Stainless steel appliances have been in fashion for more than a decade now – anything else seems like a distant second best to most homeowners and homebuyers. Now, we’re starting to see the stainless steel trend show up for kitchen cabinetry.
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Stainless steel cabinets are sleek and modern. They’re probably not the best choice if you’re not a fan of the modern look, but they also don’t have to appear cold and sterile. Combined with warm granites, woods, and light or bright wall colors, the contrast is striking. Stainless steel cabinets also give the appearance of a true chef’s kitchen – the look is polished.
Pros and Cons of Stainless Steel Cabinetry
Some people love stainless steel cabinets and others are not a fan of the look. That really comes down to personal preference. Everyone has a different aesthetic. If you’re undecided, browse through pictures online to get idea inspirations. If you’re in the camp of people who love them, the next step before making a purchase is to understand the pros and cons.
Stainless steel – as you might know if you have stainless steel appliances – is highly durable, sanitary and easy to clean. This is why stainless cabinets have long been used for outdoor kitchens. The maintenance is very low and they stand up to the harsh treatment. They do not need to be cleaned with harsh chemicals because of the natural sanitary properties. They will never warp, rust or be damaged by water. Finally, stainless steel cabinets can make a kitchen look larger because they reflect light.
On the flip side, stainless steel show smudges and fingerprints far more than wood cabinets. If you’re the type of person who panics over every smudge, keeping the cabinets clean has the potential to drive you crazy. Stainless steel cabinets can also be expensive (although durability should factor into your thinking on that) and they come in fewer styles than wood.
Types of Stainless Steel Kitchen Cabinets
Although the design options are fewer than wood, that doesn’t mean all stainless steel cabinets look the same. You can choose a sleek chrome finish or a softer brushed or patterned finish. You can add wood, glass or patterned inserts to decorate the cabinets and soften the look. Copper or bronze hardware accents can add visual interest, too.
Like wood cabinets, stainless steel varieties are sold either out of the box in predesigned and sized configurations, or they can be custom designed to fit your kitchen. Custom designs are wonderful for high-end kitchens, but they come with an equally high price tag.
Because solid stainless steel cabinets are expensive, some people who want the look without the price tag opt for wood or particle board cabinets with stainless steel fronts. That gives you the look of stainless steel without breaking the bank.
How Much Do Stainless Steel Cabinets Cost?
Stainless steel cabinets are typically more expensive than even high-end wood varieties, but again they are extremely durable and last much longer. Budget at least $350-$500 per cabinet for stock varieties in solid stainless and $750-$1000 per custom cabinets, not including installation, which also tends to be more expensive than wood cabinets. Keep in mind that these are guidelines – the cost can get much higher depending on what you choose.
Let’s say you have 30 cabinets in the kitchen, which is fairly typical for an average to large home. At $1,000 per cabinet, that brings the price to a total of $30,000 not including installation. When installation is factored in, you could end up spending $40,000 or $50,000. However, keep in mind that cabinets are almost always the largest expense in kitchen design or remodeling.