Custom Cabinetry: Is it Right for You?

by Matt Solis


In a typical kitchen remodeling budget, almost half the cost is allocated to the cabinets alone—especially if they’re custom made. Custom cabinetry can greatly improve the aesthetics of your kitchen, but just like any home addition, their effectiveness depends on numerous factors. Before you decide to purchase custom cabinets, consider the following tips:

Determine your cooking habits. You’ll be using the cabinets to store ingredients, plates, bakeware and more, so it’s important to understand your specific cooking habits. Take time to decide how much you’ll be using your kitchen, where you cook the most and so on.

Get measurements. Cabinets often cost more depending on the materials they’re made from and how much of that material you use. Write down the dimensions your existing cabinets (as well as the room they’re in) and store them for future reference.

Do some homework. Look into the different materials that are available and take things like durability, ease of use and maintenance requirements into account. Decide if you want your cabinets to be made of real wood, laminate, particle board or another material. When it comes to wood, many cabinet makers recommend choosing domestic products because they’re managed in a sustainable way. With foreign woods (mahoganies, South Asian woods), it’s difficult to determine if they’re produced in a sustainable or environmentally friendly manner.

Consult a professional. Before you make a final decision on custom cabinetry, it’s always a good idea to get a professional opinion. Take your notes and talk to experts at your local home improvement store to find out how much it would cost for the materials you have in mind. After that, try out the different materials. Open and close the doors and test the countertops to get a first hand impression of the custom cabinetry you’re considering.

Once your custom cabinets have been installed, maintaining their aesthetic value is relatively simple. Use a soft cloth, not a paper towel, to dust the cabinets. For spills and dirt, mild dishwashing soap and water will do the trick. Stay away from abrasive cleaning solutions—they won’t damage the cabinets, but over time they’ll create a filmy buildup that can be difficult to remove.

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