Cabinets on cheapskate budget...ideas please!

carolbarrelJune 4, 2013

What are the "best" cabinets for a kitchen re-do if you're on an extreme budget? Best line/brand/store for best pricing? I would paint cabinets in there now, but it's hardly worth the effort. They are sooo old and made of such flimsy "wood" aka plywood or particle board or some such junk (think: 1970s). TIA for your advice!

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Ok! You want cabinets on a budget. We are building and I had alloted 12-15,000 for cabinets. The quotes were coming in from around that or above and I was leaning toward cliq studio. They had done a terrific job in the beginning stages of layout and design. However; we found solid wood cabinets at Restore for 1800. We re-designed the entire kitchen to make it work and I think I am going to LOVE them. I am going to sand them down and paint them, but for what I saved I could have them professionallly refinised and still be way ahead of the game. We seriously lucked out and it really helped in planning how the kitchen would be used. We are not using either of the existing sink holes. We are going to change those areas to large drawers that must be made. I have a 42" Crane Sink (old) that is going on a frame with turned legs so I don't have to worry about a sink cabinet. Sometimes you can find steals at places like restore and other salvage places. The cabinets we now have for our kitchen are probably better quality than what I was getting ready to order. (not the doors but the cabinet frame/sides etc).

Hope you have luck with your searching!

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 8:37PM
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    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 9:56PM
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Ikea. Excellent quality, too.

Here is a link that might be useful: my super cheap Ikea kitchen

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 10:04PM
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If extreme budget is high priority, I would go with Chinese-made cabinets. They will be much less expensive than Ikea, and they're not that bad in quality. I got a quote for Chinese cabinets that were about 20% of the price for Innermost cabinets (which is what I ended up getting - I wanted more bells and whistles).

If Ikea is in your price range, I'd go with that because for the price the quality is pretty good.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 11:01PM
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Check your local Craigslist or FreeCycle. We are in the midst of our reno, and we are doing most of it ourselves. We took all of the old cabinets down (without destroying them with sledge hammers like they do on tv) and listed them on our local FreeCycle site. I got a dozen responses within an hour, and the next day they were all gone. Someone got free kitchen cabinets, and I didn't have to pay to have debris hauled away!

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 11:53PM
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We have purchased great low cost off the shelf cabinets at Lowes. We were surpised on how sturdy they are and have stood up to renters.

For our kitchen, Shenandoah was the most cost effective for our needs.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2013 at 7:16AM
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Ikea. My first kitchen on a budget was Ikea. When i moved 7yrs ago i brought them with me and have them re-purposed in a downstairs workshop. They have held up well and now the keeper of power tools and woodworking gear, stains, and finishing supplies. Two pantries that originally flanked the fridge now hold home cleaning supplies, bulk tissue and tp, etc. Two uppers above the washer/dryer. Must be close to 15yrs old now.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2013 at 7:58AM
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When considering advice, be sure to compare apples with apples, not oranges. Some of these cabinet lines have affordable drawers with full-extension mechanisms, some are comparable only if you go with doors and shelves.

Trust almost all of us on this if you haven't already made up your mind: You want almost all drawers. They're wonderful.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2013 at 8:17AM
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True!! My kitchn drawers have changed my kitchen life.


    Bookmark   June 5, 2013 at 9:23AM
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I also like IKEA because of all the free upgrades on soft close drawers and cabinets. Its a good value if the style works.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2013 at 12:50PM
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The apples to apples comparison is really apt. You have to decide really on your priority for certain features. Even when you chose among lower end brands, it is the door/frame style, accessories (drawers, rollouts, customizations) and finish choices that will pile up the cost. If you draw up the minimum you want, perhaps people can give you detailed suggestion. A standard overlay shaker or slab door, in a plain basic wood, in stock sizes will generally be your least expensive choice in any cabinet line.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2013 at 1:08PM
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IKEA, Cliq Studios and Barkers Cabinets (American company with free shipping in the Continental US) are all worth looking at. Of those, IKEA will still be by far the cheapest. IKEA and Barkers are both frameless, Cliq is not. Barkers has plywood boxes. IKEA does not, but has great hardware.

The Cabinet Joint is also apparently worth looking into. They sell many brands, I think.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2013 at 1:56PM
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Green Demolitions. They are located in New Jersey and New York, but now ship. They currently have three kitchens for $5000 or less with real wood cabinetry and stone counters and most appliances included. Yeah, you may toss out or sell a used old appliance, but that's okay at this price. Check them out, these kitchens do not look more than 10 years old. There are also a couple of fabulous kitchens in the $6000, $7000 and $8000 price ranges, including one with white Cabico cabs with inset doors and concrete counters. You can bargain on the prices, too.

There a few floor model kitchens mixed in from kitchen showrooms. That is another source you can watch for on Craigslist - kitchen showrooms that are selling a display. There are not usually enough cabinets for a whole kitchen, but if you are a mix-and-match kind of person, you might find something that inspires you.

