Choosing the First Kitchen Cabinets After Kids go to College

Comment by The AQK Team on April 4, 2017

Choosing the First Kitchen Cabinets After Kids go to College

Cabinets Matter

Now that your kids are all in college and you are free to enjoy your golden years, you might be one of the many empty-nesters who finally want to redecorate their home. And a big part of redecorating your kitchen or bathroom is picking your new kitchen cabinets. The cabinets you choose greatly impact the vibe or style of your kitchen. Your choice matters to your day-to-day life while cooking or eating, and it matters for your home’s retail value.


And after all, according to Consumer Reports, your cabinets will take up about 40% of your remodeling budget.

When picking your new cabinets there are 4 important things you need to consider:


  • Stock, semi, or custom
  • The style
  • The wood
  • And the hardware.


We’ve put together a quick guide to introduce you to the decisions you’ll have to make in your empty-nester redecorating process.

Making Your Choice

Stock, Semi, Or Custom?

Stock Cabinets

Stock cabinets are the most inexpensive cabinets available. There isn’t a wide range of colors and styles (compared to semi or custom cabinet).

With stock cabinets, it’s like buying a car right off the lot at a dealership—you get what you get. This would probably be what you would choose if you still had kids in the house. You don’t need something too nice, you just need something to get the job done. But if you still have college payments, you might be looking at stock or semi-custom cabinets.

Semi-Custom Cabinets

The next rung on the ladder is semi-custom cabinets. Semi-custom cabinets have more options than stock cabinets, so there’s a greater chance they will fit your kitchen’s dimensions more precisely.

With semi-custom cabinets, as with stock cabinets, you may need to sacrifice some potential storage space because the cabinets are not built exactly to your kitchen’s specifications.

The range of styles, colors, and finishes is broader than that of stock cabinets, but not as varied as it would be with custom cabinets. These are a good middle of the road option if you still have college payments to make or aren’t quite willing to go with the top-of-the-line, fully customized cabinets.

Custom Cabinets

Custom cabinets are like the Teslas of cabinets. They are what they sound like—fully customized cabinets made for your particular kitchen.  They’re built to your kitchen’s exact measurements and can be made in any wood, color, finish, and style you like.

However, they are the most expensive and take the longest to order and receive. But if you are finally redecorating to your exact tastes and wishes, this is where you’ll want to splurge. Kitchen Cabinets are worth it. They are a huge focal point of the room and they go through a lot, so high quality is important!!


Once you choose whether you want stock, semi-custom or custom kitchen cabinets, the next choice you have to make is what style you want. This will largely be dictated by what style your entire kitchen is, or will be, designed in.

Framed or Frameless

When picking the cabinet style, you have to choose between framed or frameless.

Framed cabinets have a box and a face frame where the doors and drawers are attached.

Frameless cabinets, also called European style cabinets, have the doors and drawers directly attached to the box. Frameless cabinets look more modern and have better accessibility.

Shaker, Flat, or Inset? Choosing Your Cabinet Style

You also have to choose what style cabinets to have:


  • Shaker: Shaker cabinets are very popular. The design is clean, simple, and can work with lots of different decor styles.
  • Flat: Flat cabinets are, well, flat. They have hard lines and a minimalist vibe that goes well in modern kitchens.
  • Inset: Inset cabinets tend to be more expensive and require exposed hinges. But inset cabinets are a timeless look that will never go out of style.

Types of Wood

A big decision you’ll have to make when choosing a kitchen cabinet is what wood you want. There are lots of options: cherry, mahogany, oak, birch, etc. For a more in depth article about choosing the wood for your cabinet, check out this blog here.



The last choice you have to make is what hardware to install. If you have stock kitchen cabinets, you may have less options, but you can always buy hardware and install it on your own.

The knobs and pulls you choose add the finished look to your kitchen design.  Make sure you pick something that goes with the overall style and feel of your kitchen. If you have flat cabinets in a modern kitchen, choose something sleek and minimalist for your pulls.

Need Help Deciding?

We understand that there are a lot of decisions to make when choosing your new kitchen cabinets. But we have design experts ready to help (And don’t forget our 3-d Kitchen Visualizer!).


This is your big chance to redecorate and redesign your house exactly the way you want to, so you need to get it right! So give us a call today and we can help you get started!


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