Kitchens can be the most expensive area to upgrade during the new home construction process. The included options are the absolute base items available from the builder. While we might all be willing to make sacrifices in upgrades in our upper levels, where we spend most of our time sleeping, we all want Pinterest-worthy kitchens in today’s open-concept main level homes, right?! That makes it all the more tempting to upgrade every option the builder offers!
So then, why DIY?
For cabinet hardware in particular, we chose to DIY because we didn’t love the options available from the builder. Doing it ourselves ensured we got exactly what we wanted, and we didn’t have to worry about swapping out, patching holes, or settling for something we didn’t love. We didn’t save any money by doing it this way, but the builder did give us a credit, since cabinet hardware isn’t required to close on a house.
The credit we received back was around $450, and we ended up spending around $350 + our own labor on installing the hardware we selected. Luckily, Chad is an expert hardware-installer since he replaces hardware on furniture daily. I didn’t even attempt to micromanage his install, just followed him around with the vacuum.
Cabinet Hardware Install
This was the first kitchen upgrade we did; you’ll see that we selected builder-grade laminate countertops (we have big plans for those), no backsplash, and no under-cabinet lighting. We also didn’t have the builder include any island pendant lights.
We chose modern black square metal pulls, and decided to use pulls (not knobs) on the cabinet doors as well as the drawers. We carried this same hardware throughout the house, including in our mudroom and both upstairs bathrooms.
We used a variety of sizes for the drawers, depending on the drawer length, but mostly 12″ and 6.25″ lengths. We used the same 6.25″ on all of the cabinet doors, hung vertically.
While we were at it, we added a completely unnecessary upgrade. Honestly, it was a little bit of a “because we can” impulse purchase. As Chad was doing the hardware install, and I was vacuuming, I poked my head under the sink to see how that fake drawer in front of it was attached. When I realized it was just secured with plastic braces and screws, I suggested to Chad that we install our own tip-out drawer face to hold all the sponges we never use.
Our builder offered the tip-out drawer for $250. We ordered the parts off Amazon for $25, and Chad installed it within 15 minutes. And we’ll probably never use it, but it felt good to spend $25 to prove to ourselves we could do it. haha!!
Our next kitchen project is installing under cabinet lighting. We’ll have more of a tutorial for that project, along with pricing & details on what products we used! Spoiler: we saved nearly $1000 by DIYing the lighting!
We’d love to answer any questions you have about our experiences building a house with a large national builder, about the items we chose to DIY vs. buy, or anything else you want to know! Leave us a comment below!