Kitchen cabinets can be one of the most expensive parts of a kitchen remodel. With the cost of new cabinets easily running into the thousands of dollars, finding ways to save money on this big-ticket item can make a major difference in your overall kitchen renovation budget. The good news is that with some savvy shopping and creative thinking, there are plenty of ways to score cheap or even free kitchen cabinets without sacrificing quality or style.
Check Classified Listings
One of the best places to find inexpensive kitchen cabinets is right in your local classified ads. Homeowners often remove and replace relatively modern kitchen cabinets during renovations, and are eager to sell the gently used cabinets they took out to recoup some of their costs. You can find these secondhand cabinets for sale on sites like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, OfferUp and Nextdoor.
When browsing cabinet listings, pay attention to the brand, age, condition and dimensions provided. High-end brands like KraftMaid and Cherrywood tend to retain their value and last longer. Look for cabinets no more than 5-10 years old, without major blemishes, scratches or damage described. Measure your existing cabinet runs and space to determine what size cabinets will fit. Arranging to see the cabinets in person before purchasing is wise to inspect quality. Offering to haul away the cabinets yourself can sometimes knock a bit off the price.
With some hunting, you can often find high-quality secondhand cabinets for cents on the dollar versus retail pricing. Even with the cost of new doors, hardware and any refinishing, major savings can be realized. Paying $500-800 for a nearly full set of used cabinets in good shape beats paying $5,000 or more for brand new. Be ready to move quickly when deals pop up, as the best listings go fast.
Check Habitat for Humanity ReStores
Another place to uncover discounted cabinets is at your local Habitat for Humanity ReStore. This nonprofit home improvement resale outlet sells new and used building materials, furniture, appliances and more donated by homeowners and businesses. Inventory varies, but you can often find cabinets here for 50-75% off retail prices.
Scope out the ReStore’s cabinet selection in person. Look along the walls and on the floors for cabinet boxes. Check the colours, conditions and sizes available. Measure for what will fit your space. Examine them closely for damage. Test doors and drawers for smooth operation.
Sometimes full cabinet sets are available, other times just single pieces. Be prepared to mix and match colors and styles to cobble together a complete cabinetry set. Expect to need to sand down, paint or stain cabinets to achieve a uniform look. You may also need to replace old doors and hardware. Factor these extra costs in before deciding if discounted ReStore cabinets are worth purchasing.
But with some creativity and elbow grease, major savings can be found. Even one or two great cabinets scored for $50-100 each can translate to hundreds in savings for just part of your cabinetry installation. Check the ReStore often, as inventory turns over rapidly.
Watch for Remodeling Project Teardowns
If you don’t mind doing some deconstruction work yourself, watching for local home remodeling projects being gutted and dismantled can lead you to cabinets for cheap or even free. Homeowners undertaking major renovations are often happy to let you haul away and claim old cabinets and materials removed to clear way for new finishes.
Check Nextdoor, Craigslist and local community Facebook groups for remodeling project leads. Homeowners will sometimes advertise that they have materials available free for the taking. Drive around your neighbourhood looking for dumpsters, construction crews and remodeling work being done. Knock on the door and offer your contact info to haul away old cabinets about to be discarded.
Be prepared to carefully detach and extract the cabinets yourself. This will require tools, manpower and a truck or trailer for transport. Take precautions not to damage the existing home. Carefully extract any nails, screws and caulk to remove cabinets intact and unmarred.
This salvage approach takes more effort, but cabinets obtained for free or nearly free can yield huge savings if they are in decent shape. At most, you may need to replace doors and hardware to get a unified look. Just be selective about quality and condition, as worn or damaged cabinets may not merit the effort.
Check Building & Architectural Salvage Stores
For an upgraded version of demolition cabinet finds, visit a local building or architectural salvage store. These resale warehouses specialize in reclaimed building materials harvested from remodeling teardowns, building removals, foreclosures and more. This includes a wide range of cabintes removed and resold.
Quality architectural salvage stores are selective about sourcing cabinets in sound structural shape with all parts intact. Damaged or missing pieces are repaired or replaced. Cabinets are cleaned, prepped and resold at a fraction of original cost.
