What are the key differences between stock, semi-custom, and custom cabinetry?

January 3, 2023

What are the key differences between stock, semi-custom, and custom cabinetry?

January 3, 2023

Cabinets are one of the most important features in any kitchen or bathroom. They provide vital storage space and support the overall visual aesthetics of the interior. Yet choosing the best cabinetry during a home remodel can take time and effort.

A common question homeowners face is whether to go with stock, semi-custom, or custom cabinetry. This article explores the main differences between these types of cabinets, together with a detailed look at the pros and cons of each.

What is Stock Cabinetry?

Stock cabinets are pre-manufactured and ready-made with no customization options. Essentially, they are mass-produced in a factory according to set parameters. So what you see is what you’re taking home.

As a retailer’s most basic and entry-level product, the construction methods and materials are often of a lower quality than more bespoke and customizable alternatives. For example, many are simply plywood with veneers and basic hardware.

That said, you can still find stock cabinetry that looks nice and will last a good while, but it’s essential to choose carefully.

Stock cabinetry is typically between $100–$300 per square foot. You can find cabinets in different sizes with options available in 3-inch increments. They can be anything from 9 inches to 48 inches wide and between 30 inches to 36 inches tall.

Due to the non-existent customization options, stock cabinets generally suit regular-shaped kitchens with plenty of long straight lines and space.


  • Most affordable option
  • Quick turnaround with products in stock and delivery potentially the same day
  • Suitable for regular-shaped kitchens


  • Lower quality
  • Limited selection
  • Unsuitable for irregular shaped kitchens

What is Semi-Custom Cabinetry?

Semi-custom cabinetry is a hybrid of stock and custom cabinetry. These cabinets are stock units with extra customization options. With semi-custom cabinetry, you have a few more choices.

It’s sometimes difficult to define where the boundaries are when it comes to stock and semi-custom options because different suppliers and manufacturers will offer differing customization possibilities.

That said, semi-custom cabinetry usually comes in standard sizes as with the stock cabinetry options but gives designers the flexibility to resize and modify some aspects of the cabinet design. Therefore, it’s important to check the options available before moving forward with your remodel.

The cost of semi-custom cabinets is typically at a midway point between stock and custom. However, with more modifications, the costs can potentially overtake those of custom selections—anywhere from $150 to $650 per square foot.

It’s worth getting a quote for both semi-custom and custom, as the two quotes may surprise you.


  • Allows for some design freedom (i.e., hardware, finish, and paint color)
  • Usually more affordable than a fully customized option
  • Faster delivery
  • Potentially easier to find replacement parts in the future


  • Less design freedom than a fully customizable method
  • May still be unsuitable for irregular shaped kitchens

What is Custom Cabinetry?

custom kitchen remodel west lafayette

Custom cabinetry is the polar opposite of stock cabinetry. As the name suggests, this type of kitchen or bathroom cabinet is custom-built to meet your specifications and tastes. The design possibilities are endless, and a professional design-build team of experienced craftspeople can create just about any look you desire.

Custom cabinets, as you would expect, are special order items. They are designed and crafted per particular requirements, meaning it can take some time for the units to be ready for installation.

By going custom, you’re not restricted when it comes to the style of your kitchen or bathroom. The cabinets, custom designed and built, will seamlessly merge into the overall interior design scheme, whatever it may be.

Custom Cabinetry is typically $500+ per square foot.


  • Designed to fit your exact needs and tastes
  • Freedom to select high-quality and durable materials
  • Can be designed to fit any kitchen


  • Patience is needed as they take longer to design and build
  • Extra quality can mean higher costs

Which Option Should You Choose?

Choosing the right cabinetry for your kitchen or bathroom is one of the most critical decisions you’ll make during the remodeling process. We’ve outlined the different types of cabinetry options in this article, but which option should you choose?

Your selection ultimately depends on several factors, including your budget, needs, design preferences, and the dimensions of the specific interior space.

Stock cabinets are the most affordable option and also the easiest in terms of selection and installation. Yet fully custom cabinets, while more expensive and longer to develop, do provide you with an exceptional level of customization and higher quality.

A good middle ground is a semi-custom route. You have the benefits of both worlds at a reduced cost compared to the fully custom, but with more design options than the stock cabinetry.

If you have your heart set on a particular interior design theme for your kitchen or bathroom – or it’s already in place – then a custom cabinetry option might be the best option.

If your budget is a significant concern, a stock cabinetry option is likely a sensible way forward. But as mentioned already, it’s worth getting a quote for two or more of the options above.

You never know what your budget might be able to cover and the benefits of further cabinetry customization.

Your trusted team of design-build professionals will be able to give you expert guidance, ideas, and quotes for all possibilities.

Work With a Qualified Design Build Firm like Riverside Construction

Riverside Construction, founded in 2008, is the go-to professional design-build team that has earned the respect and confidence of discerning homeowners in the Lafayette and West Lafayette areas.

With an award-winning team of highly skilled and experienced professionals in a range of fields, we excel at listening to client ideas and then translating those dreams into reality. We can help you decide on a direction, provide guidance on remodeling issues, and be with you every step of the way to ensure your dream home is achieved.

Contact us now to schedule an initial conversation about your upcoming remodel. We’ll be happy to answer your questions, listen to your ideas, soothe your worries, and work with you to finalize your plans.

Icon depicting two people with speech bubbles at a table, symbolizing the option to schedule a conversation with Riverside Construction about home remodeling projects.

Schedule a Conversation

← Back

Schedule a Conversation

If you are interested in learning more about Riverside Construction or are interested in scheduling a no cost design consultation, feel free to contact us at (765) 838-1644 or complete the form below. Note that any information you provide will be kept confidential.

How can we help you? Give a brief description of the project you have in mind.
Thank you! We will reach out to you as soon as possible during office hours: M-F 8am-5pm.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
How to Start Your Home Remodeling Project Off Right
Including 7 Key Remodeling Mistakes to Avoid!
Thank You!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.