Given how much styles have changed in recent years, many homeowners share the desire to upgrade their kitchen cabinetry. The cherry and maple wood cabinets that became popular in the 2010s were unfortunately a fleeting trend. These darker finishes have since faded in favor of light and white kitchen color palettes, which continue to dominate the market and top homebuyer wish lists.
With new cabinetry, you also have the chance to plan for additional storage in the form of features like slide-out shelves and toe-kick drawers. An ideal arrangement gives ample space for perfectly stacked pots and pans, too. Bonus points if you can include a Tupperware-toting Lazy Susan that glides with effortless ease.
All told, there may be only one thing holding you back from new cabinets: Their hefty price tag. How much will these new kitchen cabinets cost to put in? When you get lost in the dizzying array of designs and materials to choose from, ground yourself with our cost guide to complete this project with your personal budget in mind.
Kitchen cabinet cost overview
Kitchen cabinets are measured and priced by the linear foot. To help consumers gauge costs, cabinet retailers will often provide estimates based on a 10×10 kitchen — or a kitchen with approximately 20 linear square feet of cabinets.
According to HomeAdvisor, the cost of cabinets per linear foot ranges from $100 to $1,200 on average nationwide. If we assume a middle-of-the-road cabinet selection will come in around $650 per linear foot, the cost of this project runs at $13,000 on average. But your costs could run as low as $2,000 or as high as $24,000 using these estimates.
Keep in mind, too, that if you’re remodeling a smaller kitchen, you could pay more per linear foot for your cabinet material and come in at the same or lower costs as you would with a less expensive material in a larger kitchen.
Let’s say you select a cabinet material that runs at the average $650 per linear square foot. That’ll cost you $16,250 to install in a kitchen with 25 linear feet of wall space, but only $9,100 to install on a 7×7 kitchen totaling 14 linear feet of wall space.
Another way to look at it: the average homeowner should expect to spend roughly 20%-30% of their entire kitchen remodel cost on the installation of new cabinets. The typical cost to remodel a kitchen can range anywhere from:
- $10,000 for a minor spruce-up
- Kitchen cabinet budget: $2,000-$3,000 (with that type of budget, you’d be more likely to paint or reface your existing cabinets — or at least use stock rather than custom cabinetry)
- $30,000 for a mid-scale kitchen remodel
- Kitchen cabinet budget: $6,000-$9,000
- $50,000 for a major kitchen remodel
- Kitchen cabinet budget: $10,000-$15,000
- $100,000 for an all-out chef’s kitchen
- Kitchen cabinet budget: $20,000- $30,000
Kitchen cabinet cost considerations
In addition to how much wall space you need to cover with cabinets, the costs to install new cabinetry will depend on factors like your material selection, local labor costs, how custom you get, and your desired cabinet features. Let’s review each of these factors in further detail.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the most common cabinet materials and their associated costs.
Natural wood: Popular wood cabinet options include maple, cherry, oak, white oak, pine, and birch, according to Better Homes and Gardens.
- Price for the average kitchen cabinet job: $5,000 – $25,000
Wood veneer: With wood veneer cabinets, a thin strip of wood is added atop plywood or particleboard. Costs vary since some veneers are higher quality than offers, offering better protection from moisture and humidity.
- Price for the average kitchen cabinet job: $2,000-$15,000
Laminate: Laminate is considered a cost-effective option with lots of color and style variations. Most laminate cabinets you’ll see will be made of pressed hard plastic, while others use thin sheets of wood to emulate the look of a higher-end real wood cabinet.
- Price for the average kitchen cabinet job: $4,000 – $15,000
Labor costs in your market
The average labor cost to install kitchen cabinets is roughly $50 to $250 per linear foot. However, your labor cost can vary significantly due to factors such as your geographic location and contractor’s fee structure. Labor cost covers supplies, preparation, installation, and clean-up — and can amount to nearly as much as the price of each cabinet itself.
Design and style
Some kitchen cabinet doors have simple sleek designs, while others lean more decorative and may cost more for the frill. Let’s review a few examples.
Shaker: Shake is a classic and standard cabinet door style developed by the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing — with an average cost of $100-$1,200 per linear foot, in line with other cabinet styles.
Beadboard: Beadboard gives kitchens a cottagey, rustic feel with its tongue and groove texturing. Beadboard may cost anywhere from $100 to $475 per cabinet, but you can also get a quote on what it would cost to attach sheets of beadboard to your existing cabinet doors.