When shopping, scrutinize cabinets closely for condition. Look for solid cabinet boxes absent bowed panels, water damage or dry rot. Test doors, shelves and drawers for smooth function. Avoid pieces with broken hinges or slides. Examine edges and faces for chips and gouges that will require extensive patching/sanding.
With some smart selection, salvaged cabinets can provide substantial savings off new cabinet costs. Expect to pay 25-50% less than big box retail prices. Factor in any repairs, refinishing, new doors or hardware you may need to achieve a cohesive look. But with extra effort, major savings are possible.
Check Out Auctions & Liquidations
Another potential source for marked down kitchen cabinets is auctions and liquidation sales. Homeowners, landlords, builders, remodelers, and cabinet dealers sometimes sell off surplus stock and overages at auction. Banks and real estate agents may auction foreclosure home contents as well.
The discounts can be significant, but you have to do your homework. Preview items in advance to gauge quality. Check for damage, wear, missing or broken components. Carefully measure to ensure cabinets will fit your space. Determine if you can achieve a consistent look through refinishing.
Learn the auction terms thoroughly too. Make sure you can extract purchased cabinets within the stipulated timeframe. Factor in any buyer premiums charged on top of your winning bid. Be prepared to pay in full on auction day. Arrange help and a vehicle for removal.
With the right bargain find, auctions can yield beautiful cabinets for a fraction of retail cost. But improper measuring, hidden damage, or lack of attention to removal details can quickly erase any savings. Tread carefully to maximize auction savings on cabinetry.
Check Discount Building Supply Outlets
Big box home improvement warehouses like Home Depot and Lowe’s can provide major savings on stock, discontinued and returned cabinets. Shop for open box specials, scratch and dent markdowns, installer overstocks, and display model discounts. Savings off retail can range 25% to 75% with some persistent hunting.
Scan clearance aisles, end caps, and discounted or returned merchandise sections. Comb through separate areas for cabinets, kitchens, bathrooms, and appliances. Query sales associates about available deals. Negotiate steeper markdowns for display models, floor models, or damaged goods.
Inspect discounted cabinets very closely prior to purchase. Look for broken, cracked, dented or scratched areas. Test doors, shelves, and drawers for smooth operation. Ensure all hardware and parts are present. Measure carefully to guarantee proper fit. Calculate the cost of any needed repairs for a true bargain assessment.
With some flexible design thinking, even mismatched discounted cabinets can be adapted into budget-friendly kitchen cabinetry with eclectic flair. Just maintain realistic expectations, inspect thoroughly for damage, and budget/prep for any repairs needed to utilize major marked down finds.
Check Out Cabinet Warehouse Outlets & Scratch & Dent Discounters
Another potential source of bargain kitchen cabinets are at warehouse outlet stores and scratch & dent retailers that specialize in factory overstocks, returns, closeouts and slightly imperfect cabinets at steep discounts. These retailers purchase the excess inventory and B-stock directly from manufacturers.
Because they buy in serious bulk volume and have lower operating costs than big box chains, the discounts they can offer are impressive. Expect to pay 30-60% below major home improvement store prices. Carefully check for minor flaws, damage or missing hardware. Measure accurately. Inspect doors, shelves and drawers for fit and function.
Focus on locating sound cabinet boxes even if doors, fronts or faces are slightly damaged. New doors and drawer fronts can inexpensively replace less than perfect surfaces. Look for cabinets discounted due to minor corner dings, small scratches or chips on not overly noticeable areas. Imperfections that won’t impact structure or operation can yield major savings you can work around with some creativity.
Check for Cabinet Discounts on Overstock Websites
Online overstock websites like Overstock.com, WayFair and Hayneedle often sell excess cabinet inventory direct from manufacturers at clearance prices. Discounts of 50% or more off big box prices are not uncommon. Shipping or truck freight fees apply, but can still result in major savings overall.
The key is carefully scrutinizing product descriptions and details. Look for specifics on damage, defects, irregularities or missing parts. Study all photos closely to spot imperfections. Avoid pieces with significant material or structural issues. Focus on sound cabinet boxes.
Factor in the cost of replacing any damaged doors, drawers or faces. Confirm units are appropriately sized for your space. Account for accurate shipping charges based on dimensions, weight and delivery distance. Read return policies closely in case pieces arrive problematic or defective.
