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Xanthe Quinn

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How and when to change out your kitchen cabinets

As spring approaches and tax refunds come back, people begin lifting their heads from the home hibernation they’ve been in since the first frost set in. One of the first things you might notice is that your kitchen could use an update. And there’s no better way to change the entire look and feel of your kitchen than by changing up (or changing out) your cabinets.

Of course, there’s a price tag involved with any such endeavor, and it can vary from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. contributor Kelli Kaufer has compiled a list of ways to save money when you remodel your kitchen. Here’s how you can apply her techniques specifically to your cabinetry.

To replace or to repaint?

One of your first decisions will be whether you can paint or refinish your existing cabinets or if you should replace them altogether. A simple repaint job would cost a couple hundred dollars while a refinish or new veneer could scale into the thousands. If the cabinets themselves are sound and functional, one of these two options would be your most cost-effective bet.

If, however, you aren’t satisfied with the style of your cabinets or you’re adding or removing walls in your kitchen, new cabinets might be necessary. Shop around before you make your purchase because you’ll find there are three categories of cabinets to choose from.

In-stock cabinets

Kaufer said, “In-stock cabinets are for customers who want to grab their cabinets right off the shelf and get going. These stock cabinets come in standard sizes, shapes, and colors.” If speed is the name of the game this is the way to go, and you’ll likely be able to install them yourself without much effort. The downside, of course, is you’ll have to make space and style concessions in order to get these pre-fab cabinets to fit in your kitchen.

Ready-to-assemble cabinets

A good middle-ground option is ready-to-assemble cabinets which range from $125 to $900 per linear foot (granted, that’s quite a large price spread). Like the in-stock cabinets, you’ll have to choose from a predetermined number of styles, materials, and finishes, but there will be more wiggle room in fitting them to your kitchen.

Custom cabinets

Most expensive is custom cabinetry which Kaufer said may cost between $10,000 and $60,000 to design, build, and install. This cost yields unique, beautiful results, of course, as the result is cabinets that fit the room perfectly with your own choice of all ornamentation, material, and style. It will likely not be recouped in the sale of the house, however, as personal tastes range so widely, and the cost is so significant. The cost is worth it, though, if you plan on living in the home long-term and would like to get full use and enjoyment out of your kitchen cabinets.

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