5 Reasons Why Kitchen Cabinets Are So Expensive? One Secret Revealed!

Kitchen cabinets are very essential built-in furniture that is installed in the kitchen for our convenience.

It is used for many purposes such as storage of cookware, kitchenware, food, dishes, etc, and sometimes appliances are also integrated into kitchen cabinetry.

Without cabinets, the kitchen will look messy as the arrangements of cookware and kitchenware will not be perfect and we have to keep all the items on the countertop. 

That’s why people installed kitchen cabinets, and as this furniture comes with so many utilities and functions, the price will go high.

why kitchen cabinets are so expensive

why kitchen cabinets Are so expensive?

Kitchen cabinets can be expensive due to several factors:

First, high-quality materials like solid wood or custom finishes can increase the cost. Second, the manufacturing process for cabinets involves skilled labor and specialized equipment. Additionally, custom designs, intricate detailing, and the inclusion of features like soft-close hinges or pull-out shelves contribute to the higher price.

The overall cost also factors in installation, which requires skilled professionals. Ultimately, the expense is justified by the durability, functionality, and aesthetic appeal that well-crafted kitchen cabinets bring to a home.

We will discuss here today, the factors that affect the price hike, how you can reduce the price, what other options you have, and also how to maintain the cabinets so that they can last you longer.

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Let’s begin:

Factors That Affects The Price Of The Kitchen Cabinets 

Many factors affect its price, but the three main factors are:

  • Cost of the materials.
  • Custom Design.
  • Cost of labor or Installation cost.

And some additional factors include:

  • Due To Cabinet Styles
  • Due To Additional Features And Accessories

These three are the main factors that affect the price of kitchen cabinets.

You can reduce the cost by controlling these three factors. We will discuss each one in detail.

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#1 Cost Of The Materials

The cabinet price will increase or decrease depending on the type of materials used.

The materials mainly used are plywood or hardwood, stainless steel, solid wood, soft close hinges, glue, nails, finishing materials, blades, sandpapers, etc.

Some of the materials used: 

For Body Frame


Wooden Kitchen Cabinets

There are different types of wood available on the market for making the kitchen cabinet. For example, solid wood, plywood, medium-density fiberboard (MDF), Veneer, etc.

  1. Solid Wood: This is a very strong and long-lasting material and most kitchen owners use it for cabinets. Due to its quality and durability, it cost more than the others.
  2. Plywood: Plywood is another common material that is used in kitchen cabinets. It is cheaper than solid wood and offers excellent water resistance.
  3. MDF or Medium-Density Fiberboard: It’s a product made by breaking down solid wood into fibers and then combine with wax and resin binder under high pressure and temperature. MDF is generally stronger and denser than plywood but it is cheaper than plywood and it prevents termites.
  4. Veneer: It is usually the thin slices of wood or bark that are glued together to make flat panels. Plywood, MDF is a type of veneer wood. Its cost usually depends on the type of wood used. 

Stainless Steel

Stainless Steel Kitchen Cabinet

These kitchen cabinets are very strong, durable, and are easy to maintain.

They are suited for all climate conditions and are termites proof. But the main thing is that they are costlier than wood.

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Melamine Kitchen Cabinet

These materials are made by heat-sealing plywood or MDF-pressed wood between paper saturated with thermally mixed melamine resin.

Melamine offers beautiful solid colors and smoothness and can also replicate wood tones. It is cheaper than all the options above and also more durable than MDF.

We have seen that stainless steel costs more than the other options but it is more durable and strong.

Also, it is suitable for all climatic conditions and is termites proof. So, if you consider it for a long-term game then stainless steel will be a better option.

But, if you live in an area where terminates attack is not very common then do consider wooden cabinets as it looks very elegant and beautiful. Also, it will cost less than stainless steel.

To make it durable and beautiful, you can make the frame with solid wood and make the door MDF. This method will be both cost-effective and beautiful. 

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#2 Custom Cabinets Design

This is the main factor for the higher price of kitchen cabinets. In custom design, the design is made according to the user’s instructions and kitchen size.

Here you can give any designs according to your choice and convenience. 

No doubt, this is the most convenient kitchen cabinet but it costs more. Because it needs more cutting and finishing of the materials to meet the user’s demand. Fulfilling the demand takes time and costs more labor.

If your budget allows then definitely go for the custom design option.

Are Custom Cabinets Worth It?