With realistic expectations and careful selection, overstock sites can yield some serious savings on quality cabinets. Just budget for any replacement doors and parts that may be needed and arrange for proper delivery.
Check Cabinet Liquidators
Searching for kitchen cabinet liquidators can also uncover steep discounts. These retailers specialize in buying large quantities of excess cabinetry inventory directly from manufacturers at extremely discounted rates. This allows them to pass on dramatic savings to customers, often for solid quality products.
The key is sticking to reputable liquidation specialists that thoroughly inspect and vet the products they acquire. Avoid fly-by-night operators. Focus on long-time regional or national firms with established presences and solid reputations. Search for guarantees that cabinets are structurally sound and fully functional.
As when buying scratch and dent cabinets, scrutinize available inventory closely for damage, defects and missing hardware. Measure carefully for proper sizing. Calculate costs of replacing any damaged or missing components. Confirm delivery fees. Liquidator deals can yield huge savings, but require diligent inspection before purchase.
Negotiate with Big Box Stores & Cabinet Dealers
Don’t be afraid to negotiate with major home improvement chains, independent kitchen design showrooms, and cabinet dealers to attempt to score discounts. Many display models, open box items and installer samples are available at marked down rates with some polite haggling.
Wait for off-peak seasons or sales events when dealers are most motivated to move stock. Point out any scratches or dings on floor models. Note missing hardware pieces or opened boxes. Offer 10-25% below list pricing based on flaws or use. Get quotes in writing.
If quoted new cabinet prices exceed your budget, explain your financial constraints and ask if there are any flexibility or alternatives. Request quotes on more affordable brands, smaller customizable cabinet lines, or simpler door styles. Some haggling and creative thinking can stretch dollars further. Just always get any discounts in writing before finalizing purchase.
Watch for Cabinet Giveaways on Freecycle & Craigslist
Don’t overlook free online classifieds and giveaway sites like Freecycle and Craigslist as resources for scoring cabinets for free. Homeowners renovating sometimes list cabinets they have removed and are willing to give away to avoid landfilling. You may need to carefully detach and haul them away.
Post wanted ads describing the types of cabinets you seek for your project. Scour listings in the “free,” “curb alert” and “materials” sections. Respond quickly to cabinet offers, as the best free finds go fast. Arrange prompt pickup.
Be prepared for an eclectic mix of cabinet styles, brands, sizes, colors and conditions when cobbling together free finds. Allow time and budget for refinishing cabinets for a cohesive look. Factor in any costs for new doors, handles or refacing materials.
Check Budget-Friendly Cabinet Brands
If purchasing new affordable cabinets, look into quality economy-priced cabinetry lines from brands like KraftMaid’s BrassCraft, Waypoint Living’s Kemper, Diamond’s Aristokraft Cabinetry, Woodland Reserve from MasterBrand Cabinets, or Hampton Bay from Home Depot. These offer decent quality at relatively low price points for budget-friendly kitchen cabinet options.
Comparison shop for best pricing, and wait for periodic sales, promotions and specials. Consider ordering partially assembled cabinetry you can finish on your own. Opt for smaller, more compact cabinet sizes to reduce linear footage costs. Choose economical door profiles in painted finishes for a streamlined look. Prioritize spending on visible fronts and economize on box construction.
With smart selection of both style and retailer, it is possible to outfit an entire kitchen with new, decent quality budget-friendly cabinets for under $3,000-5,000. Marked down surplus, overstocks or open-box models from major dealers and home centers can also help hit affordable targets for new lower-cost cabinet sets. Just allocate ample time for thorough comparison shopping.
Consider Ready-to-Assemble Cabinets
Ready-to-assemble (RTA) kitchen cabinets present another new cabinet option gaining popularity for cost savings. Sold flat-packed for customer assembly, RTA cabinets eliminate some overhead, shipping and labor costs, passing on discounts.
Brands like IKEA stock a wide range of affordable RTA cabinets in a variety of sizes, finishes and configurations. Quality discounters like RTA Cabinet Store offer broad RTA cabinetry selection with frequent sales. Even home stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot carry affordable own-brand RTA cabinet lines.
