Find Your Dream Cabinets in 5 Easy Steps

The growing number of designs, price points and materials makes finding good-looking (decently priced) cabinets a difficult task. Thankfully, outfitting your kitchen with attractive, budget-friendly cabinets is as easy as 1-2-3-4-5. Just follow these five painless steps to find exactly the cabinets you’re looking for.

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1. Decide on Design

There are two kinds of cabinets: framed and frameless. Framed cabinets are best for traditional décor. If you like a full-flavored, classic aesthetic, consider the warm design of framed cabinets. Frameless, also known as shaker, cabinets work best with modern and transitional designs. The sleek profile of frameless cabinets will give your kitchen an attractive splash of modern.

2. Choose Your Construction

Plan your cabinets’ construction around your budget. Generally, stock cabinets are the most affordable option. Before purchasing stock cabinets, you should know about the quality and measurement issues that sometimes arise with prefab cabinets. (Measure your installation area twice to make sure your cabinets will fit.) If you have a larger budget and need custom sizing and finishes, semi-custom cabinets offer a variety of options at a reasonable price. Custom cabinets will come with a substantial price tag, but they’ll also meet your exact specifications. Custom construction is perfect for oddly shaped kitchens or specific design and functionality needs.

3. Determine Your Material

Exotic cabinet materials are available, but must homeowners choose maple, cherry, oak or pine. If you’re looking for a strong, versatile material, maple and cherry mix well with other woods and work for both contemporary and traditional cabinet designs. Oak cabinets are perfect if you’re looking for a durable material that can take both dark and light stains. Pine, while a softer wood, offers a continuous grain, giving your kitchen a rugged (yet refined) look.

Your cabinet’s hardware is also important. The hardware you choose for your cabinets will vary depending on the design of your kitchen. If your kitchen is a traditional design, rounded kitchen knobs are perfect for a welcoming, home-style aesthetic. If your kitchen is more contemporary, understated handles and pulls work best.

The finish of your hardware is also critical to completing the look of your cabinets. Nickel, stainless steel and polished aluminum are best suited for modern designs. Choose polished brass and bronze for rustic or traditional décor.

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4. Build Your Budget

It’s a good idea to plan your expenses around the material, construction and installation costs of your cabinets. Here’s a quick guide to help you pick and choose the perfect combo for your home and budget:

How much should you plan to spend? According to HomeAdvisor’s True Cost Guide, most homeowners spend between $2,000 and $7,000 on their cabinet install.

5. Plan Your Installation

Cabinet installation boils down to two options: DIY or hire a pro. Consider your skill level, kitchen layout, budget and schedule before making a decision.

For most homeowners, it’s a good idea to hire a professional. Your pro will install your cabinets correctly and work according to an agreed-upon timeline — avoiding any headache-inducing delays. Also, most professionals will have additional help, meaning a quicker install time than a DIY project.

If you have the time, tools and know-how to hang your own cabinets, a DIY job can save you money. But, unless you’re a professional or have past experience with cabinet installs, tackling this project yourself isn’t recommended. Aside from the potential for mistakes, a DIY cabinet install can take much longer than a professional job.

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