A major part of the aesthetic of your kitchen remodel is reflected with the cabinets you choose. Do you want painted or stained? What material and style? What price point will fit your budget? Do you keep your existing cabinets and refresh or update them? So many questions!

Our Remodel-Design-Build Team at The Cleary Company in Columbus, Ohio is here to help you navigate your way through a kitchen remodel and your cabinet choices. We have remodeled many kitchens and the discussion around cabinets is an important step in the development of your project. Second to appliances, they can be the biggest investment of your remodel, so knowing what you really need is a key part of the discussion.

Cabinet Budget Categories

In the cabinetry industry, there are 3 main categories. They are stock, semi-custom, and custom cabinetry. They come in all styles, price points, and materials. Knowing your options is a great way to start to narrow down what will work best in your kitchen. We have installed many types of cabinets and will work with you to create the best option for your kitchen.

  • Custom cabinets are built by a skilled cabinet maker or carpenter that can correctly measure and work with the layout and size of the room. The materials chosen and the quality of the cabinet maker will affect the price, but the end result is cabinets expressly made for the design of YOUR kitchen. The ability to choose different woods, glass, or metal creates limitless possibilities. We prefer this option for a majority of our projects. The quality and expertise of central Ohio cabinetmakers is unmatched by any other category!
  • Semi-custom cabinetry is also a viable option. They are built by larger manufacturers that also build stock cabinets, but they have created a process that allows them to make modifications to their stock cabinets so that they are able to offer some of the benefits of true custom-built cabinets. You can get the look of a custom cabinet at a lesser price point.
  • Stock cabinets utilize standard designs, sizes and trim pieces with limited selections of material and finish types. They are factory produced in larger quantities and typically have a quicker ETA than custom or semi-custom options. The biggest benefit though is cost savings. Most companies still build their cabinets to fill specific orders, but do so in a standardized process to limited specifications. It creates efficiency in manufacturing and typically allows for a more budget-friendly option. When using stock cabinets, the kitchen floorplan must utilize set dimensions of the cabinets in order to create a functional space. The cons—they don’t have as many design and finish options as custom cabinets do and there can be dead or wasted spaces depending on the layout and sizes available.
  • Reuse or repurpose your cabinets. Sometimes reusing your cabinets can be a feasible choice. If your existing cabinets are solid wood and are in really good shape, then refreshing them is a good option. Some updates we can make to your existing cabinets to give them a new look are:
    • Replacing the doors and drawer fronts and keeping the frame boxes.
    • Refinishing them with new paint or stain.
    • And the simplest and most economic option, replace the hinges, knobs & pulls.

Painted or Stained Cabinets?

It is a big decision, paint or stain? There are pros and cons to both. It really just depends on the type of cabinets being used, the design style, your preference, and the benefits or challenges for both. Our Design-Build Team will work with you to sort through all of these options.


  • Creates a crisp, clean look.
  • It conceals the character of the wood species and creates a sleek uniform finish.
  • If you desire white or prefer bold dark colors, then painting is the best option.
  • The finish of paint is easy to wipe clean.
  • But the finish can be difficult to touch up because of a custom color or matching the original sheen and most often touch-ups will be visible.


  • Allows the grain and natural character of the wood species to show through.
  • Highlights the beauty of natural products and the variations provided by the growth process are not monolithic in color or tone.
  • The finish can be more forgiving with touch-ups and in general, wears better than paint.  

Choosing your kitchen cabinets hinges on several factors.

  • What is your budget and how do you want to allocate the funds? Knowing that the cabinets are a large focal point, investing in custom or semi-custom cabinets is an effective use of your money.
  • What is the layout that will work for you? If you are refreshing your kitchen and not altering the existing footprint, then choosing semi-custom or stock cabinets might be the right choice. And of course, if your cabinetry is solid wood or in really good shape, paint and refreshing might be the option that works for you.
  • What features are important to you? If you’re going industrial or modern, then glass, steel, and painted custom cabinets will create that aesthetic. You want to work with the décor you’ve chosen, the personality of the space, and the style of the home.

Special Features

Let’s not forget about the special features that can personalize your kitchen and meet your needs. Visiting a friend’s house, wandering through a cabinet store, or searching the internet can help you start to figure out what you want to splurge on, and what might be worth it.

  • Soft close drawers and doors are the most important option we recommend to our clients. No one loves the sound of cabinets banging closed.
  • The knob, pull and hinge options are endless. Showcase your style, create a mood, add some bling, stay traditional or somewhere in between.
  • Organization and ample workspace is key to functionality. How do you cook? Specialty drawers and cabinets can be designed for all your storage needs!
    • spice drawers that slide out
    • hinged lifts for mixers or small appliances
    • pull-out pantry shelves
    • utensil and cutlery blocks or dividers
    • specialty spaces for baking sheets
    • deep drawers for pots and pans

There’s nothing we can’t figure out a way to store it and make it work for you!

Choosing quality cabinets should be the one thing you do. Choosing cheap or inferior quality cabinets will make it difficult to get the look and function you are looking for in your remodeled kitchen. This is not the place to save a few bucks. The function of the cabinets is particularly important, and we will talk with you about how you use your kitchen, what essentials you have and what you want from your kitchen design.

Are you ready to remodel your kitchen? Contact us here or give us a call at 614-459-4000. Our Design Team is waiting to chat with you.