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Home Depot or Lowes? Or Ikea???

11 years ago

Hi all,

I've been lurking for a long time, through a year-long search for a home, and then through the first two years of living in the home we finally found. We are just getting started with renovating the kitchen and I've been looking at all the different options in the world of cabinets. I am very uncharacteristically at a loss for how to get started shopping around for cabinets. I was thinking of having HD or Lowes do the thing where I pay a fee up front and they come out and measure and come up with a design, or Ikea for that matter as they offer a similar service, but I guess the sticking point is that I don't know that I absolutely would buy the cabinets there, so there's a chance it will be wasted money, and the result is complete indecision on my part. Part of me says go with HD because it's easier to get there from our house, but then the other part says that Lowes is slightly more upscale, and then another part says go with Ikea because you can't beat the prices. Yes, I'm stressing a couple hundred dollars in a renovation that will be much more expensive, but it's just my cheapness coming out!

How did you choose if you bought cabinets at a big box store?

(Also, I'm going to go to a non-big box, local cabinet supplier to see what they have to say, too.)

Thanks for reading my ramblings! Usually I am much more decisive.

Comments (23)

  • rocketmomkd
    11 years ago

    We went with Lowes only because they were having a great sale with lots of freebies on the cabinets we wanted. They didn't charge to come out and measure and then work up a plan. HD does, but will refund it with purchase. I don't think much of the "kitchen designer" at Lowes. He obviously didnt' listen to me when I told him we were changing the location of a wall and taking it to bar height because when I went to see his plan he had it exactly like my old kitchen. He also measured wrong, which could have been disastrous if we didn't check his numbers.
    I think it's hit or miss with the big box stores- you need to have a good idea of what you want and ask lots of questions about your options.

  • jerzeegirl
    11 years ago

    I used Lowe's on my last kitchen remodel and it was a great experience. I'd use them again in a NY minute if only they carried frameless cabinets.

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  • sserra85
    11 years ago

    I went with IKEA.. and i love my cabinets. We DIY'd the whole job except plumbing and electric... and once you get into the groove of using the software its pretty easy.

    That said, I would not pay one of their people to come tell me what works or doesnt work in my kitchen. You can often get the same help for free by just trial and error with the software, or by working with one of their in store associates. In my experiance, they were extremely helpful. Ikeafans is a great resource also if you decide to go that route.

    I can't comment on Lowes or HD.. I have a hard time getting someone there to help with with the right size screws so I did not want to deal with that for my kitchen reno.

  • jakabedy
    11 years ago

    Two houses ago we went with Home Depot -- or was it Lowe's. I seriously can't remember! I think it was Lowe's -- closer to the house. At that time they carried Thomasville frameless cabinets and I got a cabinet I really liked. It was a simple layout and didn't require anything fancy.We didn't have an IKEA in our region at that time.

    In this house we did IKEA and DIY'd the construction and install. I would do it again in a heartbeat. But then we're very DIY-minded folks. If you're going to job out the assembly and install, then the cost advantage of IKEA starts to fada a bit in comparison to the big box semi-custom cabinets.

    Many here have had great results with a custom cabinetmaker. So if you have that as an option, check it out, as well.

  • munchladyland
    Original Author
    11 years ago

    Thanks for all the comments! I wish we were more DIY. We have done the lion's share of the work on this house by ourselves, but installing cabinets will definitely be outside of our area of knowledge. DH is pretty handy, up to a point! The kitchen is small so perhaps it would be better in the long run to go with a local semi-custom or custom place, so every square inch could be utilized. Oh, indecision. Part of the problem is that shopping around with a 3-year-old and 16-month-old in tow is much easier said than done!!

  • writersblock (9b/10a)
    11 years ago

    >installing cabinets will definitely be outside of our area of knowledge

    The ikea system is really pretty easy for almost anyone, if you like their cabinets. Their rail system makes it much easier to do these without any prior experience with this sort of thing. Here's a link to their installation video, showing how easy it is when you have an impossibly perfectly square room and a family of impossibly perfect children:

    Here is a link that might be useful: ikea installation video

  • nap101
    11 years ago

    I went to Home Depot liking the innermost cabinets. I brought my pictures and measurements and they KD there over several appointments and changes helped me figure out a layout. Had really good ideas and a good eye. It was free since I didn't have them come out to the house.

