Kitchen Q + A

Q+A: KraftMaid Kitchen Cabinets

kitchen glass cabinets

Q: Hi Greg and Ashley, My husband and I are currently trying to decide on a kitchen cabinet route to go with our kitchen remodel. I’ve always loved Kraftmaid and heard great things, but recent research has led us both to a lot of negative reviews about the quality the cabinets and paint finish. Would you share your experience? Are you still happy with your cabinets all this time later? Would you go with Kraftmaid again? Thanks for any info! -Kara

A: This question has been coming up a lot in our mailbox lately, so we thought we’d dedicate a post to our kitchen cabinets. Before I delve right in, let me preface this by saying, we have no connection with Kraftmaid and this is 100% our honest opinion about our experience with our cabinets. That said, the honesty part is true of all of our posts. This post is going to try to be pretty comprehensive – we’re trying to make it the post we wish we’d have read when shopping around for cabinets ourselves.

Kraftmaid Cabinet Review (and a Before & After) // 7thhouseontheleft.com

Before we get to what we think about them now (a little over two years later), I guess we should do a quick rundown of the cabinet designing/ordering/installation process…

Once we finally decided on going with KraftMaid cabinets (more on the decision process here), the first thing we did was meet with a kitchen designer at our local Lowe’s. After a quick consultation in the store, he came to our house, took measurements and listened to our ideas/wants/wishes. We already had a layout in our heads, so he took down all of our notes and put together a rendering for us to look over.

Kraftmaid Cabinet Review (and a Before & After) // 7thhouseontheleft.com

He emailed us the initial renderings, and we made notes on what we loved, liked and didn’t like, let our thoughts and opinions simmer for a few days, then went back into Lowe’s for another meeting to finalize the layout. The cost to have the kitchen design put together and priced out was $90. However, since we ended up actually purchasing the cabinets from Lowe’s, that cost was deducted from the final cost of the cabinets.

I think the overall cabinet-buying experience can have a lot to do with the sales person (or “kitchen designer”) you deal with when you plan out your kitchen and order your cabinets. You get to know them, they’ll call you often throughout the process for questions and updates, and they are who you turn to when you have questions or concerns. We were lucky enough to score a really great guy to work with. He was extremely personable, fun and knew his stuff. The only snags that came up (if you even want to call them that), were some design differences when it came to the bookshelf on the end of the peninsula and leaving space for the floating shelves next to the window above the sink. He tried to talk me out of both design elements multiple times. As for Greg, he was down with whatever I chose when it came to making the kitchen less “cookie cutter” and more unique. Those two ideas were a bit out of the norm, so I totally get where he was coming from. I’m sure he has some crazy requests now and then and just wanted to make sure we wouldn’t regret our off-beat decisions later. When it was all said and done, I stuck to my guns and he respected my decision. About a year or so later, I ran into him at Lowe’s. He said he saw our kitchen in Better Homes & Gardens’ Kitchen & Bath Makeovers magazine, and he wished they would have featured a photo of the “awesome bookshelf in the peninsula.” So, I think that means I won him over in the end, haha.

Kraftmaid Cabinet Review (and a Before & After) // 7thhouseontheleft.com

At the same meeting when we finalized the layout, we also chose our cabinet style and finishes. We went with the Dove White finish and the square recessed panel door style (aka shaker door). For hardware, which at the time was “free” with the purchase of the cabinets, we chose the Aged collection.

Kraftmaid Cabinet Review (and a Before & After) // 7thhouseontheleft.com

If I recall correctly, the cabinets ended up arriving a few days (if not a week) early. That was fine since our kitchen was empty and waiting for the huge mountain of boxes, but our installers weren’t available for another two weeks. So, we had to maneuver around the monstrosity above a little longer than anticipated – but it didn’t really bother us.

