How To Choose Between Semi-Custom and Dean Custom Cabinetry for Your Kitchen

Dean Cabinetry has been crafting custom kitchens for over 25 years, consistently wowing our clients with our work. Thanks to our extensive experience, we’ve honed our process, allowing us to create, budget for, and install top-notch custom kitchen cabinets at competitive prices.


When you’re researching kitchen cabinetry, you might be curious about the difference between semi-custom and fully custom cabinets. The key distinction between these two types is all about how much you can customize and what they cost.

Semi-custom cabinets provide a good amount of flexibility compared to ready-made or stock cabinets, though they do have some limitations when compared to fully custom cabinets. With semi-custom cabinets, you get to choose from a set of pre-designed cabinet styles, sizes, finishes, and materials. Some manufacturers might even let you make minor tweaks like adjusting the cabinet’s depth or height. However, the available options are somewhat limited, and making major changes to the design or size might not be possible.


From smart organization ideas to space-saving solutions, cabinet base drawers support a functional and efficient kitchen layout. Whether you’re a culinary enthusiast or a busy family, the design of these drawers will cater to your specific needs, offering a wide range of storage options for pots, pans, utensils, and more!

Evaluating Your Cabinetry Needs

Thinking about switching from semi-custom cabinets to John Dean Custom Cabinets? Here are a few reasons you might want to make the change:


  1. Costs: If you’ve been making lots of changes to your semi-custom cabinet design, and the price is creeping up to match what we charge for our custom cabinets.

  2. Construction: Perhaps you’re seeking cabinets with superior craftsmanship compared to what you’d get with semi-custom options. We proudly claim that John Dean Custom Cabinets are among the finest in the market. They’re constructed with ¾” finished maple plywood throughout the entire cabinet box.

  3. Painted Finish: If you have a unique color in mind that you can’t find in the standard offerings of many semi-custom cabinet suppliers, custom cabinets are your ticket to a world of options. With us, you can choose any custom color you desire. If it’s an eye-catching, one-of-a-kind kitchen you’re after, custom cabinets are the way to achieve it. Remember, if you can dream it, we can create it!

When it comes to selecting cabinets for your kitchen, it’s crucial to consider your specific needs. Custom cabinets provide opportunities for special features like clever storage solutions, built-in appliances, and sizes tailored to your space.


Your design preferences and aesthetic goals also influence your decision between semi-custom and custom cabinets. Custom options give you more freedom to select materials, finishes, and intricate details, allowing you to craft a kitchen that truly reflects your unique style and needs.

cost for semi custom and custom cabinets

Comparing Semi-Custom and John Dean Custom Cabinetry

John Dean custom cabinets are the perfect solution to personalize your new space. Crafted to order based on your exact wishes, you get to choose everything – materials, finishes, sizes, styles, hardware, and storage features. Our skilled cabinetmakers can even create unique designs to fit your kitchen perfectly.


Semi-custom cabinets are a budget-friendly step up from stock cabinets, offering more flexibility without the full cost of custom options. They use pre-designed components and standard sizes, streamlining production to save you money.


Custom cabinets, on the other hand, tend to be pricier. The extra cost comes from the extensive personalization, expert craftsmanship, and top-quality materials. They’re made from scratch to match your exact specs, taking more time, skill, and effort. The price can vary widely depending on the complexity, materials, and project size.


In short, semi-custom cabinets offer more customization than stock ones but have limits compared to fully custom cabinets. They’re great if you want options without breaking the bank. Custom cabinets give you the ultimate in personalization and quality but come with a higher price. At Dean Cabinetry, we’re here to bring your dream kitchen to life!

Why is the Top Range of Semi-Custom so Close to the Bottom Range of Custom?

When you’re budgeting for semi-custom cabinets, making changes like adjusting cabinet sizes, picking different finishes, and adding extras can drive up the cost. This might lead you into the higher price range of John Dean Custom Cabinetry. Our custom cabinets are built to last, using top-notch materials and made-to-order products. Our installers are experienced and highly skilled, making them the ideal choice for your cabinet needs.


Here’s what can make your semi-custom cabinets pricier:


  1. Changing cabinet sizes
  2. Opting for premium finishes like distressing and glazes
  3. Choosing base cabinets with drawers and rollouts
  4. Adding accessories like lazy Susans, spice pullouts, utensil pullouts, and more
  5. Including inserts such as eating and cooking utensil holders, dividers, spice organizers, tray dividers, and so on.

In short, the more you “add” to your semi-custom or custom cabinets, the more your project will cost. The price of semi-custom kitchen cabinets can be influenced by factors like high-quality materials, intricate designs, and extra customization options beyond the basics. When customers go for premium hardwoods, complex designs, special finishes, or unique modifications, the cost of semi-custom cabinets can go up significantly, bringing them closer in price to fully custom cabinets.

Will the Cost of My Custom Cabinets Change?

At Dean Cabinetry, we calculate the cost of custom cabinets by multiplying the total linear feet of cabinets in a layout by our standard rate for each foot. We add this to any base cabinet or rollout figures required and then provide an accurate estimate based on your needs. We also budget for the number of accessories and inserts in base, wall, and or island cabinets. Therefore the cost of your John Dean Custom Cabinets will only change if you purchase more cabinetry than initially planned.


When we budget for semi-custom cabinets, we budget for an average number of drawers, rollouts, accessories, and inserts. We do not budget for as many “bells and whistles” as we do for our custom cabinet budgets. Your Dean Cabinetry designer will let you know when your semi-custom cabinet costs are rising to the point where it might make sense to switch to John Dean Custom Cabinets. Trust your Dean Cabinetry designer; you are in good hands and your designer will look out for your best interest! We truly look to find the right cabinet solution for your kitchen project and in some cases, this may mean semi-custom or stock cabinets.

Working with a Custom Cabinetry Designer​

Our expert designers are a key part of the kitchen cabinet design process. We have the knowledge and experience to help you at every step, from picking out cabinets to getting them installed. First, our team understand what you want, your budget, and your specific needs.


This Discovery phase ensures the cabinets match your style and work well. We’ll also help you choose the right finishes and design elements, using their know-how about what’s trendy and classic. When you work with a local custom kitchen cabinet maker, it’s a team effort with lots of communication. We’ll share design ideas, pictures, and material samples so you can see how it’ll look. 

Navigating the Ordering and Production Process

Ordering cabinets, whether semi-custom or custom, involves specific steps. Here’s how it works:



  1. Choose from pre-designed options for styles, finishes, and hardware.
  2. Measure the space.
  3. Customize within the pre-designed limits, like adding special storage or resizing.
  4. Place the order, and production begins.


  1. Have in-depth talks with a Dean Cabinetry designer about your exact design, style, and functional needs.
  2. Our team takes detailed measurements.
  3. Pick from a wide range of materials, finishes, hardware, and designs.
  4. Dean Cabinetry makes your cabinets from scratch, following your unique specs.

Custom cabinets and high-end semi-custom ones take longer because they’re super personalized. The timeline involves design work, getting materials, production, and installation. Quality craftsmanship needs time. Dean Cabinetry’s skilled woodworkers carefully build and finish each piece by hand, focusing on quality and detail. Even though it takes longer, the result is a kitchen that fits your exact needs.

Let Us Help You Choose the Right Cabinet Option