When I ordered cabinets for the bathroom, the generous salesman at Just Cabinets gave me several boxes of knobs. They were the basic brushed silver knobs that come with all KraftMaid cabinets, and they send them to the store even if the customer ordered something else. So they were just extras to them, but I estimated they saved me at least $50. The best part is that I would have been my top choice anyway.
I decided I really wanted handles on the drawers, even though they were a steep $8 each. I saw them in the store and I just knew they would be perfect. I looked everywhere for a cheaper substitute, but eventually sucked it up and ordered them= $68. The drawers are heavy, constructed of plywood with a front of some other wood. They also have no glides of any kind, so pulling them open with just a knob would have been cumbersome.
Oh, and did I mention that mom and I repainted the cabinets? Yup. And it only took us about six months.
We took all the cabinet doors off, sanded them, and set them aside. Then we attacked the cabinet frames. These cabinets were such a hodge podge. More than I had ever realized. The backs were that 70s paneling, which, by the way, paints beautifully. The doors were made at two different times. Some had rounded corners, and appeared to be made of maple. Possibly. Other doors had square cut doors, and who knows what they were made of. The shelves were quite diverse. Some cheap, warped, rough pine. Some scrap chestnut. Some particle board. The particle board was the best- very thirsty. Oh, and all of it had been covered by a hideous black and red print contact paper. It covered every surface on the interior. Every corner was crisp. We joked that it had been professionally installed, it was that thorough.
Mom and I stood and sat in every concieveable contorted position to sand, clean, then prime and paint these cabinets. I even stood on the counter. And got stuck. I'm not so good with heights, but I was fine while working. It was just when I would try to get back down that I would freeze. Then someone would have to come help me down. All three feet off the ground. How sad is that?
Our "professional" painter (the only person we ever fired) told us that we would need to sand the 70s paneling that formed the back of the cabinets. Well, we tested it: sanded and unsanded, and it didn't seem to matter. We opted for not going for the extra sanding, and it has been fine.
We used Kilz2 as our primer, followed by 2 to 3 coats of oil paint from Sherwin Williams. Yeah, yeah, I know. Oil paint bad. But I seriously don't think latex would hold up on such heavily used surfaces like a kitchen. We used foam rollers to apply the oil paint. It is possibly the nicest paint job in the whole house.
In all, I'm pleased with how they turned out, but I would have gladly torn them all out and replaced them, had our budget allowed. I'm also quite confident with the hand sanders now, too.