Cabinets for Kitchen: Everything You Need to Know

We Texans love our kitchens. For us, making food is as much about the family and the social aspect as it is the food itself. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that we contribute to the $13,000 to $38,000 spent on a typical kitchen remodel in the United States.

While some homeowners attempt to DIY their cabinet replacements, you should invest in an Arlington handyman if you want the job done right. A poorly done DIY, or attempt at one, could end up costing you thousands in repairs and unforeseen setbacks or a set of cabinets that don't work for your needs.

Finding the best cabinets for kitchen remodels can be a tricky process. Luckily, our guide is here to help you understand all of your options. Take a look at the variety of fixes, features, and construction options available for your kitchen cabinets!

Stock, Semi-Custom, and Custom: What's the Difference?

One of the first questions any kitchen contractor should ask is whether you want stock, semi-custom, or custom cabinets. What are these cabinet types and why should you know them? Let's dig deeper below.

Stock Cabinets for Kitchens

Stock cabinets are prefabricated cabinets that you can find at any home improvement center. They're preassembled, for the most part, though some can come disassembled.

If you've ever seen IKEA kitchen cabinets, those are stock cabinets. The advantage of stock cabinets is that they're cheaper than their counterparts. However, you pay for those saved costs in a lack of variety.

Semi-Custom Kitchen Cabinets

Semi-custom cabinets are the middle point between stock and full-custom cabinets. They offer the affordability and fast delivery of stock cabinets with options for some customization similar to their custom counterparts.

These cabinets may use stock frames, but you'll have your choice of materials, dimensions, fixtures, and features. This gives you more freedom while still allowing you some wiggle room in your wallet.

Custom Cabinets

If the price isn't a concern for you, or you have very specific needs for your kitchen, such as an ADA compliant kitchen, custom cabinets should be your go-to. These cabinets get built from the ground up, allowing full creative control over the dimensions, material, and built-in features.

As such, these cabinets are the most expensive option and will take the longest to construct. However, the payoff is well worth the cost if you want total control over your kitchen's appearance.

Material Differences in Cabinets for Kitchen

Whether you purchase stock, semi-custom, or custom cabinets, there are a wide variety of materials you can choose from. Looking at these materials and finding the best ones from a catalog can be overwhelming. How do you know what's best for your needs?

Let's examine each of the materials in turn.

Wood Veneers

Do you want the look of solid wood cabinetry without the expense? Then wood veneers are the material for you. These veneers, typically made from particle boards or plywood, are designed to look like the real thing.

Do you want to sand, stain, refinish, or paint your cabinets? Wood veneers allow you that freedom and flexibility.


Wood remains a classic choice for kitchen cabinetry. While it's among the pricier options on the market, it's not, in fact, the most expensive. If you want something durable and classic, solid wood cabinets are your best bet.

However, not all cabinet wood is created equal. Here are the most common wood types and their benefits:


Cherry provides an elegant and classy look to any room it's in, and the kitchen is no exception. It's solid, durable, and doesn't need a stain to look fantastic. However, it's one of the more expensive woods available.


Walnut wood resists moisture and is easy to clean. It looks better unstained, which saves you some money, but again, it's not considered a cheap option.


Mahogany excels above the other woods in terms of durability and expense. It ages well and resists rot, making it an excellent investment for a legacy home.


Bamboo, despite being classed as wood nowadays, is not wood, but a type of grass. It's the eco-friendly wood of choice for cabinet construction due to its fast growth and capacity to resist warping. However, if it must be imported, you can expect costs to rise.


While beech is an affordable alternative to maple, it has an unfortunate tendency to warp if not sealed properly. This makes it a less than ideal choice for kitchen cabinets, which face constant exposure to moisture.


Hickory cabinets can last for decades. Their biggest drawback is the curing time for any stains, as they don't soak into the wood, but dry on the surface of it.


Birch takes wood treatment especially well. This makes it an excellent, affordable alternative to its more expensive cousins maple, mahogany, and walnut.


Pine is affordable and a great, eco-friendly choice for cabinet wood. However, due to its porous nature, finishing it may take longer than expected.


Maple stains well, but if not prepared properly, the stain can blotch. It's durable and sturdy, though its price point may vary depending on supply.


Ash is a strong wood with a straight, coarse grain. It absorbs any stains applied to it evenly.


Oak is easy to clean, inexpensive, and unexpectedly strong. It takes stains evenly, making it a great choice for wood cabinetry.


Laminates are among the cheaper materials used in kitchen cabinets. They're made of high-density fiber with a laminate layer resembling real wood on top. It resists scratches, but if it does get damaged, that damage can be irreversible.

The adage "you get what you pay for" applies double with laminate, as the quality discrepancy between the cheaper and more expensive options can be vast.


Acrylic cabinets offer a glossy, colorful alternative to your standard wood or wood-lookalikes. They resist dents and scratches and are easy to clean. Unfortunately, their finish fades over time, and they track fingerprints like nobody's business.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel cabinets work well for a modern or futuristic look. They're sleek and easy to clean, but the most expensive option on the market.

