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Comparing Kitchen Estimates From 3 Retailers

Ever dream about a kitchen renovation but not sure where to start?

Cabinet prices are often confusing and don't always tell you the actual to estimated costs or what's included. Typically, for our properties, we go with Ikea; but this time, we had a particular look which we wanted and thought maybe we could jump start the process with pre assembled cabinets. So, we shopped around to see what other options were available and affordable. Read below to find out how much each retailer quoted us and what exactly they were offering.


Inspiration:

This house was built in the 1920s and had a cute colonial feel. We knew for this kitchen we wanted to match the tone but modernize it with what we lovingly referred to as "muddy putty" cabinets, bright quartz countertops while expanding and adding some upgrades to the space like a full beverage bar wall, large island and matching cabinets flanking the laundry/mudroom area. Yes, this is quite a bit of cabinets, about 24 total - so we developed a design as a baseline to compare at all 3 retailers and this is what we found!

Keeping it classic and clean while warming it up with a more putty gray cabinet, warm gold tones throughout, and a natural oak hardwood flanking the kitchen.

Above are some of our inspirations for the space, which inspired our mood board and overall look.

 

RETAILER 1 : IKEA

 

What we love about Ikea is how easy it is to build out our kitchen to our vision and see what options are available. We've used them in the past and are very familar. If you're interested in a full review of Ikea cabients check out our blog post here.


They did have a creamy beige option that seemed to fit the style we wanted but we didn't love the fluted front styling on the doors and we weren't exactly excited about the organizational Tetris that would ensue. Additionally, Ikea is about an hour drive each way for us, so we look forward to a more regional option.


OUR KITCHEN PLANS : not pictured tall pantry and built-ins around laundry area


THE COST:

For cabinets alone, this design came in at $9,500 which isn't far off from what we wanted to spend. But, with the addition of countertops we would be well over $10,000 which was realistically where we wanted to be. The only consideration we had here was time spent waiting on delivery, assembling, installing and then having people come to measure countertops. Time is money, especially on a flip so that investment was an important factor for us to keep in mind.

 

RETAILER 2: CABINETS-TO-GO

 

This was our first experience with this company. It was an option that we've heard about, promising the lowest prices and somewhat of a discount reputation. When we saw that there was a store location close to our property, we figured we would sit down and see how the prices and options are.

We had to go to the showroom to create a build with the designer, pretty standard practice. We found their options were kinda limited, at least for us who were looking for affordable options with the quickest lead times. This would be their "tier 1"from the manufacturer and available from the retailer, they didn't have any color in this tier that had the tone we wanted so we choose white. Womp, womp. Obviously, there are more color and style options but they are much pricier and take a while since they are "custom".

LEARNINGS:

Their cabinets are made out of plywood, not press-board like many retailers, but they are RTA. (Ready to assemble - aka DIY construction) However, one of the benefits is that they do come with all the parts boxed together for each cabinet structure - this is a bit more orderly than the Ikea process. Another thing we found through conversation was that they charge a delivery fee PER MILE! Lucky for us, our property is within a 10 mile radius from the store, so there would not be a fee for us, but this could be a major cost for someone who doesn't live close and so its a WATCH-OUT.


OUR KITCHEN PLANS:

Our images and plans were limited to what the designer would send us.

THE COST:

When the design was complete, we were SHOCKED when the designer told us the design was $19,000 not including countertops. With countertops we were looking at $25,000 and we immediately dismissed this option knowing that Ikea had cheaper and more aesthetically appealing options for us!

(Disclaimer: While we realize some cabinets are pricey and plywood is better quality than most, this kitchen is for a property that we are renovating and planning to sell so we aren't designing for ourselves or our forever home.)

Here is an updated emailed quote I received once their offer sale expired.
 

RETAILER 3 : LOWES

 

We decided to try Lowe's kitchen for our final design because they were in close proximity to our property. It's where we bought all our tile and we felt it was really accessible and easy to compare all our finishes and colors in one store.

We already built out a kitchen example online using their kitchen builder, so we had some idea what options they had and we was very pleased to find their pre-built, off the shelf option in Wintucket Cloud was a beautiful taupe gray (with green undertones) that we had our heart set on.This image definitely portrays it way warmer than it is in person, i'd say its a warm gray.

So, we sat with a designer, again - this step was helpful though because they have a better sense of what options are available and what final prices would be once done. We were able to ask questions and make sure we fully understood the differences in some of their cabinets.

It's worth noting that Lowes has a TON of colors and styles available but these would also qualify as "custom" which as stated before, we weren't interested in. (For an investment property we were looking for something somewhat unique, fast and affordable!)


OUR KITCHEN PLANS:

THE COST:

We knew stock cabinets would be an affordable option, but we were so pleased to find that the cabinets alone came in around $7,000. Additionally, there was a 30% Off Select

Silestone Quartz Installed Countertops which put their options for quartz at some of the MOST affordable we've seen. We typically shop at a granite yard where the cheapest quartz are 100/sq. ft - the options at Lowes ranged from $55/sq ft and up! Honestly, these prices alone we were impressed with because we struggled to find granite this cheap.

BUT - we are not done! There are SO many benefits to shopping at Lowes.

For one, we are a Lowe's pro member, meaning we gain rewards points and cash back with every purchase. So not only are there cash back incentives, you receive 5% off your purchase when you use a credit card! There happen to be a sale on in-stock cabinets of 10% off + the additional 5% off with our credit card use - bringing our cabinet total to $6,820.59

For countertops, there is an online estimator that Lowes uses, with the sale and credit card discount put us at $4,752.33 putting the cost at $61/sq. ft and our GRAND TOTAL for the complete kitchen at: $11,572.92


 

THE VERDICT

 

If you haven't already guessed - we went with Lowe's. There were a couple benefits and reasons we chose this:

  1. First and foremost cost + selection. We were so pleased with what we got for the money.

  2. Location is so quick and easy to pick up more material or make returns/exchanges

  3. Pre-built means we saved so much time and only had to mount/install making it a breeze

Here are some images of the final installation.


So - lesson learned, put the time in to do your homework, shop around and don't discount big box stores. As we wrap up this kitchen renovation, we plan to drop a post about the pros, cons and any hiccups we encountered with these pre-built cabinets.


If you have any questions or recommendations, drop up a comment below!

Sincerely,


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Josh + Loretta

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We love to plus things up! We are firm believers in "love what you do and who you do it with", which is why we work together on all our projects.

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Comments (2)

Christian Johnson
Christian Johnson
Apr 30

Highly satisfied with the lock installation service provided by Locksmith Gastonia NC company. The team was courteous, knowledgeable, and went above and beyond to ensure that the locks were installed correctly.


Hope Christine
Hope Christine
Jan 26

I am looking for a neutral color for a small townhouse that I can paint walls trim and ceilings. What do you suggest??

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