How to Create a Budget for Your Kitchen Cabinets

Budgeting for your custom cabinetry project involves considering cabinet installation, labor costs, and cabinet prices. We understand how frustrating it can be to get unclear pricing from a company.


We’re sharing the process we provide to our customers when they’re working out the costs for their kitchen remodel, especially for custom cabinetry. If you’re interested in other expenses related to buying cabinets, take a look at our article on Cabinetry Pricing and Costs.

How do we use Linear Feet?

Linear feet (LF) 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.


Base cabinets are the lower cabinets in a kitchen that provide both storage and a base for countertops. They typically have a standard height of around 35 inches and a depth of 24 inches, making them a fundamental component of kitchen design. Base cabinets can provide the opportunity for a set of drawers.

How do I Use LF for Estimating My Cabinetry Cost?

When discussing your kitchen design with your kitchen designer, they will introduce you to the three levels of cabinetry: stock, semi-custom, and custom. The choice of cabinetry level can significantly impact the overall cost. Here’s a breakdown of the typical costs associated with each:


  • Stock cabinets: These usually range from $230 to $290 per linear foot (LF).
  • Semi-custom cabinets: Typically, they’ll cost between $320 and $400 per LF.
  • Custom cabinets: Custom-made cabinets tend to start at $450 or more per LF.
  • Installation: The installation cost is usually around $70 per LF, regardless of cabinetry level.

These cost estimates are based on the assumption that you’re aiming for the best quality within your budget. While stock cabinets can go above $375 per LF, we consider that you’d prefer semi-custom or custom options if possible.

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.

Lets say you find that you need 30 LF of cabinets, make the following calculations:


For Stock: 30 LF x $290= $8,700


For Semi-custom: 30 LF x $400 = $12,000


For Fully Custom: 30 LF x $540 = $16,200


Now we add 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 kitchen designer from Dean Cabinetry, we 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 cost 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 discovery phase, we will gather information about what you’re looking for, along with dimensions, existing photos, and any design styles you may have your eye on.  Our partnership starts with a clear understanding of your needs, and we’ll offer you three cabinetry budgets, covering stock, custom, and semi-custom options. If you would like to get started online, please complete our Discovery form and we will have budgets in your inbox within 2 business days.

dean cabinetry 6 step process

Are Expensive Cabinets Worth It?

Choosing high-quality kitchen cabinets, such as custom-made or well-crafted wood cabinets, is a wise investment that pays off in the long run, even if they seem a bit pricier initially. Think of it like buying something built to last and stay strong over time, much like investing in a durable pair of shoes. This is especially important for larger kitchens where cabinets need to be sturdy and dependable.


While ready-to-assemble cabinets might appear budget-friendly initially, they often don’t stand the test of time and lack the personalized options available with professionally-made and installed cabinets.


Opting for quality cabinets not only enhances your kitchen’s appearance but also adds value to your home. It’s akin to making a sound investment where you receive more than what you put in. So, even if top-notch cabinets come with a slightly higher upfront cost, their long-lasting quality and the boost they provide to your home’s value make them a wise choice for those seeking both value and quality.

Ready to Design Your Dream Kitchen?