When it comes to renovating a kitchen, bedroom or bathroom, one of the biggest decisions homeowners face is whether to choose custom or pre-made cabinets. Custom cabinetry is built specifically for the space and can be customized to fit the homeowner’s exact specifications. Pre-made cabinetry, on the other hand, is mass-produced and available in standard sizes and finishes.

There are pros and cons to both options, and it’s important for homeowners to understand the differences before making a decision. Custom cabinetry offers more flexibility in terms of design and can be tailored to fit unique spaces or specific storage needs. Pre-made cabinets, on the other hand, are generally less expensive and can be delivered more quickly, making them a good option for those on a tight timeline or budget.

Custom Built Cabinet

Custom cabinetry is a popular option for many homeowners who want to create a unique and personalised look for their homes. Unlike pre-made cabinets, custom cabinets are built to specification. The buyer can decide on the type of wood, finish, and door selection as well as hardware such as rails and handles. This allows for one-off designs.

Benefits of Custom Cabinetry

There are several benefits to choosing custom cabinetry over pre-made cabinets. One of the biggest advantages is the ability to create a truly unique and personalised look for your home. As mentioned with custom cabinets, you can choose the wood, finish, and hardware that best fits your style and needs.

Custom cabinets are also built to last. They are typically made with higher-quality materials and construction methods than pre-made cabinets. This means that they are more durable and will withstand the wear and tear of daily use for many years to come. For example, there are different grades of wood, as well as wood types. Mass-produced cabinets are cheaply manufactured and tend to “fall apart” quickly.

Another benefit of custom cabinetry is the ability to maximize storage space. Custom cabinets can be designed to fit into any space, no matter how awkward or unusual the dimensions may be. This means that you can make the most of every inch of available space in your home.

Factors to Consider

Before deciding on custom cabinetry, there are several factors to consider. One of the most important is the cost. Custom cabinets can be significantly more expensive than pre-made cabinets, sometimes even tens of thousands of Rands more. Thus, it is important to budget accordingly.

Another factor to consider is the lead time. Custom cabinets require a longer lead time than pre-made ones, as they must be designed, built, and installed. Typically, you will place the order for the design specification. The materials such as wood and hardware are ordered. A cutting list is sent to the supplier to cut the wood and finish to specification. Next, the materials are delivered to you and installed. In other words, you will need to plan ahead and be patient while waiting for your cabinets to be completed.

It’s also important to consider the quality of the cabinet maker. Make sure to do your research and choose a reputable and experienced cabinet maker who can deliver high-quality work.

Cost Comparison with Pre-made Cabinetry

Custom cabinets are typically more expensive than pre-made cabinets. The exact cost will depend on several factors, including the size and complexity of the project, the materials used, and the level of customization required.

If you compare the mass-produced cupboards at Builders Warehouse to custom-made cabinets you will be in for a shock. However, it’s important to keep in mind that custom cabinets are built to last and can add significant value to your home.

Pre-made Cabinets

Pre-made cabinetry, also known as prefab/ prefabricated cabinets, are mass-produced cabinets that are available in standard sizes and finishes. They can be purchased off-the-shelf or online and are typically made of lower-quality materials than custom cabinets. However, they can be a cost-effective option for homeowners who are on a tight budget or need to complete a renovation quickly.

Benefits of Pre-made Cabinetry

One of the biggest benefits of pre-made cabinetry is the cost. Prefab cabinets are significantly less expensive than custom cabinets. They are also readily available, so homeowners can purchase them and have them installed quickly. This makes them a great option for those who need to complete a renovation quickly or are working with a limited budget.

Another benefit of pre-made cabinetry is the ease of installation. Because prefab cabinets are available in standard sizes, they can be easily installed by a professional or even a DIY-savvy homeowner. This can save on installation costs and time, making them a practical option for those who want to complete a renovation quickly.

Factors to Consider

While pre-made cabinetry can be a cost-effective and practical option for many homeowners, there are some factors to consider before making a purchase. One of the biggest factors is the limited selection of sizes, finishes, and styles. Because prefab cabinets are mass-produced, they are only available in a limited range of sizes and finishes. This can make it difficult to find cabinets that fit perfectly in a unique space or match a specific design aesthetic.

Another factor to consider is the quality of the materials used in prefab cabinets. While they are less expensive than custom cabinets, they are typically made of lower-quality materials. This can impact their durability and longevity, which may result in the need for a replacement sooner than custom cabinets.

Cost Comparison with Custom Cabinetry

As mentioned, one of the most significant benefits of pre-made cabinetry is cost savings. Prefab cabinets can cost up to 50% less than custom cabinets. However, it is important to keep in mind that the cost savings come at a trade-off in terms of quality and customization options.

Custom cabinets are made to order, so they can be tailored to fit a specific space and design aesthetic. They are also made of higher-quality materials, which can increase their durability and longevity. However, they are significantly more expensive than prefab cabinets and require a longer lead time for production and installation.

Pre-made CabinetryCustom Cabinetry
Less expensiveMore expensive
Readily availableLonger lead time for production and installation
Limited selection of sizes, finishes, and stylesCustomizable to fit a specific space and design aesthetic
Lower quality materialsHigher quality materials


When it comes to choosing between custom and pre-made cabinetry, the decision ultimately depends on the specific needs and preferences of the homeowner.

Custom cabinets offer a higher level of quality and customization, but they come at a higher price point and longer production time. On the other hand, pre-made cabinets are more affordable and readily available but may lack the same level of customization and quality as custom cabinets.

It is important to consider factors such as budget, timeline, and desired level of customization when making a decision between custom and pre-made cabinetry. Additionally, it may be helpful to consult with a professional cabinet maker to help navigate the decision-making process.

Ultimately, whether choosing custom or pre-made cabinetry, it is important to prioritize quality, durability, and functionality to ensure a kitchen that not only looks beautiful but also performs well for years to come. If you are in need of any custom cabinetry work, please contact us.

Bespoke Designs