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Whether you want to add simple, space-saving organization to a smaller bathroom or outfit a master bath with a luxurious vanity and spaces for housing entertainment equipment, bathroom cabinets can make the difference between ho-hum and awesome. This buying guide explains what you need to know when buying bathroom cabinets in addition to how much it costs to install cabinetry.
Bathroom Cabinet Considerations
Types of Cabinets
The centerpiece of the room, the bathroom vanity, is a combination of a cabinet, sink, and mirror. In place of a mirror you might instead choose a bathroom medicine cabinet, which is mounted above the sink and provides storage for personal items as well as a mirror on the door. There are also storage cabinets that can hold everything from towels and linens to televisions and radios.
No matter what type of vanity and cabinets you're considering, you'll need to also decide whether they will be wall-mounted or freestanding (bathroom vanities can also be wall-hung to lend a sense of space).
Stock vs. Custom Built
Bathroom cabinets can be stock, the type available at home improvement stores, or custom, which are built onsite by a cabinetmaker. As a compromise, you can select so-called semi-stock or semi-custom cabinets, which allow the buyer to mix and match the various stock sizes and configurations that manufacturers offer.
Face framed vs. Frameless
Face framed bathroom cabinets are the type most commonly built in the United States. With this design, the door and drawers typically overlay the frame and hinges are partially visible. Compare this construction method to frameless, or "European style" cabinets, which have flush door and hidden hinges, giving them a contemporary look (see a visual comparison between framed and frameless cabinets).
Materials and Finishes
A typical bathroom cabinet has a core constructed from inexpensive materials such as plywood, particleboard, and fiberboard with a door and drawer faces made from solid wood. You can, of course, opt for a solid wood design such as cherry, oak, or maple if your budget allows.
Cabinets are typically finished with paint, stain, varnish, or tinted shellac, or they might have a laminate or faux finish. Most cabinet manufacturers offer a wide variety of finishes in numerous colors.
Knobs, pulls, hinges, backplates, and other cabinet hardware make a huge difference on bathroom cabinet appearance. This hardware, available in a large variety of styles, colors, and designs, can match the rest of your bathroom décor or stand out to make a powerful design statement.
Bathroom Cabinet Average Costs
The actual cost of bathroom cabinets depends on your location, the size, type and number of cabinets installed, and other factors.
- A typical stock bathroom vanity costs $250 to $1,250, but high-end models could set you back $1,500 to $2,500 or more.
- A simple double-door, wall-mount bathroom cabinet costs $75 to $750 or more; a freestanding cabinet might cost as little as $35 for a simple plastic shelving system or $3,500 or more for cabinets made from solid wood and stainless steel.
- Cabinet installation costs $50 to $150 per cabinet.
- For custom bathroom cabinets, expect to pay roughly $300 to $600 per cabinet. To install custom cabinets in an entire bathroom, the total price could be as much as $10,000 or more.