Cabinets are one of the most prominent features in the home. Let’s explore your options—and what it means for your budget.
When you invest in a kitchen remodel, it is standard to get new cabinets. For most people, there isn’t any real sentimental attachment to their old cabinets, so upgrading them seems like an obvious choice. While this is fine, it is important to know that there are different styles and associated costs that come with your cabinet choices.
“Alright, it’s time to pick out our cabinets—that should be easy, right?”
“Actually, there really is a lot to consider when you choose your cabinets. Let’s discuss some of the basic considerations that you will want to address.”
Upgrading your cabinets is one of the best ways to feel like you have really transformed your kitchen. This is because cabinets take up so much space in the kitchen and act as a focal point anytime that anyone walks in—unless you have some kind of statement piece, of course. Let’s explore the different cabinet styles and what they mean for your budget.
Understanding the Differences Between Cabinets—and Why it Matters
Given the amount of space that cabinets consume, most people consider them to be a very important choice. The last thing that anyone wants is a cabinet set that looks bad or doesn’t give their kitchen the right look. When this happens, people often end up disappointed.
“Wait a minute—will these cabinets really look good with our design?”
“Actually, we wanted to talk to you about that. We don’t believe that your cabinets are going to fit the new design. Let’s explore your options.”
There are several differences in cabinets, each of which can impact your decision in different ways. Some people shop entirely for the look, while others are more interested in finding something that fits in their budget. Both of these are valid ways to shop, but they do come with some extra considerations.
Everyone wants to invest in cabinets that are aesthetically pleasing, and that is just a fact. If you don’t like the cabinets that you choose, you will find that you are always going to hate your kitchen—and that is not what your general contractor wants for you.
“These cabinets look really normal, but I kind of wanted that modern ‘wow’ factor, you know?”
“We completely understand what you mean, and you are not alone in that. Most people want contemporary cabinets. Let’s look through what we have for you.”
Cabinets come in a variety of different styles, and these different styles can offer surprisingly different looks to your kitchen. The style that you choose can influence what kind of design it fits in and how all of the different components come together. Some styles are better suited for specific kitchen themes than others.
Though cabinets do more or less offer the same general function, subtle design differences can have a surprising impact on how they actually work in the end. This is true when it comes to what kind of hinges they offer—and how you and your family will interact with them. It is easy to think that the stylistic differences in cabinets are purely aesthetic, but this really isn’t the case. Design differences influence how we use our cabinets—and how we interact with them in other ways.
“I’m forever catching my pants on our current cabinet’s hinges—is there a way around that?”
“That can be really annoying. Don’t worry, we can protect your pants!”
A huge consideration when choosing your cabinets is the price that you want to commit to. For various reasons, cabinets can come at a variety of different price points, and this is important to know before you set your sights on cabinets that are outside of your budget. Falling for cabinets that are too expensive can mean compromising in other areas or dealing with the heartbreak of not getting your dream cabinets.
“Wait, these cabinets cost WHAT?”
Face-framed cabinets are cabinets that come with a very specific and obvious design detail—they have a piece of wood that borders the cabinet itself that is usually an inch or so thick. These borders play a key role in doors and drawers, overlapping the surrounding frame in a very specific way depending on the design that you go with. In general, they block some degree of sight into the storage area itself.
“These cabinets look really…normal.”
“That’s because they are. People have been making cabinets like this for ages.”
These cabinets are very sturdy and have a strong design. They are built to be more durable and can offer a good amount of support. People prefer them for their strength, durability, and traditional style.
However, that doesn’t mean that all people like these cabinets. If you’re after a specific design aesthetic, these cabinets might not be for you. This type of cabinet is often considered to be less versatile, but it can be either stained or painted to suit your preferences.
“Is there a lot of customization with these cabinets?”
“There is, but it might not be what you expect—and it might limit your design.”
When purchased from a fabricator, you can expect to pay about $15,000 for a 10×15 kitchen. Working with a general contractor for installation, you can expect to add an additional $5,000 to this price.
These cabinets are available in two kinds of style options—half and full overlay.
Half Overlay Cabinets
Half or partial overlay doors and drawers follow suit with their name by offering a roughly half-inch face that will cover the opening so you can’t see inside. This measurement is the only real distinguishing factor between this and the full overlay, but it can actually have an impact on how the cabinets look as well.
Full Overlay Cabinets
A full overlay is a lot wider, set up so you have doors and drawers that are a lot closer together. The doors on a full overlay will have a much tighter reveal to each door on each side, creating a different look that some people love, and some people hate.
