How to Shop for Kitchen Cabinets on the Cheap

updated Jul 15, 2020
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(Image credit: Sarah Coffey)

Cabinetry usually adds up to about half of kitchen renovation expenses, so if you have a small budget, you’ve got to find ways to cut costs. Shop sales, check second-hand and salvage stores, try a demolition auction, or find ways to get a custom look from big box sources.

Shop for Discounts on Stock Cabinets

For kitchen cabinet sources, click here.

27ab08854be60e6e662d4e5f16d0f89c9b23f988. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Home Depot
Big box stores like Home Depot have frequent discounts on stock kitchen cabinets.

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Through 5/3/13, they’re having a Special Order kitchen cabinet promotion, with savings up to $10,000

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This store focuses on higher-end custom cabinetry, rather than cheaper in-store stock, but they sometimes have sales at their Park Avenue location.

Scour Your Local Salvage Shop

For a national short list of salvage shops, click here.

e437c32ddfe4fe518a40cf62189534ab029207de. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Habitat for Humanity ReStore
With locations across the US and Canada, chances are your local ReStore has a decent selection of cheap second-hand kitchen cabinets. When you’re renovating, remember to donate your old cabinets rather than send them to the landfill.

ba1712dd1a96cbabe1b14ced02cb6c66239cfdbc. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Second Use
They’re a local salvage shop in Seattle that has been reclaiming building materials for reuse in the Puget Sound region since 1994. Kitchen fixtures are frequent finds — these base cabinets are currently listed for just $35.

acc239c066dfee97971171e984c52cebda8fe12f. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Build It Green
A division of the Community Environmental Center, BIG has a huge, 17,500 square feet warehouse in Astoria, Queens. They frequently have used cabinetry in stock — this kitchen island with cement top was recently listed for $200.

Scan Craigslist & Demolition Auction Sites

For an explanation of how “demolition auctions” work, click here.

6c863111c8728957057c8b3b25d77bda7d5ccaa8. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Craigslist
Check the craigslist classifieds for second-hand kitchen cabinets. Every once in a while, you can find an amazing set of freestanding retro wood or metal cabinets that just need cleaning or a new coat of paint.

8aac4188a9f521886b8335fe097b0a8192f0d57c. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Green Demolitions
Based out of White Lake, New York, this organization sells commercial surplus and donated kitchens, appliances, bathroom fixtures, and home decor from houses being demolished and renovated in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

9048825ed0186e3a990727ca35cf897f74e3f368. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Murco Recycling
Murco organizes “demolition auctions” for houses that are scheduled to be torn down. Bidders rescue old cabinets from the dump, reusing them in their own homes. You can walk away with great deals, but you have to dismantle the goods yourself.

Shop Big Box Stores but Make It Yours

For tips on customizing a big box kitchen, see this post.

eed9fe3d4f38813f378d57c59fc24d3073df5400. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop IKEA
With 25-year warranties, modern styles, and affordable prices, IKEA is a reigning king of kitchen sales. To avoid the ubiquitous Scandi-modern look, mix things up a little — this customized IKEA kitchen has some good ideas for ways to put your own stamp on a big box kitchen.

e0f4b4482d8948b8d2d16fc0ae813e30b25b8034. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop BMC Lab Supply
This bright, white industrial kitchen incorporates easy-to-clean cabinets from a lab supply store. It’s a smart way to repurpose heavy-duty furniture in a modern home. One warning: industrial cabinets can be rigid and difficult to modify or customize.

a3d2608c1e4912499b7bedd1fc737ff302f4b28c. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Home Depot
This modern micro kitchen uses open cabinet boxes (without doors) to create an airy aesthetic. You can find similar doorless cabinet boxes at Home Depot, Lowe’s, our your local home improvement store.

• Best Budget Kitchen Renovation Resources
• Eco-Friendly Kitchen Cabinets: 10 Sources
• Best Salvage Shops: Coast to Coast

Photo: KraftMaid Kitchen Cabinets