Let's be honest. In a perfect world, one would always opt for custom-made and custom-fitted kitchen cabinets designed and installed by a professional artisan. No one would even think of trying to remodel a kitchen with pre-fabricated, modular kitchen cabinets.
The custom cabinets would offer so much more than the modular versions. They'd be designed with your kitchen and your vision in mind. They'd fit perfectly. They'd offer timeless beauty and amazing longevity that alternatives could never even hope to rival.
Unfortunately, we don't live in a perfect world. Some of us can't imagine spending the money necessary to secure custom cabinets. As the economy continues to struggle, more and more people are beginning to share that perspective. That's why we're seeing an increasing level of interest in modular kitchen cabinets.
Modular cabinet collections consist primarily of pre-built, individual cabinets. In some cases, these cabinets can “grow” with the buyer via the use of additional components. Both variations share two very important characteristics in common. They are ready for installation “right out of the box” and they're available at prices that are much lower than the alternatives.
Modular kitchen cabinets do have a few things going for them. They are cheaper than the alternative. They are now available in a surprisingly wide variety of colors and styles. They are relatively easy to install. In the right situations, it's possible to create a look that's almost as impressive as what might be achieved with high-end custom work. Those ideal circumstances aren't necessarily common, though. In most cases, there will be an appreciable difference in looks.
There are other negatives to modular kitchen cabinets as well. They don't offer as much flexibility as custom cabinetry. Designs tend to lean toward more modern looks, which might frustrate those wanting a different overall appearance. They are usually not built to the highest quality standards.
So, are modular kitchen cabinets a smart purchase? That's a difficult question to answer. It's really quite dependent on the individual purchaser's situation. Those who can afford to look at options that are more expensive should probably do so. They'll be happier in the short run with the appearance of the cabinets and in the long run with their durability and lasting value. Those who need a “quick fix” and who are working within a tighter budget, on the other hand, may find that modular cabinets are an ideal solution–at least in the short run.
In a perfect world, we wouldn't have modular kitchen cabinets. The world is far from perfect, however. That's why modular cabinet manufacturers stay in business. It's also why they're doing their best to create products that capture at least some of the beauty of more expensive cabinet options.