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Remodeling a kitchen is one of the best ways to breathe life into a home. A new kitchen design means fresh surfaces, better workflow, and oftentimes a return on your investment. A few pieces for your kitchen remodel warrant careful consideration, especially the cabinets.
In fact, cabinets can be the most expensive element of a kitchen renovation—more expensive than countertops and flooring. Luckily, you can spend less on kitchen cabinetry. One way is to buy cabinets flat-packed, and assemble them yourselves. Some cabinet manufacturers make and ship an entire kitchen’s worth of cabinets and drawers to your door, ready to assemble. For help in choosing the best kitchen cabinets to fit a limited budget, read this guide for assistance.
- BEST OVERALL: Wholesale Cabinets Bright White Shaker
- RUNNER UP: Kabinet King Shaker Dove Kitchen Cabinets
- BEST VALUE: Nuform Cabinetry Emma White
- ALSO CONSIDER: Ikea KNOXHULT Base Cabinet with doors and drawer
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Kitchen Cabinets for Budget-Minded DIYers
When trying to keep costs down, choosing the best kitchen cabinets can be a tricky proposition. DIYers may have to make compromises in the quality of construction, materials, slides, or hardware. Deciding which factors are most important depends on the individual. The following are some of the most critical factors to consider when choosing the best kitchen cabinets.
Cabinets come either assembled or ready to assemble (RTA). RTA cabinets are economical, but they require more work before installation. Assembled cabinets are ready to hang right out of the box. This one difference can make a significant difference on the project’s bottom line.
Also note that several types of individual cabinets are available, each of which serves its own purpose. For instance, a base cabinet is deeper than a wall cabinet, and it includes an area called a “toe kick” that allows the user to move closer to the countertop. Wall cabinets, which are shallower, are constructed to bear the weight of heavy tableware.
Additionally, a sink cabinet is available with a faux drawer front that hides the sink and plumbing. Corner cabinets, both wall or base cabinets, offer more storage space. Other types of cabinets and accessories include full-height pantry cabinets, trash and recycling pullouts, appliance “garages” to store countertop gear, wine racks, and more.
Cabinet manufacturers use several different types of materials to construct kitchen cabinets. Some of the following materials are likely to appear in RTA-type cabinets:
- Real wood: Genuine wood is usually reserved for the cabinet doors or face frames (the strips of wood on the face of the cabinet behind the door). Ready-to-assemble cabinets rarely are completely constructed of real wood.
- Plywood: Many manufacturers use cabinet-grade plywood to create the cabinet boxes. Plywood is very strong and less expensive than individual wood boards, though it has a similar appearance. When a manufacturer refers to “wood kitchen cabinets,” the cabinet boxes are typically made of plywood.
- High-density fiberboard: Some painted cabinets use high-density fiberboard (HDF), which is a man-made product. It takes paint well and is more affordable than wood or plywood.
- Particleboard: Some of the most affordable cabinets are made of particleboard, a composition of wood chips and resin or glue with a laminated material on top. Although it doesn’t resist water well, cabinets made of particleboard are inexpensive.
Door and Hardware Style
Seemingly endless stylistic choices are available in cabinetry. Cabinet style generally refers to the appearance of the door and face frames. Popular door styles include Shaker, traditional, modern, contemporary, rustic country, and Mission. Shaker, traditional, and country may complement a farmhouse, Cape Cod, or ranch home. Contemporary or modern cabinets probably suit contemporary homes. Mission cabinets may complement arts and crafts or Craftsman-style homes.
Some cabinets have face frames, and others don’t (frameless cabinets are called European-style cabinets). On some cabinets, the doors nestle into the cabinetry, creating a flush, uniform look.
Hardware to complement the cabinets is another important decision. Many people prefer to contrast light cabinets with dark-finished hardware, while others prefer brightly polished metal. Traditional country cabinets may feature wooden doorknobs and pulls.