Kraftmaid Cabinet Review (and a Before & After) // 7thhouseontheleft.com

The decision to have a pro install the cabinets was worth every single penny. In our case, they were installed by a local company subcontracted by Lowe’s. For this part of the process, we really just left that area of the house alone and let them do their work. I actually had just returned home from having surgery the day before they came, so I ended up staying at my mom and dad’s house hopped up on pain meds while the chaos was going on. Now, looking back, I think that was a blessing in disguise. I would have probably been a nervous wreck and wanting to watch everything going on. So if you’re having cabinets installed and have any Dilaudid around… no, I’m TOTALLY kidding. Do not do that. Seriously though, just get out of the house, take the dog to the park, go get your hair cut and colored, do some retail therapy… you get the gist.

Kraftmaid Cabinet Review (and a Before & After) // 7thhouseontheleft.com

Larry and his team came and put the entire kitchen together in a matter of two or three days. We had a piece of trim missing from our order (it belonged on the ceiling right above the peninsula), which came in about two weeks after the cabinets were “done”. Once the tiling was done, Larry came back to install the missing trim pieces, as well as the other trim pieces that had to be removed for the tiling. If you’re having countertop-to-ceiling tile installed (like we did), just remind your installation guy to not put on the cabinet trim pieces that touch the wall until the tiling is done. We didn’t realize that would be an issue at the time, so the tile guy had to take the trim pieces off and the cabinet guy had to come back and reattach them. Once that was done, everything was “done”.

Kraftmaid Cabinet Review (and a Before & After) // 7thhouseontheleft.com

QUALITY // Structurally, we’ve had no problems whatsoever. Everything is just as sound, sturdy and solid as the day they were installed. Aside from a handle or two getting loose – a problem easily solved with a quick turn of a screwdriver – we’ve had absolutely zero functional problems with the cabinets.

Kraftmaid Cabinet Review (and a Before & After) // 7thhouseontheleft.com

As far as cosmetic issues, we’ve had one issue that we’re in the process of fixing. In the sink cabinet, the center mullion (Greg looked up the term so we wouldn’t have to call it “the thingy that goes between the doors in the middle”) is just a little too long. Unfortunately, this has caused some paint chipping. This might have something to do with the installation, I’m not completely sure, but the good news is that we were told it’s covered by the warranty. As long as you own your home, KraftMaid will guarantee your cabinetry to be free from defects in material and/or workmanship under normal residential usage.

The only other little thing that has come across our radar is that we wish the doors were soft-close like the drawers. Kraftmaid has since added the Whisper Touch soft-close feature to the doors, so if you’re in the cabinet market now, this shouldn’t be a problem.

Kraftmaid Cabinet Review (and a Before & After) // 7thhouseontheleft.com

COST // A lot of people have asked us how much our cabinets cost to see if the price they were given is “right”. The thing is, every kitchen is different, so we really can’t answer that question. The features like roll out shelves, cabinet-covered appliances, extra shelves, and bookcases all add up to a different price tag for different spaces. That said, the final price of our cabinets including installation was around $17,000.

Was it worth the money? Absolutely. Greg and I both think it’s important to invest in larger home purchases to ensure quality and longevity. In the long run, you’ll end up spending less money if you invest in something of higher quality upfront. This is especially true for kitchen cabinets, which are permanent (or semi-permanent, at least) fixtures in your house because once they’re in, it’s tough to change things later. Obviously, the cabinets were the most expensive aspect of our kitchen reinstall. The entire kitchen renovation totaled to approximately $28,000 – the cabinets taking up about 60% of the budget. The total (which includes everything from switch plate covers to appliances) is actually much lower than what we read online and in magazines. It’s also lower than the average kitchen gut-job renovation in our area, so we were happy with the final number.

Would we purchase KraftMaid cabinets again? Yep. We’ve been extremely pleased with the durability and quality. On top of that, all of the customizable options are crazy amazing. I literally drew what I wanted the bookshelf to look like, and they did it! It’s worth the extra money to get something that fits your wants/needs so that you can love your kitchen for years to come.

Kraftmaid Cabinet Review (and a Before & After) // 7thhouseontheleft.com

Going through this process ourselves, we have four bits of advice to pass along, in case you’re going to be tackling a similar project:

01 // As for getting started on the cabinet-buying process, we recommend meeting with a kitchen designer and giving them your absolute dream wish list of everything you hope and desire for your space. Then, when they come back with the design and the estimated sticker price, take away the things you can live without until you get to your target budget.

