Has anybody tried to build their own kitchen cabinets ?

I have to replace only about 12 feet of base and top cabinets. They are costing me almost $6000 (installed) for medium grade cabinets. These are not top of the line custom cabinets.

I am fairly handy and have almost all the woodworking tools.

How much will it cost if I choose to build these using decent raw materials ? ( say only a notch or two below top grade ).

Let us ignore the amount of time it will take ( because it really depends upon individual's skill level ).

  • Yes yiu can just google how to build stick built cabinets in place
    – Kris
    Feb 18, 2019 at 3:08
  • 1
    For a number of years (which happened to coincide with when I was redoing my kitchen) Home Depot had flat-pack cabinets (Mills Pride). A handful of styles, some assembly required. Not the absolute best, but quite sturdy, decent looking, and a LOT cheaper than any prebuilt cabinets. Mix & match to get any size needed (in 3" increments). etc. Something like that (I don't know if that particular brand is available, but not stocked in the Home Depot stores for several years), but that is a way to save a lot of money with some assembly required without having to start from scratch. Feb 18, 2019 at 3:24
  • Since when does DIY ever cost more? You're doing all the labour, and assuming you'll do a good job. (Unless you've got something better to do that pays more than you would save, but here you're ignoring your time & lost opportunity cost - if your regular job is ultra high paying, just go to work & pay someone else & you'll end up with more cash in the end)
    – Xen2050
    Feb 18, 2019 at 4:05

2 Answers 2


If time doesn't matter, then go for it. It's fun and you'll take pride in your work. On paper, you'll save money, though I can almost guarantee that the cabinets will opportunity cost you more than just flat out buying them. Nobody can put an actual price on the materials without knowing more details... wood? melamine? doors and drawers outsourced or built by you? face frame or euro? nice hardware or basic stuff?

However, if you want to be practical, find a supplier of RTA (ready to assemble) cabs. Cut out the evil orange middleman. I think you'll find them staggeringly cheap. (Some of them are actually quite horrible, quality-wise, so shop carefully.) Assemble them yourself. Install them yourself. Pat yourself on the back for a job well done. Apologize to anyone who had to share construction zone space with you. Double the apologies if the project runs longer than expected. (It will, btw.)

I don't know where you are, but $6k sounds cheap to me.

  • 1
    I did this 3 years ago when remodeling. RTA flat-pack ended up half the price of BIG ORANGE. Lots to choose from, even hardware. What I ended up with were plywood sides and oak fronts. BIG ORANGE had MDF sides and oak unfinished fronts for double the price.
    – Jeff Cates
    Feb 18, 2019 at 5:35

You definitely can and will save money but it's a ton of work. Plus it's really hard to get current styles. You may need some serious router bits and have to be careful to select good, properly dried lumber. Painting is also a big challenge if you don't have at least a crude spray booth. I just resurfaced my oak cabinets by filling the grain for a smooth modern look and it was way more work than I expected. Well worth it though. Came out beautiful.

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