Ready-to-assemble (RTA) kitchen cabinets offer an affordable and convenient alternative to custom cabinetry. RTA cabinets come in a flat pack with all the parts and hardware needed for assembly. With some basic DIY skills, RTA cabinets can be put together to create a beautiful, functional kitchen. But with so many RTA cabinet brands on the market, how do you determine what are the best RTA cabinets? Here is an overview of some of the top RTA cabinet options to consider for your kitchen remodeling project.
One of the most important factors in choosing RTA cabinets is the quality of materials and construction. Look for plywood box construction rather than particle board, which is more susceptible to moisture damage over time. Dovetail joinery and reinforced corners add strength and durability. Soft-close doors and drawers prevent slamming and provide a luxury feel.
Quality RTA cabinets will also have furniture-grade finishes that resist scratching, chipping, and fading. Melamine interiors make it easy to wipe away spills and messes. Upgraded features like full extension drawers, adjustable shelves, and functional storage options also increase the usability and value of RTA cabinetry.
Wide Range of Styles
Another major benefit of RTA cabinets is the wide spectrum of door styles and finishes available to match any kitchen design aesthetic. From sleek, modern designs to ornate traditional molding, RTA cabinetry offers lots of options.
Popular door styles include shaker, flat panel, cathedral, and slab. Finishes range from wood tones to painted colors to faux metals and glass. Choosing RTA cabinets allows you to customize your kitchen look while sticking to your budget.
Top Brands of RTA Cabinets
With an overview of what defines quality RTA cabinets, here is a look at some of the top brands in ready-to-assemble cabinetry:
As one of the most widely recognized RTA cabinet brands, IKEA offers contemporary styling at wallet-friendly prices. Their SEKTION line features a 25-year warranty, adjustable legs, and a range of organizational accessories. The METOD system has modern metal frames and doors in wood, glass, or high-gloss finishes. IKEA is ideal for delivering style on a budget.
This made-in-the-USA brand focuses on high-quality materials like solid wood doors and plywood construction. Barker offers limitless customization possibilities with any door style imaginable. Their QC2 Certification ensures stringent standards for quality RTA cabinets. Customers praise Barker’s durability, functionality, and easy assembly.
Specializing in modern designs, KabinArt uses state-of-the-art machinery for precision manufacturing. Their RTA cabinets feature soft-closing doors, adjustable European hinges, and Intergra box joints. Durable finishes and clever storage systems make KabinArt a smart choice for contemporary kitchens.
This online retailer enables customers to fully customize their RTA kitchen. Mix and match from a wide selection of cabinet sizes, materials, door styles, colors, and organizers. CliqStudios handles everything in-house for consistent quality control. Their innovative design tools make it easy to visualize your dream RTA kitchen.
As their name implies, this company focuses on total pre-designed RTA kitchen packages for a streamlined process. Browse their collections for a cohesive finished look with cabinets, countertops, and hardware all included. Ready-To-Go takes the guesswork out of choosing complementary pieces.
What to Look for in RTA Cabinet Construction
Understanding cabinet construction is key to choosing quality RTA kitchen cabinets built to last. Here are the most important elements to look for:
The box shape of the cabinet that supports the shelves and doors should be made of plywood rather than particle board. Plywood offers much more strength and durability. Most quality RTA brands use plywood construction.
Named for their unique finger-shaped pattern, dovetail joints interlock cabinet corners and drawers for superior strength. Dovetails secure the cabinet boxes to avoid loosening over time. Look for full extension drawers with dovetail joinery.
Metal corner braces or blocks provide further structural integrity for RTA cabinet boxes in high-stress areas. This prevents cracking or separation over years of use. Reinforced corners add to the quality construction.
Pre-finished cabinets should have multiple coats of sealant and UV protection to maintain their beauty. Thermally-fused laminate offers extreme resistance to scratching, staining, and fading. Real wood veneer brings warmth, while painted finishes allow for color.
Drawers and doors with self-closing hinges prevent noisy slamming and provide a luxurious feel. Soft-close glides gently into place even if you give it an extra push. This handy feature is worth looking for in RTA cabinets.
RTA Cabinet Buying Considerations
Ready-to-assemble cabinets offer wonderful benefits, but also come with important purchasing considerations:
- Price – Balance your budget with your expectations. Lower-priced cabinets may suit simple designs, while higher quality commands a premium price.
- Assembly – Some DIY skills are required, with more complex cabinetry requiring advanced technical skills. Consider your abilities or hiring a carpenter.
- Timeline – Order cabinets early to avoid delays in stock and shipping. RTA assembly also requires ample time before installing countertops.
- Accessories – Add functional features like pull-out shelves, lazy susans, and tip-out trays. These items make the most of your cabinet storage space.
- Modification – While RTA cabinets cannot be shortened from their factory sizing, some customization like adding trim is possible. Choose adaptable cabinets.
- Support – Look for responsive customer service to answer questions during ordering, delivery, assembly, and installation. Know your support options.