One of the benefits of designing a new kitchen is the opportunity to customize the space to make it more functional. Many renovators add drawers, some of which are designed specifically to hold silverware, pots and pans, or other items. Vertical drawers are available that fit between cabinets to hold spices and other small items.
Though this mechanism is not easily visual, the drawer’s hardware often determines how well a drawer works. Ball-bearing slides with soft-close features allow drawers to slide in and out easily and prevent them from slamming. To save money, a basic set of slides is usually sufficient, though they might not glide as easily as higher-end options.
Color and Finish
The color and finish of kitchen cabinets is largely determined by taste and budget. In general, DIYers choose one of these:
- Stained wood: Stained wood has a natural appearance, but since these cabinets are constructed from only the best pieces of wood, they’re often expensive. Stain options include a natural or darker stain and whitewash.
- Painted wood: Painted cabinets can match almost any interior design style. Moreover, because the paint is typically opaque, it can cover lower-grade wood. Painted wood cabinets are often less expensive than stained wood cabinets.
- Laminate: Laminate is the material that covers particleboard cabinets, and it determines their look, finish, and color. Many laminate options are available, including thin sheets of actual wood, synthetic wood, and melamine (a durable plastic material), and they’re almost all relatively affordable. However, laminate is rarely as durable as cabinet paints or stains.
In ready-to-assemble cabinets, painted cabinets and laminate are the most common finishes. In general, these cabinets have a better finish on the door and face frames than the sides of the boxes.
Other cabinetry add-ons are available. For instance, a strip of molding across the top of a set of wall cabinets, called a “cornice” molding, helps unify the design. Other design options include finished panels that install over the side of the cabinet to create a more finished look. Other add-ons include built-in pot racks, wine racks, wine glass holders, and glass-front cabinet doors. Some cabinets are specifically designed to house built-in ovens or beverage stations.
Installation and Assembly
Many people think that cabinet installation is a job best left to the professionals; however, with a helping hand, assembling and installing cabinets are actually relatively easy tasks. Ready-to-assemble cabinets are delivered in flat boxes, but they come with the instructions, hardware, and typically the tools needed for the job.
Installing cabinets is at least a two-person job, but the process is fairly simple. To simplify installation, clamp and screw the adjoining cabinets through their face frames before hanging them. When hanging kitchen cabinets, keep these three important points in mind:
- Make sure the cabinets are level side to side and front to back.
- Ensure they’re plumb (“level”).
- Screw through the top support (the strip of wood along the top of the cabinet back, if one is present) and into a wall stud.
Using sheetrock screws to hang kitchen cabinets is a bad idea, because with enough weight, the screw head can pull into the surface of the wood and affect its integrity. Washer-head screws, or wood screws with cabinet washers underneath, are better choices.
Our Top Picks
Once shoppers understand the basics about cabinet construction and style, choosing the best kitchen cabinets becomes a bit easier. To help streamline the kitchen cabinet shopping process, this list presents some of the best kitchen cabinets on the market. Consider cabinet material, style, drawer type, and other features when comparing them.
For a custom finish in a ready-to-assemble package, Wholesale Cabinets Bright White Shaker cabinet system is constructed of ½-inch plywood with heavy-duty ¾-inch plywood shelves that can bear the weight of heavy tableware. The Shaker-style cabinet doors are made of HDF, which provides a clean finish.
Along with basic wall, base, and sink cabinets, Wholesale Cabinets offers single-drawer base cabinets, cabinets with tray dividers for cutting boards, as well as units with rollout trays for garbage cans or pots and pans. All drawers and hinges are soft-closing, which keeps the kitchen quiet.
- Material: HDF, plywood, and solid birch
- Door Style: Shaker
- Colorways: 1
- Comes ready to assemble
- Soft-closing drawers and hinges
- Natural birch interior
- Only available in white
Get the Wholesale Cabinets kitchen cabinets at Wholesale Cabinets.
Kabinet King’s Shaker Dove kitchen cabinets feature a light gray painted finish, five-piece (two rails, two styles, and the center panel) Shaker-style doors, and a ready-to-assemble design. Also, the cabinet slides and hinges are soft-close and won’t slam shut.
