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

Dean Cabinetry has over 25 years of experience creating custom kitchens that seem to always impress our clients. With our extensive experience, we have continued to refine our process and are able to design, budget and install custom kitchen cabinets at an extremely high quality and competitive price.


In researching the options of kitchen cabinetry, you may be wondering what the difference is between semi custom and fully custom cabinets. The main difference between semi-custom and custom kitchen cabinets lies in the level of customization and cost.


Semi-custom cabinets offer a higher degree of customization compared to pre-made or stock cabinets, but they have limitations compared to fully custom cabinets. With semi-custom cabinets, you can choose from a selection of pre-designed cabinet styles, sizes, finishes, and materials. Some manufacturers may also allow minor modifications, such as adjusting the depth or height of the cabinets. However, the range of available options is predetermined, and major alterations to the design or dimensions may not be possible.

Evaluating Your Cabinetry Needs

There are a few reasons why you would consider a switch from semi-custom to John Dean Custom Cabinets:


  • Costs: If you’re making many modifications to your semi-custom cabinet design and the cost is getting close to our custom pricing.
  • Construction: You want a better-constructed cabinet than is available with semi-custom cabinets. We believe John Dean Custom Cabinets are the best you can find in the marketplace. The entire cabinet box is constructed of ¾” finished maple plywood.
  • Painted finish: You can choose any custom color you desire. Many semi custom cabinet suppliers offer a range of common color options. If you are looking for something unique that stands out, custom cabinets are the way to go. Again, if you can dream it, we can make it happen!

When deciding on the cabinets for your kitchen, it’s important to think about what you specifically need. Custom cabinets can offer special features like clever storage solutions, built-in appliances, or sizes that perfectly fit your space. Your aesthetic goals and design preferences also play a role in choosing between semi-custom and custom cabinets. Custom options give you more flexibility in choosing materials, finishes, and intricate details, so you can create a kitchen that feels truly personalized and coordinated.

cost for semi custom and custom cabinets

Comparing Semi-Custom and John Dean Custom Cabinetry

John Dean custom cabinets provide the highest level of customization. They are built to order according to your specific requirements and preferences. You have the flexibility to choose every aspect of the cabinets, including materials, finishes, dimensions, styles, hardware, and storage features. Custom cabinets are made by our skilled cabinetmakers who can create unique designs tailored to your kitchen layout and storage needs.


Semi-custom cabinets are generally more affordable than fully custom cabinets. They offer a middle ground between the lower cost of stock cabinets and the higher cost of fully custom cabinets. Since semi-custom cabinets are produced using pre-designed components and standard sizes, the manufacturing process is more streamlined, reducing the overall cost compared to fully custom options.


Custom cabinets tend to be more expensive than semi-custom cabinets. The additional cost is due to the extensive customization, individualized craftsmanship, and higher quality materials involved. Custom cabinets are built from scratch based on your unique specifications, which requires more time, expertise, and labor. The cost of custom cabinets can vary significantly depending on factors such as the complexity of the design, the materials chosen, and the size of the project.

In summary, semi-custom cabinets offer a higher level of customization than stock cabinets but have some limitations compared to fully custom cabinets. They are a popular choice for those who want more options and flexibility while staying within a certain budget. Custom cabinets provide the utmost level of customization and quality, tailored to your specific needs and style preferences, but come with a higher price tag. At Dean Cabinetry, we can bring to fruition any kitchen ideas that you have in mind!

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

When you budget for semi-custom cabinets, making changes such as adjusting cabinet sizes, choosing different finishes, and adding inserts and accessories can increase costs quickly. As a result, you may find yourself approaching the higher price range of John Dean Custom Cabinetry. John Dean Custom Cabinetry uses high-quality materials and custom-made products that are made to last. Our installers are highly skilled and experienced, which makes them the perfect choice for your cabinetry needs.