With RTA cabinets, you assemble cabinets yourself using provided instructions and hardware. While requiring some homeowner effort, major savings can be achieved. Costs run 20-50% below custom cabinetry quotes. Just ensure you are able to complete finishing work like door hanging and drawer glide installation. Factor any tools needed into project budgets.
Reface or Refinish Existing Cabinets
Instead of fully replacing old cabinets, consider refacing or refinishing your existing cabinetry units instead. Just replacing doors, drawers and hardware creates a dramatically updated look at a fraction of full cabinet replacement cost. Painting, staining, distressing or resurfacing cabinets breathes fresh life into kitchens at very low cost as well.
Measure cabinet openings carefully and shop for new replacement doors to match. Consider affordable new veneers, laminates or thermofoils that adhere over cabinet surfaces for quick facelifts. Durable cabinet paints and stains work wonders. Distressed finishes hide flaws. Decorative glass door inserts refresh worn cabinets instantly.
With some creative vision and strategic upgrades, existing cabinets can be adapted to suit fresh new kitchen aesthetics. Refacing or refinishing often allows quality cabinets to be retained at a fraction of full replacement expense. Just budget ample time for proper cabinet prep to ensure durable, long-lasting makeovers.
Consider DIY Cabinet Building
Finally, another cost-saving tactic is to build some or all of your kitchen cabinets yourself. With careful planning, handy skills, and some guidance from a good cabinetmaking book, it is fully possible for a committed DIYer to construct quality cabinets from scratch at a fraction of retail cost.
Start with a simple cabinet box design that you can replicate several times. Use affordable plywood and lumber purchased at bulk rates. Set up a jig system to streamline efficient, repeatable assembly. Focus on clean joinery and seamless surfaces. Build in stages, allowing ample drying time for finishes.
Add store-bought doors, drawer fronts and hardware purchased on sale or discount for big savings on those detailed elements. Seek helper experience if needed for trickier aspects like installing precision drawer slides. With persistence and care, major savings rewards await.
How to Find the Best Kitchen Cabinet Deals
With the wide range of options available, how can you determine where to get the very best deals on quality kitchen cabinets on a budget? Here are some insider tips:
- Frequent discount retailers regularly. Stop into discount home improvement and overstock outlets near you often. Scan clearance sections and ask about open-box specials so you’re ready to snag markdowns when they occur. Sign up for sale alerts.
- Time purchases strategically. Look for seasonal sales around holidays and summer. Shop end of model year or inventory clearance events. Avoid peak remodeling seasons when demand is higher.
- Take measurements in advance. Know your existing cabinet sizes, layout and measurements so you can quickly assess whether discounted cabinets will fit properly.
- Inspect thoroughly for damage. Carefully check the full interior and exterior of discounted cabinets for scratches, chips, cracks or dents that would require repairs.
- Test functionality on site. Open and close all doors and drawers. Check shelves and hardware. Examine kitchen cabinet edges and corners closely.
- Ask about return or refund policies. Understand options if cabinets arrive damaged or defective. Factor possible return shipping costs into bargain assessments.
- Calculate total project costs realistically. Add up expenses for delivery fees, replacing damaged components, new finishes, and any installation or modification work required to utilize marked down cabinets.
- Move quickly on classified deals. Email or call immediately about used cabinets advertised at low prices locally. Good deals won’t last long.
- Bring helpers and tools for cabinet removals. Arrange manpower and supplies for carefully detaching and loading haul-away cabinets from remodeling sites.
With the right combination of advance planning, careful inspection, and brisk decisive action when the best deals arise, scoring fantastically discounted kitchen cabinets is an attainable goal. Just stay organized, realistic, and persistent, and you’ll likely uncover just the cabinets your kitchen needs on a budget-friendly price.
Creative Ways to Save on Kitchen Cabinet Costs
Beyond shopping discounts and bargains, there are also clever design approaches that allow you to reduce the number of cabinets required or select more affordable sizes and configurations to trim costs. Consider these creative solutions:
Opt for Open Shelving
Nixing upper cabinets entirely in favor of open shelves slashed cabinet footage. Opt for budget-friendly metal utility shelving, or build custom wood shelving to suit. Add style with accent lighting underneath. Open storage eliminates doors and requires fewer boxes.