Preparing for a kitchen renovation is an exciting thing to do. Dreaming of the possibilities and imagining your new space is fun, but it can quickly become overwhelming when you start trying to nail down the specifics. Maybe you know what style of kitchen you want (If not, click here for a quick run-down of style options), and you have a pretty good idea what your budget should be, but how do you make both of those things work together to build your new space? Understanding all the options available is helpful, and finding someone you trust to give you all the information is invaluable. Whether you decide to use Gateway Kitchen + Bath or not, we always hope to be able to give you what you need to make an informed decision.

There are three different levels of cabinet construction that you should be aware of as you start this process. Each has its own benefits and limitations, and learning about each of them will help you figure out how to find the best balance between budget and style.

Stock Cabinets

We’ve all gotten the beautiful glossy catalogues in the mail with sleek new kitchen cabinets for low prices. Big box stores carry many options for stock cabinetry that can suit a variety of applications. These cabinets are built in standard sizes and made to fit together in unlimited combinations to get the kitchen you want. Because they’re mass-produced in large quantities, the cost is definitely the lowest of the options available, and with a bit of planning and some elbow grease, almost anyone could put together a usable kitchen space.

If you’re clever and are looking for a fairly standard kitchen, this can be a good option, but stock cabinets do have their downsides. Cabinets that are constructed to be flat-packed and assembled on site are often built to be light and easy to manage, meaning thinner, cheaper woods, and flimsier materials. They are made to be put together using fasteners or dowels, and are often not glued together at all, meaning that over time, joints and corners can loosen and cause problems.

The standard sizes of stock cabinets can also cause headaches. Houses come in all shapes and sizes, and your options of maximizing the design of your kitchen go down when you limit your materials. While there are filler pieces to hide those spots where you were left with 8 inches between the cabinet and the wall, being able to use that space for spices or cookie sheet storage would have been a handy option that stock cabinets just wouldn’t be able to help with.

While you might think it would be as simple to put together as your child’s plastic building blocks, the truth is that most spaces aren’t perfectly square, or built to standard sizes, so no matter what, there will always be some “fudging” when it comes to stock cabinets.

That said, there are definitely times when stock cabinets are a good choice. If you want to update, but home values in your area won’t support a more extensive renovation, your budget is limited, or maybe if you’re thinking of selling soon and don’t want to invest too much to get good bang for your buck, stock cabinets may be exactly what you want. To avoid frustration, be realistic about what they can and can’t provide for you, and spend lots of time measuring to see what layout and combination works best in your space.

Semi-Custom Cabinets

Most people understand that there are prefabricated cabinets and there are custom cabinets, but many aren’t aware that there is also something in the middle. Semi-custom cabinets fill that gap. While these types of cabinets are constructed in a factory setting, they are still made to order and have a wider variety of options available. From sizes to finishes, semi-custom cabinets can be customized but are still less expensive than custom cabinets.

Because the cabinet boxes are fully constructed and delivered in their finished size, they are far more sturdy than stock cabinets, and built to last. As an added bonus, they require no endless pages of assembly instructions.

At Gateway Kitchen + Bath, we partner with Superior Cabinets for semi-custom cabinets and our designers are skilled at taking their products and helping you fit them into your space in a way that functions perfectly and suits your lifestyle and personality.

Custom Cabinets

And finally, we get to the top.

The Cadillac of cabinetry, custom cabinets are limited only by your imagination, your budget and gravity. Unlimited materials, sizes and finishes are available and with a good designer, every inch can be customized and maximized for space, use and style. Every piece is designed for beauty, built for quality, scrutinized for perfection, and constructed to last.

If being unique is important to you, there is nothing better than custom cabinetry. If you think about it like art… there are plenty of beautiful prints to frame from our favourite box stores, but those places sell thousands of identical pieces, making it almost certain someone else you know has the same print on their wall. Commissioning your own artwork is more expensive of course, but it also has more value. Custom cabinetry is crafted on order, built to exact specifications and tailored to you.

Your home is an extension of your style and personality, and you use your home in your own way, so it stands to reason that it should be as unique as you are. When you work with talented artists and craftspeople, you can create functional art in your home that is as impressive as it is useful.

The biggest (perhaps only) downside of custom cabinets is the cost. Coming in with a higher price tag than the other two options, the cost of custom cabinetry should be weighed against how much you use your space, how long you’re planning on spending there, and what home values are in your neighbourhood. That said, doing a full custom remodel isn’t typically something you’d want do for the next owners of your home. This is a kitchen you build for yourself—the kitchen you always dreamed of.

For more information, or to get started on the kitchen renovation of your dreams, schedule an appointment with one of our designers! We might be a bit biased, but we truly believe they’re superstars! They listen to what you need and want, and have so many great suggestions about how you can make that happen. Contact us today!