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Knowing the Difference Between Custom, Semi-Custom and Stock Cabinets

Cabinet Design / February 26, 2015

We all wanted the best for our kitchen – from sleek appliances, cabinetry, hardware down to the tiniest detail. These basic and little things should blend in beautifully and should create a functional cooking area. One of the greatest element of a kitchen is cabinetry. It will dictate the overall look and ambiance of the room. So it is important to have the right cabinet choice for your kitchen.

Kitchen cabinets fall in three different categories – custom, semi-custom and stock. Although these categories do not define the quality or durability of wood. Beautiful cabinetry could use all three categories.

If you are considering a change to your old, tired cabinets, here’s a rundown of the types and differences between stock, semi-custom and custom-made cabinets.

Custom Cabinetry

Personalized or custom-made cabinetry is commonly built by your local artisan or woodworker. It will be a team effort coming from you and the contractor as you’ll both design and decide which material to choose and use and the type of wood finish. Hardwood such as oak, cherry and maple are your best bet for crafting fine cabinetry that can last for a lifetime.


  • Functionality. Built in a way so that your cabinets will function exactly the way you always wanted.
  • Quality and strength. Cabinets made from hardwood are high-quality and strength is guaranteed. Make sure to choose your local woodworkers wisely.
  • Aesthetics. It’s like every cabinetry fits and functions perfectly inside your kitchen. Design-wise, you can add personal details to the hardware,
    cabinet fronts and crown moldings.


  • Cost. The only downside of having custom cabinets may be its high costs. But this is not always the case. Do your research and always compare

Semi-custom Cabinetry

These type of cabinets are only built once your orders are final. With that being said, you can simply order from commercial cabinet manufacturers a
specific size, material and cabinet style. These cabinets can be easily altered to add storage for accessories, bins and more.


  • Modifications. Your cabinetry can be pre-ordered in accordance with your kitchen needs. From sizes, door opening and style, you can coordinate
    further with the manufacturer if you have specific needs for a personal look.


  • Cost. Semi-custom made cabinet’s price dictates the details on how your cabinets would look. If you ordered a set of cabinets with specific details
    with moldings, expect to pay a higher price.

  • Time. Since these cabinets are pre-ordered, you’ll have to wait for the manufacturer to build your orders before shipping them to your home.

Stock Cabinets

Stock cabinets aren’t all that bad. As long as you do a thorough research and homework on where to buy. Usually, the size of the cabinets run between 9 and 48 inches. These ready-made cabinets can be ordered from retailers and from home improvement centers.


  • Fair price. Since it is commercially and widely manufactured, what you see is what you get. However, it doesn’t have to mean low-quality. Always
    inspect every inch of wood and hardware before purchasing one.


  • Lack of style and individuality. Because it is mass-produced, these cabinets will look all the same. Work with your creativity and try to
    personalized them to have your own beautiful cabinetry.


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