02 // If you have it in your budget, have the cabinets installed by a pro. Actually, I would even go as far to say make room for it in your budget. Even if you think you or someone you know is all DIY-savy and are handy with a nail gun… trust me. These guys do this every day. They’re familiar with the dos and don’ts, and you’ll save yourself some major headaches and possible repair costs down the road. We were definitely happier spending the extra money to have it done well and right the first time.

03 // When we had our initial rendering, I showed it to my mom and Grandma to get their input. After all, they’ve been doing the homeowner/cooking thing a lot longer that I have and I thought they’d have some good input – and they definitely did. Because of their advice, we moved a few cabinets around and changed out drawers for cabinet doors in one spot in particular, which turned out to make a huge difference in the productivity department. That said, entertaining too many opinions might hurt your decision-making process. Just pick the brains of the people closest to you, including that friend that is killing it with the organizational skills and ideas.

04 // Take the time to be absolutely, 100% sure you love your layout before you place your order. Once we decided on a layout, I was so excited to place the order and get the ball rolling. Greg talked me into waiting at least a week before placing the order. Even though I was like a kid waiting for Santa on the longest Christmas Eve ever, it was worth the wait because we made a few small tweaks, and I felt 100% confident when we said, “Go!” and wrote the check.

We hope this review helps you guys out there in the decision-making process. For a complete list of kitchen resources and more details, check out this post. To read aaaaaall of the posts having to do with the kitchen, click here or check out the Projects page for a list of the “meaty” kitchen reno posts.

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34 Comments

  • Reply
    Kerri
    April 7, 2014 at 12:16 pm

    thank you for your experience. it’s always helpful to see what other people think…. 🙂

  • Reply
    Michelle | Birds of Berwick
    April 7, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    This post is the perfect timing for me! Thank you so much! I have been debating KraftMaid or Shenandoah cabinets from Lowes. Your kitchen is beautiful and I’m so happy to hear it’s working out so well!

  • Reply
    Amy
    April 7, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    I can’t even tell you how timely and appreciated this is! We gutted our kitchen and started looking into Ikea but I can’t tell you how many nights I gave myself insomnia because I couldn’t DEAL with the fact that a base cabinet didn’t line up with a wall cabinet. It was too much.. We bought our fridge last weekend and randomly strolled through the cabinetry section of Home Depot. We are now going to be going with the American Woodmark 5 piece shaker (“Reading”) cabinetry in Linen. I would have been happy with Ikea if we could make it work but I think that for my peace of mind and my money, the Home Depot cabinets are going to be the best thing ever. Also? Your kitchen has kind of been my inspiration through our design process. I whipped out my phone to show hubs your blog and your peninsula and managed to convince him that the glass cabinetry would look awesome! Thanks guys!

    • Reply
      Amy
      April 7, 2014 at 1:13 pm

      Quick question- what are the dimensions of your kitchen, if you don’t mind me asking?

      • Reply
        Ashley
        April 7, 2014 at 1:39 pm

        No, not at all! It’s roughly 12×17. We were amazed at how much bigger the room felt once the cabinets were installed.

    • Reply
      Ashley
      April 7, 2014 at 1:39 pm

      Oh, I know the feeling! We were going to go with Ikea at first, but just couldn’t do it. So happy with what we ended up with. Good luck with your kitchen remodel!

    • Reply
      Chuck
      June 10, 2014 at 8:50 pm

      Ashley,
      The hinges on KraftMaid are not designed to have the “Clip-on” buffer. You will need to use the type that screw directly to the frame (they attach on the same side of the frame as the hinges). KraftMaid previously used a Blum brand buffer like this, before the new standard Whisper Touch Hinges. The one in the Amazon link would work fine.

      • Reply
        Ashley
        June 10, 2014 at 9:18 pm

        Good to know! Thanks!