Questions to Ask When Buying RTA Cabinets
Speaking with cabinet specialists and asking the right questions will help ensure you select the best RTA cabinets for your needs:
What types of wood do you use?
High-quality plywood and solid wood doors add durability and beauty. Stay away from brands using particle board or low-grade materials.
Do cabinets have reinforced corner blocks?
Blocking provides increased structural integrity. This prevents loose joints over years of use.
What joinery methods are used?
Dovetail joints are strongest for connecting cabinet boxes and drawers. Avoid stapled or nailed joints, which loosen over time.
Are soft-close hinges included?
Self-closing hinges prevent slamming and give cabinets a smooth, dampened feel when closing. This small detail makes a big difference!
How are cabinets packaged for shipping?
Quality packaging prevents damage in transit. Ask about palletizing, cardboard protectors, and shrink wrapping.
Do you offer replacement parts and returns?
Know what happens if cabinets are damaged or defective parts are discovered during assembly. Choose a company that stands behind their products.
Pros and Cons of RTA Kitchen Cabinets
Ready-to-assemble cabinetry has many advantages along with a few potential disadvantages to weigh:
- Cost savings of 20-50% over custom cabinetry
- Wide range of styles from modern to traditional
- Materials and finishes from melamine to solid wood
- Highly customizable sizing and storage accessories
- Convenience of buying a coordinating kitchen system
- Ability to handle assembly and installation yourself
- Need some DIY construction skills for assembly
- Waiting for shipping and complexity of ordering
- Risk of damage during shipping or assembly
- Limited on shortening cabinet dimensions significantly
- Particle board used in lowest price options
- Lack of one-on-one design services
How Much do RTA Cabinets Cost?
Kitchen cabinet prices ultimately depend on the materials, features, and complexity of your design. Here are some general RTA cabinet cost considerations:
- Basic Cabinets – Particle board boxes with laminate doors start around $50 per linear foot. Opt for plywood upgrades where possible.
- Mid-Range Cabinets – Plywood boxes with solid wood doors run $100-200 per linear foot. This is the sweet spot for good value.
- Premium Cabinets – High-end options with luxury features and finishes range from $250-500 per linear foot. Pay for top quality.
- Whole Kitchen Estimate – To budget for a full RTA kitchen, allow for 15-25 linear feet of cabinets including a sink base and island. This equates to $1500-7000 for a high-quality RTA kitchen.
Keep in mind that additional costs come with countertops, shipping, accessories, installation, and modifying existing cabinetry if applicable. Accurate measurements and planning are essential to get the style you want within your budget.
RTA Cabinet Installation Tips
While RTA cabinets allow homeowners to handle their own kitchen installation, proper cabinetry techniques are essential for a quality result. Here are key factors for success:
Choose Qualified Installers
If opting to hire RTA cabinet installers rather than taking a DIY approach, research companies with proven expertise. Get references from past clients and evaluate sample project photos. Ensure they are fully insured.
Allow Ample Time
Rushing the installation risks damaging the cabinets or producing a sloppy finished look. Set aside at least several days to allow for unpacking, assembly, leveling and securing, with no disruptions.
Assemble in Place When Possible
Constructing cabinets inside the kitchen helps guarantee proper alignment with precise measurements. This avoids having to shift cabinets repeatedly.
Follow Instructions Closely
Carefully adhering to the assembly directions prevents errors in how parts connect. Pay close attention to alignment of drawer slides and hinges.
Use Shims Liberally
Shimming with wood wedges enables leveling cabinets both horizontally and vertically. Take time to verify plumb lines and level surfaces.
Secure Cabinets Together
After leveling individually, use screws, nails, or construction adhesive to join cabinets for a unified block. This provides stability and prevents shifting.
With careful planning and patience during the installation process, homeowners can achieve beautiful results from DIY RTA cabinet projects. Take time to do it right.
Design Inspiration for RTA Kitchens
The versatile nature of RTA cabinets allows you to create nearly any kitchen design aesthetic imaginable. From sleek contemporary spaces to homey traditional kitchens, RTA cabinetry can be adapted to suit your preferred style. Here are some inspiring RTA kitchen design ideas:
The clean lines of flat panel RTA cabinets in a monochromatic palette create a seamless modern look. Contrasting finishes provide visual interest on the island and open shelving gives a lighter feel.
Traditional shaker-style RTA cabinets with visible crown molding and accent colors feel charming and inviting. Open shelving lined with butcher block and metal accents lend a casual farmhouse vibe.
Blending modern and traditional elements, this L-shaped kitchen uses crisp white RTA shaker cabinets with elegant molding accents. Warm wood countertops and antique-inspired hardware bridges old and new.
Pretty pastels and glass front RTA cabinets provide a light and airy cottage aesthetic. Tapered legs, scalloped trim, and undercabinet lighting exude cozy charm. Mirrored backsplash intensifies the brightness.
The industrial trend comes through with hammered metal RTA doors, exposed ductwork, and vent hood. Cast iron hardware and factory-style light fixtures enhance the warehouse look.
