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How Can I Save Money on My Kitchen Cabinets?

This is a fairly common question. A full kitchen remodel can be a daunting task. It can also be exceedingly expensive. $20,000 to $30,000 is more than most people have lying around so if you are going to be going into debt or adding to your debt it is probably a good idea to know how you can save some money on this sort of project. Some people view these sort of tips as “corner-cutting” or just being stingy while others might see these as too much of a compromise for what you are saving. That is ultimately something that each person has to decide on their own.


The first and most obvious way that you can save some money on any or all of your kitchen remodel would be to save on labor costs by doing the bulk of the work yourself. Naturally, this is not an option for everyone. Some people have jobs that are less forgiving about taking time off. Some people have no experience with tools or working with their hands. Some people just have no interest in this sort of undertaking. However, if you do feel inclined to do some of the work yourself, you can save quite a bit of money. If you know enough to use some basic tools and assemble some RTA cabinets, you can combine the savings of DIY and RTA cabinets.

Unfinished cabinets

One option that some people try is to buy unfinished cabinets. Naturally, unfinished cabinets will cost you less up front than finished cabinets. If you have a paint or finish in mind, buying unfinished cabinets can be a good idea. Since you will need to get smooth even coats of paint or finish on your cabinets, it is best to finish your cabinets before you install them. Because of this, using unfinished cabinets is probably a bad idea unless you are already planning to do the install yourself. I do not recommend using your cabinets unfinished. You run the risk of getting food and drinks spilled on the wood. This could easily leave very unsightly stains. One reason why people are drawn to the idea of unfinished cabinets is that they want to add that person touch to their kitchens. This can give you a real sense of ownership and accomplishment if you are good at this sort of work. If you are unfamiliar with projects of this sort, you could be setting yourself up for a lot of extra work that will only cost you extra time in the long run. If your only motivation for looking at unfinished cabinets is to save some money, then you could look into RTA cabinets.


RTA stands for Ready To Assemble. These are cabinets that are manufactured and sold to consumers and contractors in a disassembled state. They are sold in a box with all the complex cutting and drilling done ahead of time. The customer or hired installers simply assemble the pieces and screw in some screws, bolts, and cam locks and then you have yourself a cabinet. RTA cabinets have endured a rather bad reputation over the years because most of them are manufactured in China and other parts of South East Asia. For years RTA cabinets were consistently made with low-quality materials and cost a fraction of what you would pay for custom cabinets. The reason why RTA cabinets are now one of the very best ways that you can save on your kitchen remodel is that many of the better RTA companies started offering higher and higher quality products. Now if you are willing to search around and do a little comparison shopping, you can find RTA cabinets with materials and craftsmanship that rivals or surpasses that of some custom cabinets while still maintaining a competitive RTA cabinet price. Many people choose to hire installers to do the cabinet installation, but if you are handy with tools, you could double down on your savings by buying RTA cabinets and installing them yourself.

Buy Fewer Cabinets

This is an option that a lot of people are not interested in. However, it is certainly worth mentioning. If you are replacing each and every cabinet in your old kitchen with a new cabinet of the same size and function, you will probably have a very similar and familiar new kitchen. But if you stop and think about what parts of your kitchen you use the most and which parts you barely use at all, then you may find a number of ways that you can save money. A slightly new kitchen layout can use fewer wall cabinets by consolidating storage areas and removing superfluous cabinets. In some cases, this can be taken too far and the efficiency of your kitchen can suffer. It is best to ask an experienced contractor or cabinet designer to see if your kitchen could function well with fewer cabinets.

Concrete Flooring

Most people have an idea of what they do and do not want for their kitchen flooring. If you are open minded about different flooring options, then you might be able to save a lot on your kitchen flooring. Concrete kitchen floors are growing in popularity. Many people spring for fancy details and colored concrete but some homeowners are just looking for a simple sealed concrete floor. This chic industrial approach to your kitchen floor can save a lot IF you have a home with a concrete slab foundation. Many people are pulling up old disgusting aged wooden floors, carpet, and linoleum to discover that they have a strong slab of concrete that will work wonders as their new kitchen floor after $20 - $40 worth of sealer.

Some people like the idea of unfinished cabinets while others prefer to simply buy RTA cabinets that are ready to go. Some people luck out with their kitchen flooring and others have all the know-how to do the basic remodeling work by themselves. Hopefully knowing that these options are there for you will allow you to take advantage of some of them and save yourself a bundle on your kitchen remodel.