Is It Cheaper To Make Or Buy Kitchen Cabinets? (With Prices)    

The kitchen cabinet is one of the most important pieces in the house. The way the kitchen cabinet is styled can determine the ease at which we cook and how we love our kitchen.

Since the kitchen cabinet is an essential piece of furniture that helps hold cooking equipment, dished, silverwares and sometimes influences cooking style, it’s essential for every homeowner to get a quality kitchen cabinet for the most efficient price. The attempt to blend quality and cost has made many homeowners curious if making or buying kitchen cabinets is cheaper.  

Kitchen cabinets are not cheap, and getting a quality kitchen cabinet can be nerve-racking; however, there may be another option, building your own cabinet, that can save you a little bit of time and money.

In this article, we will be examining which method is more cost-effective between making your own kitchen cabinet or buying it using tables to compare the market price of the cabinet and what it will cost you if you build a similar cabinet on your own. This article will help you come to a valid conclusion on the next step to take.  

Building a kitchen cabinet is only feasible if you have the skills and plenty of time to time. If you have the rudimentary carpentry skills and have the time, then building your own cabinet is cheaper because your labor will be valued at $0 per hour. However, if you lack the skill and time, buying is better. 

Kitchen Cabinets

Is it cheaper to make your own kitchen cabinets?

Making your own kitchen cabinets is highly rewarding. It also saves you a lot of money in your kitchen renovation. Many homeowners are beginning to embrace the DIY culture of building personal kitchen cabinets to achieve a custom look without a huge price tag. The modern kitchen comes in various designs, sizes, and square footage. Therefore, it is cheaper to make them so that they can uniquely meet the requirements of the kitchen.

Personal-made kitchen cabinets give you greater control over many things like cabinet dimensions, inserts, arrangement, and design. It gives you omniscient power over the cabinet structure and arrangements.

However, when you buy ready-made cabinets from the store, they are more likely to be expensive and may omit some tiny details that make the cabinet unique to your kitchen. While building a new kitchen cabinet is not overly difficult, it is a serious task, even for a professional carpenter.

Building a new kitchen cabinet can be exciting because it helps you save money and engage you in your free time. But before you take on the DIY kitchen cabinet project, you should understand you need some basic woodworking knowledge, precise measurements, and the best tools for the task. Below is a table comparing the price of a cabinet in a regular store and its price when you make the cabinet yourself.  

DIY cabinet comparison to store-bought cabinets.

The Ikea cabinet system inspires the price comparison in the table below to help give you a better perspective on why DIY cabinets are cheaper.

CabinetIkeaDIY made
6 Small Drawers$220$68.88
3 Medium Drawers$190$61.02
2 Large Drawers$185$87.64
3 Small, 1 Large$172$77.76
2 Shelves$106$44.01

The data support or showcase why it is cheaper to make your own kitchen cabinet rather than buying. 

How much does it cost to make your own kitchen cabinets?

Kitchen cabinets are some of the most expensive parts of the kitchen remodel. Unfortunately, most homeowners don’t do proper research before starting the remodeling process which often makes them frustrated as the project expenses rise beyond the projected budget.

We will be taking an extensive look at what it will cost homeowners to make the kitchen cabinet themselves. The calculations in this chapter came from an actual cabinet build. Although, your cabinet design might be bigger, smaller or more sophisticated. The costs of the materials are mostly similar. 

Cabinet Boxes

For the cabinet box, you will need 3/4″ sides, 3/4″ bottom, and a 1/4″ back. If you are making 24″ square cabinets that means you will need 3/8 sheet of 3/4″ plywood and 1/8 sheet of 1/4″ plywood. You may also require some wood (1/4 of a cheapo 1×3 furring strip) to stabilize the cabinet

MaterialUnit costAmount neededCostTotal
¾ plywood$503/8 sheet$18.75 
¼ plywood$251/8 sheet$3.13 
1×3 furring strip$2¼ of an 8 length$0.50 

From the cost calculation above, it cost about $22.38 to make a cabinet box.

Drawers and Shelves

If each cabinet contains 6 tall drawers, 3 medium drawers, 2 large drawers, or a combination of those. This means the smaller drawers will require a 2″ long piece of 1×6 for the drawer front, a 1/8 of a 1/4″ sheet of plywood for the bottom, and 4″ wide pieces of 1/2″ plywood for the sides.

MaterialsUnit costAmount neededCostTotal
1×6$6.50¼ of 8 lengths$1.68 
¼ plywood$361/8 sheet$3.13 
½ plywood$251/12 sheet$3 

Going by this estimate, each small drawer will cost $7.75.


The medium drawer needs 9″ wide pieces of 1/2″ plywood for the sides, a 1/8 of a 1/4″ sheet of plywood for the bottom, and a 2″ long piece of 1×12 for the drawer front.

MaterialsUnit costAmount neededCostTotal
1/2″ Plywood$363/16 of a sheet$6.75 
1/4″ Plywood$251/8 of a sheet$3.13 
1×12 Common Board$121/4 of an 8′ length$3 

This means the medium draws will cost $12.88.


The large drawer will need a 2″ long piece of 1×16 for the drawer front, (4) 14″ wide pieces of 1/2″ plywood for the sides, and 1/8 of a 1/4″ sheet of plywood for the bottom

MaterialsUnit costAmount neededCostTotal
1×16 Panel Board$161/2 of a 4′ length$8 
½ plywood$367/12 of sheet$21 
¼ plywood$251/8 of sheet$3.13 

The large draws will cost $32.13.

Each shelf is made of 1/8 sheet of 3/4″ plywood, and the door of the shelf is made of 12′ of 1×2 for the frame and some 1/4″ plywood for the panels. Each shelf will cost around $6.25. In addition, it will cost around $9.13 to build a pair of the cabinet door.

This means the total cost of building a cabinet with just one piece of all the parts will be $22.38 + $7.75 + $12.88 + $32.13 + $9.13= $84.27

How much should I budget for kitchen cabinets?

From the data above, you will need to budget around $1,000 if you buy your cabinet from the store. But if you are making your cabinet yourself, you will need around $500. This means if you are making your cabinet yourself, you’ll be spending half of the cost it takes to buy a ready-made cabinet from the store.

Is it hard to build your own cabinets?

Contrary to popular notions, building cabinets is rather exciting than most people imagine it to be. However, you must have the knowledge, skills, and tools to successfully execute this project. Cabinet buildings are different from regular carpentry; therefore, they require special techniques that may be complicated for people who lack rudimentary knowledge and skills in this field.

What is the most expensive part of kitchen remodeling?

The most expensive part of kitchen remodeling is the cabinet. The cabinet makes up a large part of the kitchen’s real estate. The kitchen cabinets matter a lot when it comes to kitchen remodeling. The average cost of a standard kitchen cabinet is around $1,000.

Everything, including the paints, labor, and material, plays a role in determining the cabinetry cost. Cabinets are foundational members of the kitchen that are essential for storage and creating functional space. This is why the cabinet is the most expensive part of the kitchen remodeling.


From the breakdown and analyses above, you will agree that making your own cabinet is cheaper than buying a cabinet from the store. However, making your cabinet is only feasible if you have a lot of time and skillset to build a set of cabinets and a shop full of tools.

If you don’t have the skillset, time, and required tools, the best option is to buy your cabinet from the store. It is important to note that while building your cabinet saves you a lot of money, the cost of tools and time is significantly consuming, especially if you lack the rudimentary carpentry experience.