With some creativity and smart mixing and matching, RTA cabinets can be customized to your personal taste and transformed into any kitchen style you can envision.
Choosing RTA Cabinet Colors
The finish and color chosen for RTA cabinets sets the tone for your entire kitchen’s decor. Neutral cabinet colors like white or gray keep the space light and airy, while bolder hues make more of a statement. Consider the style you want as well as practical factors when selecting cabinet colors. Here are helpful tips:
- For smaller kitchens, bright white RTA cabinets keep the space feeling open, while darker colors can make the room feel closed in.
- Mixing RTA cabinet colors between the upper and lower cabinets can provide visual separation with complementary tones.
- Choose wood grain RTA cabinet finishes like oak or maple to bring warmth to cool, modern spaces.
- Painted RTA cabinets make it easy to achieve nearly any color of the rainbow for a customized look.
- Stick with lighter RTA cabinet colors like beige if easy maintenance and cleaning is a priority.
- Use accent RTA cabinets, island colors, or open shelving to introduce bolder colors in moderation.
- Consider the undertones of your counter and backsplash selections to coordinate your cabinet color combinations.
- Browse Pinterest, design magazines, or kitchen remodeling websites for RTA cabinet color scheme inspiration.
Keeping your overall style, kitchen size, and lifestyle needs in mind will help guide your perfect RTA cabinet color choice for a seamless look.
RTA Cabinet Storage Solutions
One of the most important kitchen functions is efficient storage space. RTA cabinets offer lots of clever organizational solutions to maximize your usable space for pots, pans, appliances, pantry items, and everything in between. Consider these RTA storage options:
Customize drawers with cutlery dividers, utensil trays, spice racks, and other inserts to neatly arrange cooking tools and define spaces.
Mounted on smooth glide tracks, pull-out shelves in base RTA cabinets double your access to items in the back. No more crawling inside to find what you need!
L-shaped turntables mounted in corner cabinet bases make contents easily accessible. Lazy susans spin food items or plates to your fingertips.
Stackable racks allow you to split RTA cabinets vertically into two or three height-adjustable levels. This is perfect for creating a snack station.
Small tip-out bins mounted under an upper RTA cabinet swing down to dispense commonly used items like spices. Tip-outs save having to open the entire cabinet.
Dedicated cabinet spaces with lift-up doors keep small appliances out of sight. Simply lift the door to access your blender, mixer, or other gadgets.
With some thoughtful organization add-ons, RTA cabinets can provide a place for everything to minimize daily kitchen clutter. Work with an expert kitchen designer to plan your ideal RTA storage solutions.
RTA Cabinet Brand Comparison
To help narrow the options of top-rated RTA cabinet brands, here is an overview of how the main players compare across key factors:
|IKEA||$ – $$||Good||Modern/Basic||Difficult|
|Barker Cabinets||$$$ – $$$$||Excellent||Customizable||Shipping||Moderate|
|KabinArt||$$ – $$$||Very Good||Modern||Shipping||Easy|
This breakdown shows how factors like budget, construction, and ease of assembly differ between major RTA brands. Identifying your must-have features helps select the best brand for your particular kitchen needs and preferences.
Are RTA Cabinets Right for You?
Ready-to-assemble kitchen cabinets provide wonderful benefits, but also have limitations to consider. Think through the following factors to decide if RTA cabinetry is the right choice for your kitchen:
- Are you comfortable with some light DIY construction for assembly?
- Does the large range of sizing options work for your layout?
- Do you have time to wait for shipping and handle the installation?
- Does the cost savings appeal to your budget for renovating?
- Do RTA cabinets offer the styles and finishes you find most attractive?
- Can RTA cabinets provide enough customization for a personalized look?
- Will an RTA supplier offer enough design support for your needs?
If you answered yes to most of these questions, then RTA cabinetry could be an ideal kitchen remodeling solution for you. Weighing your skills, time, budget, and style priorities will determine if ready-to-assemble cabinets suit your next project. With many quality options to browse, RTA cabinet brands make achieving beautiful, functional kitchen designs achievable at attractive price points. Just follow important tips for purchasing, assembly and installation to get the most from RTA cabinetry.
- Focus on quality construction like plywood boxes and dovetail joinery when choosing RTA cabinets.
- Leading RTA cabinet brands like IKEA, Barker, and KabinArt offer style and customization at reasonable costs.
- Carefully plan cabinet measurements and leave ample assembly time for the installation process.
- Clever storage additions like pull-out shelves maximize usable space within your RTA cabinets.
- Mixing cabinet colors, styles, and finishes allows you to design personalized RTA kitchens.
- Evaluate your budget, skills, and needs to determine if RTA cabinetry is the right choice for your kitchen remodel.
With the right RTA cabinets and good DIY techniques, you can transform your kitchen into a beautiful and functional heart of your home. Taking the time to research and select quality ready-to-assemble cabinetry from reputable brands will ensure lasting performance and satisfaction bringing your dream kitchen to life.