How to Create Your Kitchen Cabinets Budget

This article gives you the technique to budget your custom cabinetry project cost, including cabinet installation, labor costs, and cabinet prices. This is the same technique used in our Kitchen Cabinet Cost Estimator.


We know how frustrating it can be to get unclear pricing from a company! We are sharing the process we provide to our customers when pricing out their kitchen remodel, specifically for custom cabinetry. If you are interested in the other costs associated with a cabinetry purchase, check out this article, Cabinetry Pricing and Costs.


The following process will show you how to estimate your budget for cabinets.  We will use linear feet or LF for short.

How do we use Linear Feet?

Linear feet is a measurement used to quantify length in a straight line. It is commonly used when determining the length or quantity of materials needed for a project. To use linear feet, simply measure the length of the object or space in a straight line. This measurement helps in estimating the required amount of materials, such as flooring, countertops, or cabinets, based on the linear footage needed. It is a useful unit for accurately planning and purchasing materials for various construction, remodeling, or design projects.

What Is the Difference Between Base and Upper Cabinetry?

Upper kitchen cabinets are wall-mounted storage units positioned above base cabinets, offering additional storage space in the kitchen. They provide a convenient location for storing items such as dishes, glassware, and cookbooks, while also contributing to the overall aesthetic appeal of the kitchen design. Crown molding can be used to wrap the tops of upper cabinets.  Upper cabinets are usually 30 to 42 inches tall and 12 to 13 inches deep.


Most companies build their cabinets in increments of 3 inches. This standard sizing allows for greater flexibility in fitting cabinets within standard kitchen or bathroom layouts, accommodating various dimensions and configurations.

How do I Use LF for Estimating My Cabinetry Cost?

In the cabinetry industry, there are 3 main categories. They are stock, semi-custom, and custom cabinetry. For more information, check out this article.


  • Stock cabinets will typically cost $230 to $290 per LF
  • Semi-custom cabinets will typically cost $320 to $400 per LF
  • Custom cabinets will typically cost $450 + per LF
  • Installation will typically cost $70 per LF

These numbers are assuming you’d like the best quality product for your money.  For example, you can certainly find stock cabinetry above $375 per LF, but we assume you’d prefer semi-custom or custom if you could.

How Do I Budget for My Layout?

The first step in budgeting your layout is determining your total linear feet. To do this, you want to look at the dimensions of your space. Measure the areas where you need cabinetry and subtract any areas you don’t need cabinetswork wall by wall to find your total linear feet.


For example, if you have a 12-foot wall with a 3-foot window that needs upper cabinets, subtract 3 from 12 to get 9 LF.  You now know that you need 9 linear feet of upper cabinets in this space.


Subtract any areas where you do not need cabinetry, including appliances, windows, doors, walkways, and more.  Remember, you will need cabinetry where you have a sink.

Once you have your total linear feet, you can multiply it by the cabinetry cost per LF.


For example, if you find that you need 30 LF of cabinets, make the following calculations:


  • Stock
      • 30 LF x $290= $8,700
  • Semi-custom
      • 30 LF x $400 = $12,000
  • Custom
      • 30 LF x $540 = $16,200
  • Installation
    • 30 LF x $70 = $2,100

With these calculations, you find that your cabinet costs could range between $8,700 to $16,200 depending on the level of quality, size of your kitchen, and styles that you choose.  Regardless, the labor cost for cabinet installation will cost about $2,100 no matter the cabinetry level.

What About Extras and Additional Details?

When using the linear foot process for budgeting, it accounts for basic extras and details.  If you know that you want more details, molding, or inserts, add $10 extra per LF for each detail you want. 


For example, you know you want 2 large pantry cabinets with pull-out drawers. Add $20 per LF to your cost estimate. When you work with an interior designer from Dean Cabinetry, they will walk you through any additional costs as you consider adding these details to your kitchen renovation project.

How Accurate is this Budget Calculator?

This process will produce 3 cabinet budget options for you. These are budgets and do not represent an actual quote. However, they can be very accurate for your kitchen remodel and custom cabinetry. We use this same process to budget our clients. In some cases, we have found this form of budgeting to be within a few hundred dollars of our actual quote. You can use our budget calculator to calculate an estimated budget for your project.

How Do I Get an Actual Budget?

If you’d like a quote from Dean Cabinetry, we would love to schedule an appointment with you. During our initial consultation we will gather information about what you’re looking for, along with dimensions, existing photos, and any inspiration design photos you have.  We will work with you to understand your needs and provide three budget numbers. If you would like to get a head start on our conversation, please complete our Discovery Form. We will be in touch with next steps.

Are Expensive Cabinets Worth It?

Choosing quality kitchen cabinets, like custom-made or well-crafted wood cabinets, is a smart move that can pay off in the long run, even if they seem a bit pricier upfront. Think of it like buying something that lasts longer and stays strong over time, just like investing in a durable pair of shoes. This is especially important if you have a bigger kitchen, where the cabinets need to be tough and reliable.


Sure, ready-to-assemble cabinets might seem like a money-saver at first, but they often don’t hold up as well and don’t offer the same personalized options you’d get with professionally-made cabinets. When you go for quality cabinets, you’re not only making your kitchen look better, but you’re also increasing the value of your home. It’s like making a good deal where you get back more than what you put in. So, even if good cabinets might cost a bit more upfront, their long-lasting nature and how much they can boost your home’s worth make them a smart choice for folks who want both value and quality.

Ready to Design Your Dream Kitchen?