top of page

Designing a Kitchen with Cabinets that Fit Your Budget

Designing your kitchen can be a rewarding and challenging experience, especially when it comes to budget concerns. Whether you're designing a new kitchen or planning a remodel, there will always be design details that you really want to incorporate. After all, your dream kitchen should really make you happy, and beautifully designed kitchens do help to sell your home, if you are so inclined. So how do you get the features you really want without cutting corners? Can it even be done? Yes! Keep reading to learn some tips to getting the style and design your really want without breaking the bank.

We see it all of the time... Someone will request a quote only to get sticker shock. Oftentimes, the individual does not understand Basic 10x10 Kitchen Pricing and has no idea they have requested a quote for one of the most expensive options available.

Selecting a Cabinet Style Based on 10x10 Kitchen Pricing

Start by selecting a kitchen cabinet style that you believe to be within your budget. If you haven't already, this is the perfect time to get yourself acquainted with Basic 10x10 Kitchen Pricing. 10x10 Kitchen Pricing is used by many cabinet companies and manufacturers to give you a comparison price to help you determine which cabinet styles are generally less or more expensive. Click here to learn more about 10x10 Pricing. In general, you need to know that kitchens in the $5000 10x10 price range will cost about twice as much as a kitchens in the $2500 10x10 price range; these numbers do not reflect a specific price for an entire kitchen. When comparing 10x10 prices, be sure to make note of shipping costs. Many of our cabinets ship free with or without a minimum purchase.

Pro Tip: Don't be fooled by companies offering a price for '10 Linear Feet of Cabinets' - This is not the industry standard and is designed to trick the average consumer.

A cabinet company offering products at a variety of price points is often the key to success. Working with a designer who knows these products is critical. For Example, Prefinished Cabinets offers multiple cabinet styles in a white shaker (Sonoma White Shaker, Pacific White Shaker, Dakota White Shaker, and More...). While these cabinets are all a white shaker style, each of these collections has different cabinet types, sizes, and price points. Depending on your unique kitchen layout, the design features you are trying to incorporate, and your available cabinet budget, one particular cabinet style may be an excellent fit, while another style is not. A knowledgeable kitchen designer that is familiar with all of these available cabinet products will be able to guide you to the best cabinet styles that work for your design elements and budget.

A cabinet company offering products at a variety of price points is often the key to success. Working with a designer who knows these products is critical.
Take advantage of 0 percent interest financing options for up to 15 months with 700+ credit score or funding for complete home improvement projects up to $250,000.
Prefinished Cabinets has Partnered with Enhancify to Offer You Financing Options for Your Kitchen Cabinets, Kitchen Remodel, or Other Home Improvement Projects.

Elements that Increase Your Overall Kitchen Cabinet Cost

Not all cabinets are created equally. Take a look at this list and keep these specific items in mind when designing your kitchen

  • Drawer Base Cabinets - Cabinets that have Multiple Drawers Can Cost Significantly More than a Standard Base Cabinet with Only One Drawer

  • Tall Wall Cabinets - The Taller the Cabinets, the Higher the Price

  • Double-Stacked Cabinets - Trendy Equivalent of Buying an Extra Row of Wall Cabinets

  • Pantry Cabinets - These Much Larger Cabinets have a Matching Much Larger Price Tag

  • Specialty Finishes - A Cabinet's Finish will Often Effect the Price (Yes, Even Prefab) - Refer Back to Your 10x10 Kitchen Pricing to Compare

  • Add-Ons - Roll-Out Trays, Trash Can Pull-Out Assemblies, Spice Pull-Outs

  • Trim Details - Crown Molding, Base Molding, Décor Doors

  • and More...

Now, don't get me wrong... No one is saying you can't have these items if you want to stay on budget. I do recommend making a list of design features you really want vs. really-really want! What will make you happy and what could you possibly live without. Discuss these items with your designer and be honest about your budget. You may be surprised how often a great designer can help you get the most bang for your buck. Even if you can't have everything on your list, we've got some tips below to keep your kitchen budget on track.


