When it comes to home updates, the most popular room to tackle is the kitchen.
Yes, it's the home's culinary centerpiece that gets the most attention from homeowners, but it's also a must-have for buyers too. An updated kitchen with all of the modern touches will make it enjoyable to live in your home—and easy to sell it down the line.
If you're interested in updating your space, you will probably look at your kitchen cabinetsfirst. An outdated finish or design can drag down the look of your entire space. And, sometimes, it's not enough to repaint the doors and drawers you have, either.
As you search for new kitchen cabinets, though, you've found yourself with a new question. What's the difference between custom-built cabinets vs. store-bought or semi-custom ones? In many cases, what you're debating are individualized woodwork against prefabricated cabinets.
Here's what you need to know about each option.
Custom Kitchen Cabinets
As you likely guessed, custom kitchen cabinets are the top-of-the-line option here.
There are so many benefits to splashing out for custom cabinets. You can have them made to fit your kitchen's unique layout. And you can have whatever features you want to be added to your space, such as soft-close drawers, a custom island, or an appliance garage.
With custom cabinets, you also get top-tier workmanship and high-quality finishing. And you'll work with the artisan from start to finish to ensure you're happy with the result.
You can also have just about any color and finish that you want with a custom cabinet, as well. Perhaps you envision your lower cabinets in one hue and the uppers in another. Your cabinetmaker can easily make that vision into a reality.
There are two major downsides to custom cabinetry, though. Firstly, this type of remodeling costs more than any other option on this list. And they take much more time to design, build and install.
If you're planning to stay in your home for a long time and enjoy your cabinets, then custom could be worth the cost. However, if you want to quickly update your kitchen for, say, an impending sale, then you might want to choose something more time-efficient and cost-effective.
Semi-Custom Kitchen Cabinets
Semi-custom kitchen cabinets fall between custom and prefabricated options. You can't customize them in the way you can a custom setup. However, you can tweak some of the details to make them fit your kitchen better.
For example, you might not be able to choose from as many external finishes or design features. But you might be able to select the depth of your new cabinets, so they suit your kitchen.
That feature hints at one of the major advantages of going with semi-custom cabinets: they fit perfectly into any kitchen, just like custom cabinetry. You won't always get that from fully pre-fabricated cabinets—more on that later.
Another pro of semi-custom cabinets is that they cost much less than fully custom pieces. In most cases, you'll save 15 to 30 percent if you opt for semi-custom over custom.
Most of the time, you get plenty of design choices with semi-custom pieces, too. You can select different paint colors, stains, and hardware to make them feel like your own. And semi-custom cabinets will come in much more quickly than custom ones, which will save you time on your project.
There is one limitation to semi-custom cabinets, though. The dimensions of them will only be customizable to a certain point. So, this will only work if your space suits a somewhat standard cabinet size.
But if you don't have the cash for a fully custom kitchen and you want that one-of-a-kind look, this could be the best option for you.
Prefab Kitchen Cabinets
Finally, you might consider pre-fabricated cabinets for your kitchen.
When it comes to the cost of custom cabinets vs. prefabricated, there's no debate—the latter is by far the cheaper option of the two. It's also much faster to choose prefabricated cabinets over custom ones. You can take your premade doors and drawers home the same day, although you will have to spend some time assembling them.
That's where the advantages of prefab cabinets end, though. A major con to choosing prefabricated cabinets is that the quality is low. They are typically made of cheap materials that won't last as long as traditional carpentry.
A caveat to the cheap cost of prefabricated cabinets is that you have to install them yourself, too. If you hire help, you'll have to pay, which makes them slightly less cost-effective than they seem on the surface.
You won't find as many size options with this type of cabinetry. So, you might not be able to fit them into your kitchen at all.
Those who have gone with prefab cabinets have complained about the resilience of the materials, too. If you plan to install real stone countertops, a flimsy base won't be able to hold it up over time, so consider that, too.
Finally, prefab cabinets limit your design choices even more than semi-custom options do. You'll have to work with what they have in the store—you won't get to create the kitchen you envision.
What Type of Kitchen Cabinets Are Right For You?
Every homeowner will have a different answer to this question—it's up to you to decide what type of kitchen cabinets suit your home and your needs.
Will it be a top-of-the-line custom kitchen? A semi-custom space that nearly fulfills your vision? Or a cost-effective, time-saving prefab setup?
We can help you decide between custom, semi-custom, and prefab kitchen cabinets. We offer all three as part of our kitchen remodeling services. And we take pride in making all three options look great, no matter your budget for new cabinets.
If you're ready to re-design the heart of your home, then reach out to us today. We can help you design the perfect setup for your space, whether you want a simple, prefabricated update or one that's completely custom to you.