What Does it Cost to Remodel a Kitchen? Understanding Your Renovation Budget

Before and after image of kitchen remodel, from dimly-lit brown cabinets to a modern white and gray kitchen

Homeowners often feel mystified by the cost of their kitchen renovation project. It’s hard to get an exact price for a renovation, because each project has its own unique needs, features, quirks, and fixes. In terms of materials, you have budget options and luxury options. And on of top all that, installers across the country charge different rates for similar services.

Even though it’s difficult to know the exact cost of your remodeling project from the outset, you can – and should – start thinking about your remodeling budget as early as possible. To help you get started, we’ve included in this article budget benchmarks, breakdowns about kitchen remodeling costs, and tips on how to save on your remodel.

Contents

  • How do I budget my kitchen renovation?
  • What does a typical kitchen remodel cost?
  • What does it cost to install a kitchen remodel?
  • Is remodeling my kitchen a good investment?
  • How can you save money on a kitchen remodel?

How do I budget my kitchen renovation?

Your budget is hugely important. It shapes what’s possible with your kitchen, from the materials you choose to the professional help you hire.

For the average, medium-sized kitchen remodel, $20,000 to $50,000 is a reasonable starting point for your budget. The exact amount will depend on where you live, what you can afford, what products you select and how much construction you want done. Do you want to gut your whole kitchen, including moving walls and relocating utilities? It’ll be costlier than simply replacing appliances and cabinets in the existing layout.

How you divvy up your budget will depend on your household’s needs. Here is an example budget breakdown:

Pie chart breakdown of a kitchen remodeling budget, including cabinets, appliances, countertop, installation, lighting and electrical, plumbing, flooring, and backsplash

A homeowner’s kitchen remodeling budget. Your mileage may vary.

  • Cabinets: 26%
  • Appliances: 18%
  • Countertop: 14%
  • Install: 13%
  • Lighting & Electrical: 10%
  • Plumbing: 8%
  • Flooring: 7%
  • Backsplash: 4%

We also recommend setting aside 10-20% of your total budget for unexpected expenses. You never know what kind of surprises and situations you might encounter during a home remodel.

What does a typical kitchen remodel cost?

The national average cost to remodel a kitchen is about $22,000. That number doesn’t tell the whole story though. Your new kitchen could cost anywhere from $5,000 to $50,000 or more, depending on the size and scope of your project. Typical kitchen remodels range from $12,500 to $33,000.

We created this chart to show what a kitchen remodel would look like under different budgets.

This chart outlines low, medium, and high kitchen remodeling budgets, and the remodeling features possible under each budget

What does it cost to install a kitchen remodel?

This pricing chart from HomeAdvisor provides a breakdown of the various costs of installing the elements of a kitchen remodel.

Chart that indicates the costs for installing new kitchen elements, including appliances, cabinets, countertops, faucets, flooring, and sinks

Is remodeling my kitchen a good investment?

“For potential buyers, the kitchen is the room that can make or break the sale,” writes Kristen Hampshire at HGTV. “An upgraded, attractive kitchen can make your home irresistible.”

Kitchen remodels have become more and more popular, and it’s no wonder given the huge boost they can give to a house’s resale value. In 2017, a $60,000 kitchen remodel recouped an average of 65% of the cost upon the sale of the house. A smaller $20,000 remodel netted an average return of 80%.

Smaller remodels can have greater ROI because they tend to aim at solving functional problems, and are designed to appeal to the masses. More expensive projects tend to place higher priority to personal style and aesthetics. But while any potential buyer will care that the plumbing and appliances work, not every buyer will care for a highly ornamented kitchen in the style of a rustic Tuscan farmhouse.

Still, unless your goal is to immediately re-sell your house, it’s a great idea to invest in the kitchen you’ll love. Ultimately, your kitchen is more than an investment. It’s where you provide for and nurture your family. It’s where you entertain friends and guests. It’s the living and breathing hub of your home, where thinking, conversing, and resting gets done.

If you’re living in your home for the years to come, then pick out what you want and enjoy it. A survey conducted by the Research for Cooking & Kitchen Intelligence found that 40% of homeowners say they wish they had spent more money on their kitchen renovation. Their biggest regret was not adding more organizational features.

How can you save money on a kitchen remodel?

Superimposed price tag with dollar sign over a picture of white kitchen cabinets and open shelves

Kitchen remodeling budgets have ballooned over the last several years. Not only have kitchens gotten bigger over time, they’ve also gotten fancier, as modestly priced homes are increasingly demanding luxury features.

While it’s possible to include some of those special features and get the job done on a tight budget, you might need to make sacrifices in other places.

Here are some ways to trim costs:

  • Shop smart. Start early and take your time to find bargains. Research products so you can evaluate quality. Check out online stores and discount outlets when buying appliances and cabinets. Buy in-stock merchandise. Watch for fall appliance sales. If you see a countertop or cabinet that you like, look for a similar material and style on closeout from other places. Shopping at reuse centers and salvage stores can help you save big on materials.
  • Keep your current layout. Anything that involves moving plumbing, gas, or electrical will hike up your budget. To cut costs, get a design that preserves your existing kitchen footprint, or modify it only slightly. It is possible to move some appliances without moving their hook-up. A dishwasher for example can usually be moved to the other side of a sink.
  • Get free professional services. CliqStudios offers free professional design services. Let your designer know that cost is a priority, and they will use their expertise to help design your kitchen with cost in mind. The professionals at lighting, appliance, tile and countertop stores can also be valuable sources of advice.
  • Do-it-yourself or Manage-it-yourself. Even if you don’t have construction or DIY skills, you might consider managing your project as your own general contractor. Though we would only recommend that to those who either have past experience with a remodel, or are very diligent project managers, being your own general contractor could save you up to 30 percent off your entire remodeling project.
  • Save on countertops. To give some relief to your budget, consider using single thickness countertops or opting for laminate. Cheap materials for your countertops can help you save money, but it’s not recommended to install them for resale because most potential buyers are looking for stone surfaces like granite or quartz.
  • Hit the books. When you’re trying to keep your renovation on a budget, one of the best things you can do is learn from others who have done it before. Luckily, there are extensive resources on remodeling on a budget:
    • Remodel! Without Going Bonkers or Broke: A Home Improvement Primer by Jim Molinelli
    • Affordable Kitchen Upgrades by Steve Cory and Diane Slavik
    • Do It Yourself: Kitchens: Stunning Spaces on a Shoestring Budget by Better Homes and Gardens

Learn more about kitchen remodeling costs:

  1. How Much Does It Cost to Remodel a Kitchen? – HomeAdvisor
  2. Kitchen Remodeling Cost: Remodeling Professionals Tell All – The Spruce
  3. The Beginner’s Guide to Remodeling a Kitchen on a Budget – Budget Dumpster
  4. How Much Does a Kitchen Makeover Cost?  – Houzz
  5. Remodeling a Kitchen for Resale – HGTV
  6. Cost vs. Value 2017 – Remodeling Magazine

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