Pre-Built or Custom Kitchen?

Moduler Kitchen Interior Design

The difference between prefab and custom built kitchens


These days there is a lot of competition in the kitchen marketplace. Whether you choose a kitchen from Home Depot, IKEA or some of the other smaller importers, there seem to be enough options. Why would I want to consider spending any more than I have to on my kitchen?


Is there really a difference other than just a price?

I have to admit I used to be one of the people that believed that the only advantage to a custom kitchen was the custom upgrades that nobody needed at a price that nobody could afford. I know it’s pretty sad. I say I “used to be” because recently I have switched to only doing custom kitchens and vanities for my clients. What a change. A lot of people say “well I have a small kitchen or small bathroom so I don’t need some big fancy piece.”

Getting what you really want out of your new kitchen design 

If your situation is that you have a small kitchen, maybe your only choice is to go custom so you can accommodate all of your needs. It amazes me the kind of beautiful homes we’ve been able to create recently now that we no longer use pre-built or pre-assembled Kitchens. Don’t get me wrong there’s nothing wrong with picking up the kitchen that’s already pre-assembled. It just has a lot more limits on the options you can get because they have to accommodate what everybody will want and what everyone will want to pay for.

Modular Kitchen with Black and White Cabinets

Pros & Cons of Stock vs. Custom Cabinets


1.Prefab Pros:

The main advantage of prefab cabinetry of any kind is the price and the schedule as you can usually get them quickly.

2. Prefab Cons:

Some can be made with inferior products and there are not always many options.

3. Custom Pros:

Tons of options made to order and you can usually choose the construction materials and techniques.

4. Custom Cons:

The timeline will usually be somewhere between 6-10 weeks depending on your supplier and the price… Well, let’s just say it reflects all your customizations.

Modern Bathroom Cabinets Design with Mirror Glass

Let’s start with vanities, what do you really need in a vanity?


Maybe your family is slightly taller and you don’t like the height of the existing vanities on the market or you just want to build it to maximize space wall-to-wall maybe extra storage. These are all options. Let’s talk bells and whistles, drawers, U-shaped drawers, hair dryers and accessory pull outs, plugs or lights built-in these are just some additional options. Don’t forget you still are able to pick the material you want it made from, the finish and all the dimensions made to your specifications. This means if you want to use a vessel sink that sits on top of the vanity you will probably need a slightly shorter vanity. A great option when going custom.

Now let’s talk about Kitchens


Custom kitchens are not just for those massive Kitchens that could be The iron Chef kitchen stadium that walks around the corner into another room into a separate Butler’s pantry but it could be.

A custom kitchen is usually about convenience and having what you really need for storage and accessories that make your life easier. There are way too many accessories to get into, but a lot of times when meeting with your kitchen designer they will give you ideas or potential options that you never would’ve thought of. There is also the opportunity for glass doors and shelves as well as all kinds of lighting. Wait a minute! We almost forgot accessibility. There are amazing things now available with custom cabinetry these days for people with accessibility needs that just can’t be done without going custom.

Don’t forget, you may also have other areas that need cabinetry as well like maybe your office, library, family room, mudroom even laundry room.

You may find yourself saying “OK, OK you twisted my arm. I like all the options and being able to pick what I get, but I don’t really want the custom price. Now what?”

In some cases, they also have semi-custom options where you can get somewhat standard cabinets done in more customize colours or finishes they will usually have the same turnaround time as custom unfortunately but the price will usually be slightly better than full custom.

When you’re ready to go for your next project make sure to reach out to your favourite designer and they will help you decide which option is right for you.