Kabinet King has many different cabinet configurations in the Shaker Dove lineup, including base and upper cabinets, diagonal wall cabinets, sink base cabinets for traditional and farmhouse sinks, and lazy Susans. Shoppers also can choose between solid panel doors or doors with glass inserts. Customize the kitchen even further with accessories such as wine racks, X-shape cabinet dividers, and more.
- Material: Plywood
- Door Style: Shaker
- Colorways: 1
- Arrives ready to assemble
- Solid panel or glass insert doors available
- Soft-close hinges and slides
- Only available in light grey
Get the Kabinet King kitchen cabinets at Kabinet King.
Nuform Cabinetry’s Emma White ready-to-assemble cabinet system offers the style of more expensive kits but uses lower-cost materials. This system features European-style (frameless face) particleboard boxes with ½-inch plywood backs. The drawers have slab faces.
The Emma White kit comes in a variety of wall and base cabinets, including sink and lazy Susan corner cabinets. Depending on their style and storage needs, shoppers also can opt for glass hangers, corbels for custom islands, and roll-out trays for pots and pans. Upgrading cabinet drawers and hardware to solid wood with soft closure is also an option.
- Material: Particle board and plywood
- Door Style: Shaker
- Colorways: 1
- Affordable cabinetry
- Arrives ready to assemble
- Drawers can be upgraded to solid wood
- Fully concealed, soft-closing hinges
- Only available in white
- Less durable than all-plywood or wood cabinets
Get the Nuform Cabinetry kitchen cabinets at Nuform Cabinetry.
IKEA’s KNOXHULT is a one-piece cabinet with three standard cabinets and a drawer, and both end cabinets can be outfitted with a sink and plumbing. Adjustable feet keep the unit stable on uneven floors.
The cabinet is made from particleboard with a melamine laminate, which is scratch resistant and long lasting if kept dry. The work top also is made of particleboard, with a wood laminate surface over the top. Designed so doors can be mounted in either a left- or right-swing configuration, IKEA’s KNOXHULT series cabinets are compact enough to fit in most small settings. The cabinetry arrives flat packed, and assembly is required.
- Material: Manufactured wood
- Door Style: Modern
- Colorways: 1
- Compact option for small kitchens
- Scratch-resistant and long lasting material
- Adjustable feet for use on uneven flooring
- Doors can be mounted to swing on the left or right
- Only available in white
Get the IKEA kitchen cabinets at IKEA.
For classic shaker-style cabinetry, we recommend Wholesale Cabinets for their durability and extensive customization options. Those on a budget may prefer the more affordable Nuform Cabinetry for a similar look and variety of configurations.
How We Chose the Best Kitchen Cabinets
Choosing the best kitchen cabinets involved researching options from reputable cabinetry brands. We focused on cabinets with a variety of configurations to complement different kitchen spaces. Most of the cabinetry offers customization options such as glass door inserts, roll-out trays for pots and pans, and tray dividers for utensils.
The featured list favors durable and affordable plywood and genuine wood cabinetry. Given the popularity of shaker cabinets, the majority of the top picks are in this style. In selecting cabinetry, we focused on designs with soft-close hinges and slides. Additionally, most of the cabinets come ready to assemble for easy installation.
Now that you know more about what goes into the best kitchen cabinets, some new questions might pop up. The following are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about kitchen cabinets, so check for an answer to your question below.
Q: What are the most durable kitchen cabinets?
Generally speaking, real wood is the most durable. Original wood cabinets are still being used in some of the oldest homes in the country. Plywood also is extremely durable. Both of these materials can be refinished if necessary. If they’re dented or scratched, sand out the blemish and refinish the cabinet.
Q: How many kitchen cabinets do you need in your kitchen?
At minimum, you need a cabinet for a sink and cleaning supplies, a base cabinet for pots and pans, and a wall cabinet for plates and cups. Large families, home chefs, and large kitchens may require more cabinets.
Q: Can I install my own kitchen cabinets?