Custom cabinets are the most convenient and efficient options that one can install in his/her kitchen.

You can give the exact measurements and specifications according to your kitchen and there won’t be any dead spaces or awkward corners.

It is a much better option compared to stock cabinets if budget is not the issue.

You can add a baking area, wine chiller, or anything that makes your kitchen more efficient and convenient. You can increase or decrease the height for the maximum potential storage area.

If you ever want to sell your home then this beautiful custom kitchen cabinetry will increase the value of your home. So definitely, the custom cabinets are worth it.

How Much Do Custom Cabinets Cost Per Foot?

The cost of the custom cabinets will depend on so many factors like the material used, the size of the kitchen, design, height, and also the area where you live.

The materials cost is nothing compared to the labor cost. The labor cost is around 75% of your total cost.

The national average for a linear foot is about $300 to $500 minimum and may go up to $1000 to $1500.

If you want to add the standard appliances then it will cost you more or if you own it already then no worry.

Let’s suppose, your kitchen has 25 linear foot space available then considering $300 per linear foot it will cost you $7500. If the cost of labor is high in your area then it will cost you more.

So, if you want to make a custom cabinet then consider your budget a little more than that.

If you love DIY or love making your products then this 16000 wood plans will help you out. Must try!!!

#3 Labor Charges or Installation Costs

This question, “why kitchen cabinets are so expensive?” is satisfied by the last criterion i.e. labor charge. Because of the labor charges, the installation cost or the refacing cost of the kitchen cabinets increases.

You can buy the materials at a cheap price but to give it the shape you need an expert who will charge for his labor.

Because it takes so much time to build a cabinet from start to finish. Labor has to engage himself for the entire day to give it a proper look that’s why they take the main money.

For example, if you want to make a kitchen cabinet with a glossy maple finish of 3 shelves then you will require –

  • Plywood (Maple Veneer) of say $40
  • Maple Hardwood of say $40
  • Miscellaneous (glue, nails, blades, sandpaper, etc) for $4-$5
  • Soft Close Hinges for $25
  • Polyurethane Finishing for $15-$20

Now if you add all the materials price that will cost you somewhere between $124 to 130$ or let’s say $150 to build one cabinet.

So, you have seen that the materials will not cost that much, it’s mainly because of the labor charges. If the carpenter charges 30-35 dollars per hour then it would cost you somewhere 240 to 280 dollars for eight hours.

So, roughly to build one cabinet from start to finish it will cost you around $400. This is just an estimate, usually, it can cost you more or less depending on your area.

If you want to earn money by flipping furniture or cabinets, then do check out this course on flipping furniture. (A way to earn $1000 extra per week)

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#4 Cost Due To Cabinet Styles

Different cabinet styles can also affect the overall cost of kitchen cabinets. Here are the types of kitchen cabinet styles:

Traditional Cabinets 

  • Traditional cabinets feature intricate details, ornate designs, and decorative elements such as raised panels, molding, and embellishments. 
  • These cabinets are often made from solid wood, which can be more expensive compared to other materials. 
  • The construction of traditional cabinets requires skilled craftsmanship and intricate joinery techniques, contributing to higher labor costs. 
  • Additionally, the finishes used for traditional cabinets, such as stains or glazes, can add to the overall cost.

Modern Cabinets

  • Modern cabinets are known for their sleek, clean lines and minimalist design. 
  • They often have a flat or slab-style door with minimal embellishments. 
  • Modern cabinets are typically made from materials like laminate, acrylic, or thermofoil, which are generally less expensive than solid wood. 
  • The construction of modern cabinets tends to be simpler, requiring fewer intricate details and joinery techniques. 
  • These factors can make modern cabinets more cost-effective compared to traditional styles.

Shaker Cabinets 

  • Shaker cabinets have become increasingly popular due to their timeless appeal and versatility. 
  • They feature a simple, clean design with a five-piece door and recessed center panel. Shaker cabinets are commonly made from solid wood or medium-density fiberboard (MDF). 
  • Solid wood shaker cabinets can be more expensive due to the quality and type of wood used. 
  • MDF shaker cabinets offer a more budget-friendly option while still providing durability and a classic look.

Inset Cabinets 

  • Inset cabinets are characterized by the door being set inside the cabinet frame, creating a flush appearance. 
  • This style requires precise measurements and careful craftsmanship during construction, making it more labor-intensive and therefore more expensive. 
  • Inset cabinets often use high-quality materials and finishes to achieve a refined and polished look. 
  • The hinges used for inset doors are typically concealed and of higher quality, adding to the overall cost.

