I love this question – as a custom Kitchen & Bathroom designer – there is much to discuss!
As the largest ticket item in your home – cabinetry can eat up the majority of your precious budget. With that being said – there are many variables to dissect in order to make sure that your purchase has not only return on investment but….. longevity
If you take a moment to look around your existing space, you will notice cabinetry everywhere – not just in the kitchen. Alongside cabinetry is also it’s very important cousin – millwork. Millwork consists of all parts and pieces that finish cabinetry – top moldings, end panels, light-rails, toe-kicks, furniture toe-kicks, open shelving, books shelves, bathroom vanities, linen cabinets laundry room cabinetry, and much more.
Now that we have identified all rooms that house cabinetry – let’s discuss what the cabinetry is made of. Every cabinet has the “box” – the box is comprised of – floor, back and sides, the door, the drawer and any specific accoutrements to be found inside (for example, culinary divider, waste basket or tray divider).
Back to the question at hand – are custom cabinets really cost effective? First of all – no cabinet company could every compete with the buying power of the big-box stores who gobble up millions of cabinets a year to stock the shelves in order to fulfill the desires of those DIY’ers looking for bottom-of-the-barrel prices for the lowest quality goods. This niche market fulfills the qualifications for the fast and furious who require a “need-it-now approach” with no long- term investment or longevity for their property. This product will not last and will deteriorate over a quick period of time. One would never be able to compete with these prices!
Outside of the cabinets haphazardly packed on the shelves at the big-box stores – these same big-box stores also offer made-to-order cabinets. These are the cabinets that “custom” cabinets can compete with. With that being said, these cabinets have all the same industry standard components – full-extension glides, quiet-close doors and drawers and under-mount glides. It is exactly here, where you will find lower prices by dedicated tradesman in your local area (or very near beyond).
When you purchase local – you cut out the quintessential middle-man. It is the middle-man that makes the most money. Your local big-box store charges buying consumers up to a 60% mark-up that is known as “retail” price in the cabinet business. When you purchase directly from a cabinet shop (not a retail establishment selling cabinets) – they only charge you their industry standard mark-up for actually making the cabinets – which is between 15%-25% over cost.
You will find that your custom cabinetry purchased from a local cabinet shop will be of superior quality materials and all of your interior accoutrements will cost fractions. Cabinets made locally and installed by the same qualified artists who take pride in everything done – where reputation feeds families and promises job security. The best part, every future question or concern about your installed investment gets the proper customer service deserved. The one who sold you the cabinets, is the one who made the cabinets, the one who installed the cabinets and also the one who will provide you service for years to come.
Yes – custom cabinets can be very economical! Consumerism has taken us away from our local tradesman who take pride in their craft – find them, consult with them, use them! A relationship that not only saves money but is better for our pocketbooks and our planet.
Thanks for the great question!