Frames, Features, Doors, and Fixtures

Once you've decided on your materials, it's time to decide on your frame, features, doors, and fixtures. Again, this selection process can be overwhelming when looking at it in a store or contractor catalog, so we'll break down some of the major categories for you.

Framed, Frameless, or Inset

When placing an order for cabinets, you'll likely be asked if you want them framed, frameless, or inset. What's the difference between them?

Framed cabinets are the most common type of cabinet. They have a frame sort of like a picture frame around the front which is usually around 1-1 1/2". This frame gives the cabinet greater structural integrity, as the doors and drawers get attached to the frame.

This style gets used in both traditional and modern kitchens.

Frameless cabinets have thicker walls than their framed counterparts because the doors get attached to the walls, not a frame. The hinges rest inside the wall, rather than visibly on the outside. Since there's no frame to work around, frameless cabinets have wider access to the cabinet's contents.

Inset cabinets stand out against their peers, despite their very nature making the doors and drawers flush with the cabinet's front. This makes them look sleek and saves some space in your kitchen.

Common Cabinet Features

Your kitchen cabinets are some of the most used storage spaces in your entire house. So, why wouldn't you want to make sure they have the best possible features? Here are some common cabinet extras consumers can't get enough of:

  • Glass doors work well if you have some prized china you want to spotlight

  • Tray storage cabinets allow you not to store trays in your oven drawer

  • A corner storage Lazy Susan keeps items in reach in those awkward corner cabinets

  • Hidden trash cans help you save on floor space and keep gross trash out of view

  • Deep drawers let you stow more pots and pans, which will bring any Arlington mom joy

  • Soft-closing doors to avoid waking the dead when you close the cabinet door for a midnight snack

  • Soft-closing drawers, because nothing works you up faster than a stuck drawer

Don't Neglect Your Doors

We've spent so much time talking about the construction and materials of your cabinets that we haven't addressed the most visible part of them: your doors! You can buy cabinet doors in a variety of styles, including:

  • Shaker, the most common: simple and understated

  • Raised Panel, a classic and formal style with inset frames

  • Arch, which features an arch on top of the design on raised and recessed panels

  • Cape Cod, for those who want a timeless farmhouse or coastal look

  • Slab, for the minimalist who wants something sleek and contemporary

How to Pick Your Fixtures

Kitchen cabinet fixtures might seem like a negligible choice, but the right ones can add a great deal of character to your kitchen. The wrong ones will clash, or worse, make the kitchen look outdated.

Typically, your contractor can advise you on what fixtures will work best with your cabinet choices. Cabinet hardware options can come in a variety of colors and materials, including metal, ceramic, plastic, or crystal.

What Do Cabinets for Kitchen Renos Cost?

Figuring out how much cabinets for kitchen remodels cost can be a tricky process. The best way to get an accurate estimate is to get a professional quote. However, we can offer some general ranges based on the style of cabinets, the material, and the size of your kitchen.

Cabinet Cost by Construction Method

If your cabinets are in stock, you can expect to pay $200-350 per cabinet. This doesn't include labor or installation costs.

If your cabinets are semi-custom, you can expect to pay $300-600 per cabinet. They can exceed this range if you load them with custom features.

If your cabinets are custom made, costs start at $500 per cabinet and rise from there. The more customization and features you add, and the higher the quality of the materials you choose, the more expensive the product will become.

Cabinet Cost by Material Used

If you decide on wood veneers, you can expect your final cost to range between $4000-$9000 on average. Acrylics and laminate are the second least expensive option, ranging between $5000-$8000 for an average installation.

Wood can range between $6000 and $12000 per installation, depending on the particular wood used and features added. Stainless steel is the most expensive, ranging between $22,000 and $36,000 per installation.

Cabinet Cost by Kitchen Size

On average, cabinetry for a 10x10 kitchen will run you between $2800 and $6500, depending on the materials and type of cabinets used. Meanwhile, cabinetry for a 12x12 kitchen will cost around $3800-$8500.

Some Final Considerations

When choosing cabinets for kitchen remodeling projects, there are a number of things you should keep in mind. Not only cost, materials, and features, but your needs.

Redoing your kitchen with trendy colors and cabinetry is all well and good, but not if you'll only wind up hating it years down the line. Before you decide on your colors and designs, think of what will stand the test of time.

You should also take a moment to consider your future needs. That hidden storage and peek-a-boo trash can seem like an excellent idea now. Will it still be one when your future child hides something deep inside it that you can't get out? Buy for now and the future, not just for now.

Kitchen cabinetry is a huge investment and one you should definitely get a pro to handle. If you require assistance choosing or replacing and installing your kitchen cabinets ,our expert Arlington handymen are ready to help.

After all, it's just the neighborly thing to do!

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