Staying on Budget with Drawer Base Cabinets

budgeting for white shaker drawer base cabinets
2 - Drawer Base Cabinets (3 drawers each) Installed on a Kitchen Wall

We love drawer base cabinets. Matter of fact, I believe drawer base cabinets are being utilized more than ever before! They're beautiful, they're functional, and unfortunately, they're more expensive. Don't fret too much, but do be realistic. We hear lots of people say, "I want drawers everywhere!" Sounds great, doesn't it?

Reality check... Most of us can't afford drawer base cabinets throughout our entire kitchen. Many people don't realize that a standard base cabinet will automatically have a top drawer; this means that wherever you have countertops, you will have top drawers, unless you opt for full-height base door cabinets. So where else would you like to utilize the lower, deeper drawers and do you have specific plans for what you would like to store. Be sure to let your designer know if you plan to store pots & pans, towels & pot holders, or anything else. This will help your designer plan for drawers in the most functional spaces. Now this sounds silly, but it's more common than you think; if you primarily want large drawer base cabinets just because they're pretty, let your designer know. We get it!

Many people don't realize that a standard base cabinet will automatically have a top drawer; this means that wherever you have countertops, you will have top drawers...

If you really want the functionality of a drawer base cabinet, but simply cannot afford to add it in the budget right now, consider adding roll-out trays at a later date. This cabinet accessory can be easily added to your cabinets after they are already installed. The roll-out tray will have the functionality of a drawer without the added upfront expense. Plus, you can install the roll-out at the height of your choosing making it a more customizable option.


Selecting the Best Wall Cabinet Height for Your Budget

With a few exceptions, prefab wall cabinets come in standard heights of 30", 36", and 42" tall. Shorter cabinets are less expensive and taller cabinets are more expensive. Simple, right? We definitely understand the appeal of installing the tallest cabinets possible. Just don't be shocked by the price if you make this request.

If the tallest cabinets are going to put you over budget, scale back just a bit. To achieve a finished look that appears a bit taller, consider using a slightly shorter cabinet with a taller trim detail. This is a fantastic way to achieve a desirable height without the added expense. If tall cabinets are a must, then consider scaling back elsewhere to make more room in your budget.


Designing with Double-Stacked Cabinets on a Budget

By far, the hottest new kitchen trend we're seeing in 2023 is double stacking your kitchen cabinets. Almost half of our Free Kitchen Design requests include stacked cabinetry. That's a lot! Unfortunately, this beautiful design trend creates added expensive. Many double stacked cabinet designs utilize every bit of height possible with cabinets and trim that reach the ceiling (sometimes very tall ceilings). Creating a double stacked design can sometimes require you to shrink the lower wall cabinets (yay, saves money) only to add an additional row of short cabinets on top (adds more money than you saved initially). Taller ceilings require tall cabinets plus shorter bridge cabinets; even taller ceilings may require taller cabinets stacked with additional standard height wall cabinets. Ouch! My point is, this project will not be friendly to your pocket book. But the heart wants what the heart wants.

If you're trying to budget for a double stacked cabinet design, but aren't quite making ends meet, you're probably going to need to pinch pennies somewhere else in the kitchen. A great way to save money on your kitchen cabinets is to order RTA, Ready-to-Assemble Cabinets that you assemble at home yourself. These quality cabinets are constructed in the same fashion as an assembled cabinet, but will arrive flat-pack shipped directly to your home or jobsite. Assembly is surprisingly easy and can save you thousands of dollars on your kitchen. Click here to learn more about DIY assembly of prefab cabinets. Don't just think specifically about your cabinet cost, consider how you can save money on countertops, flooring, appliances, etc.

