Cheap Kitchen Cabinets

If you're looking to install or update kitchen cabinets on a budget, check out these helpful tips and tricks for cheap kitchen cabinets.

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By: Sean McEvoy

If you're looking to update your existing kitchen or designing and installing a brand-new one, your greatest expense will be the cabinets. You'll definitely want to check out these hints and tips about cheap kitchen cabinets—tips that work equally well, regardless of whether you need typical cabinet space or are building a kitchen island with breakfast bar.

Cheap Versus Steep: Kitchen Cabinetry

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Cheap: Refreshed Painted Cabinetry

If your current cabinets are in good shape but could use an aesthetic update, try brushing on a coat of paint to revive your cabinetry and give it a fresh new look. Design by Judith Balis

Photo By: Designer, Judith Balis

Cheap: Simple Stained Cabinets

While cabinetry with ornate embellishments and fancy storage features can be costly, basic flat-front cabinets will give your kitchen a clean and simple look at a reasonable price. Design by Jennifer Nilsen

Mid-Range: Shaker-Style Cabinets

Upgrade from plain, flat-front cabinetry to Shaker-style cabinets, which will give your kitchen a clean, classic look without breaking the bank. According to the National Kitchen & Bath Association, Shaker is one of the most popular styles in cabinetry in 2011, second only to traditional. Image courtesy of Atlantis Kitchens

Mid-Range: Special Storage Features

While specialty storage options were once only offered by custom cabinetmakers, these features are now available in mid-priced fixtures as well. Pullout spice racks, utensil drawers and built-in cutting boards are all available at a reasonable cost. Image courtesy of Merillat

Steep: Custom Cabinetry

Homeowners willing to spend significantly more on their kitchen’s cabinetry may opt for custom cabinets, which are built to exact specifications and can come in a wide range of materials, designs, finishes and accessories. Image courtesy of Plain & Fancy

Steep: Sleek Modern Cabinets

An option for larger budgets, sleek cabinetry with a high-gloss finish provides the perfect backdrop for modern or contemporary kitchens.

If your goal is to update the look of your existing cabinets, the cheapest route is to simply reface them. This process involves either stripping the stain or paint from the existing cabinets and adding new stain, varnish or paint; in some cases, you might even want to refinish the cabinets with a stick-on veneer. Whichever method you choose, this will be by far the most money-saving option, with only refinishing supplies and your own labor to account for. Be aware that this option does require considerable "sweat equity," however.

Next, you could consider the true DIY route and build your own cabinets. This may seem daunting, but cabinets are in the range of "medium difficulty" when it comes to carpentry and construction. There are many online resources and books available for reference should you choose this route.

Finally, if you choose to replace your cabinets entirely or if you're installing brand-new ones, consider buying them completely unfinished, in a "bare wood" state, and then finishing them with stain or paint yourself. You'll save money up front this way, as opposed to paying for finished or semi-finished cabinets.

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