Finding cheap kitchen cabinets that aren't "cheap" kitchen cabinets can be a challenge on a budget. Experts agree that cabinets can take up to 50% of your kitchen budget. Now, before you faint, let me tell you that there are options which can decrease that percentage while maintaining a fabulous look.
Kitchen cabinets on any budget generally come in three types: stock, semi-stock and custom. In each of these styles, there are variables such as drawer quality, construction, wood type, and finish. And that means that you can find high value in even the least expensive stock cabinets. You just have to know what to look for!
Stock cabinets are available in most home improvement stores and in more decorating styles than ever. They usually don't have to be ordered, but are available on the premises. Stock base cabinets are 34 1/2" high and 24.5" deep. Upper or wall cabinets come 30" high and 12" deep.
To find value: Wait for seasonal sales for discounts on stock. To customize, you can add crown molding yourself to create a higher-end look.
Semi-stock cabinets are ordered at your home improvement center through a kitchen designer. They usually take about a month or more to arrive, so you have to plan ahead. These cabinets come in the same standard sizes as stock cabinets, but with the option to increase the width by 3" increments. Any odd sized space can be covered with a filler piece so it blends perfectly with the rest of the cabinets. They have solid wood fronts and are usually of a higher-quality plywood side construction. Additional customizable pieces such as plate racks, pantries, appliance garages, and spice racks can be ordered.
To find value: Choose drawer construction that is solid wood and more solid slides for longer cabinet life. The thicker the plywood of the side construction, the better value the cabinet.
Custom cabinets are available in any color or finish. It isn't made until you order it so it will take some time to receive your cabinets. Custom cabinets are usually made of solid woods. You can choose any type of door construction from glass to tin. The only limit is your budget.
To find value: Asking the cabinetmaker to make the sides of the cabinets from engineered wood can reduce the price. Plus, cabinet shops will often sell discounted cabinets if the contract for the home for which they are ordered falls through. Call the cabinet shops often to stay on top of new discounted orders they may have. The trouble with this scenario is that you may have to alter some of the cabinets to work for you or you may not have exactly the style and configuration you may have originally wanted.
Thrift shop. There is yet another style of cabinet we can't leave out - the thrift store cabinet. You can find wonderful cabinets at stores like Habitat for Humanity's ReStore. Builders donate left over items from construction projects and homeowners that are updating their homes will donate quality items as well. Kitchen lighting is available as well. I actually found a $600 wrought iron chandelier taken out of a newly constructed home (it wasn't the new owner's style) for a measly $10. Can you beat that?
And don't forget to recycle. Use your old cabinets in your garage for storage, donate them to Restore, or sell them to another remodeler that may have great ideas to update those old eyesores.
Do cheap kitchen cabinets have to look cheap? Not at all! A little research, a lot of hardcore bargain shopping, and a willingness to do a little do-it-yourself and you will have a gorgeous kitchen that is the envy of the neighborhood. Plus, you might have enough money left over to feed all those people who will want to come over to admire your new cabinets.