Natural: Unfinished cabinets can be painted, stained, or left in their natural state. They are rising in popularity due to their affordable price point, at an average of roughly $360-$560 per linear foot.
Custom vs. stock
New cabinets range in quality and price, starting from basic stock, to semi-custom and high-end custom varieties. Custom cabinets are crafted to fit your kitchen, while stock cabinets are pre-designed and sold as they are. Because custom cabinets take longer to build and must meet your exact specifications, they run more expensive. Stock cabinets are pre-built, ready to go, and can be installed in a matter of days.
Here’s a breakdown of the average costs, according to HomeGuide:
- Stock: $100-$280 per linear foot
- Semi-custom: $200-$550 per linear foot
- Custom: $500-$1,200 per linear foot
When you install new cabinets, an assortment of add-on design and storage options are available. To maximize your ROI, opt for flaunt-worthy features, such as soft close hinges on doors (expect to pay an average cost of $13.37 per hinge). Here’s the average cost of some additional add-on cabinet features, according to estimates from HomeAdvisor:
- Lazy Susans: $300-$850
- Pull-out spice racks: $150-$450
- Knife block: $500-$750
Cabinet hardware comes in a wide variety of style and design options: from the simple stainless pull to the rare antique hand-crafted knob, the possibilities (and price points) are endless. The price per piece can range from $3 to upwards of $200 — depending on your desire for distinction and your budget.
Alternatives to cabinet replacement
New cabinets can cost you a pretty penny, which is why many homeowners opt to update or modify what they already have. By decreasing your overall spend, modifications to your existing cabinets can help you boost your ROI further than a full replacement. However, this is not always the case and the costs can vary widely depending on the materials and level of customization you choose. For example, a bare minimum installation of new stock cabinets could cost you significantly less than refacing your cabinets with higher-end materials.
Let’s break down some alternative types of cabinet remodels and their related costs:
Refacing is a viable option for many homeowners, as it’s typically 30%-50% cheaper than replacement but still gives the illusion of having brand new cabinetry. Refacing entails affixing new veneers, drawers, doors, and hardware onto your old cabinet frames.
Average cost to reface: $7,145
Typical range: $4,310 – $9,982
Low and high end range: $1,400 – $15,000
The most affordable option, refinishing is a great choice if your cabinets are still in decent shape but need a new look. Refinishing involves cleaning and prepping existing cabinets to be updated with a new stain or paint. It can be a DIY project if you have the tools to tackle stripping the existing finish, sanding, priming, and painting. Or you can hire a professional at roughly $30-$60 per linear foot.
Average cost to refinish: $2,856
Typical range: $1,745 – $4,000
Low and high end range: $700 – $6,100
Here are a few benefits to consider with these alternative cabinet refresh options:
1. Reduce remodeling time.
While a brand new set of cabinets can be tempting, it can also be quite time-consuming. Aimee Anderson, a top agent who sells homes 52% faster than the average agent in Raleigh, NC explains: “When you do a kitchen remodel, you’re months out. If you have them painted and updated with new hardware, within a two-week time period, you’re all done.”
2. Redirect funds to remodel more of the kitchen
The money saved by working with what you’ve got can go towards other elements of your kitchen in need of some TLC — like those mismatched appliances or dated backsplash that’s been bearing the brunt of your culinary experiments since 1987. “If you have mismatched or old appliances, you can easily go to Home Depot and buy clearance appliances for next to nothing,” Anderson says.
3. Still give a ‘wow’ factor at resale.
A fresh coat of white paint on darker, dinged up cabinetry can work wonders for your kitchen transformation. Likewise, don’t underestimate the power of cabinet refacing to give your chef’s paradise a dramatic new look that will make your entire home more appealing to homebuyers.
However, in some instances replacement still makes the most sense. Let’s say your cabinet shelving and frames aren’t salvageable, you desperately need to change up your cabinet layout, or you have a luxury home and the market will expect your cabinetry to reflect the high-end market. In these events, it may be worth it to go ahead with a full-on replacement.
When kitchen cabinets sell homes
Ranked by top agents as the third most sought-after kitchen upgrade for 2021, spruced-up storage and cabinets are top priorities for today’s homeowners and tomorrow’s buyers. But before going all-in on those frosted glass shaker cabinets you’ve been eyeing, it’s vital to assess which type of cabinet upgrade is best for you. Evaluate the condition of your cabinets and your home, its potential resale value, and your selling timeline. If you remodel wisely, you can reap the rewards of your investment every day — at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Header Image Source: (Sidekix Media / Unsplash)