Published on May 27, 2021

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Courtesy of IKEA

Kitchen cabinets can make—and perhaps more often break—your kitchen’s style. Choosing to upgrade your cupboards is therefore a momentous occasion but also an overwhelming one. There are a lot of kitchen cabinet companies out there. Whether you’re going custom, semi-custom (think: IKEA cabinet boxes with Semihandmade fronts), or stock (aka straight from Home Depot), you deserve the best kitchen cabinets your budget will allow, so we turned to a handful of interior designers and architects to find out their favorite brands and makers at all price points.

First, a Note on Custom Kitchen Cabinets

Fixr reports that the cost for custom kitchen cabinets ranges from $15,000 to $25,000—and that’s just the average. Depending on the size of your kitchen, as well as the cabinets’ material and finish, custom cabinetry can inch toward $40,000. We’ll give you a minute to let that sticker shock wear off. 

The good news: choosing stock or semi-custom kitchen cabinets leaves you with a more digestible price tag and more flexibility in sizing, color, and finishes than you might think. Plus you’ll benefit from a significantly shorter lead time, so you won’t be eating takeout for months on end while your kitchen is a construction zone.

The Best Kitchen Cabinets, According to the Pros

Kemper Cabinets

Why it’s the best: Kemper makes beautiful, durable cabinetry that is easily customizable—it has many options for inserts, sizing, and colors. We love to use Kemper cabinets for our projects because they are strong and long-lasting and fit in the client’s budget while still giving a bespoke, luxury look. Laura Hildebrandt, Interiors by LH

Extra credit: Talk about sturdy—Kemper Cabinets has a limited lifetime warranty on its pieces.

The average cost: Varies based on size, design, and finish.

Cliq Studios

Why it’s the best: Cliq Studios is not only affordable but it has multiple inserts and sizes available. It’s an online source that provides stock and semi-custom cabinets, and the company has its own designers to help you plan. —Evelyn Pierce, Evelyn Pierce Design Studio

Extra credit: Whereas basic blueprints require a little imagination, a Cliq Studios designer will walk you through a 3-D rendering of your kitchen for a much more real sense of the finished product.

The average cost: From $1,700 to $30,000-plus.

IKEA

Why it’s the best: We love IKEA because of the endless customization. It’s also a lower-cost option, so you can value-engineer your project by using its cabinet boxes while leveraging your spend to incorporate custom door fronts. IKEA has so many in-cabinet storage solutions to maximize space—everything from utensils and pot lids to knives and spices. It’s an organized person’s dream. —Dean Turner, Evolution Design + Build 

Extra credit: IKEA’s Kitchen Planner lets you play with the layout of the cabinets and appliances until every last inch of your space is maximized.

The average cost: From $900 to $7,000-plus.

Cabico Cabinetry

Why it’s the best: Cabico Cabinetry offers a wide selection of kitchen cabinet styles and wood finishes, quality construction that lasts, and the best hardware available. It also isn’t afraid to take on unique details. Plus its lead time is shorter than most cabinet companies: eight to 10 weeks. —Seth Ballard, Ballard + Mensua Architecture

Extra credit: Cabico Cabinetry holds itself to the California Air Resources Board’s Phase 2 standards, meaning its composite wood cupboards are low-VOC, with strict limits for formaldehyde (a carcinogen) emissions.

The average cost: From $1,149 to $3,599 (for a 10-by-10-foot kitchen).

Candlelight Cabinetry

Why it’s the best: Our favorite thing about the Candlelight Cabinetry line is that the finish quality is extra-durable. And during a time where everything is back-ordered, we love the shorter lead time compared to bespoke cabinets. Many of the details that we select are similar to what we would design for a custom project, so it is a great time- and budget saver. —Kalah Talancy, KT II Design

Extra credit: For every order you place, Candlelight Cabinetry will give you a (free!) tree for your yard or donate 10 to be planted in a national forest.

The average cost: Varies based on size, design, and finish.

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