Yes, though you might want to enlist the help of a friend who can help lift and hold the cabinets in place while you secure them.
Q: Do you install top or bottom kitchen cabinets first?
No hard and fast rules exist, but it’s generally best to install base cabinets first. As these long banks of cabinets are rarely broken up by windows or doors, install them in place and then coordinate the upper cabinets accordingly. The other benefit to installing lower cabinets first is that you can build a small stand to rest the upper cabinets on while you secure them to the wall. As long as the lower cabinets are level, you’ll have a consistent height all around the kitchen.
Q: How long do kitchen cabinets last?
While particleboard cabinets might last only 10 years or so, high-quality cabinets can last up to 50 years. Some real-wood cabinetry can last more than 100 years.
From 2021 to 2022, Shaker-style kitchen cabinets jumped 8 points, with 64 percent of home remodelers now opting for this mainstay of transitional home decor style. The second-most popular style, flat-panel cabinets, trails way behind with 17 percent.What kitchen cabinets are in for 2022? ›
Greens, blues and charcoals are replacing egg shell whites to give modern kitchens a warm, but retro feel. Natural wood cabinets are versatile. They can stay vintage with a new stain or be resurfaced with classic colors that remain timeless, as appliances and decor shift.What is the most popular kitchen cabinet color for 2022? ›
White is still the most popular kitchen cabinet color in 2022 and beyond. However, we are seeing a shift towards warmer and more natural tones. We cover the best colors for cabinets from Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams like Simply White, Dove White, and Chantilly Lace.What style kitchen is in for 2022? ›
Modern Wood Finishes
Greens and blues will continue to dominate home design in 2022, and the kitchen is no exception. But according to the NKBA, white and wood tones will also be popular. Together, these hues are the foundation for today's popular organic style.
KITCHEN DESIGN WHITE CABINETS
We'll also continue to see the two-tone cabinet color trend in 2022. Pairing a primarily white kitchen with a contrasting (trending) color on your kitchen island will still be popular into 2022.
Dark Wood Cabinets
Just like the raised panel cabinet doors, darker wood tones on cabinetry are on the way out. Darker wood stains have been an outdated kitchen trend for several years. Even though dark wood tones are outdated, some dark colors have grown in style and will continue to in 2022.
- Best Overall: KraftMaid.
- Best on a Budget: Ikea.
- Best for High-End: Starmark Cabinetry.
- Best for Customization: Wellborn Cabinet.
- Best for DIY: CliqStudios.
- Best Ready-to-Assemble: The RTA Store.
- Best for European Style: Porcelanosa.
- Modular kitchen brand #1 Sleek by Asian Paints. ...
- Modular kitchen brand #2 Wurfel Kuche. ...
- Modular kitchen brand #3Haecker Kuechen. ...
- Modular kitchen brand #4 Godrej Interio. ...
- Modular kitchen brand #5Anchor by Panasonic. ...
- Modular kitchen brand #6Johnson Kitchens.
If you're looking for a kitchen cabinet finish that is heat and moisture resistant; durable and affordable, laminate is the way to go! Available in matte, semi-gloss, and high-gloss finishes, as well as a wide variety of colours and patterns, laminate is easy to clean and maintain with plain soap and water.What color cabinets have the best resale value? ›
Having white cabinets in your kitchen will make your home more appealing to potential buyers and could increase its resale value by thousands of dollars. If you're thinking about selling your home and want to make it more attractive, white kitchen cabinets are a great choice.
The two most timeless colors of all, are white, and black. No one can deny the appeal of bright white cabinets streaming across a kitchen, they lighten the entire room and give it an airy, refreshing ambience. Likewise, black cabinets are equally timeless.What is the most popular kitchen cabinet finish? ›
There are a few different options when it comes to kitchen cabinet finishes. The most popular finish is paint, followed by stained wood, and then laminate.What is the kitchen trend for 2023? ›
For the past decade, we've been seeing white walls, white tile, and Carrera marble. People are tired of these muted palettes, and designers are bringing in color— which we love.” Most designers also agree that white-on-white kitchens will look dated in 2023.