I've got one more trick up my sleeve to create a beautiful stacked cabinet design... Install your kitchen cabinets in two different phases. This may not be possible if you are looking to sell your home or flip an investment property, but if you're planning for a longer commitment to your home, this concept may be for you. When you think about it, a double stacked cabinet design is more of a luxury than a necessity. The top cabinets are typically used as additional storage for infrequently used items or may be purely decorative with glass doors to display dishes or glassware. Your kitchen could probably function pretty easily without these top cabinets. Since the top stacking cabinets would be installed last, why not just wait and install them a little further down the road? Save up for a bit or wait for an income tax return. Hmmm... The luxurious double stacked design is looking a bit more attainable, isn't it? Does this idea sound too good to be true? It's not, if you plan carefully and take the following recommendations into consideration.

  1. Don't assume you can just add stacking cabinets onto any kitchen layout. Stacking cabinets, also known as bridge cabinets, are available in limited sizes. This means that the cabinets below them must be sized to match in width (or they will look ridiculous, trust me) and coordinate in available heights. The entire design must be planned to fit exactly.

  2. Don't wait too long to order your stacking cabinets. Cabinet styles or sizes can become discontinued (With this in mind, it's better to stick with a common cabinet style, such as a white shaker, that is likely to be available. Ask your designer for recommendations that they feel will be a safe bet for this type of project.) Know that as cabinets age, they can have slight changes in appearance or color over time, especially if they are exposed to a lot of natural light. You should plan for Phase Two of your cabinet install to be sooner, not later. Having a back-up plan seems reasonable as well. Make sure your design can look great both with and without the stacking cabinets. A great designer can help you plan for any bumps in the road.

  3. Don't overlook shipping costs. Many of our cabinet styles ship free with a minimum purchase amount. Your second, smaller order of cabinets may not qualify for the same free shipping promotion. Don't forget to budget for these additional shipping costs. Alternately, consider asking your designer about available cabinets that ship free with no minimum purchase. This may help you move on to Phase Two a little earlier than expected.


How Much will a Pantry Cabinet Really Cost?

Pantry cabinets add functionality and value while saving you money on your countertop and backsplash.
This Built-In Fridge Design is Created with 1 Pantry Cabinet, 1 Bridge Cabinet, and 1 Oven Cabinet

Think a pantry cabinet is expensive? Think again. Yes, bigger cabinet equals bigger price tag obviously, but there's more to it...

  • A pantry cabinet is often cheaper than having a standard built-in pantry constructed and finished.

  • The look of a pantry cabinet can appear more 'high-end' and increase the value of your kitchen.

  • If you place your pantry cabinet and fridge side-by-side, you're pretty close to an upscale built-in refrigerator design that will also raise the value of your kitchen.

  • A pantry cabinet will result in some unexpected savings on your countertops and backsplash (both labor and materials). Adding a pantry cabinet often requires deleting a bit of this workspace and can often balance out your budget.

If you factor in the increased value, functionality, and hidden cost savings, you may realize that adding a pantry cabinet to your kitchen's design isn't actually costing you more money. Do the math for your space and see what's right for you.

A pantry cabinet will result in some unexpected savings on your countertops and backsplash (both labor and materials).

The Added Expense of Cabinet Accessories & Add-Ons

budgeting for cabinet accessories and organizers in your kitchen design
This Base Spice Pull-Out is Included with this Kitchen Cabinet, but Could Also be Added Later

Cabinet accessories have become increasingly popular over the past decade. Approximately half of our Free Kitchen Design requests now include some type of cabinet accessory, whether it be a pull-out trash can cabinet, spice pull-out organizer, or roll-out tray. It seems like everyone wants to add something to their cabinets, but these features are always an added expense. So how do you get all of the features you want without overspending?

First, do your homework. You've probably seen tons of cabinet accessories on Pinterest, and yes, some of them do look phenomenal and life changing (I'm not exaggerating). But do you have any idea how much these items can cost? Fill your entire kitchen with the fanciest organizers and you'll easily spend as much as you would on the cabinets themselves. What I'm saying here is that most anyone is going to need to pick and choose, unless of course you have the luxury of getting rid of the budget concept entirely. Make a list of items you really like and items you simply cannot live without. If you find a specific product you love, write down the model number. Your designer will need to reference this information to plan for appropriately sized cabinets that will accommodate your preferred accessory (Sorry; you can't put anything anywhere. Planning is a must!).

