Skip to main content

You won’t believe how much you can save if you DIY your kitchen cabinets

As you launch into your kitchen remodel, you’ll have to make several decisions in order to stick to your budget while also creating the kitchen of your dreams. One such decision you’re likely to come across will be choosing whether or not you should install your kitchen cabinets yourself or hire a professional. If you’re on the fence about which solution is best for you and your renovation, then we have just what you need. Below, we’re covering exactly how much you can save by taking the DIY route and the steps you need to take to pull off a successful kitchen cabinet installation.

woman taking off hinges during a kitchen cabinet installation
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Can you put up your own cabinets?

It is possible to put up your own kitchen cabinets, and in doing so, you could save a lot of money! However, installing kitchen cabinetry yourself is not for the faint of heart. One question we frequently hear from homeowners is, “Are kitchen cabinets hard to install?” In our opinion, this is dependent on your knowledge of tools and prior remodel experience. For the go-to at-home handyman, installing your kitchen cabinets should be fairly straightforward. Though, it will likely require a day’s worth of hard work and solid measurements.

How much can you save if you DIY your kitchen cabinets?

The average kitchen renovation will typically include professional cabinet installation. The cost of professional help will greatly depend on the local cost of living and the breadth of your project. On average, professional cabinet installation ranges from $4,000 to $9,000, according to Fixr. Of course, the type of wood species, custom cabinetry, the scale of the project, and the age of the home could all impact the overall cost.

Alternatively, putting up cabinets on your own can save you money on installation fees. While you’ll still have to budget for the cabinets themselves and any worksite conditions, the cost should be much more affordable. According to Cabinet Select, the average cost of kitchen cabinets per linear foot can range anywhere from $80 to $1,200 or more.

couple installing diy kitchen cabinets
Image used with permission by copyright holder

How to put up your kitchen cabinets

Taking the DIY route for installing your kitchen cabinets can be the perfect budget-saving solution. However, you’ll want to ensure you have all the tools necessary to carry out the project successfully.

What you’ll need:

  • Pencil (for marking)
  • Level
  • Measuring tape
  • Stud finder
  • Power drill
  • Cabinet mounting screws
  • Hole saw
  • Assembled cabinets

First, measure and mark up the wall

Before you begin installing your DIY kitchen cabinets, you’ll want to measure your space. Determine where each cabinet will go and begin marking the wall using your level and measuring tape to get an accurate outline of where everything will be installed. Next, measure the height of your base cabinets and then find the highest point on your floor. Since not all flooring is perfectly level, this is a vital step. Draw a level line where the height of the base cabinet will go to use as a guide for the rest of the cabinetry. Take your time with this step, and work your way around the room until all level lines have been outlined. Additionally, this is a good time to mark all studs.

Remove cabinet drawers and doors

Remove all cabinet drawers and doors before you begin installing cabinetry. This will ensure that no hinges or hardware get covered during the painting process. Additionally, this step will prevent injury during installation.

Start with your upper cabinets

Starting with the upper cabinets gives you room to maneuver without bending over or around lower cabinetry. Use a ledger board on the wall to get a straight line for your upper cabinets. Try following the outlines you penciled on earlier to get a leveled surface. Additionally, your ledger board will add support and make it easier to install cabinets if you are doing it on your own. Drill and fasten the back of your cabinet to the wall. If there is a bow in the wall, shim the space with your level. You’ll likely have to double-check and shim as you go for each cabinet for the best result. Screw the upper cabinets together to attach them in place.

Level and fasten the lower cabinets

Once your upper cabinets have been installed, you can begin work on the lower ones. If you have not yet installed flooring, you’ll need to give yourself about ¼ inch to ½ inch extra room at the base. Line up your base cabinets to your premeasured line, and fasten the back of the cabinets to that line. Shim if needed.

Depending on the type of cabinets you choose and the style of countertop and backsplash you opt for, you may need to add a filler strip of wood in between the wall and your base cabinets. Be sure to measure twice or more before cutting and installing your filler piece.

