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If the kitchen is the heart of the home, the cabinets are certainly the beat. They might not be essential to the cooking process (that’s what the oven and refrigerator are for), but without them we’d be at a total loss—nowhere to stow spices, stack dishware, throw spatulas, or hide pots. Not to mention, our cupboards define the look and feel of our space, which is why replacing them is one of the most expensive things you can do.  

You’re probably here looking for a solid answer to how much new cabinets will cost you, but the truth is there isn’t just one hard-and-fast figure. Linear feet, style, and material will all affect your budget. Oh, and measuring or ordering mistakes, which we’ve learned are bound to happen in any renovation, no matter the scale of the project. One general rule you can rely on? One-third of the cost of your overall remodeling budget should go toward new cabinets or refurbishing the existing ones. On that note, there are a few ways to calculate the average cost of your kitchen cabinets. Here’s where to start.

The Ballpark Number

One way to calculate how much kitchen cabinets will cost you is by linear feet (a 12-inch measurement of length). According to an estimate from Home Advisor, a typical 20-linear-foot space typically falls in the range of $4,000 to $13,000. Good news: The national average people spend on replacing or building new cupboards is on the lower side of that spectrum, at $5,110. 

Still, why is there such a huge gap? Because the type of construction you choose is a big determining factor. Keep reading to learn about all your options.

The Cost of Stock Cabinets

Stock cabinets are easily your most affordable option at $100 to $300 per linear foot (and that’s including paying to have them installed). For a standard 20-linear-foot kitchen, premade boxes and doors from a big-box retailer like IKEA will cut your spending way down, totaling to around $3,000 to $9,000. The con? You’ll be compromising on design options and the quality of materials.

The Cost of Semi-Custom Cabinets

The world of semi-custom kitchen cabinets is growing fast. Just-launched direct-to-consumer line Boxi by Semihandmade offers partially personalized cupboard frames and doors for as little as $4,200 for a small 7-linear-foot kitchen. A larger space with an island will cost you $12,000. 

The Cost of Custom Cabinets

Labor and materials for fresh millwork will cost between $500 and $1,200 per linear foot, or $15,000 to $36,000 total. This allows you to make them the exact style you want, be it Shaker, distressed, or metal, and do clever things like add inserts that match the exact dimensions of your drawers or fill an awkward, otherwise unused nook with a specialized spice pull-out. The organizational possibilities are endless. 

How to Save

If replacing your dated cabinets isn’t in your budget, consider either refacing or refinishing them. The former is more involved (and more expensive, at around $7,000) and consists of swapping out the doors and drawer fronts, along with new hinges, hardware, and molding. The catch is you get a brand-new look without the hassle of major construction. 

Refinishing ($2,867 on average) is much more DIY friendly, as it’s all cosmetic fixes like changing the stain or going over existing doors with a fresh coat of paint. 

When to Splurge

What’s the point of replacing old cabinets with new cabinets? Other than for the sake of aesthetics and making day-to-day life all-around easier for yourself, you can expect to get anywhere from 65 to 80 percent return on your cabinet and kitchen remodel investment when you sell your home, according to Home Advisor. So go ahead, consider those premium solid-wood doors. 

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