Cost to Install Built-in Cabinets – 2019 Average Prices

custom built-in entertainment center cabinet in a living room

2019 Built-in Cabinets Costs

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National Average Price $2,500
Typical Price Range $1,000 - $4,000
Minimum Price $500
Maximum Price $10,000
Typical Price Range (per hour) $50 - $100


Built-ins are an attractive method for storing anything from books to audio/video gadgets, and much more. On average, homeowners spend $2,500 on a set of built-in cabinets. However, depending on several factors, most people pay anywhere from $500 to $10,000, but the average price range is $1,000 to $4,000 when installed by professionals.

Built-in Cabinet Cost Factors

Several factors will affect how much you pay:

Carpentry Labor

The most significant expense of cabinet construction is typically labor; though when you use cherry, walnut, or another high-quality, high-priced wood, it might be the materials.

Labor for cabinet makers and carpenters will usually be higher than that of the average handyperson. Cabinet Makers often charge $50 – $100 per hour. This rate varies greatly depending on where you live and the skill-level of the craftsman.

Carpenters and cabinet makers typically have a high level of skill that they have acquired over many years of building cabinets.

Material

The wood you use is usually the second-highest expense. Although plywood veneer, pine, and poplar are inexpensive, cherry, oak, and walnut can be costly, but you must consider what you will put on the shelves.

Larger built-ins will require more material, which will drive up the price accordingly. Exotic woods or ornate detailing will also drive up the cost of materials.

Average prices per board foot of various wood species used in cabinet-making
Wood Average Price per Board Foot
Birch $4.10
Hard Maple $3.60
White Oak $3.75
Walnut $7.45
Poplar $2.30
Cherry $7.00
White Pine $1.95

Need help estimating the board footage of your cabinet project? Try our board footage calculator.

Design

A designer might charge $200 – $500 to draw your plans, depending on how elaborate you want your built-ins to be. Many cabinet makers will be able to draw up a basic set of plans free of charge, so be sure to ask if this will factor into the cost of your project.

Accessories

The type of accessories and hardware you might want on the cabinets include glass, molding, knobs, pulls, hinges, electrical outlets, lights, and fixtures – all of which will affect the price.

Finish

Another sizable expense of a cabinet project is the finish. A couple of coats of clear finish is the most cost-effective option, but adding a coat of stain or wax will drive up the price.

The type of finish is also a determining factor on the material choice as well. For instance, when using enamel paint instead of a stain, poplar or pine can be used, which are more affordable than species such as cherry or black walnut.

Finishing the cabinets yourself is a great way to reduce the cost of the project if you’re up for the task.

Common Built-In Projects

There several familiar built-in cabinets for living rooms and media centers.

Entertainment Centers

The built-in entertainment center typically has a focal point of the big-screen TV and the audio/video equipment. A 12′ by 10′ oak wood entertainment center with shelves, doors, and accessories costs between $3,500 and $7,000 to have custom-made and installed. You will pay $1,500 to $2,000 for the materials and 24 – 48 hours of labor.

If you use an average figure of $75 an hour for a carpenter or cabinet maker, that’s $1,800 – $3,600. Adding an entertainment center can add value to your home and means you need to purchase less furniture for the space, which helps offset the cost.

Dining Room Cabinets

A Built-in china cabinet in your dining room can save you a lot of space. Typically, dining rooms are only big enough for your table and chairs and not much more. You could build a DIY built-in for $500 or pay a cabinet maker or carpenter around $5000.

A china cabinet can also be built to blend seamlessly with your kitchen design. Learn more about the cost of kitchen cabinets.

Bookcases

The complexity of the design, the size, the chosen material, and where you want it will determine how much you spend on a set of built-in bookcases. Many are choosing to put bookshelves in window nooks or alcoves. This concept is a wise, as well as attractive use of space; especially in old Victorians with dormer-type windows.

Media Rooms

It’s becoming common to see media room built-ins cover entire walls and feature recessed lights and bookshelves. They often feature more door-concealed shelves on the bottom to store all your DVDs, video games, projectors, along with anything you want to keep out of sight. The cost of these is on par with a large entertainment center, and the price goes up with the size and complexity of the unit.

Entryway Shoe, Coat, & Hat Built-In Cabinets

One of the most cluttered areas seen by visitors is the entryway. Designing and building a “locker room” type built-in for your entryway can eliminate the clutter and get you a much deserved “attaboy” or “attagirl” from your partner or spouse. Plan on spending $1,000 to $5,000 on mudroom benches and lockers.

Hiring a Designer & Contractor

You could request an estimate to design and build, or buy pre-made cabinets and hire someone to install it. Built-ins typically come in stock, semi-customized, and fully customized just like any other cabinet.

Ask for estimates on our free estimates for carpentry page to get several hassle-free estimates from professional cabinet makers and carpenters in your area.

All pricing information on this page is based on average industry costs, and is subject to variance for project-specific materials, labor rates, and requirements.