Second, ask about accessories that are available with the cabinets you are purchasing. Many accessory items, such as Base Spice Pull-Out Organizers, Lazy Susans, Roll-Out Trays, and Trash Pull-Out Cabinets are available with your cabinets. Often times, it makes more sense to purchase these items with the cabinets as opposed to adding them later. Know that there are a variety of accessories that can vary in materials, qualities, and price. Think about the type of product and material that will work best for your preferences then see if obtaining these accessories with your cabinets makes sense for you. Again, don't forget to factor in shipping expenses, especially if you qualify for free shipping with your cabinet purchase.

You don't have to add everything in the beginning. While it absolutely makes sense to purchase your corner cabinet with the Lazy-Susan at the same time, you don't have to order every Roll-Out Tray or even your Trash Pull-Out Assembly immediately. These can be added at any time, as long as you have planned for appropriate cabinet sizes to accommodate your preferred accessory. Your designer can help to make sure your kitchen will be able to incorporate your desired accessories whenever you're ready. For example, the most common Trash Pull-Out Assembly fits an 18" wide cabinet. If we incorporate this cabinet into a desirable location in your design, you'll be ready to add that accessory whenever your budget allows.

If you wait and add accessories later, you will have time to fine-tune your preferred kitchen storage method.

Don't underestimate the value of the 'wait and see' approach. If you've ever moved into a new kitchen, you may recall having to change things up a bit. Maybe you decide the placement of your coffee cups just doesn't seem to work or you really aren't a fan of your pots and pans in that particular cabinet. If you wait and add accessories later, you will have time to fine-tune your preferred kitchen storage method. You may even find that the accessory you initially had your heart set on is not going to be ideal, but a different one is going to be a huge asset. Playing the long game can definitely pay off big in the end.


Adding Trim Details Without Breaking the Bank

While some trim pieces are required to properly install your cabinets (Toe Kick Trim to create a finished bottom edge and Filler Pieces that may be required to provide appropriate spacing or clearances), many other details are completely optional. Think about what your kitchen will need to create the look you prefer and discuss these details with your designer. They can help you create a plan for adding trim while staying within the budget.

Trim details such as Crown Molding, Base Molding, Decorative Filler Pieces, Corbels, and End Decorative Doors can really add the finishing touch to your kitchen, but the extra expense of these details can really add up. The best plan for saving on these details is to stick with the KISS method... Keep It Simple Sweetie! Which trim details are an absolute must and which ones aren't necessary or could be added later? If you think you may want to add some trim details later, just plan for them in advance by creating a design that will look good both with and without these details. Make sure any added trim pieces will fit properly if you add them at a later date. For example, End Decorative Doors can really upgrade your kitchen's style factor, but they do take up space and create additional width. Make sure you will have enough room to add the extra width and make sure your countertop overhangs are appropriately sized for this add-on as well.

The best plan for saving on these details is to stick with the KISS method... Keep It Simple Sweetie! Which trim details are an absolute must and which ones aren't necessary or could be added later?

Most all of our traditional face frame cabinets come with finished sides, so you're already going to be saving money by not needing to purchase finished side skins... Yay! Unless you're planning for a more ornate trim design, most kitchens can look great with a simple top molding and scribe molding (used to finish the back edge of the cabinets where they touch the wall - don't waste money and time on caulk in this location). Understand that different trim styles are priced based on their size and ornate details. A shorter simple top molding such as a tall straight filler trim, popular for modern shaker kitchens, is going to be less expensive than a taller ornate crown molding, commonly used for Victorian style kitchens. Your kitchen may call for something in between. Your designer can point you in the right direction to select appropriate trim without going overboard.


