The Secret to Cheap Kitchen Cabinets

Kitchen cabinets can easily eat up half of a new kitchen’s budget. For the homeowner who doesn’t have the money to invest in custom cabinetry, there are several cabinet options that look great, and won’t break the bank. In addition, you can add high-end features for a fraction of the price when you do-it-yourself.

 

Let’s discuss a few options in detail.

Cabinet Types

Cabinets can be made from wood, MDF or low-density fiberboard. Each option has pros and cons, both of which are discussed below.

- Wood: Solid wood cabinets are most desirable. This is because they last the longest and their beauty is unmatched. However, one has to pay a lot for this kind of durability and looks. So, unless you have an exclusive budget for your kitchen accessories, wood cabinets may not be your first preference.

- Medium-Density Fiberboard: Cabinets made from MDF are a great choice for the homeowners who wish to give their kitchen a high-end wooden look. These cabinets have a reasonable long life, but will eventually fray due to the high levels of heat, humidity and moisture found in kitchens, apart from the daily use kitchen cabinetry. If you choose to make cabinets with MDF, thicker is always better. But again, thicker is more expensive and may get out of your budget.

- Low-Density Fiberboard: These cabinets are best for a vacation home or for the homeowner who is going to eventually install custom cabinetry but needs something economical until that time. These are the cheapest of all kitchen cabinet options discussed so far. Even though the low-density fiberboard saves a lot of money in the kitchen cabinet department, it will fail before MDF, especially when the cabinets are used every day.

Don’t Get Stuck on Cabinet Brands

You will definitely be paying more for branded cabinets available in the marketplace. So, if money is important to you, avoid buying them. Don’t worry about who made the cabinets, pay more attention to the quality, durability and look of the product you are about to buy. How often have you heard people asking “what brand are your kitchen cabinets?”. Probably not very often.

Add-ons You Can Do Yourself

Cabinets that have custom hardware, turntables and pull-out drawers will cost more than the average run-of-the-mill cabinets. Don’t pay the cabinet manufacturer to install these options; you may be able to do it yourself. Cabinets are much cheaper if you purchase them with no hardware. Get your cabinet hardware from the local home store and you can save a bundle by installing it yourself. Purchase a turntable from the store and place it in a corner cabinet. Turntables come in different sizes, so finding the one that will fit your cabinet perfectly won’t be that difficult. If you really want some pull-out shelves, get a kit at the home store and follow the simple instructions to install them yourself.

Used Cabinets

The most frugal homeowner can save a great deal by getting used cabinets. By checking out auction sites like Craigslist, you can find wood cabinets that have been removed from an existing home for close to nothing. Some people just want the cabinets taken away and virtually give them away. These cabinets may be outdated, but they can be stripped, painted and the hardware changed to create an updated look with minimal effort. You can also add trim to the doors to create a custom look for just a few dollars and hours of your time.

However, keep in mind these two points when searching for used kitchen cabinets.

- It’s always best to give them a detailed look prior to making your purchase.

- It’s likely that cabinets which have not been taken down yet, may get damaged in the demolition process. So don’t agree to a purchase price until the cabinets have been removed.

To conclude the discussion, please remember that a little awareness, sound planning and investing time to weigh all options can save you a lot of money in getting kitchen cabinets made. With many different material options, finishes and hardware choices, you can get the high-end look for a fraction of the price.

About Richard Campen

In his more than 30 years of experience as editor and publisher at Archway Press, Richard Campen has overseen the publication of many nationally distributed house plan magazines and books.
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