    Unfortunately I don't think I will be going that route with the cabinets.

    Considered IKEA, but not crazy about particle board or metal interiors. Didn't like the lack of options for white all wood doors (I know I could get other doors now). The big thing that turned me off was seeing how much wasted space was at the back of every drawer.

  • rmtdoug
    11 years ago

    I just went to Ikea this past Saturday to check out their cabinets. I was most impressed, and this is coming from someone with a heavy woodworking and building background and I've dealt with HD and Lowes many times. I will definitely be buying Ikea basic frames and drawers next year when we start on our kitchen and I will do the doors and drawer fronts myself.

    A piece of advice is don't worry about particle board vs plywood construction for the frames. Once the cabinets are screwed into place and secure, there is very little difference. Think over the years how many times your cabinet frames were stressed in any way once installed? Put your money into the faces and hardware instead. I loved the Ikea drawers. They are metal sides with Blum soft-close hinges; a brilliant design.

    If you can use a screwdriver, hammer, and level fairly competently, I'm sure you can install Ikea cabinets. There really is not much to it. Concentrate on the layout, getting everything level and plumb, and you will be halfway there. A reservoir-based water level will help immensely in laying out your kitchen if you don't have access to a transit.

  • claybabe
    11 years ago

    It sounds like you might benefit from posting your layout and measurements along with a wish list of functional issues here. There are some amazing folks who have a knack for improving layout and some professionals who frequent this site as well. Then you can shop for the cabinets more effectively, armed with a plan.

  • slush1422
    11 years ago

    We ended up going with Ikea cabinets also and did not have anyone come out. I wanted to, but in the end - the folks on this forum gave us ALL the help we needed. We posted several layouts with changes and they helped us work though to our perfect one! I am so glad we didn't spend the extra money and a year later I absolutely LOVE my kitchen :)

  • misslivvy
    11 years ago

    I went with Home Depot and did not pay the measurement fee until after I had already purchased the cabinets and decided to let HD's contractors do the install. However I had no doubt that my measurements were correct and was able convince my KD to that effect. (My cabinets have been delivered but are not installed yet).

    I also priced cabinets at Lowes, in addition to investigating Ikea, custom cabs, RTA, and everything else imaginable. In the end I went with Home Depot because they had a door style that I wanted in a color I wanted and because of my budget. I wanted to keep the price down but I did not want stark white cabinets, nor did I want cream colored, so that basically eliminated IKEA and the cheaper cabinet lines. At HD I fell in love with Thomasville's Piedmont door in a color called "Cotton." Lowe's has an equivalent line called Diamond and color "Coconut". Also, my Home Depot KD was/is really good and she reworked my design God knows how many times bless her heart.

    Regarding price - Both Lowe's and Home Depot run all these different incentives & promotions. The promotions change often but after pricing my cabinets under various different promotions I now think that the promotions are just smoke and mirrors because in the end my cabinets always seemed to cost around the same price after the discounts, no matter what promotion was currently running. I found the pricing at Lowe's to be similar to Home Depot for equivalent cabinets and options.

    What I liked better about Lowe's is that the KD was not as overworked as my KD at Home Depot. Mine gets really busy and sometimes I have to wait up to a week to hear back or get resolution on things. However I stuck with her because she really cared about my kitchen and spent so much time with me on it over the past year.

    Other positives about HD - a 3rd party cabinet accidentally damaged one of my cabinet doors. I had brought them to a store to have them measured for custom glass and he dropped one and dinged it. I mentioned this to my KD and she is having a new one sent free of charge.

    The negative is like I said, it sometimes takes a long time to get questions answered and issues resolved. Also, not all the KDs at Home Depot are any good. A lot are inexperienced and may be lacking talent. I think got lucky to find the one I did.

    Good luck on your journey. I know mine has been a long one like most other people's!!