How to Communicate with Your Designer & Help Them Understand Your Budget

Communicating with your kitchen designer is a must if you want a design that is in your budget
A Quick Phone Call with Your Designer Gets Everyone Up to Speed Quickly - Reserve Emails for Less Extensive Conversations

The fact that you have a kitchen budget is not something to hide or be embarrassed about, budgets are a part of life. Too many times, we see people that won't divulge all of the details we need to truly create what they want and can afford. Some people think working with their kitchen designer is comparable to buying a car... If you let them know how much money you have to spend, they're going to help you spend it all. This notion is ridiculous. Your kitchen designer is working to make you happy, but they are not a mind reader. The fact is, if I'm designing your kitchen, and you tell me tons of details and add-ons that are important to you, but don't give me a budget, I'm going to create the kitchen with all of the bells and whistles you ask for. When the price tag doesn't match what you have in mind, we've both wasted our time and no one is happy. Your designer is not going to be rude and presumptuous by asking you if you can really afford everything; it's your responsibility to speak up!

However, if you tell me you're working with a budget and need to keep your cabinets within a certain price range, then I can make appropriate recommendations and help you get the most bang for your buck. Think about it, designing a kitchen that you could never afford just doesn't make sense. You are never going to purchase it! However, if I can create a great kitchen design that fits your budget, you're going to be a pretty happy camper. You might even have enough leftover to add matching bathroom cabinets, and you're definitely going to remember the experience in the future if you find yourself needing cabinets again.

Your designer is not going to be rude and presumptuous by asking you if you can really afford everything; it's your responsibility to speak up!

You must understand that creating a kitchen design is a process. Your designer may come up with a great design, but something about it just isn't for you. And that 'something' could very well be the price! Don't get mad or give up. This is not the end; this is literally the beginning of your design process. At this point, your designer is expecting you to participate and have a conversation. Pick up the phone and speak with your designer one-on-one (Yes, we still do that at Prefinished Cabinets. You can actually speak directly to your designer via phone or email) to let them know what you like, what you dislike, and discuss any budget concerns. At this point, your designer can make recommendations and design changes to create what you really want, a great kitchen designed with cabinets you can actually afford!


Look for Great Financing Offers for Kitchen Cabinets or Your Entire Project

Many companies offer financing for kitchen cabinets, but all too often, you can't actually finance your entire purchase. That's because the financing they offer is not actually designed for the larger purchase amounts that kitchen cabinets will require. Prefinished Cabinets has partnered with Enhancify, a company that specializes in finding financing offers for larger projects such as kitchen cabinetry and remodels. You can even finance your entire build or remodeling project with funds available for both materials and labor. With 0% Financing offers available (with approved credit), you can really save. To learn more about our Kitchen Cabinet Financing, click here.


Look for Quality Cabinets that are On Sale

One of the best ways to save money on kitchen cabinets is to shop a great sale. Be on the lookout for a cabinet style you love then pounce on a sale when you see it. Click Here to View Cabinets on Sale Now at Prefinished Cabinets. You can also Click Here to Join Our 'Friends & Family' Program to receive special offers sent directly to your inbox.

If you take all of the above mentioned information and combine these tactics with cabinets that you find on sale, you may be surprised at how much you can save. Never underestimate the value of working with a great kitchen designer. Click here to learn more about our Free Kitchen Design service. This service is absolutely free of charge for both homeowners and contractors. Our designers have real world kitchen design and installation experience. We would be happy to help you select the perfect cabinets to precisely fit your kitchen and keep you on budget without sacrificing quality or style. If you have any questions or need additional information, please don't hesitate to contact us. If you would like to read additional cabinet articles from leading kitchen cabinet blogs, check out this list of Top 70 Cabinet Blogs.

Ready to Start Shopping for Kitchen Cabinets? Prefinished Cabinets offers a large variety of quality wood cabinets all backed by our Limited Lifetime Warranty. Choose from Traditional Face-Framed Cabinets or Modern, Frameless Euro-style Cabinets. With over 250 cabinets to choose from, you're sure to find fantastic cabinetry for any project. Take advantage of our FREE Kitchen Design and How to Measure Guide. Just let us know when you're ready to get started!