For 2022, you will probably see a return to oak wood for kitchen cabinets as vintage becomes designer, and homeowners go back to the real wood of time past. Oak has the texture and look of subtle elegance with its neutral color and design versatility.Are maple cabinets outdated 2022? ›
Are maple cabinets outdated? Since maple wood kitchen cabinets are incredibly versatile, they're far from outdated. They're highly durable and with the right finishes, they can fit in perfectly with any aesthetic whether it's a traditional or modern kitchen.What is the most popular countertop for 2022? ›
The most popular and trending countertop for 2022 is a marble countertop. Closely trailing behind is concrete countertops and butcher block countertops. What countertop edge is in style 2022? Waterfall edge countertops have been on the come-up for years now.What finish is in style for 2022? ›
#1 Most Sought-After Finish in 2022: Matte Black
The most popular trend in home design in 2022 is switching over to matte black fixtures and finishes in the kitchen to distinguish and add personality to the space.
The short answer to this question we've been hearing a lot recently is: “Absolutely not! White kitchens are here to stay…in 2022 and beyond.” The simple truth is, the best white kitchens never go out of style. They provide a clean, fresh, versatile background onto which you can infuse a variety of décor preferences.What color wood cabinets are in style 2022? ›
Green – Natural and organic; green is said to be the “BIG” color for 2022. Designers are excited about combining warm shades of green, with natural wood elements, such as oak and walnut. Matte Gray – Darker shades of gray will also be a hit.Should upper or lower cabinets be darker? ›
Keep the Focus on the Lower Cabinets
Therefore, you'll want to keep your darker colors down low, and brighter colors up top. Dark base cabinets keep the kitchen looking grounded, while light upper cabinetry helps reflect more light into a small space.
Neutral & White
It's no surprise that white is still a top choice for kitchens.
According to kitchen design and painting experts, the most popular color for a kitchen is tied between navy blue and white. Home stagers and listing agents often suggest painting the kitchen a fresh white color to make the space look larger, cleaner and inviting.Is gray still in style for 2022? ›
Is gray paint going out of style in 2022? Gray paint is trending downward in high end design, but will continue to reign in new builds and contractor's bids.What cabinets last the longest? ›
The most durable kitchen cabinets are ones made from solid hardwood. Cherry and maple are popular choices. They're the most expensive but they last a long time and look great doing it. Plywood and MDF (medium-density fiberboard) are less expensive choices.What is the best quality wood for kitchen cabinets? ›
The 5 best and most popular woods for kitchen cabinets are pine, oak, hickory, cherry, and maple. Pine, oak, and hickory are cheaper and easier to get. Cherry and maple look luxurious and cost more than the others. All 5 work well in the kitchen's hot and humid environment.What type of cabinet doors are best? ›
For traditional cabinets, inset doors are the best option. Instead of resting in front of the cabinet frame, like overlay designs, inset doors sit flush to the frame and completely expose the face of the cabinet. This door type has been around for centuries and works well with traditional shaker cabinet styles.What style kitchen is most popular? ›
The Transitional kitchen is the most popular kitchen style, according to research by the National Kitchen and Bath Association. A transitional kitchen borrows features from both traditional and contemporary design. It combines cozy vibes with clean lines and neutral colors.What costs the most in a kitchen? ›
When working out how much a kitchen renovation costs, you may find that it is the cabinetry and worksurfaces that amount to the largest proportion of your budget.What type of kitchen is most popular? ›
Open Modular Kitchen Design
An open modular kitchen is popular among most Indian homes as it blends well with the rest of the house.
Going into 2022, wood-stained kitchen cabinets will still be popular in more traditional kitchens. but people are becoming bolder when adding pops of color to their kitchens. Cool-toned cabinets are dominating the trends this year and white, gray, two-toned, blue, and even green cabinets are on the rise.
