Semi-Custom Kitchen Cabinets: What Are They and Are They Right for You?

Jenny Cazares | Discovery Team | Dean Cabinetry

By: Jenny Cazares

Semi-custom kitchen cabinets are built to order, per the customer’s specifications, with some limitations.

How would you describe semi-custom cabinets?

Semi-custom cabinets are not waiting in a warehouse ready for purchase, like stock cabinetry. Once an order is placed, the company will begin production to make each cabinet. They are better quality than stock cabinets, with custom being the best in quality and materials.

When someone asks me what the differences are, I typically say, “good, better, and best…which is a simple way to describe the step up from stock, to semi-custom, to custom cabinets”. 

Does semi-custom offer many choices in finishes and door styles?

Yes, they come in a more extensive variety of colors, and some companies may allow you to choose a custom paint color. They will have a variety of stained wood finishes and door styles; but that doesn’t mean unlimited options, like custom cabinetry. Some will have a more extensive variety of wood options, depending on the cabinet line you’re interested in. 

Does semi-custom offer more cabinet details?

They have many more options for cabinet details and functionality than stock cabinetry, however, they are limited, whereas custom cabinets are unlimited, you will have many choices. Moldings, including, crown, base, light rail, and trim will be available. Keep in mind, that semi-custom will have a much larger selection than stock cabinets if you’re looking for more options.

Does semi-custom provide better functionality?

Yes, for example, a three-drawer base cabinet in stock might be available at 30”, whereas with semi-custom you can choose a three-drawer base cabinet in 30”, 33”, 36”, and 39”. As far as inserts and accessories go, stock cabinet companies may limit the number of options available, but with semi-custom, you will have more of a variety to choose from.

Do they allow modifications for semi-custom?

Semi-custom base and wall cabinets are often made in increments of 1 ½”, in addition to the standard 3” increments. They often allow modifications for the depths of the wall, base, and tall cabinets. Some companies will offer modifications for a more custom look for your semi-custom cabinets such as end panels to create the illusion of inset cabinets.

When you meet with your kitchen designer, they will thoroughly answer all of your questions about the different levels of cabinetry. They will first help you create your beautiful new kitchen layout, and then go through all of your options for design features. Your designer will help you to determine if semi-custom is a great fit for your kitchen project.