Cut holes for pipes

Your sink cabinet should be installed before you cut holes for pipes to ensure everything is measured correctly. Measure the space and use a hole saw to create the spaces for pipe entry. Be sure to allow an extra half-inch of space for your pipes to fit. If you measure precisely, you could find it challenging to fit the pipes through. So, give yourself the extra room. These holes won’t be visible outside the cabinet, so don’t stress about appearances!

Add your hardware

Lastly, you can attach all hardware and hinges. Measure well before pre-drilling holes for your hardware, and ensure everything is level. If you choose to repaint your cabinets, do so before attaching any hardware.

Installing kitchen cabinets yourself is a cost-effective solution, given that you have the experience and confidence to take on this advanced project! Our best advice is to go slowly and measure everything more than once to ensure a level, smooth fit and finish.

Editors' Recommendations

Amelia Wilson
Amelia Wilson (author pen name Amelia J. Wilson) is a content writer in Greenwood, IN. She often enjoys topics on…
Blinds vs. curtains: Which should you choose?
A guide to deciding between curtains and blinds
Curtains in large living room

When moving into a new home or redecorating a space, one challenging step is choosing between installing new curtains or opting for blinds. Before you finalize a purchase of either, consider what look you’re trying to achieve. Factors such as cost, ease of installation, maintenance, lighting options, and energy efficiency may sway your decision when it comes to decorating your home. This research takes time and patience, but there's good news!

We’ve consolidated all relevant information into a comprehensive blinds vs. curtains guide for your convenience. Here are the pros and cons you need to know when searching for window coverings that will best suit your needs.

Read more
An entryway mirror can enhance your space: When you should (and absolutely shouldn’t) have one
Decide if an entryway mirror is right for you with these tips
Woman welcoming friends at the front door

An entryway gives your guests their first impression of your home, so you don't want it to feel dark, drab, or cramped. The easiest solution? Add an entryway mirror. Mirrors are one of the best tools in a homeowner's decor arsenal since they reflect light and automatically make a space feel brighter and more open. From vintage-looking mirrors to modern displays, you will surely find an entryway mirror that suits your home's aesthetic and your personal style.

Sometimes, though, an entryway mirror isn't the best idea. Find out when you should hang one and when you shouldn't.

Read more
What a hardwood contractor says your wood flooring says about you
According to a hardwood contractor, the species, stain, and cut of your wood floors can say a lot about you
bleached light wood flooring in an entryway

The home is a canvas for your personality, and your interiors should reflect your personal aesthetics. A professional hardwood contractor on TikTok, @lumberjackwoodsupply, says your wood flooring may reveal more about you than you might have thought. Here is what the species, color, and style of your wood flooring say about you (though, of course, some of these are a bit tongue-in-cheek).

https://www.tiktok.com/@lumberjackwoodsupply/video/7296136450888846623
What your wood flooring species says about you
Pine
If you have lighter, slim, natural pine floors, this TikToker says you likely fall into one of two categories. “You definitely have an appreciation for old things,” says @lumberjackwoodsupply. Alternatively, “you most likely own an old house that had these floors underneath.”
Walnut flooring
Walnut flooring is classy, elegant, and often sold at a steeper price. The hardwood contractor says homeowners with walnut flooring “have taste.”
Red oak
“There’s a good chance you didn’t choose to install this. It was just already in your house,” says this TikToker. But if you did choose to install red oak flooring, “you are either on a budget or you like to go against the status quo.”
Brazilian Cherry
“You probably live in an upscale but slightly outdated suburban home,” says the hardwood contractor. “There’s a good chance you hate the red.”
Maple
If you favor the sleek light wood tones of maple flooring to curate an airy and uplifting aesthetic, “You either live on the beach, or you want to look like you live on the beach,” says this TikToker.
Hickory
Hickory flooring is well-known for its boldness. It’s a unique wood with a quirky grain and various hues. If you have hickory flooring, “you like unique things,” says the hardwood contractor. “You want to be different.”

Read more