cost also vary from region to region.

How to Reduce the Cost of Kitchen Cabinets

Now that you understand why kitchen cabinets are expensive let’s look at possible ways to reduce this cost.

1. Reconsider Your Materials

One of the most cost-effective approaches is to go for cheaper wool. Treated Pine is very affordable compared to the other types of wood used for cabinet making. So you can go for a Pine or Oak if you have a little more money.

So, with different finishes and paints, you can make your treated Pine look like expensive hardwood. So your kitchen will still look beautiful either way.

If the Pine seems expensive to you, you can go for a wood veneer. A wood veneer looks like solid wood but is made of a compressed wood byproduct. Although it is very cheap, it is not durable at all.

2. Go for a Cheaper Brand

Avoid designers’ customized cabinets if you want to be cost-effective for instance, Omega and Decora brands. There are lesser brands you can purchase your custom-made cabinets from. Even in your locality or neighbourhood, there is a wood manufacturer that can construct cabinets. Why don’t you go for them and save money?

There are cheaper brands in the online space. So you can check on Schuler or Aristokraft.

3. Go For Alternate Finish

Finishes are of different varieties and styles. Finishes, like grey wash or wood-burning, are known to be more expensive and more labour-intensive.

Some finishes only go for a more expensive choice of wood, while some allow you to choose a cheaper wood type. For example, suitable polyurethane will enable you to go for any wood and add a layer of protection on them.

Also, paint covers are a cost-effective approach that suits all kinds of wood.

4. Go for Simple features/Functionality

To save money on your kitchen cabinets, stay away from non-vital features and functionalities, for example, utensil organizers, tall sliding pantries, or speciality hardware. You can do without some of these features in the kitchen. And for some, like cutting boards, you can get it from the market at a significantly lower price instead of going for a built-in one which costs money to install.

5. Remodel if not Damaged

Before going for a new one, it is advised to try to remodel or refinish your old cabinets. If it can be refurbished and it comes out beautiful, you can do that. It helps to reduce costs. You should only go for new ones when your old ones are completely damaged and beyond remodelling.

Also, handling some of the aspects of the renovations will save you money. Okay, some parts are made for only professionals, but they are some you can take.

To do this, you can go to YouTube and watch a simple video on how to renovate your cabinets and follow the instructions.

Additionally, removing or dismantling the old cabinets can help save costs. So do anything possible to keep costs for yourself.

6. Shop during Sale/ Deals

You must plan and shop around deals and sales. During holiday periods, usually the Christmas period, most giant stores run their products on sales and deals, which enable the public to get them at lower prices. So keep your eye on the market and exercise patience; this helps you to save money.

What is the best time of year to buy kitchen cabinets?

The best time to buy a kitchen cabinet is during late November and December. During this time, the demand for cabinets is low, and there is more room for negotiation. Also, there are usually holiday sales which give raise to discounted price of goods. You can save up to 10-15% buying cabinets during this time.


Since our kitchen can’t be complete without a cabinet, installing one becomes a necessity; as such, we should calm down and do our researches before buying. And remember, the holiday time is the best time to buy a kitchen cabinet.

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