Kitchen Remodel Costs and Budget Tips Explained


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If you are looking for a precise estimate of kitchen remodel costs, well, it isn’t possible. The primary reason is that remodeling professionals cannot issue kitchen remodeling estimates without being on-site. However, when a contractor gives a rough estimate off-site, other factors get introduced, and everything starts to fall into place.

On average, a kitchen remodel costs $150 per square foot. Along with that, most homeowners spend between $13,500 to $37,550 on average. However, the total expenses vary depending on the size of the space and the quality of materials. 

While a smaller kitchen remodel project costs between $10,000 to $15,000 that includes the painting of walls, refacing of cabinets, and installing a tile backsplash. On the other side, a complete full-scale renovation would cost $50,000 and above.

Don’t Rely on Cost vs. Value Reports

Homeowners interested in a kitchen remodel usually estimate by referring to the Cost vs. Value report issued every year by Remodeling Magazine. In that magazine, costs across the nation and region are mixed to produce generalized numbers that offer average kitchen remodel costs.

Of course, the Cost vs. Value report is valuable; but it excludes your thoughts and processes. Hence it is just too easy for homeowners to get an estimate from this report and think that that’s all they need. 

But you have to take a more measured approach regarding kitchen remodel costs, instead of insisting on those single numbers. You need to look after various cost estimates in your head and intersect the data with what you can get for that price.

Average Kitchen Remodel Costs

Starting costs = $18,000

Standard price range = $25,000 to $40,000

Premium price range = $50,000 to $100,00 and above

Size Matters

Although these figures are just averages, it is equally important to note that your kitchen’s size can significantly affect renovation costs. It could cost as little as $5,000 for renovating a small kitchen, and $60,000 to undertake a luxury or full-scale renovation.

Size [Square Feet]Average Cost
Small [<70]$5,000 to $20,000
Medium [100-150]$15,000 to $40,000
Large [200+]$30,000 – $60,000 and above

Things to Consider Before a Complete Kitchen Remodel

Before you start thinking about aesthetics like design and tiles, take a look at the space you have and consider what you want from the space. After that, you must know how you want it to look and function. At last, configure the size.

Budget and Resale Value

Once you have considered the things mentioned above, you need to ask yourself how much you’re willing to spend. If you think you will sell up and move one day, it is crucial to keep your home’s resale value and the ROI in mind while considering kitchen remodel costs.

Besides, you should ideally spend nearly three to eight percent of the home’s value on a full kitchen remodeling if you want to make a profit when the time comes to sell your house. Consequently, with average house prices in the US standing close to $250,000, a homeowner can typically spend around $20,000 on a kitchen remodel without impacting the resale price.

If Budget is a Constraint

In case you don’t have a budget of that size but still want to refresh your kitchen, there are still some alternative options available. You can reface or refinish your cabinets instead of replacing them. Further, you can refinish your appliances, but only if they are outdated. Nevertheless, you can replace or refinish things in stages rather than doing everything at once.

Design and Layout Process

Suppose you are looking to alter the layout dramatically. In that case, you should expect a base cost of at least $30,000 because you will need to engage a registered contractor who will file a permit application with your local council. Furthermore, proving that the new space will be compliant with the building codes and laws is also necessary.

The cost implications of changing an existing framework and footprint will incur additional labor and material charges. Along with that, design and permit filing fees of around ten to fifteen percent will also add up to the total project value.

Key Considerations of the Layout

In most cases, the size and shape of your kitchen will determine the most suitable design. However, it is always helpful to consider the classic work triangle when thinking of the layout. This concept is designed to minimize effort and walking distance between the stove cooktop, sink, and refrigerator. 

Moreover, this approach works great with most kitchen layouts, although, if you have to run for all the appliances and sink, you may need to flatten the triangle. To do this, you have to position the three points in line with few steps to walk in between.

Material and Labor Costs

Your kitchen remodel costs have three essential parts: cabinets, benchtops, and detailing. Apart from the base material costs, you will also have to consider the labor costs involved

Cabinet Costs

Cabinets are the game-changer in terms of the overall look and feel of the kitchen. It’s of no surprise that they eat up around thirty percent of the total budget and are the most expensive part of a kitchen remodel.

You can buy stock cabinets off the shelf at home centers that typically start at $80 to $400 per cabinet. Further, semi-stock cabinets that are of higher quality cost around $150 to $1,000 per cabinet. Now, if you want a complete custom cabinet, you can expect to pay approximately $500 to $1,500 per cabinet.

Benchtop Costs

Benchtops typically account for approximately ten percent of your total budget. Material costs range dramatically per square feet, and the style of the edge you choose of the counter also bulks up the cost.

Detailing and Final Touches

Once the significant expenses are settled, the real style comes in detailing or final touches. Appliances can take space, so budget around $1,000 to $5,000. A tile backsplash is excellent, and the options are endless; however, the average backsplash costs around $1,800. Interestingly, kitchen lighting makes a huge difference, and recessed lights cost around $150 each to install. 

Labor Costs

Even if you are just remodeling fixtures in your kitchen, you need to consider labor costs. Moreover, it’s essential to plan unexpected costs as well. For instance, if the wall tiles are removed, you may discover that plasterboards require maintenance. In this case, it will cost around an average of $2,000 to strip off the space before installation.

Finally, set aside ten percent of the total kitchen remodel costs for your budget for any unexpected problem that arises during the remodel. This money is your insurance to help you cover those extra costs for mending the termite damage and plumbing leaks. Sometimes mold, when you rip off your old cabinets.

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