Less hassle & wasted time. Kitchen drawers instead of cabinets means eliminating hassle and time wasted looking for things. No digging around in cabinet shelves to find something. No pulling out a bunch of pots or appliances from the lower cabinet shelf to get to the other stuff behind it.What kind of kitchen cabinets are easiest to clean? ›
Steer clear of finishes that show fingerprints and water spots like stainless steel or chrome. They're also harder to clean. Oil-rubbed bronze, satin bronze, brushed or polished nickel and white hardware are all much easier to maintain.Which countertop adds the most value? ›
Recently quartz or manufactured stone beat out granite as the most popular kitchen countertop material. While on the surface, natural stone may seem to offer more resale value, that might be changing! As of right now, granite, marble, travertine, soapstone, and so on will typically give you bigger resale value.What makes kitchen cabinets look expensive? ›
Use lighter colors. A light color on the walls and cabinets instantly brightens a space making it look larger and in turn, more expensive. Light colors reflect light and hide a multitude of sins, including those scratches, dings and dents in your old cabinets.What is the most timeless kitchen countertop? ›
Slate, soapstone, and honed granite are timeless materials for countertop and backsplash, for houses of almost any period. This marble look-alike surface material from Okite is a compound of natural quartz and resin, which complements this period-style kitchen.What color countertop is timeless? ›
Gray. Gray is a classic and timeless choice for a quartz or granite counter. Due to its splashed and unpolished nature, this can be a great choice for a rustic style, but it can also suit any modern style.Is glossy or matte finish better for kitchen cabinets? ›
To sum up, a gloss finish will give your kitchen an expensive, sophisticated, and modern look. A matte finish is more subtle, soft, and cozy, and works well if your kitchen has a more traditional look. So, consider the style of your kitchen when deciding between gloss and matte cabinetry.What is the best cabinet color? ›
- White and dark gray. “It's important to keep in mind how much natural light your space gets before deciding on paint colors. ...
- Crisp white. ...
- Understated gray. ...
- Vibrant blue. ...
- White and dark gray. ...
- A slightly off-white white.
Go with Light Colors
Light colors are more reflective than dark colors and they will make your kitchen appear bigger as well as more open and airy. Light blues, greens, or pale yellows are other great colors to make your space look larger than life.
Green is all the rage for kitchen cabinet colors in 2022. From dark hunter greens to rich sages and light minty shades, this color is popping up all over the place! If you're looking for a way to add some life to your kitchen cabinets and make a statement, green is the way to go.
Shaker cabinets are the most popular style of kitchen cabinets. The design is simple and the square panel doors match well with any type of hardware.Are white kitchen cabinets still popular in 2022? ›
First, let's talk about white kitchen cabinets … these aren't going anywhere in 2022. A white kitchen is classic and never goes 'out of style'. It may not always be the current trend, but white kitchen cabinets are always beautiful. We'll also continue to see the two-tone cabinet color trend in 2022.Are dark cabinets out of style 2022? ›
Insider asked interior designers about the kitchen trends you should expect to see in 2022. All-white kitchens and double ovens are on their way out due to their lack of practicality. Smart appliances, unpainted cabinets, and darker colors in kitchen designs are gaining popularity.What is the most popular kitchen cabinet color? ›
For several decades, in fact, white has been the leading cabinet color in kitchen cabinet trends. As the most popular shade for cabinetry then, it's a good option for many styles of kitchens. It certainly fits well with a simple, straightforward design choice that won't go out of style.Are granite countertops out of style 2022? ›
However, thanks to its natural beauty and properties that make every piece unique, granite consistently found its way into American kitchens over the course of the twentieth century and is still a top choice in 2022.Is granite out of style? ›
Granite takes new finishes very easily. Getting your countertops refinished can give them a whole new look. Because it's so easy to revitalize your countertops, they'll never go out of style.What is the new decorating style for 2022? ›
In keeping with the trend of bringing the outdoors inside, in 2022, we'll see a focus on natural materials like burl, rattan, cane, leather, jute, wicker, ceramics, and woven lighting, furniture, and decor.