Cabinet Options For Your Kitchen and Bath

Cabinet Options For Your Kitchen and Bath

Big-Box Home Centers

Making their presence known in just about every community since the late seventies, these well-recognized retail centers offer a broad set of cabinetry such as in stock, ready-to-assemble (RTA), and semi-custom classifications. Relying on tremendous amounts of consumer research data that keeps them abreast of satisfaction levels and where customers’ demands are going to be, home centers carry respected and trusted brands that are best suited to meet the wide variety of tastes, budgets, and preferences of their shoppers. Big-box stores are conveniently located within most centers of population in the U.S. with convenient store hours and delivery options.

Home centers provide a broad range of price points for different home improvement budgets; however, the U.S. Census Bureau recently reported average markups for retail sales, and the percentage remains quite significant for home furnishings. For stock cabinetry at the home center, your style choices are limited to what is readily available at the store; out-of-stock units can delay your project. Home centers’ semi-custom brands offer some cabinet luxury feature options such as glazing, soft-close hardware, and architectural detailing, but are considered significant upgrades to their starting prices. For semi-custom cabinets, you must also realize that your options to satisfy unusual applications, spaces, or personal tastes are limited.

Kitchen and Bath Dealerships

Kitchen and bath dealerships are specialty stores that typically carry cabinets from a number of manufacturers; sometimes with territory or other rights to exclusive labels. Dealership personnel often have a high level of expertise and can provide a complete turn-key service. Managing your project every step of the way from space and kitchen design planning to product selection and installation, the cabinet dealer takes pride in focusing on the details, freeing you up to focus on the big picture; life in your new kitchen. If you prefer to be professionally guided through the entire cabinet purchasing process, then working with a kitchen and bath dealership may be a great fit for you.

Ensuring a pleasurable experience for each customer, it is widely agreed that dealerships provide a highly knowledgeable and comprehensive set of products and services; however with one real drawback in terms of affordability. In addition to the costs associated with maintaining a prominent retail location for their business, dealerships rely on skilled and highly paid personnel, expensive display systems and extensive local advertising campaigns. Their services are typically bundled together with the sale of the product to ensure adequate profit levels. For the trusted fully custom brands that they carry, you will find them to be the most expensive option by far.

Members-Only Retailers

Members-Only retailers catering to home furnishings such as DirectBuy are springing up as the search for affordability intensifies for consumers. Many times, these club groups offer the consumer the ability to choose from a selection of several brand name cabinet choices and a limited selection of decorative features like crown moldings and architectural accents. For each line carried, respective manufacturers’ warranties are included. Pricing is moderate and some membership clubs also have many conveniently located showrooms where you can go touch and feel the product.

The prospect of a special “members-only” price that’s advertised to be close to the factory-direct, manufacturer’s price is very appealing. We all want to save wherever we can – especially when it comes to big-ticket kitchen and bath projects. While members only companies do offer discounted merchandise, the several thousand dollars it can cost to become a member may outweigh the savings you realize from just a cabinet purchase. You should take this important total cost of ownership factor into consideration if you plan to purchase from a members-only retailer.

Online Cabinet Sites

Online cabinet retailers have sprung up over the last decade across many industries initially to help companies better communicate who they are and what they have to offer. Online cabinet providers offer the monetary advantages of not having to fund stand-alone showrooms, pay for traditional advertising or carry excess inventory – all savings which they can pass on to their customers. Online sites primarily provide stock or ready-to-assemble (RTA) cabinetry that is mass produced in a limited number of door styles and wood species. As a result, the speed of delivery and price are the greatest advantages offered. You will need to know exactly what you want, provide accurate measurements, and it is advised that you thoroughly review the return and restocking terms if what you’ve ordered is not delivered to your specifications.

If you are searching for stock or RTA cabinetry, a reputable online provider may be right for you. However, you must be careful that the site has been modernized to ensure accurate communications and secure information sharing, particularly with any sensitive personal data. As far as quality of product is concerned, if you are a homeowner who plans on living at your residence for many years, a higher class of cabinetry would simply be a better choice. And, if you desire personalized service, realize that you get what you pay for with online providers of stock cabinetry.

Custom Cabinet Shops

Before the advent of the industrial revolution, the cabinet maker was responsible for making every piece of furniture. Even as the traditional cabinet shop ceased to be the main source for cabinetry in the new world, Americans have always yearned for historic roots; consequently, the traditional cabinet maker remains an important part of the fabric of American culture. Cabinet shops exemplify the fine wood working traditions from centuries past as cabinet craftsmen possess very technical, concise skill needed to create unique furniture grade cabinetry for the home. As important investment as a work of art, a custom cabinet maker can transform artistry and refinement of old-world craft into beautifully sculpted cabinetry for your home.

Fully appreciating the time-honored wood working traditions of the custom cabinet shop, the disadvantages primarily relate to the cost and time to produce their product. Typically not relying on innovations in production, fully custom shops also may not have certain factory technologies such as specialized baking ovens to seal the finish with a modern catalytic top coat proven to create a durable protection against scuffing, dents, and fading to name only a few. Fully custom cabinets are indeed the creme de la creme with unlimited possibilities to satisfy the most discerning of customers; they come with a premium however, as fully custom cabinetry is by far the most expensive option and lifetime warranties may not be included.

Lumber Yards

Lumber yards came into being almost two centuries ago to meet the need for a common understanding between the mills and the markets as they were increasingly distanced from rail or water transportation. Today, lumber yards are typically multi-generational, family-owned businesses that have earned the trust over the years from local patrons, many times providing everything from flooring to handy-man type services. Some have grown to have multiple locations and even regional chains. These very resourceful establishments most likely carry stock and RTA cabinetry and some may also carry semi-custom cabinetry albeit lesser-known brands.

Lumber yards derive much of their business furnishing supplies to various trade businesses. So, while lumber yards can have conveniently on-hand valuable supplies for a trade professional, they typically are not geared toward serving the average homeowner looking to do a complete kitchen remodel. For their stock cabinetry products, the availability at lumber yards is subject to what’s in stock and wood and color options as well as warranties are limited to the brands, stock or semi-custom, which they carry. Really for the do-it-yourselfer, if you intend on going to a lumber yard, you should prepare to provide your own kitchen design, measurements and plans. Good contracting services are often found, but service levels vary greatly from one lumber yard to another.