'Custom' is a term for alot of things these days...colors, art, cars, houses, shoes and of course cabinets. But does it mean what you think it does? In our modern day it's actually just used as a general term, the pre-fix is much more important.

Here is the definition of the pre-fix terms from the widely sourced 'Good Cabinetry and Why' collumn in Lux Magazine.

Custom Madethe most widely understood term in cabinetry, is also currently the most used words to convince a customer that they can use a product in their home. It is a very forgiving term that can be used to describe anything that has been tweaked to fit you based on your measurements and style options. When this term is used, it can mean a variety of things or a combination of methods. Any cabinetry that can be ordered in a few different widths, depths or heights and be considered custom. But don't be deceived, though it can be a byproduct to any reputable company, quality is not regarded in this term alone.

Box Store Custom

This is a completely different process than other 'custom's as it does not involve a skilled designer fitting your kitchen personally. Box store custom is based on pre-set cabinet sizes. The pre-sized cabinets are placed up or down based on your measurements. This process is machine operated so mass orders are taken. Turn around time is minimal as you can usually purchase off the shelf pre-built or in flat packs and build at home on your own time. Issues will need to be resolved by you and are usually not covered by the company. Prices are minimal and quality is lacking.

Specialized Custom

This is a relatively similar process to box store custom as most sizes and styles are pre-selected and you get to choose from a limited pallet. With Specialized Custom however the customer service is a step above and you generally have access to help from a designer or coordinator within the organization. These cabinets are still widely mass produced and sometimes still ordered through the box store suppliers(or vice versa) if you are not careful. Turn around times are generally a 2-3 month lead and may require additional time depending on the season. Issues may need to be handled by you. Prices are medium range, installers are randomly selected and install prices are separate. Quality is mediocre.

High End Custom

This is usually a better build of cabinetry, something with designer selected pallet of colors and woods as well as ordered to best fit and suite your home, these shops will usually have mass production of common sizes and option to build a few cabinets to specific needs or variants. Customer service is better, usually a designer will come take measurements and help with the initial design of the kitchen. Turn around times can vary depending on the season and your millwork may be spread between a few shipments. Issues or repairs may take a while to be concluded depending on where the mill shop is located and who put the order through etc. Prices are generally higher as the mill shops are usually out of town and require shipping, as well design charges can be separate and install fees can be issued separately and all add up in the end. Quality is generally decent.

Bespoke Custom

This means the millwork has “been spoken for” or “Made to Measure”. Bespoke is when one designer creates a kitchen from scratch for one person. Which mean customer service is at it's peak. This usually takes the form of multiple design meetings as the layouts are drafted directly for the house they are going into. Heights, widths, depth of each individual piece are all customizable, fillers are minimized and every inch of space is utilized with interior components available. This process is followed through by 3D drawings, space layouts, direct communication with your designer from paper to product install. The companies own wood shop is handcrafting the cabinetry either locally or nearby. Nothing is pre-fabricated or mass produced. Your choice of wood is ordered just for you sourcing from the highest quality factories available and as local as possible. Paint colors are chosen by you with the help of your designer and color matches to your favorite scarf are available on request. You can even stop by and view your product being created at any stage. Turn around times are minimal and any issues are handled on site and timely. Prices though on the higher-end are very reasonable considering all the finishing price options that you have available as well your design and install are accounted for all up front and things like paneled appliances will likely be handled by the companies installer….and there is little for fixes, repairs or re-do’s in the end. The quality is high and better than the rest, which is the biggest difference of all.


Main differences between Box Store and Bespoke method:

  • full Bespoke starts at least twice the price of a Box Store.

  • nothing will fit your home better than Bespoke – everything is accounted for, made to suite and built for you. Box Store is based on pre-set designs, the cutting is automated and mass produced.

  • Bespoke is mostly handcrafted using high quality construction, Box Store is a machine made and cheaply constructed

So answer to the above question of 'What is the Difference Between Bespoke and Custom?':

- Bespoke IS Custom, it is just the highest standard in that widely used category.