  • Reply
    Kara B
    April 7, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    Yay! Thank you so much for writing this Q&A!! Very helpful!

  • Reply
    Cassondra
    April 7, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    Hey Ashley! I don’t know a lot about Kraft Maid cabinets, but I sell kitchen cabinetry and we have after the fact soft close mechanisms that clip onto the hinge of each door. You should check if that’s something you can add now if that’s a regret you’re having. For ours it’s just a matter of taking off the hinge cover (probably says Kraft Maid on it) and then you can buy the mechanism that just clips on easy peasy.

    • Reply
      Ashley
      April 7, 2014 at 2:52 pm

      Good to know! We’ll definitely check that out. Thank you!

    • Reply
      Amy
      April 10, 2014 at 8:21 pm

      My husband and I put soft close on his sister’s kitchen cabinets. It was SO easy. We just bought them on amazon (similar to these: http://amzn.to/1qm4RaQ) and screwed them into the corner of each cabinet. No need to deal with the hinge at all.

      • Reply
        Ashley
        April 10, 2014 at 8:23 pm

        Ooh, good to know! Thanks for the link!

  • Reply
    Dianne Brown
    April 7, 2014 at 10:14 pm

    It’s good to find this post. Got an idea about KraftMaid cabinets. And yes I agree, it is always important to make sure that you like the design or layout before placing an order. That applies even to other things.

  • Reply
    Heidi
    April 8, 2014 at 9:05 am

    Thanks so much for all of these details. My husband and I really used your kitchen breakdown as a basis for putting together our kitchen renovation budget.

    http://jax-and-jewels.blogspot.com

    • Reply
      Ashley
      April 8, 2014 at 9:29 am

      So glad it helped!

  • Reply
    Jennifer
    April 8, 2014 at 10:32 am

    LOVE the kitchen! I was wondering though, what color is on the wall around the door by the peninsula? Is that the same Martha Stewart Cobblestone that’s in the living room? I love that shade of gray with the white trim and dark door. I’m totally aiming for a similar look in my kitchen. Thanks!

    • Reply
      Ashley
      April 8, 2014 at 10:52 am

      Thanks! Yep, same color : )

  • Reply
    Susanne
    April 8, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    I’m not in the market for cabinets now or in the foreseeable future but I just wanted to say this is a great post. Exactly what I’d want to read if I were shopping around and things I’ll keep in mind for when I do go shopping for cabinets.

    • Reply
      Ashley
      April 8, 2014 at 6:52 pm

      Thanks so much!

  • Reply
    Joanna
    April 13, 2014 at 1:11 pm

    I love your kitchen and used it as one of my primary inspiration sources when I was planning my reno. I went through the initial planning at Lowe’s too but my contractor said he’d probably be able to get the same cabs (like, the exact same ones from the same manufacturer) cheaper from a local place. We went with Diamond for budget but apparently there are several levels up from the bargain Diamond cabs Lowe’s carries, and that’s what we ended up with (from Parr Lumber, for any interested Oregonians).

    I can’t remember if you had a contractor manage your whole process or not, but I wanted to throw it out to save any of your other readers some $$$. From Lowe’s, we were looking at something like $12k and we ended up getting them for $8k or less with installation. And the quiet close feature is amazing. Only downside is that I now forget that nothing else in my house is quiet close and run around slamming everything else 🙂

    Here’s my kitchen if you want to take a peek at what you helped inspire! http://restorationhardwork.blogspot.com/2013/12/christmas-kitchen.html

  • Reply
    Erin
    April 14, 2014 at 8:42 pm

    Hello…was wondering why you didn’t end up putting pendants lights under your island? Mine is also attached to wall and not a huge kitchen. Wondering if pendants would close in the room if there are no high ceiling and the kitchen isn’t very big. Thank you!!

    • Reply
      Ashley
      April 14, 2014 at 10:43 pm

      We currently have reassessed can lights above the island, but we’ve often thought about adding a pendant light. Maybe someday, but for now we like it open. If we do decide to hang one, we’ll get one that’s glass so it doesn’t take up visual space.

