Jul 10

Cabinetry and Mantels: Ready-made vs. Custom

We encounter many fireplace purchasers who are comparing custom cabinetry and ready-made furniture.  Cost is definitely a consideration, with custom having the higher price tag. Is it worth the extra cost to go custom?  Here are our Top 5 things to consider when deciding on custom cabinetry and mantels:

Function

Can you get the practicalities that you need in a ready-made piece of furniture?  How much storage do you need?  Do you need drawers or doors or open shelves? Do you want to hide your stuff, or make it visible?   How will the cabinet accommodate speakers, wires & cables, and remote-controlled equipment?  Do you have unusual items that you need to accommodate in the cabinet, that might not fit into a ready-made piece?

Design

Is your preferred style available in a ready-made piece?  Is there something that works with your space, your taste, and your other furnishings?  Can your cabinet maker incorporate the decorative details that you like?  If you prefer a lot of carving in your furniture, this is often done off-shore where labour is less costly; it is more difficult to have it done locally.

Quality

How does ready-made furniture compare to custom?  The old adage “you get what you pay for” holds true when comparing cabinetry.  It’s okay to accept lower quality for lower price, as long as you are aware of what you are getting and that the quality is good enough for your purposes.

Size

Is there a ready-made piece that fits your space, and your functional requirements?  Perhaps ready-made bookcases are only 11” deep, but your favourite books and objets d’art require deeper shelves.  Possibly your TV is too big or too small for a standard cabinet.

Finishes

Do ready-made cabinets or mantels come in finishes that work with your other furnishings?  Custom cabinetry offers endless possibilities for matching floors, walls, and other case pieces, but you don’t necessarily need a perfect match in order to make a piece work in your room.  Mixing finishes is much more acceptable in today’s interiors.  Having said that, some ready-made furniture will come only in the latest trendy colours, which will have a limited appeal over time.

About the Author

Jeanne

has written 14 blog posts

Jeanne is the co-owner of Stylish Fireplaces by Huntington Lodge. Stylish Fireplaces has always specialized in electric fireplaces, and does not carry any other hearth categories. Jeanne is an accomplished speaker who has developed many design seminars over her career.

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