Custom Cabinetry – Why Do Some Cost More Than Others?

One of the most important decisions you’ll make during a renovation will be your cabinetry selection. Beyond function, cabinetry is a critical part of the structural foundation of your kitchen or bath. On average, about one-third of your kitchen remodeling budget will go toward cabinetry, and that cost is determined by factors such as wood species, style, and construction.

Wood Species

Quality and durability are essential when choosing the best wood species. Deciding on the type of finish you prefer will help guide you to the best natural wood for your project. Currently, in our region, the majority of kitchen cabinets are painted, making maple a top choice. If you desire a darker stain, walnut finishes beautifully, and poplar is excellent for a lighter tint, achieving a lovely washed-out natural tone.  Alder is another terrific choice and a rift-cut or quarter sawn white oak is trending.

Of course, the cost varies among these beautiful natural woods, and each comes with a higher price tag than mass-produced stock cabinets. Keep in mind that stock or builder’s grade also means lower quality and durability. These generic cabinets are commonly made of particle board and veneer or MDF and are prone to defect and durability issues.


Another area where custom cabinetry shines is in the breadth of choice that you have to unify the room and create a flow with the rest of your home. Whether you prefer the classic look of mission doors, the broader frame of shaker, a lovely raised panel, or the farmhouse beaded panel doors; you have options. The general rule is the more elaborate the detail, the higher the cost to craft.


Let’s start with the cabinet box. The mark of quality is all-plywood or solid wood construction as opposed to particle board. From there, you have the option of framed or a European-style frameless box. High-quality soft-close adjustable door hinges are a must, and under-mount drawer glides support a heavier load and offer smooth, silent operation. Drawer boxes should be secured with the interlocking strength of a dovetail joint rather than staples and glue.

Having so much choice is a beautiful thing but may feel a bit overwhelming. Our designers and craftsmen are the best in the business and ready to help you bring out the very best in your home. For over 60 years, Callier & Thompson has set the industry standard in St. Louis for transforming houses into elegant homes by offering premier design, personalized service, and unparalleled quality.  Contact us for a consultation today!