The following can all increase the cost of your semi-custom cabinets:


  • Modifications to cabinet dimensions
  • Premium finishes, ie distressing and glazes
  • Base cabinets with drawers and rollouts
  • Accessories such as: lazy Susans, spice pullouts, utensil pullouts, etc.
  • Inserts such as: eating and cooking utensil inserts, dividers, spice inserts, tray dividers, etc.

In essence, the more you “add” to semi-custom or custom cabinets, the more expensive your cabinet project will become. The price of semi-custom kitchen cabinets can be influenced by factors such as the choice of high-quality materials, intricate design details, and additional customization options beyond standard offerings. When customers opt for premium materials, complex designs, specialized finishes, or unique modifications, the cost of semi-custom cabinets can increase 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 professional designers play a crucial role in the kitchen cabinetry design process. They bring expertise and experience to guide you through every step, from initial selection to final installation. Our designers will start by understanding your vision, budget, and specific needs, ensuring that the level of cabinetry aligns with your desired aesthetic and functional requirements. They will assist in selecting the appropriate finishes, and design elements, providing valuable insights and recommendations based on their knowledge of current trends and timeless styles.


During the process of working with a Dean Cabinetry designer, expect collaboration and open communication. They will provide design concepts, renderings, and material samples, allowing you to visualize the final result. They will coordinate with the Dean Cabinetry team to ensure a seamless installation process, overseeing every detail to bring your custom cabinetry vision to life.

Navigating the Ordering and Production Process

The ordering process for both semi-custom and custom cabinetry involves several key steps. For semi-custom cabinetry, clients typically begin by selecting from a range of pre-designed options, including styles, finishes, and hardware. Measurements of the space are taken, either by the client or someone on our staff, to ensure proper fitting. Working with a Dean Cabinetry designer, clients can customize certain aspects within the parameters of the pre-designed options, such as adding unique storage features or modifying dimensions to accommodate specific needs. Once the design and customization details are finalized, the order is placed, and the production process begins.


In contrast, custom cabinetry offers a higher level of personalization. The ordering process for custom cabinetry involves in-depth consultations with a Dean Cabinetry designer to discuss specific design requirements, preferences, and functional considerations. Detailed measurements are taken by our team to ensure a precise fit. Clients have the freedom to select from a wide range of materials, finishes, hardware, and design elements. The Dean Cabinetry team then crafts the cabinets from scratch, incorporating the client’s unique specifications and preferences.


It’s important to note that the timeline for custom cabinetry or top-of-the-line semi-custom cabinetry tends to be longer due to the highly tailored nature of the process. Setting realistic timelines is crucial, considering factors such as design development, material sourcing, production, and installation. Quality craftsmanship takes time, and during the production phase, skilled woodworkers at Dean Cabinetry meticulously construct and finish each piece by hand, ensuring exceptional quality and attention to detail. While the timeline may be longer, the result is a truly customized kitchen that meets the client’s exact specifications.

Choosing the Right Cabinet Option for Your Home

Switching from semi-custom to John Dean Custom Cabinetry offers a range of benefits that can greatly enhance the overall look and value of a home. While semi-custom cabinetry provides some options for customization, custom cabinetry takes personalization to the next level. With custom cabinetry from Dean Cabinetry, clients can fully tailor their cabinets to match their unique style and specific needs. The craftsmanship involved in custom cabinetry is exceptional which results in superior quality and attention to detail that adds a touch of luxury to any space.


Custom cabinetry not only enhances the aesthetic appeal of a home but also increases its value. The ability to design and select premium materials and finishes allows homeowners to create a truly custom look that reflects their individual taste and elevates the overall design of the kitchen. Custom cabinetry is a long-term investment that not only adds functionality but also contributes to the overall value of the property. With our impeccable craftsmanship, unique design elements, and high-quality materials, custom cabinets from Dean Cabinetry provide a lasting and timeless appeal that can significantly enhance the beauty and value of any home.

Ready to Build Your Dream Kitchen?