I have had the privilege of working on a number of kitchen redesign projects lately and a subject that comes up regularly is around the cabinets. Specifically whether custom cabinets or prefabricated ones are the best route to take.

So today I want to share with you some designer insights in the hope that it will help you to choose which route is best for your home too!

Shall we take a closer look?


Custom Cabinets


First up, let’s explore more about custom kitchen cabinets and what their advantages and disadvantages are…

Custom kitchen cabinets are made to exact dimensions and specifications making them completely unique to you and your home. If you have an awkward wall angle or varying dimensions, going down the custom route allows you to completely customize your new kitchen and avoid the need for fillers. Not only does this apply to the design and dimensioning side of the kitchen, but it also applies to your material choices too. If you have a specific material in mind, with the help of a professional the sky’s the limit!

Depending on how you look at this, it could be seen as both an advantage and disadvantage because unless you have some kitchen design experience you should seek professional help from an interior designer who can produce detailed technical drawings for the cabinet maker.

As custom cabinets are made to the exact specifications and dimensions they are made to order so can take up to three months to manufacture. But don’t worry! The wait is well worth it.

One of the great things about custom cabinets is that they come with soft-close mechanisms as a standard option. This means that you avoid any additional charges for this if you went down the prefabricated route. And if you’re a fan of under cabinet lighting, custom cabinets make it easy to integrate within the design and construction so installation is much easier with custom cabinets than with prefabricated ones.

Custom cabinets can also be stained or painted with a whole range of different options – again, the sky’s the limit on this! And the underside of the cabinets will be finished in the same way as the face of them.

Another thing to consider is that custom kitchen cabinets are relatively easy to modify in the field if needed to fit the conditions. This is a huge advantage over the likes of prefabricated cabinets because should you need to make any modifications, it will be relatively straightforward to do for the installer.

Above all the other advantages discussed above for custom kitchen cabinets, they are made extremely strong. The strength of the joinery and construction of custom cabinets means that you won’t be looking to replace them in a few years.

If you do go down the custom cabinets route it may require you to hire a professional to help with the technical drawings. This means an extra cost in designer’s fees but they are well worth it for the best experience and superior quality kitchen in the long run.

Custom cabinets allow you to be more creative with your kitchen layout and have them fit perfectly into your space rather than use any fillers.


Prefabricated Cabinets


In contrast to the above, let’s have a look at the prefabricated kitchen cabinets and aspects that you should be aware of.

With prefabricated kitchen cabinets, they are available in predetermined modules (usually 3”) so this will make it more difficult if you have an awkward kitchen space or dimension to work with. You are very likely to need trims and fillers to fit exactly into the space which can look cheap in comparison to custom-made cabinets.

Should you want to install under cabinet lighting with prefabricated cabinets, they will require additional cuts in order to install them seamlessly with the underside of the upper cabinets. This results in extra DIY work to create a kitchen setup that you love.

Another thing to consider with prefabricated cabinets is that some need to be assembled in the field or they are ready to assemble which can make the process take longer. If these cabinets are going to be professionally installed, expect to pay extra for the labor. 

Prefabricated cabinets are a great option for those on a budget but you should be aware that they come in standard sizes and you may require fillers.




While it may be tempting to save on costs and go with prefabricated cabinets, the benefits of custom kitchen cabinets do outweigh any difference in price. Having complete control over the custom cabinets is a fantastic aspect that shouldn’t be overlooked.

My recommendation to any homeowner looking to update their kitchen is to go down the custom cabinet route if they are able to. This is because of the superior quality of construction as it always outweighs that of prefabricated options.

With custom cabinets, you can specify any dimension, style, and material for your cabinets. If you fancy a specialist timber finish for the cabinet fronts – custom is the route for you!


I hope this blog post has provided some insight into the different routes of kitchen cabinets! Have you used prefabricated or custom kitchen cabinets before? I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below!