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8 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Buy Modern Cabinets From Your Local Home Improvement Store

Updated: Jun 30, 2021

You’ve made the decision that 2021 is the year you are going to replace your old, tired and worn out kitchen cabinets. Congratulations!

For months, you’ve combed through magazines, Houzz and Pinterest, creating a million boards highlighting what you like and what you don’t. The good news is that you and your spouse see eye to eye on everything - your style? Modern! Pull out shelves - check! More cabinet space and storage? Yes, Please!

And then come the breaks screeching your excitement to a halt... Budget. It’s a tight one - or so you think - for all your needs, wants and must-haves. So, you head out to one of the big box stores to begin your kitchen cabinet overhaul. After all, you heard they have the best prices and can install quickly - meaning the kitchen cabinets of your dreams are in your very near future. Halt! Before get in your car to begin your shopping spree - let us give you a few reasons why buying your kitchen cabinets from a big-box retailer just may not pay off.

1. High design, low quality

It’s like shiny object syndrome and is the perfect trap when they get you in the store. Everything looks good when its shiny and new. Pre-fab construction is made to look good, but not made to last. Most cabinets from big-box stores use particle board or MDF (medium-density fiberboard) instead of solid wood construction. Again, making them look pretty now, but probably not down the road.

2. They sell “Stock" cabinets

Another reason quality is lower is because they sell stock cabinet. Ordered from a warehouse, ready to go. Even if they offer “custom” services, the products are not custom. What is “stock”? Cabinets that are already pre-designed, pre-sized and sold as is. Buying stock means getting the cabinets into your kitchen faster, but don’t forget, again, quality can take a hit. MDF (discussed above), paint not made to withstand the years of hard use a kitchen takes and poor hardware quality leading to loose cabinets and drawers that won’t slide in and out correctly.

3. Limited Options

Your options are already limited when purchasing stock cabinetry, but also because big box stores only offer a few choices that prove to “sell" and move off their shelves quickly. Your kitchen will look like everyone else’s - but we won’t even go into that today! Stock cabinetry also limits what you can do if you have unique or non-traditional space due to the already pre-selected sizes.

4. Sales vs. Designing

We are not saying that you won’t end up working with a good designer, but by and large, big box retailers are all about volume and sales and think like sales people before designers. They may try to push sale items or promotions and hit sales targets before they get serious about your kitchen design. They may not be up on current trends and technology like a designer who specializes in kitchen remodels or an independent contractor. Again, with limited products and a sales attitude over a designers mind makes complicated designs and spaces, well, even more complicated!

5. Big picture view

“Designers” at big box stores sadly, don’t have time or authorization to work on much more than what you’re paying for. They usually stick to kitchens that are quick, easy, profitable and simple for everyone involved to understand. Therefore , it is difficult for them to design with a custom vision or put a design together with the big picture and any future growth or plans in mind. Having such tunnel vision causes more changes later on, a piece-meal kitchen and more time and cost down the road.

6. Project Management

Be prepared to be your own project manager. That means having the time, energy and knowledge to manage all aspects of the project from kitchen layout, to measurements, time lines, budget and coordinating with any other trades or disciplines. Even the best remodel has complications that arise. Hope you have time to get on the phone to coordinate missing items, late deliveries or any other complications that may arise.

7. Missing items

You read it right above - missing items. We hear it time and time again when purchasing or pre-ordering from big box or warehouses - cabinetry comes in and is not complete. Orders are missing nuts, bolts and screws to name a few. Lack of fulfillment wastes time and causes delays - which brings us back up to project management...

8. Hidden costs

Watch out for ways big box stores make money from the sale of your cabinets. Installation is usually added on to the overall cost - or if cabinets are delivered directly, you have to hire your own crew to install. If cabinetry doesn’t fit perfectly be prepared to hire a separate contractor to come in and make sure it does. When you remove your old cabinetry, there may be additional work needed on walls prior to new installation. Again...make your calls as the project manager!

How can you remedy wanting beautiful and modern kitchen cabinets while also on a budget? Studio Europa Leicht offers semi-custom German designed and engineered kitchen cabinetry. This means, a wide array of styles, finishes and function, with a larger selection of sizes to fit any space. With semi-custom, you get the best of both worlds - the quality you’re looking for with a price to match almost any budget. And with Studio Europa’s professional design consultants, you’ll get unique and creative designs, proper measurements, and a dedicated team working on your project to make sure your kitchen remodel goes according to budget and scope.


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