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Custom vs Stock Cabinets: What Do I Get For The Extra Cost?

It won’t be long after deciding to renovate your kitchen that you will realize cabinets will eat up a big chunk of your budget. Naturally, you will gravitate towards the cabinetry solution that’s closest to what you can accommodate in your budget for the project.

As you will realize not long into your research, your options will split into custom and stock cabinets. Which way to go can be a difficult decision because of the usual cost vs benefits conundrum.

In this article, we will discuss the reasons why you typically have to pay more for bespoke cabinets than in-stock options, including specifically what you get for the extra cost. 

Let’s dive right in:

Custom vs Stock Cabinets
What is the difference between stock and custom cabinets?

Stock kitchen cabinets are the kind you buy pre-made from a big box retailer like IKEA. You simply browse a catalog, choose the cabinets that catch your eye, pay, and get your cabinets delivered to your home. 

Stock cabinets, which use industry-standard dimensions and styles are mass-produced in factories using automated machinery. They are typically cheap and built in a way that makes them easy to install on your own. It can all happen in a day.

Custom cabinets, on the other hand, are designed and hand-crafted from scratch, specifically for you. They offer great flexibility, with style, finishes, hardware, and storage solutions that are fully customized to address your taste and needs. 

Custom cabinets offer highly customized options, with designs that utilize every available inch of space. Whatever you can imagine for your new kitchen, a custom cabinet maker can bring it to life.

However, the creative freedom, superior materials, and the skill and time it takes built them mean custom cabinets come with a higher price tag. But if you choose the right cabinet builder, you will get more bang for your buck.

With all their appeal, are custom cabinets a necessity for everyone?

Benefits of a custom-designed kitchen
Do I need custom cabinets?

Your kitchen cabinets will be the most visual feature of your new kitchen. Whether the new kitchen will be unique or how well it will mirror your style and meet your needs depends on whether your cabinets are made for you or bought prefabricated.

If you just want to update your kitchen with new, functional cabinets, you will likely find enough options by shopping the big box retailers. Likewise, if you only expect to stay at your current home for the immediate future, stock cabinets will be the most practical option.

But for a timeless kitchen that ticks all the boxes – in a home you have decided to plant roots for the foreseeable future – custom cabinets are the way to go. 

While in-stock cabinets are unbeatable on price, they don’t come even close to the level of customization and quality you get with custom-built cabinets.

Here are some of the reasons why custom cabinets are a highly desired kitchen storage solution:

Benefits of a custom-designed kitchen
Utilize every inch of space

Every kitchen is different, either because of the architecture of the house, positioning of sinks, doors and windows, and electrical sockets. There are bound to be spaces that will go unused if you bought prefabricated cabinets. 

Stock cabinets are sold as-is. As such, you will struggle to find cabinets that fit your space to the point that all the available space if fully utilized. 

If the cabinets are made for you, they can be as deep and wide as space allows. Where the kitchen has limited available space to work with, you can also opt for floor to ceiling cabinets that make use of space stock cabinets wouldn’t. This allows you to fully maximize storage.

Benefits of a custom-designed kitchen
Use any material you can think up

By going the bespoke route, you have a large selection of materials to choose from for your cabinets. It is more a matter of deciding than choosing what materials you are going to use. 

To balance your budget while still getting a durable kitchen, you can choose to go for the tougher but more expensive hardwoods – like red oak, mahogany, and maple – for your countertops and the cheaper but still durable softer woods – like pine and birchwood – for your cabinet doors and sides.

Stock cabinets typically offer a limited selection. Therefore, it can be quite difficult to find cabinets built from materials that accurately match your style and the look you are trying to create. You can’t mix and match as you like. This has implications on quality too:

Get the best quality kitchen possible

The available selection of stock cabinets determines the level of quality you can get. And that applies to the boards you use, which can be laminates or solid wood, as well as the finishes and hardware.

Stock cabinets are made to primarily fit into a specific price range, which puts a cap on the level of quality you can get. Yes, there is scope for a convenient upgrade here and there. But you will still have little control over the actual build quality and will not get a kitchen that ticks all the boxes. 

With custom cabinets, you have absolute control over the choice of materials, finishes, and styles. Your kitchen cabinets can be as durable as you would like. While you won’t directly affect the build quality, you at least choose who builds your cabinets.

Kitchen Renovations Toronto
Personalize your kitchen to your unique taste

Style and taste are personal to the individual and there simply cannot be an in-stock cabinet selection wide enough to satisfy every homeowner. Whether you want to stay on a strict style and aesthetic or your style is more eclectic, you will always find the big box selection too limiting.

If you want exotic woods, specialty finishes, and high-end tapware and door hardware that can truly elevate and distinguish your new kitchen, you will have to work with a custom cabinet maker or interior designer.

So how do you know that you need custom cabinets?

Well, if you find the available selection of stock cabinet styles too narrow, you have an unusual kitchen space, and a distinctive design style, the only way you can get what you are looking for is through the bespoke route. 

The same goes for the quality of both craftsmanship and materials. If you are prepared to invest in a hard-wearing kitchen that will serve you for many years, your needs may only be met with custom-built cabinets. 


Budget allowing, if you want well-made, durable cabinets that fit your space and personal taste and you intend to stay at your current home for the next 5-10 years, custom cabinets will be a fantastic choice for you.
Ready to create the kitchen of your dreams with made-for-you, handcrafted custom cabinets?


Choose Besta Kitchens for the highest quality, handcrafted custom cabinets, and all types of millwork. You can trust our excellent pedigree with custom cabinetry making to produce a durable, functional kitchen with storage solutions uniquely customized around your needs. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Transform the core of your home today by trusting us with all your kitchen needs.
Whether you want a complete redesign with an elegant contemporary finish or an update of a traditional look, Besta Kitchen has got you covered!
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