Designing your kitchen for your budget

“How is it that it costs so much?” That must be one of the questions I hear most frequently when submitting price quotes for kitchen cabinets to homeowners. While it’s true that cabinets can be designed to be low-budget, mid-range, or high-end, there are many factors involved that can easily push a low-budget project into a higher price range.

The place to start when designing kitchen cabinets for a specific budget is the doors. There are more door options available than most people realize, and each option will affect your overall budget. From cheapest to most expensive, door styles are available as follows:

1) Melamine. These are recessed doors (without paneling or profile details), and are available in a wide range of colors and patterns, from solid colors to imitation wood, and many others. Newer “hot melt melamine” doors have a very thin layer of melamine paper applied to a substrate panel type door. They are inexpensive and not very durable. These should not be used near sources of water or heat, or where frequent washing is required.

2) Wood veneer. These are flush doors made with a thin layer of wood over a substrate material. Birch, maple, oak and ash are all in the same price range, while any exotic or rarer wood (mahogany, cherry, walnut …) will increase the cost. These are often found in modern style kitchens.

3) Wooden structure with veneered panels. These doors have solid wood frames and recessed panels flush with a veneer substrate. A common style among these types of doors is Shaker. The wood species chosen will affect the price.

4) Plastic laminate. It looks a lot like melamine doors, but higher quality and much more durable. A wider range of patterns and colors available. Laminates have a dark brown core, so depending on the laminate color chosen, you may see dark brown lines at all joints, on each edge of each door, etc.

5) Wooden structure with wooden panels. These have solid wood frames and panels. The panel usually has a raised detail. These are often found in traditional style kitchens. Again, the choice of wood influences the price.

6) Wooden or lacquered structure painted with panels of another material. These doors have wooden or lacquered painted frames and other material used for the panel. The other material can be anything, and it is this other material that will greatly affect the cost. Common panel materials include glass, painted finishes, plastic laminates, metal (drilled, brushed, hammered, etc.), cork, and even wall coverings (such as grass cloth) applied to a substrate.

7) Thermoplastic. These doors are not made by the average cabinetmaker; They are manufactured in the factory. Thermoplastics come in a variety of colors and finishes, but the most common are still glossy white and faux wood. More durable and attractive than melamine. About the same price range as wood doors. Some manufacturers now advertise “hot melt melamine”; be careful because they are not the same at all.

8) Painted lacquer. These doors are typically lacquer-painted MDF, but it is the lacquer work that increases the cost because it requires more labor and specialized painting equipment. These are not “painted” cabinets. The lacquer is applied as a spray, over a sprayed primer, and no brush marks or other irregularities are visible. If you choose a special finish, such as glazing, the cost goes up a bit more.

9) stainless steel. These doors are typically not manufactured by a cabinet shop, but are outsourced to a metal shop. They are, without a doubt, the most expensive options for your doors.

Because the finished sides must match the doors, your door selection affects the cabinet itself. Therefore, cabinets for lacquered cabinets will be more expensive than melamine ones. Finished side panels to match any wood door are veneered; solid wood would not be as dimensionally stable (warp or bow) and would be astronomically expensive. Then you should consider the interiors of your cabinets. White melamine inside cabinets is standard, unless otherwise requested. The cheapest option, if you don’t like the idea of ​​white, is the matching melamine with the doors. It is not advisable to use a more expensive material inside the cabinets – why spend money on veneers or lacquers that are more likely to be damaged by rubbing pots or dishes against surfaces? And why put a more expensive material that you would later want to protect with shelf liners, so that you would never see wood or lacquer anyway?

Countertops are the other major selection that affects the price. The truth is, there are really only two price groups for counters. Plastic laminate countertops are the inexpensive option, and not a bad choice, as they are very durable and are now available in some amazing textures and patterns, plus they can be adorned with wood or solid surface trim. All other countertop materials tend to be comparable in cost: granite, solid surfaces (Corian, Silestone, etc.), concrete, and stainless steel. Concrete countertops are quite expensive due to the fact that they are still relatively rare and therefore a special item; you can’t buy them anywhere. Ceramic tile countertops are the only real mid-priced option. They require the use of high-quality tiles, otherwise chips and cracks will be inevitable. The grout must also be of high quality and safe for food preparation areas, and it must be sealed. Marble, which is usually slightly less expensive than granite, should not be used in kitchens as it is porous and prone to staining.

What is most surprising to people is that the finishing touches can also be very expensive. The handles and knobs range in price from about $ 2 each to over $ 30 each. Kitchens generally require around 25 handles, so create a $ 700 price difference right there. A reasonable amount to plan for handles is $ 5 to $ 8 each. The other “budget buster” is accessories. Built-in spice racks, trash cans, drawer dividers, pull-outs, and the like tend to be quite expensive. However, some of these devices are incredibly practical, so try to determine which one you would need and which one appeals to you mainly because they are really cool add-ons.

There is one area you should never skimp on just to save a few dollars, and that is installation. Imperfect installation of even the best-made cabinets will result in doors and drawers that don’t close properly or look poorly constructed. A good rule of thumb is that the specialist who made the item should install any custom-made items.

Cabinets for an average size kitchen can cost anywhere from around $ 7,000 to significantly more than $ 30,000. It is often said that a home kitchen (including appliances, cabinets, flooring, lighting, labor, and more) should cost about 15% of the home’s value, so the kitchen for a $ 250,000 home should cost around $ 37,500 if you like. follow this budgeting method. There are a few things to consider with this: the size of the kitchen plays a big role in determining the budget; of course, a larger kitchen will be more expensive to redo than a small one; a home built in the 1900s will likely be more expensive to renovate than a home built in the 1970s; your preferences will affect the budget; And this is a figure that was developed as a guide to some extent, you don’t need to follow it. Based on the projects handled by Idealspace Design, we have seen that cabinets (including countertops, handles, and installation) generally account for approximately 30% of a total kitchen renovation budget. These figures are to help you develop an idea of ​​the budget range to expect, they vary greatly from project to project.

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