Ready-to-assemble (RTA) cabinets are a popular option for many homeowners looking to renovate their kitchens or bathrooms on a budget. As the name suggests, RTA cabinets come packaged with all the parts and hardware needed for assembly. They offer an affordable and customizable alternative to purchasing pre-assembled cabinetry.

What Are the Benefits of RTA Cabinets?

There are several advantages that make RTA cabinets an attractive choice:

Cost Savings

One of the biggest benefits of RTA cabinets is the cost savings compared to custom or prefab cabinetry. Since you assemble them yourself, you avoid paying extra labor costs. The cabinets themselves also tend to be cheaper than other options.


With RTA cabinets, you can choose from a wide range of sizes, finishes, door styles and organizational features to create a kitchen or bathroom that fits your needs and preferences. Many retailers offer a design service to help you customize your layout.

Easier Installation

Installing RTA cabinets is a DIY-friendly process that can be managed by handy homeowners. The cabinets come with detailed instructions for assembly and mounting. You can install them at your own pace without coordinating professionals.

Quality Materials

Don’t let the DIY appeal fool you – many RTA cabinets are constructed from quality hardwoods, plywood and finishes. Durability won’t be sacrificed for affordability with reputable cabinet brands.

What Should I Know Before Buying RTA Cabinets?

While RTA cabinets make renovating easier on the wallet, there are a few things to keep in mind:

Assembly Time

Make sure to allot enough time for assembly, which can take several hours to a few days depending on the size of your kitchen or bathroom. Some complicated cabinet designs may require more than one person to install.

Potential Delays

If you are remodeling on a tight schedule, be warned that RTA cabinets could take several weeks to ship. Supply chain issues over the past couple of years have made timelines less predictable.

Need for Precision

Accurate measurements, level installation and special tools are key for proper assembly. If you don’t have the right equipment or carpentry skills, the quality of your finished cabinets may suffer.

Limited Selection In-Store

While you can customize RTA cabinets, your options are still more limited than dealing with a custom cabinet maker. If you have a very unique kitchen layout, RTA may not suffice.

What Are the Steps for Assembling RTA Cabinets?

Here is a general overview of the RTA cabinet assembly process:

1. Read the Instructions Thoroughly

Before starting, carefully read the assembly manuals and take inventory of all the cabinet parts and hardware. Make sure you understand each step.

2. Set Up Proper Workspace

Choose a clean, level area with ample room to work. You’ll need the space to lay out components and safely operate tools. Garages and basement floors are ideal.

3. Install Wall Cabinets First

It’s easiest to install wall cabinets before base cabinets. Make sure they are level and secure. Most RTA cabinets hang on a rail system mounted to the wall.

4. Add Base Cabinets

After joining base cabinet boxes, attach them to each other by driving screws through intersecting side walls. Shim underneath cabinets to level if needed.

5. Install Doors and Drawers

Once cabinets are mounted, add doors, shelves and smooth-glide drawers. Adjust hinges so doors align cleanly when closed.

6. Secure Countertops

With all cabinets in place, take careful measurements and cut countertops to size. Place countertops on cabinets and anchor securely into place.

7. Add Finishing Touches

Finally, install any remaining organizational hardware, side panels, trim molding and lighting fixtures. Finish by cleaning surfaces and wiping away excess glue.

Where Can I Purchase Quality RTA Cabinets?

Here are some of the most popular retailers to buy RTA cabinets online or in-store:

  • IKEA – IKEA is perhaps the best known RTA cabinet brand. Their SEKTION line includes a variety of modern cabinet styles and configurations.
  • The Home Depot – From brands like Hampton Bay and Design Elements, Home Depot stocks affordable RTA cabinets in many stores.
  • Lowe’s – Lowe’s also sells RTA cabinets both on their website and in stores under brand names like SmartBase and Allen + Roth.
  • Wayfair – For a wide selection of RTA cabinet styles with no shortage of customization options, Wayfair is worth checking out.
  • – This website allows you to design and order RTA cabinets online that ship from local manufacturers.

Key Takeaways About RTA Cabinets

  • RTA or ready-to-assemble cabinets offer a budget-friendly way for DIYers to remodel kitchens and bathrooms.
  • Because you assemble them at home, RTA cabinets cost less than custom cabinetry.
  • RTA cabinets come in standardized sizes but can be customized with different finishes, storage options and more.
  • While assembly is required, RTA cabinets are designed for simpler DIY installation compared to traditional cabinetry.
  • Carefully following instructions and taking precise measurements are key steps for properly assembling RTA cabinets.
  • Popular retailers like IKEA, Home Depot and Lowes all sell quality RTA cabinet lines both online and in stores.

So if you’re renovating on a budget but don’t want to sacrifice style, RTA cabinets present an attractive option for affordable, customizable kitchen or bathroom cabinetry. Just be prepared to put in some assembly time before enjoying your beautiful new cabinets!