  • Laura Weller
    11 years ago

    I'm going to go against the grain and say don't go with any of the above--use a contractor that is highly rated on Angie's list. Make sure they are qualified to do your job.

    Our contractor got better cabinets at a cabinet seller, and could apply his discount to everything purchased, down to the kitchen sink. We ran into unexpected plumbing problems, and they were able to take care of that too, as they were class A.

    I really enjoyed working with my contractor, and all the professionals he sent me to were A+ people--like the fellow who helped me with the backsplash, and the professional who helped me with my UCLs.

    You won't regret it.

  • catlover5
    11 years ago

    Hi Munch. I checked out the same three plus a few online vendors and a store named Consumers: Lowes - no one was ever on the floor to help us; Ikea - LOVED the white Lidi style but my kitchen is tiny and I would have ended up with a lot of fillers, I did not care for the preferred installer and I was leery of how well the white door style would hold up because I was replacing thermofoil cabs installed by the PO that were less than 5 years old that peeled; Consumers - got tired of waiting for my turn - they work on a number system and HD - I ended up with Kraftmaid cabs although I was considering Thomasville. Why HD? The KD there were was very patient, knowledgeable and I enjoyed working with her. Did I say she was patient? Very patient. At the time, HD was having a huge sale and I ended up saving quite a bit of $$ although I still was a bit shell shocked as to how much cabs cost - I have a tiny kitchen.

    While I love the cabs, I was a bit disappointed in the quality control. KM is replacing the doors without issue (so far) but I am finding that there is no pride anymore in what anyone does these days. That is why we are trying to DIY as much as possible.

    I am glad I used the KD at HD. Even though I was able to template my kitchen with the online software, there were extras that she told me about and certain requirements such as a panel for the DW to hold up the counter since there isn't a cab on both sides that I didn't know about.

    DH is still working on the electric and it's been a slow go but we will get there eventually!

    Good luck with your search.

  • munchladyland
    Original Author
    11 years ago

    Thank you to everyone who replied! I so appreciate the thoughtful and detailed replies. If competent use of a screwdriver, hammer, and level are all that is required to install Ikea cabs, then yes, perhaps we can DIY! I mentioned the idea to DH this morning and he seemed pretty gung-ho. I'm working on getting all the pictures together to post a layout for critique.
    Thank you again!

  • desertsteph
    11 years ago

    'It sounds like you might benefit from posting your layout and measurements along with a wish list of functional issues here. '

    yep, post it here and we'll see what can be figured out for it. be sure to list measurements for doors and windows. and list where the doors lead to.

    also if you live anywhere near Amish cabinetmakers, check with them for a price.

  • itsparadise
    8 years ago

    Don't completely rule out custom cabinets. After looking at our options, including big box cabinets, this is what we ultimately did and it wasn't even a significant price difference. My custom, cherry cabinets are 3/4 inch thick, frameless, built to size. I even saw them being built. It was a very cool experience. My granite guy even commented on how awesome my cabinets were as he's been asked to put granite on very poor quality cabinets. I'm not sure if it's typical but my custom cabinet price included install which in my HCOL area, is around 3500k so if you add that price onto a big box cabinet store the total price is closer than you might think. I have no regrets.

  • Ichabod Crane
    8 years ago

    Installing cabinets really isn't the difficult part. It's all the measuring, layout, and prep that takes all the time, decision, and skill.

  • Robert Schreier
    7 years ago

    Do not use Lowes.....

    Do not use
    Lowes as a contractor!

    On June 23, 2015, my life and my son’s life was turned upside down
    causing not only unnecessary stress to us but, causing me to incur thousands of
    additional dollars in costs due to the construction of the bathroom. On June
    23, 2015 I initiated an agreement with Lowes to remodel a 5X7 bathroom. I paid
    in full $14,913.00. My son and his wife were supposed to move in to this
    condominium at the end of August as the bathroom was to be completed in 15 days
    of actual work or by the agreed upon date of August 15th.