Here is a link that might be useful: Green Demolitions

    Bookmark   June 5, 2013 at 3:39PM
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You could also get a nice stand alone cabinet or hutch if you have a wall area that you want cabinets for. Use open shelves on the walls instead of uppers.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 10:00AM
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Sophie Wheeler

A cheap kitchen comes at the price of time spent DIYing the labor, as it's usually the most expensive component. Do you have the tools (Cordless drill/driver, circular saw, table saw, various and sundry wrenches, etc.) and skills to be able to install? Do basic plumbing? Basic electrical? If not, then check out some books from the library and plan some smaller projects like changing out light fixtures or faucets etc. until you get more comfortable.

What's there may be pretty awful, but even so, if you are on a budget, it exists and nothing else has to be paid for. Practice a bunch of your DIY skills on it first. You won't have to care if you ruin it!

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 10:22AM
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Green Demolitions!

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 10:59AM
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Circus Peanut

Green Demolition is great.

Also check out your local Habitat for Humanity Restore (click to find closest one). I was extremely lucky and chanced across a full set of high-end cherry cabinets for a few thousand; just a fraction of the over 30k they would have cost new.

Either option requires some creativity and ability to think outside the box, and it's really fun if you're up for it -- not very much fun if you're not. We used extra cabinet doors for a dishwasher panel; made our own end panels out of cherry plywood, rebuilt a wall oven cabinet to make a sink base, etc.

Crossing fingers you find something good.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 11:08AM
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Regarding DIY and Ikea, people who've never held a screwdriver can put together all the cabinetry and hardware while sitting the the floor sipping wine (but not too much). The diagrams are ridiculously simple, the tool a little bent piece of wire. The pegs go in the holes.

Installing the lowers needs a power tool to attach them to the wall, but it's a nice little challenge almost anyone can meet and be proud of. The legs they come are adjustable so you use them to get the tops all lined up horizontally if the floor isn't.

Installing the uppers on the wall is more of a job, especially as ceilings might not be entirely straight, etc., and people lacking confidence might invite a handy friend or relative over. Not because they couldn't get the job done themselves if they approached it intelligently and methodically, but mostly to reduce the stress and time and have fun instead.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 11:37AM
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You could check into custom, if you have any cabinet makers in your area. Ours came in with a price *below* what the big box store gave us for a price on their low/mid range cabinets. Because it's custom, we're getting exactly what we want, not the extra (often useless) features that often come with stock cabinets. Our cabinets are $13,000 for a 9 X 14 kitchen with a peninsula, if that gives you an idea.

Of course, Ikea sounds good also, although I don't have any idea of what their prices are.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 12:00PM
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I just want to echo Rosie here. RTA (ready to assemble) kitchens like IKEA and Barker are very, very simple to assemble. Purposefully so. And they don't require any saws or anything, unless you are trying to modify a cabinet you ordered so it becomes more customizable for some special purpose.

And you can find installers, if you don't want to DYI the installation. In fact, it is often said that having great installers makes all the difference.

Just to give you a sense of what my numbers look like so far in my custom comparison, IKEA's cabinets came to below 5K for my kitchen/DR area (8K including all appliances/fan hood from IKEA), Barker came in about 10K for painted cabinets and estimates from cabinet companies (low end so far) have ranged from 16-19K. I'm not done comparison shopping, but that is how things are looking so far.

Another option people do from time to time is buy the IKEA boxes and buy doors through Barkers, Scheers, or several other on-line companies that specialize in creating wood, acrylic or veneer doors and panels to go specifically on IKEA cabinets.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 12:18PM
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Ikea, Craigslist, Habitat ReStore (if you have one in your area. Check Craigslist also for carpenters/cabinetmakers looking for work who might be willing to build at economical cost -- be sure to get multiple references though.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 12:30PM
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IkEA or the off the shelf cabinets from Lowes or Home Depot.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 4:13PM
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I had considered Cliq - even got a sample piece - but disappointed in the reviews on this forum. Does anyone have good things to say about them?

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 8:53PM
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Ya'll are fantastic! I have gotten some good things from ReStore before, have seen cabinets there but wouldn't know how to begin assessing if they'd work for me. I guess measure my area first and keep visiting ReStore to see if anything shows up that's good? Ikea sounds good, never thought of them for cabinets. Other ideas are all so great, thanks because I have never done this/am clueless. Now speaking of clueless...what are the drawers ya'll are referring to? Is that a new trend instead of having shelves behind doors? I'm all about saving strain on my back, since I have scoliosis & neck osteo-arthritis already! Please give me links to websites where I can learn about these drawers, how they work, where they best fit, etc etc...and thank you all so very much!

    Bookmark   June 7, 2013 at 12:00PM
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Lots of debates on this, here's a good example:

Here is a link that might be useful: Would you do a kitchen with all drawer base cabinets?

    Bookmark   June 7, 2013 at 5:50PM
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Not so new - a friend of mine recently bought a house built in 1938, with the original kitchen. It has all drawers!

My Mom has a base cabinet with pull-out shelves. I can't think of a time when anyone actually opened both doors and pulled out the shelf - we just open one side and grab what's in the front. The things in the back are not used - or when they are, we bend down and dig them out, without pulling out the shelf (dumb, yes, but that's how it works out in her house).

With drawers instead, one simple pull would expose everything - much more convenient! I am putting almost all drawers in my new kitchen, and I can hardly wait.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2013 at 6:18PM
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