It’s important to note that the cost variations between different cabinet styles are influenced by factors such as the materials used, construction techniques, complexity of design, and finishes applied. 

Customization options, such as unique door designs, hardware choices, and specialized storage solutions, can also impact the overall cost of kitchen cabinets.

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#5 Cost Due To Additional Features And Accessories

In addition to the basic structure and materials, kitchen cabinets can be enhanced with various additional features and accessories that improve functionality, organization, and convenience. 

These features can have an impact on the overall cost of the cabinets. Here are some popular additional features and their benefits:

Soft-Close Hinges

Soft-close hinges ensure that cabinet doors close gently and quietly, preventing slamming and reducing wear and tear. 

These hinges use a mechanism that slows down the closing action, providing a smooth and controlled movement. 

While soft-close hinges add to the cost of cabinets, they offer several benefits, including:

  • Enhanced Safety: Soft-close hinges minimize the risk of fingers getting caught or injured when closing the doors.
  • Reduced Noise: The quiet closing action reduces noise in the kitchen, creating a more peaceful environment.
  • Extended Cabinet Life: The controlled closing helps preserve the structural integrity of the cabinet doors over time.

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Drawer Organizers

Drawer organizers are inserts or dividers that help optimize storage space within drawers. 

They provide designated compartments for different items, making it easier to organize and access utensils, cutlery, and other kitchen tools. 

The benefits of drawer organizers include:

  • Improved Organization: Divided sections in drawers allow for efficient organization, preventing clutter and making it easier to find specific items.
  • Maximizing Space: Drawer organizers help make the most of available space by utilizing every inch effectively.
  • Enhanced Accessibility: With dedicated compartments, it’s easier to reach and retrieve items without rummaging through a jumbled mess.

Pull-Out Shelves

Pull-out shelves, also known as roll-out trays, are shelves that slide out horizontally from the cabinet, providing better accessibility and visibility to stored items. 

These shelves can be installed in lower cabinets or pantry areas. The advantages of pull-out shelves include:

  • Easy Access: Pull-out shelves allow you to effortlessly reach items stored at the back of the cabinet without straining or bending.
  • Enhanced Visibility: The ability to extend the shelf fully provides clear visibility, eliminating the need to dig deep into the cabinet.
  • Efficient Space Utilization: Pull-out shelves maximize the use of available cabinet space by eliminating wasted areas at the back.

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Specialized Storage Solutions

There are various specialized storage solutions available that cater to specific kitchen needs and preferences. For example:

  • Spice Racks and Pull-Out Spice Drawers: These provide designated storage for spices, keeping them organized and easily accessible during cooking.
  • Wine Racks: Wine racks are designed to securely hold wine bottles, allowing for elegant storage and convenient access.
  • Tray Dividers: Tray dividers help keep baking sheets, cutting boards, and serving trays upright and organized.
  • Appliance Garages: These are cabinets or compartments designed to conceal small appliances like toasters, blenders, or coffee makers, providing a clutter-free countertop appearance.

While these additional features and accessories can increase the cost of kitchen cabinets, they significantly enhance functionality, organization, and convenience in the kitchen.

Some Alternative Cabinet Options

While custom cabinets offer the highest level of customization and quality, they can be quite expensive and may not fit everyone’s budget. 

Fortunately, there are alternative options available that provide a balance between affordability and customization. 

Here are some alternative cabinet options to consider:

Semi-Custom Cabinets

Semi-custom cabinets are a popular choice for homeowners looking for a balance between customization and cost. 

These cabinets offer a range of design options, allowing you to choose from various styles, finishes, and hardware. 

While the overall design and dimensions are more flexible than stock cabinets, the construction process involves pre-made components. 

Semi-custom cabinets are typically built to order, providing a higher level of personalization compared to stock cabinets. They offer benefits such as:

  • Design Flexibility: Semi-custom cabinets allow you to make specific design choices, including door styles, finishes, and organizational features.
  • Better Fit: With semi-custom cabinets, you can often specify the dimensions and features that suit your kitchen layout and storage needs.
  • Improved Quality: While not as high-end as custom cabinets, semi-custom cabinets generally offer better construction quality and durability compared to stock cabinets.