    The events of the last 5 1/2 months were perpetuated by the poor and
    ineffective project scheduling and by the contractor hired by Lowes. However, it always seemed that Lowes had the
    back of the contractor and not us the customer who had paid in full the entire
    cost of the bathroom renovation prior to the start of the construction. The guarantee
    of satisfaction we signed with Lowes on June 23rd 2015 had no effect on the
    construction. Therefore, after
    deliberate consideration and consultation it is obvious that the bathroom
    renovation was not completed to expected and reasonable standards of

    5 1/2 months’
    later the bathroom was never completed to expected and reasonable standards of
    satisfaction. Examples of the extremely
    sloppy workmanship include: The door and door frame should have been replaced
    with a quality door as agreed to in initial contract. Door is damaged, poorly spray painted so its
    surface is like sandpaper and the frame is damaged too so that the correct
    hardware could not be installed. Old rusted hinges were reused with caked on
    paint of years of use. The threshold is not the marble one we selected and it
    is the wrong color. The bathroom is beiges and browns and the threshold is an orange
    composite material. The wall and the tile molding was never completed behind
    the vanity. The grout is coming out from between the tiles in the shower.
    Instead of re-grouting the tiles calking was use on the surface only. The ceiling has gouges in it from when the
    bathroom was demolished and the light fixture was removed. The vent fan does
    not sit flush against the wall due to a wall that is not vertical. The light
    switch was poorly installed and now it cannot be aligned. Due to the
    inexpensive door when the towel bars were connected to the door the door was
    hollow so they could not be anchored correctly.

    expenses we incurred were my son's 2 months’ rent in his Manhattan apartment
    since the timeline for the renovation changed from the end of August to the end
    of November. And you can’t move into an apartment that has no toilet. (Expense
    of $3,358.00) Also… *** You have to see
    the photos of the mess in the apt. Nothing was covered. Everything is covered by a layer of dust.
    Floors, walls, windows, all the furniture, television, bedding, couches all
    appliances and more. In the middle of
    the living room is a 4-foot pile of bathroom debris (tile, floor, wall board,
    ceiling, plumbing and probably asbestos & lead too. The floors were left in such a damaged
    condition due to the contractor's dumping the demolition refuse into the living
    room that we needed to scrape the damaged floors for $2,126.00. And finally the couches were discarded because
    the debris that covered them and it was not worth the risk to use them. Their
    replacement value was about $1800.00 In all we are requesting compensation in the
    amount of $ 22,197.00 without the cost of painting the entire apartment that is
    covered with dust that probably contains asbestos and lead.

    Photos are available
    if you contact me at

  • PRO
    Joseph Corlett, LLC
    7 years ago

    I was hired to punch out a Lowes' bathroom a while ago. The customer wouldn't let the contractor back in after 6 months of work. I fixed a Corian countertop that was damaged from heat from a poor Lowes' design too.

  • just_janni
    7 years ago


  • Annette Holbrook(z7a)
    7 years ago

    Regardless of what cabinet line you go with, get the design looked over by the GW folks. Their goal is for a good design that will work for you, no dog in the fight so to speak.

    I currently have 4 kitchens of varying sizes (don't ask). My main is by a local cabinet guy and is fine. Basement is Home Depot line we ordered and installed. Very nice. Kennel has one that is repurposed from a Reno and they are junk and the last is lowes off the shelf in stock, pretty cheaply made but we got what we paid for.

    My good friend just did a kitchen in a guest house using ikea. They are very nice and I was very impressed with the end result.

  • wildchild2x2
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    My opinion applies to the purchase only. Our local Lowes is easier to work with than our local HD. I can walk in and get information more readily. Ikea does a great job of itemizing and giving you a complete parts list etc. on the spot. and you can buy and bring home immediately all that is in stock. We do our own installs so can't speak to their contractors. We do most everything but as DH ages sometimes it's more expedient to hire out some things. I am going to use IKEA's counter person on a small job because I requested the name of the company and have vetted them on my own. If I need professional work done I use specific contractors for the job. Have an excellent drywall guy. I am going to need a framer and because I trust the drywall guy I will seek their recommendation for a framer since they have to work with them. And so it goes. That's how I "GC" the things we need done.