The cabinets, even in a small space, can be one of the single most expensive items in a kitchen. While it may seem that the cost for what is basically an empty box is high, the reality is that most kitchen cabinets are custom sized to your space. And as with most things, custom work is labor-intensive—and that costs money. It takes skilled workers to cut and assemble all of the pieces for well-built cabinetry including the time-consuming structural components, which are hidden from view once the units are finished. Even those items that are visible, like doors and recessed hinges, must be properly fit and adjusted so they swing correctly and work perfectly over years of use. Proper installation is key—the cabinets must be aligned and square and myriad wires and pipes have to be taken into account. If you select custom and hand-applied finishes, the cost will only accelerate. Rest assured, though, that if you make smart choices, your investment will pay off for years to come.