Budgeting and Planning for a Kitchen Renovation: We Show You the Money

Kitchen Renovation Costs

kitchen renovationThe kitchen is probably the most important room in your house—from both a functional and financial point of view. A kitchen renovation typically returns 50-80% of your investment in the form of increased home value and can add years of enjoyment for anyone that likes to cook, eat or just hang out and admire the countertops. After you’ve decided what you want out of your kitchen—how it looks and functions–its time to consider budgeting. Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect for your money:

What to expect for your kitchen renovation budget.

Small/Condo Kitchens- $10,000-$20,000: You probably won’t be able to do many structural changes to the kitchen and you may need to do a lot of the work yourself. You’ll be able to update to LED lighting (perhaps under-counter) or pot lights and replace faucets with low-flow models. Instead of replacing cabinets, you can increase kitchen storage efficiency by installing roll-out trays, lazy susans, pull-out shelving and other tiered racking systems. Instead of replacing counter-tops, contractors could install counter extensions that pull out or flip down when you need that extra space for food prep. You could probably replace one or two appliances with more efficient models, just don’t expect that they’ll be super-snazzy top of line stainless steel.

Small/Medium Kitchens- $20,000-$30,000: In this range you’ll still have to do a little of the work yourself and call in the contractors for the bigger stuff. You should be able to upgrade your kitchen sink and faucet, add a tile backsplash and replace your countertops with vinyl, laminate or tile. You could re-face or refinish your cabinets or replace them with big-box stock units and you can paint your walls and ceilings. Appliances can be upgraded and new energy efficient lighting could be installed under-cabinet or in the ceiling.

Medium + Kitchens- $30,000 to $50,000: You’ll be able to leave more work to the professionals. You should be able to re-face or re-finish existing cabinets or install some new semi-custom cabinets. If your willing to compromise in other areas, you might be able to replace countertops with higher-quality materials such as wood, Corian, Formica, metal or stone. Again, if you’re willing to compromise somewhere else, a new kitchen island could be installed. New recessed lighting may be installed and some new electrical work could be done. Walls and ceilings could be painted, flooring may be replaced and appliances could be updated to lower-high-end models.

Larger Kitchens and Complete Re-models- $50,000-$120,000: When you spend upwards of $50,000 on a kitchen, you really should consult with a kitchen designer but you’ll be able to do pretty much anything you want, within reason. You’ll be able knock out walls, re-arrange plumbing and electrical and install the highest-end EnergyStar appliances and faucets. Natural stone countertops and high end hardwood flooring can complement custom cabinetry with exotic finishes. Modern overhead and under-cabinet lighting are also good options, along with pot-fillers, second stoves, wet bars, super-sleek exhaust fans and marble-topped kitchen islands with stools.

Where to put your kitchen renovation money

No matter what you budget, according to the National Kitchen and Bathroom Association you’ll want to divide up your cost along these lines:

  • Design fees: 4%
  • Walls & Ceilings: 5%
  • Doors & Windows: 4%
  • Lighting: 5%
  • Appliances & Ventilation: 14%
  • Countertops: 10%
  • Cabinetry & Hardware: 29%
  • Faucets & Plumbing: 4%
  • Flooring: 7%
  • Installation: 17%
  • Other: 1%

Where to Go from Here with your kitchen renovation

Spend a few months thinking about what you want from a kitchen and look at plenty of pictures of what others have done. Decide on a budget level that’s right for you that includes an assessment of your ability to perform some of the work yourself. For all but the smallest renovations, be sure to consult a kitchen design expert. Professional designers have the connections, experience and examples and can make time-and-money saving suggestions that fit in with your plan so you don’t spend needlessly, while still delivering a gorgeous kitchen you’ll be thrilled with.