Inset cabinets are a stylish cabinet option that we fully believe looks a lot better. Contrary to framed cabinets, these cabinets offer a more complete look by allowing the doors and drawers to effortlessly sink into the design itself. Instead of sitting on top of the opening, they actually blend into the design.
“Wow, these cabinets look amazing. They are so modern. I feel like I’m staring at a Pinterest board.”
“Yep! These are very popular right now. People love that smooth, polished look.”
These cabinets are very well-liked because of just how polished they look. They offer a flat and modern design that people find better suits contemporary themes in the kitchen. This approach to cabinetry also offers hidden hinges, further adding to that sleek style.
One area where these cabinets really succeed is with families—and this is a belief that we hold here at KHB Construction. For whatever reason, kids and cabinets just don’t mix. Oftentimes, children will run into framed cabinets—hitting the edge. This can be the cause of many tears, but inset cabinets allow you to effortlessly overcome this problem because they are tucked into the design itself.
“Our son split his forward open on the edge of our last cabinets. Anything we can do to avoid that?”
“Inset cabinets are the way to go if you want to remove the added risk to your kiddos. It removes all of those dangerous edges.”
Inset cabinets can be purchased for about $20,000 from a fabricator and $25,000 from an individual contractor.
The Frameless European
Frameless European cabinets are, as you might expect, a popular European design—but they have officially moved over here. Every day, frameless European cabinets are becoming more and more popular in the United States, with more prominent figures featuring them in contemporary design.
These cabinets offer an effortless minimalist look because they completely remove the bulk from the design. Instead, there is a sleek, modern design that people are absolutely obsessed with. With these cabinets, more is more—but there are a few things to consider.
“Wow, these cabinets are so trendy!”
“They sure are. They’re really popular in the United States right now—and we think that this design is here to last.”
The average set of frameless European cabinets costs $20,000 to $25,000 dollars from a fabricator.
Pros of Frameless European Cabinets
There are several great parts of having frameless European cabinets, but the biggest benefit is very clearly the design itself. These cabinets really look great. They all have the same door style across the entire set, allowing for a more consistent look. We don’t believe that these are just trendy—we believe that they are an ongoing trend that is guaranteed to stick around because the visuals really are wonderful to look at.
“Oh, wow. I can’t believe how much extra storage space is in these things. They are so open and inviting!”
“That is part of their charm!”
Beyond simple aesthetics, these cabinets come with a lot of features—including more storage space. If you want to get the most out of your storage, these cabinets are an obvious choice. They can also come with added functionality inside the doors and drawers simply because there is more space to support them. As a final bonus, choosing these cabinets from a reliable brand can negate most of the cons we will discuss.
Cons of Frameless European Cabinets
Though frameless European cabinets look great, it doesn’t mean that they are entirely without flaws. Some people avoid these cabinets for very specific reasons.
“Something about these cabinets feels off, but I can’t quite put my finger on it.”
The first con is that these are obviously the most expensive type of cabinets by design. If you are looking to cut down on your budget, these cabinets will not be a good choice unless you are willing to compromise in another part of your transformation.
“Oh, wow—another $5,000? I don’t know about that.”
“That European design does come at a markup, unfortunately.”
Cost aside, their frameless design does sometimes get them a bad reputation for being poorly constructed because there aren’t any rails. While you do gain that additional storage space, you really do lose in the overall structure. These cabinets are less sturdy than the other alternatives.
“These cabinets look a little flimsy…”
“The design is less supported, but that doesn’t have to be a problem. As long as you choose a reputable company, you will be fine.”
The biggest risk with these cabinets is choosing a company that makes them poorly. Poorly made frameless European cabinets are a problem waiting to happen—and they will be prone to breaking. When you invest in these cabinets, it is very important to choose a good brand in order to avoid running into some of these problems. Purchasing cheaper options will cause headaches down the line.
Cabinets are a crucial component in your kitchen transformation, which is why it is so important to choose them wisely. You will want to truly consider what you want for your design, as well as your budget. At KHB Construction, we would highly encourage you to consider your cabinet options—but it goes beyond that.
“I have so much more research to do before I decide on a final design.”
“That’s what we like to hear! Don’t worry—we will be happy to help, no matter what cabinets you choose!”
When you choose your cabinets, be sure to consider every part of them—the price, the design, and the durability. If you want something that is purely aesthetic at any price, you can find that. If you want something that will last a long time and come at a lower price point, you can have that too. Really consider your overall design and budget before you make the choice. You will be glad that you did!