How Much of a Kitchen Budget Should Be Spent on Cabinetry?

New kitchen cabinets are aesthetically pleasing, as well as can add value to your home.

New kitchen cabinets are aesthetically pleasing, as well as can add value to your home.

If you're thinking about remodeling your kitchen, you've made a wise choice in spending your money in a high-return area. According to the National Kitchen and Bath Association, kitchen remodels are the highest in return on investment when you decide to sell your house. After you've made the decision to remodel, decide how to allocate your budget. Cabinets will most likely be the largest part of your expense, but how much of your budget should you spend?

Deciding to Remodel Your Kitchen

If you're thinking about selling your home, a kitchen remodel is a smart choice. Many Realtors say that a renovated kitchen can make the decision between a house selling and a house not selling. Even if you're planning to stay in your home, and your kitchen is outdated, you don't have to wait for your house to go on the market to begin building equity for future reselling purposes. The National Kitchen and Bath Association recommends that if you have to make a choice between remodeling your kitchen or bathroom, a kitchen remodel is the smartest choice.

Cabinet Choices

There are three major types of cabinets you can install. The first, and also the most inexpensive, are non-custom cabinets. These are pre-made and come in standard sizes. Semi-custom cabinets are pre-produced and made to the home owner's size requirements. Custom cabinetry is the most expensive type of cabinet, usually costing around four times the amount of non-custom cabinets. These are built to exact specifications. A major benefit of opting for this kind of cabinetry allows you to explore endless design possibilities.

Allocating Costs to Cabinets

Deciding just how much your total kitchen budget you should allocate on cabinets is a personal decision, and you should take into account many factors, including total budget, how big your kitchen is and other upgrades you're planning to the kitchen. If you're on a budget, think about different ways to update the look of the cabinets' facades without splurging on entirely new cabinets. Know the costs of all options available, though. According to the National Kitchen and Bath Association, 60 percent to 70 percent of the cost of the cabinets is in the doors and door fronts. So if you decide to cut costs and reface your cabinets instead, you could end up paying close to what you would for entirely new cabinets.

Cabinet Costs

Kitchen cabinetry can make a huge aesthetic impact, so a large portion of your budget should be spent there, especially if your current cabinets are more than 10 years old. Because cabinets are a major investment, and one that will most likely be made only once for the time you own your home, take your time choosing the design and theme. The actual cost of cabinets depends on the size of your kitchen and countertops. According to, as of October 2010, the basic cabinets for a 10- by 12-foot kitchen start at around $4,000 to $5,000. Costs go up from that point, depending on how custom you'd like them to be. Semi-custom cabinets start at around $8,000 to $10,000 for the same size kitchen, and custom cabinetry can span up to $20,000. These estimations don't include installation or countertops.


About the Author

Lisa Carlson works as an associate director of recruitment and graduate programs at a public university, and has experience in management, marketing, personal finance and nonprofit organizations. She is a peer-reviewed author on publications for higher education recruiting and holds a B.S. in marketing and a M.B.A.

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