January 13, 2023

Kitchen furniture hand made by cabinet makers vs modular cabinetry?

What are the differences? What are the advantages of ready-made and custom-made furniture? Let’s find out.

Furnishing a kitchen is one of the most costly items of the budget when furnishing or remodelling the home. A fundamental question you face when choosing kitchen cabinetry is whether to order them from a cabinet maker or go for modular system at the chain store. What are the differences? What are the advantages of ready-made and custom-made furniture? Let’s find out. 

Kitchen cabinetry bought from a showroom 

The most cost-efficient when furnishing your kitchen is furniture sets. Available practically “off-the shelf”, you can get them both on-line and in popular DIY stores. What are the benefits of choosing a ready-made kitchen cabinet set? 

Primarily, savings. Kitchen furniture in sets cost a few hundred to a few thousand PLN if you take your time to search the Internet and find a sale. These sets are self-assembly furniture, so you can install them at no cost. 

However, buying a ready-made kitchen furniture set you have to accept that you won’t be able to customise the appearance, arrangement and dimensions of your cabinets. The sets are marketed at standard dimensions (usually the lengths of approx. 2.5-3 m), and consist of basic cabinets with shelves. If you plan on installing a compact kitchen with non-standard dimensions, you will not manage to use the space optimally. The furniture sets come also complete with handles and inner equipment, so you cannot customise this either. 

Most often, the low price for furniture in sets is unfortunately related to its inferior quality. They are not typically made to last. Manufactured with cheap furniture panels, the cabinetry will both suffer from mechanical damage and moisture present in the kitchen. This is why these sets should be selected by those who will use their kitchens rarely.

Modular kitchen cabinetry 

If you want to have more say in what your kitchen cabinets will look like and how you will arrange them, you should try modular cabinets (for example, the renown IKEA METOD). The systems of modular furniture consist of over a dozen to several dozens of components which you can pick from to create your customised sets of kitchen cabinetry on your own or with an assistant. The buyer can design both the arrangement of the cabinets and its equipment. Depending on the manufacturer, wall and floor mounted cabinets come in a few to a dozen or so dimensions, with options to fit them with facilities like internal systems, additional baskets, soft-close drawers, pull-out storage baskets and internal illumination. 

After you decide to purchase modular cabinetry, you will exercise more freedom to shape your kitchen according to your needs than with a set of kitchen furniture. You can match your modular cabinet frames with cabinet fronts, having browsed a number of kitchen front colours, and choose decorative parts like handles or kitchen lighting. Kitchen worktops are usually bought as cut-to-size to be mounted on-site to fit the configuration once your cabinets are installed. 

The modules, fronts and accessories are available “off-the-shelf” (like in IKEA), so it will definitely suit all customers who are pressed for time. However, you have to concede that designing a modular kitchen limits your selection of fronts available – also repetitive across different ranges – than if you ordered it from a cabinet maker.  

Also, designing the modular cabinetry in a way that meets all expectations of the users often involves rearrangements and the assistance of a carpenter that will trim an oversized module or design extra units where modular cabinet applications are impossible. (You will find another article on how to design a system of kitchen cabinets on our website). This can cause additional costs that you did not take into account at the design and purchase stages.

Made-to-order kitchen cabinetry 

The furniture made by a cabinet maker is one of the most popular solutions chosen by customers that wish to furnish their kitchens. What are the major benefits of this solution? Made-to-measure kitchen cabinetry helps you better adjust the arrangement to the dimensions and shape of your space and personalise your choices. In fact, an individual project ensures an unlimited range of possibilities to reset your interiors, and provides for ‘hitches’ such as chimney flues, windows, non-standard heights, etc. and to use even smallest spaces most efficiently. 

With the furniture made to a specific order, you have a significantly wider choice of colours for your future kitchen fronts, handles and inner accessories, and you are no longer restricted to narrow ranges of ready-made furniture. 

What are the setbacks of made-to-order furniture? Primarily, the lead times. Unlike with the other two solutions above, you will spend from several weeks to more than two months waiting for your furniture to be made. Normally, they are also – but not always – slightly more pricey than the cabinetry composed of ready-made parts.

Made-to-order fronts for modular cabinets

Purchasing the IKEA modular cabinetry and ordering the fronts at a smaller specialised front maker is becoming increasingly popular with those who seek budget solutions, but wish to build a kitchen that is different from all others around. What is your gain from ordering kitchen fronts at other makers? Primarily, a unique look of the furniture, as ranges are extended and there is room for rare solutions to suit the fronts to the style of an interior and the needs of users. Here is where Frontson steps forward with a new perspective and quality.

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Our fronts are a bespoke affordable handicraft alternative to the standardised production. They combine the IKEA METOD base units with the cutting-edge Frontson kitchen fronts.
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