  • Reply
    Suzanne
    June 30, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    Thanks so much for posting this. I have been looking everywhere for the style I am looking for in Kraftmaid cabinets. I may have missed it, but what type of counter did you use? It looks like marble? Thanks!

  • Reply
    Susan
    September 15, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    This is a great article and I love your kitchen! Im in the process of purchasing cabinets and I’m looking at two different brands that Lowes carries. One is Diamond and the other Kraftmaid. Did you compare with any other cabinets? Also, did you upgrade to all plywood or plywood ends?

    Susan

    • Reply
      Ashley
      September 26, 2014 at 2:30 pm

      You can find pretty much everything you’ll ever want to know about our kitchen renovation (including the comparison process and upgrades) in this post: http://7thhouseontheleft.com/2013/02/kitchen-2/ Hope that’s some help to you! : )

  • Reply
    MJ
    July 24, 2015 at 6:11 am

    I want to paint our kitchenmaid cabinets, what brand and where can I get the paint?

    • Reply
      Ashley
      August 25, 2015 at 10:53 am

      We haven’t painted our Kitchenmaid cabinets – this is the color it came in. If you want to paint yours, we’d recommend talking to a Kitchenmaid rep at your local Lowe’s or emailing Kitchenmaid directly.

  • Reply
    Donna Jones
    June 29, 2016 at 4:38 pm

    My husband and I went through a process very much like the one described by Greg and Ashley. I wish I could comment as positively as many of the above posts.
    My kitchen has been installed for 8 years, so I can give a pretty fair perspective regarding wear and tear on my Kraft Maid cabinets. Positives are: drawer construction and the whisper close have been super. We have no issue with the general construction. However the finish is another story. We have a finish called “muslin” which is a taupe-y gray color. The first thing we noticed was little blue spots that have developed in the finish over time. Second, the finish has simply worn off on the edges of cabinets that receive a lot of daily use like the cabinet where my trash can is located. Third, several of my cabinet doors have warped. We live in a moderate climate in MD. not near the water, so I’m not sure why warping would occur. Our house is air conditioned so humidity should not be the culprit. Regarding the appearance of the blue marks that have multiplied over time,I blame myself for not contacting Kraft Maid right away. We saw the first one soon after installation, but thought ~ “Oh well, it’s just one mark.” Little did we know that more would follow over time.
    I was in love with my kitchen when it was installed. Eight years in ~ I have serious concerns about my cabinetry, the most expensive part of any kitchen installation.
    One final note: Our cabinets are the devil to clean. I am afraid to use more than mild soap and water because of the wearing of the finish, and soap and water do not get the job done.
    My caveat is think carefully about your finish, how you will clean it and also ~ if you notice what you believe is a small problem ~ call your distributor! A small problem can just be a sign of larger concerns to come.
    Respectfully submitted,
    D. Jones

  • Reply
    Kellie Olonko
    July 3, 2016 at 12:43 pm

    I just came across this post now and it is the perfect timing for me. What a beautiful kitchen! I am actually right about to hit the go button on our KM kitchen cabinets order at Lowes but want to be sure they are going to look the way I envision in my mind. I see you mentioned your cabinet style is the square recessed panel. Is that the same as the Deveron maple? Also, do you mind sharing your cabinet and ceiling height? I picked 39″ cabinets as of right now and my ceilings are only 8′ so I worry they will look too overwhelming in the space. I also picked the classic crown molding. I appreciate any help you can offer.

    • Reply
      Ashley
      July 3, 2016 at 3:20 pm

      Hi, Kellie! Hmm… I’m not sure if it’s the same Deveron maple. However, our ceilings are 8′ and we have the 39″ cabinets (but it’s 42″ including the molding). If anything, it makes the room feel SO much bigger. Hope that helps! Have fun in your new kitchen 🙂

  • Reply
    Joan Wingfield
    September 27, 2016 at 8:03 pm

    Can you tell me what type of hardware you used and where you got them? Looks great!

    • Reply
      Ashley
      October 10, 2016 at 12:01 pm

      Thanks, they’re from KraftMaid as well!

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