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Stock Cabinets

Stock cabinets are pre-manufactured in standard sizes, styles, and finishes, making them readily available for quick purchase. 

These cabinets are mass-produced, resulting in lower costs compared to custom or semi-custom options. 

While stock cabinets may have limited design options, they offer several advantages:

  • Affordability: Stock cabinets are the most budget-friendly option, making them suitable for cost-conscious homeowners.
  • Quick Availability: Since stock cabinets are readily available, they can be purchased and installed relatively quickly.
  • Standard Sizing: The standardized dimensions of stock cabinets can be advantageous when remodeling or replacing existing cabinets, as they can fit standard kitchen layouts efficiently.

Ready-to-Assemble (RTA) Cabinets

RTA cabinets, also known as knock-down cabinets, are delivered in a flat-pack form and require assembly on-site. 

These cabinets are designed for easy transportation and installation, making them a cost-effective option. 

While they require some DIY skills or professional assistance for assembly, RTA cabinets offer benefits such as:

  • Cost Savings: RTA cabinets are typically the most affordable option, as their flat-pack nature reduces manufacturing and shipping costs.
  • Compact Packaging: The flat-pack design allows for efficient shipping and transportation, especially in situations where access to the kitchen is limited.
  • Customization Options: Despite being pre-fabricated, many RTA cabinets offer customization options such as finishes, styles, and hardware choices.

It’s important to note that while alternative options like semi-custom, stock, and RTA cabinets provide cost savings, they may have limitations in terms of design flexibility, material quality, and customization compared to custom cabinets. 

However, by carefully considering your budget, timeline, and desired level of customization, you can choose an option that best suits your needs. 

Consulting with a kitchen designer or cabinet professional can provide valuable guidance in selecting the most appropriate alternative option for your specific requirements.

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Some Budgeting Tips

Creating a budget for kitchen cabinets involves careful consideration of various factors to ensure that you make cost-effective choices without compromising on quality. 

Here are some budgeting tips to help you in the process:

Assess Your Needs And Prioritize

  1. Determine Your Kitchen Size And Layout: Measure your kitchen space and identify the number of cabinets needed. Consider the height, width, and depth requirements for each cabinet to ensure a proper fit.
  2. Identify Your Storage Needs: Assess your storage requirements and prioritize based on your lifestyle and cooking habits. This will help you determine the number and types of cabinets you need, such as base cabinets, wall cabinets, or pantry cabinets.
  3. Define Your Desired Features: Make a list of the features and accessories you would like to have in your cabinets, such as soft-close hinges, pull-out shelves, or built-in organizers. Prioritize these features based on their importance to you.

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Set A Realistic Budget

  1. Determine Your Overall Budget: Evaluate your financial situation and set a realistic budget for your kitchen cabinets. Consider how much you are willing to spend and how it fits into your overall kitchen renovation budget.
  2. Research Price Ranges: Look for information on the average cost of cabinets in your area and compare prices from different suppliers or manufacturers. This will give you a general idea of the price range you can expect for your desired style and quality.

Consider Materials And Construction

  1. Explore Material Options: Research different cabinet materials such as solid wood, plywood, or MDF (medium-density fiberboard). Compare their pros and cons in terms of durability, water resistance, and cost. Opting for more affordable materials like MDF or plywood can help reduce costs while still maintaining quality.
  2. Focus On Construction Quality: Pay attention to the construction techniques used in the cabinets. Look for cabinets with solid construction, sturdy joinery, and durable finishes. Quality construction will ensure the longevity and durability of your cabinets.

Explore Alternative Options

  1. Consider Semi-Custom Or Stock Cabinets: Semi-custom cabinets offer some customization options while being more affordable than fully custom cabinets. Stock cabinets are pre-made and readily available in standard sizes and finishes. These options can provide cost savings without compromising on quality.
  2. Look Into Ready-To-Assemble (Rta) Cabinets: RTA cabinets are delivered in flat-pack form and require assembly. They are generally more budget-friendly and can be a good option if you’re comfortable with DIY assembly or have a limited budget.

Comparison Shopping And Negotiation

  1. Obtain Multiple Quotes: Reach out to multiple suppliers or manufacturers to get quotes for your desired cabinets. Compare the prices, quality, and included features to make an informed decision.
  2. Negotiate When Possible: Don’t be afraid to negotiate the price or ask for discounts, especially if you are purchasing multiple cabinets or accessories. Some suppliers may be open to offering discounts or incentives to secure your business.

