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Custom Made Kitchen Cupboards vs Stock Cabinets

Author Chigwell Building & Joinery

Date 15/06/17

Advantages & Disadvantages of Each Type of Kitchen Base Unit

Whether you’re new to kitchen remodelling or a seasoned interior designer, it’s common knowledge that designing and fitting a brand new kitchen is a challenge to get right and can be a stressful and painstaking process.

It’s not just about the style, colour and finish. Nowadays, we want our kitchens to be as functional and as practical as possible. That means utilising the maximum amount of available space whilst ensuring the area feels spacious and a great place to hang out. We spend a great deal of time in the kitchen preparing food, socialising and dining so it’s no wonder we want to get it right first time and ensure we’ve ticked every box on our wish list.

Nowadays, there’s a whole plethora of kitchen options on the marketplace. From standard stock units at your local DIY store, to higher end specialist kitchen retailers, to kitchen makeover specialists and now, custom cabinet makers who offer completely bespoke units to fit every nook and cranny imaginable.

So with so much choice on offer, which way do you go? Here’s our run down of the pro’s and cons of using either stock or customer made kitchen cabinets. Then perhaps you will know which way you’ll want to go with your new kitchen project.

Shape & Size

With stock cabinets, you are pretty much restricted to using the standard sizes available by the manufacturer. If for example, you live in an older property, odd shaped walls, ceilings and corners are the norm. In such circumstances, you could find with stock cabinets that your kitchen could end up with a lot of unused dead space that custom cabinets could utilise and give you that all essential extra storage.

You’ll be amazed just how much potential extra space a small corner or angled ceiling has. By using custom made cabinets, not a single inch will go to waste.


As they say, everything is in the detail and nothing can be truer said than for kitchen designs. Some stock cabinets, especially those bought from your local DIY store are bulk manufactured and tend to be at the cheaper end of the scale. The edging is thin, poorly made and after a short period will peel way and crack.

On higher end custom made cabinets, the edging tends to be thicker or more hardwearing so you’re new kitchen will look much nicer for longer.

Stock cabinets also tend to also have a much cheaper finish. The classic white melamine coating is the standard across many ranges and there’s very little other choice for most. With custom cabinetry, you can opt to have practically any finish and colour, even to the insides of your kitchen base units which is a very rare thing in over-the-counter kitchen cabinets.


It’s fair to say that you get what you pay for and the same rule applies to kitchen base units.

You may be happy to pay for the lower end units seeing most of the time, the doors and drawer fronts will cover up the look and finish of the kitchen carcasses but over time, the quality and the cheaper price tag will start to show. As you remove and replace heavy items like pots, pans, oven dishes and utensils, marks will start to show and the finish will degrade quickly.

Custom kitchen carcasses may cost more but the materials used tend to be better quality and can resist the wear and tear of regular use far better than stock made DIY store cabinets.


The choice is essentially down to personal preference, your demands and your budget.

If you own a home that has a challenging shaped kitchen, in a character property that demands a kitchen to give it the wow factor, customer kitchen carcasses is your must-have route to a successful end product. If however, your kitchen demands are to simply replace it with something simple, in a space that is easy to work with and your budget is restricted, there’s no shame in going down the stock cabinet route and getting something practical and functional.