Flexibility And Compromises

  1. Determine Areas Where You Can Compromise: Identify areas where you can make cost-saving compromises without sacrificing functionality or quality. For example, you may opt for a simpler door style or choose standard finishes instead of custom ones.
  2. Look For Sales Or Promotions: Keep an eye out for sales, promotions, or clearance events from cabinet suppliers. Timing your purchase with a sale can help you secure a better price without compromising quality.

Remember, it’s important to find a balance between your budget and your desired features and quality. 

By carefully considering your needs, prioritizing expenses, and exploring cost-effective options, you can create a budget for kitchen cabinets that meets your requirements while ensuring value for your money.

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How Much Should You Spend On Kitchen Cabinets?

This question can be best answered by you because you are the one who is making the cabinets.

If you want a stock cabinet then it will cost you somewhere between $150 to $250 per linear foot but if you want a custom one then it will be $300+ per linear foot.

So, properly measure your kitchen space and make your budget accordingly. If you want an idea then a custom 25 linear foot cabinet will cost you somewhere around $7500+.

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Thus you have seen why kitchen cabinets are so expensive. The cost depends on your choice, how you want to build it, or what materials or design you want to use.

So, to make it cost-effective and durable you can mix the materials or the best way is that you can make it yourself.

The kitchen is the place where the home chef spends most of the time and that’s why they want to make their kitchen beautiful and functional. Here the kitchen cabinets play a very important role to give an elegant look to the kitchen.

If you find our article interesting and helpful, please do share it with your friends and family, and also don’t forget to leave a comment below. Thank You !!!

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  1. Is It Cheaper To Make Your Cabinets?

    If you do it by yourself then it may be cheap but if you hire someone to make the custom cabinets then the price will go high. You can also update the old cabinets to modern ones by doing some simple DIY.

  2. What’s The Difference Between Custom Cabinets And Stock?

    Custom cabinets are made according to your convenience. You can give any design, color, material, or size of your choice.
    Whereas, stock cabinets are premade and you just need to assemble them. They are available in definite sizes, designs, and colors. No one can give their design, color, or size.

  3. Are Stainless Steel Kitchen Cabinets Expensive?

    Yes, stainless steel kitchen cabinets are more expensive than other materials. They are even more expensive than some high-end woods but more durable than any other material available.
    It will last you for ages and if you clean it from time to time then it will always look like new.

  4. How Much Do Custom Cabinets Cost?

    The cost of custom cabinets can vary significantly depending on factors such as the size of the kitchen, the materials used, the complexity of the design, and the location.
    On average, homeowners can expect to spend between $500 and $1,500 per linear foot for custom cabinets, including installation.

  5. Why Are Cabinet Doors So Expensive?

    Cabinet doors can be expensive due to the quality of materials used, intricate designs, and  labor-intensive manufacturing processes.
    High-quality wood, intricate detailing, and finishes all contribute to the cost. Additionally, custom or unique designs can further increase the price.

  6. How Much Do Cabinet Makers Charge Per Hour?

    Cabinet makers typically charge an hourly rate for their services, which can vary depending on their experience, location, and the complexity of the project. On average, cabinet makers may charge between $50 and $100 per hour for their work.

  7. What Is A Frameless Cabinet?

    A frameless cabinet, also known as a European-style cabinet, is a type of cabinet construction where the cabinet box lacks a front frame.
    Instead, the doors and drawers are directly attached to the sides of the cabinet box, providing a seamless and modern look.
    This design allows for maximum access to the interior space and is often associated with contemporary and minimalist kitchen styles.

  8. How Many Cabinets Should A Kitchen Have?

    The number of cabinets a kitchen should have depends on various factors, including the kitchen’s size, layout, storage needs, and personal preferences.
    There is no fixed rule, but a rough estimate suggests that a small kitchen may have around 10 to 15 cabinets, while a larger kitchen may have 20 or more cabinets.

2 thoughts on “5 Reasons Why Kitchen Cabinets Are So Expensive? One Secret Revealed!”

  1. I now have a better understanding of what to look for when shopping for cabinets and can make a more informed decision. Thanks for the helpful information!

    1. Hi John, I’am glad to hear that this article provided you with valuable insights into the cost of kitchen cabinets! If you have any more questions or need further assistance with your cabinet shopping, feel free to reach out.

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