On this page:
- Estimating the Cost of Your Kitchen Remodel
- Won’t My Other Rooms Be Jealous?
- What Influences the Cost of a Kitchen Remodel?
- Arriving at the Bottom Line
- Preparing for Your Kitchen Remodel
- Cost Comparisons
- Level of Difficulty
A kitchen remodel can be one of the most rewarding--and challenging--projects a homeowner may undertake. A few minor updates can freshen and modernize the most-used room in the home, making it both more appealing and more functional. A full remodel can transform a kitchen into something completely new and different, lending a change of character to the entire home.
Whether your kitchen remodel just includes a few upgrades, some fresh paint, and new appliances or if you plan to go all out by reconfiguring the layout and starting over from scratch, there are several details that will affect the cost of the job. The kitchen is generally the most complex room of the home, with plumbing, electrical, and ventilation issues that are distinct from any other area of the house. Add in multiple appliances, cabinetry, lighting, durable floor, and wall surfaces, and you will have a lot more to think about when planning your remodel than you will for just about any other room. The cost of a kitchen remodel is influenced by a variety of factors. Expect to pay any where between $3,300 to $125,000, with an average cost of $35,150.
Estimating the Cost of Your Kitchen Remodel
How is a Kitchen Remodel Priced?
Although there are some norms within housing styles and the ages of homes, modern kitchens are typically the most customized room of the home. There is a wide range of features and surfaces that can be changed in the course of a kitchen remodel, and many are interdependent, so a pro will need to know exactly what changes you have in mind in order to provide an accurate estimate for the job.
How are Individual Features Priced?
Individual features are often estimated according to size, such as square footage for flooring and counters and linear feet for cabinets, but in order to price the whole job your contractor will need to consider all the details. So, while you should receive a detailed estimate or bid that itemizes specific materials and elements, a kitchen remodel is often estimated as a whole by a general or remodeling contractor.
What Should I Expect to Spend if I Do it Myself?
When planning any renovation, it is essential to plan and budget realistically. When it comes to a kitchen, you can accomplish an impressive cosmetic remodel on a modest budget, or you could go for broke with a complete overhaul. For example, painting cabinets, adding new hardware, replacing laminate counters, and installing a new faucet and backsplash is a reasonable scope of work for most homeowners that could cost less than $1,000, depending on the materials you choose and assuming you can do the work on your own.
What Should I Expect to Spend if I Hire a Pro?
For a project of a slightly broader scope, hiring a pro to professionally reface or refinish the cabinets and replace the counters, flooring, appliances, lighting, and fixtures is more likely to fall between $5,000 and $10,000. Add new cabinetry and you could spend another $2,000 to $10,000. A full gut and rebuild with plumbing and wiring changes, new flooring, high-end cabinetry, cabinets, sinks, and faucets and a custom tile backsplash could cost between $20,000 and $80,000.
Form and Function
Plan your new kitchen with both aesthetics and daily use in mind. Be sure to choose materials and appliances that will be durable and functional for the long term, but you may find that you don’t need high-end options with high-end price tags to accomplish that. On the other hand, as you research finishes and consider layouts and equipment, you may discover that creating the ideal kitchen will cost much more than you had in mind. It is important to make choices that will improve both the appearance and functionality of your kitchen, so be practical about how you actually use your kitchen when planning for changes.
Upgrading a kitchen can add significant value to most homes, but be sure to consider your goals when planning and funding the project. Is your priority to create a more useable, attractive, and comfortable place for your family, or are you investing in the property to improve profitability for a future sale? Consult with real estate experts before taking the plunge if you are concerned about recouping the cost of a kitchen renovation when selling your home.
Won’t My Other Rooms Be Jealous?
The Dangers of a Beautiful Kitchen
For most homes, the kitchen is the hub of activity and is the place where family and guests naturally gravitate… even when it is cramped and out of date. Since we spend so much time in our kitchens, updating to make them comfortable and appealing spaces can improve the quality of time spent at home and make the home more attractive to others. Since the kitchen is often a centerpiece and represents the style and character of the entire house, a remodeling project there often leads to improvements around the house that bring other rooms into good enough shape to keep company with the new and improved kitchen.
It’s Not Just Keeping Up Appearances
Since it is a costly room to remodel, a kitchen is often expected to define the style of a home, and its appearance (rather than its practicality) becomes paramount. Fortunately, manufacturers realize that most of us still cook in our kitchens, and modern materials and appliances available for kitchen renovations can truly improve functionality. From energy efficient appliances to durable countertops and optimized storage, a well-planned kitchen can simplify many aspects of day-to-day work.
Is It All Just for Me?
A functional, attractive, up-to-date kitchen is an important feature to homebuyers, so investing in upgrades is usually a wise decision if you intend to sell your home. Even if the home’s value does not increase by the full price of the project, an appealing kitchen can generate more interest in a home and lead to a quicker sale. So you can enjoy your remodeled kitchen, but also be assured that the improvements you make will appeal to potential buyers at the right time.
What Influences the Cost of a Kitchen Remodel?
The Size and Scope of the Job
There is a wide range of potential upgrade options in a kitchen, so the size of the kitchen and the level of remodeling you undertake will influence the general cost bracket of the project. Kitchen projects are generally classified as simple renovations, with basic and cosmetic updates and no significant changes to fixtures and appliances, mid-level renovations, which generally include refinishing or replacing cabinets and installing new counters, fixtures, lighting, appliances, flooring, etc., and high-end remodels which are likely to describe a complete gutting and rebuilding of the kitchen, often with structural or system changes.
The location of your home will have some bearing on the cost of a kitchen remodel. The expense of labor and materials is affected by contractors’ and suppliers’ costs and overhead, so if you live in a place with a high cost of living, or in an urban or coastal area, any remodeling project is likely to cost more than in a rural or inland location. Also, the accessibility of your home could influence labor costs, since it takes more time and manpower to move tools and materials. If you live in an upper level condo or a garden apartment, the difficulty of getting to the job site may increase the bottom line.
Am I On My Own?
One of the most significant cost factors of any home improvement project is labor. There are many DIY-friendly projects a homeowner can complete in the course of a remodeling project, so the more you can do on your own, the more you can save on labor costs. Labor rates vary from one trade and location to the next, but with many aspects of a kitchen project the labor is often equivalent to the cost of materials. If that is the case with the finishes you choose, you could save up to half the cost of some parts of the project by doing them yourself.
The Benefits of Being Your Own General Contractor
If you would like to go this route, but still need pros to handle some aspects of the job, be sure to work closely with them to coordinate who will be doing what to avoid confusion and delays. In a case like this, you will probably need to act as your own general contractor (GC) and coordinate subcontractors as needed, rather than jump in on some areas while a GC is overseeing the job.
Arriving at the Bottom Line
Reinventing Your Kitchen
If you have decided to transform your kitchen into something entirely new, the extent of structural and systemic changes involved will have a lot of influence on the overall cost of the job. While reconfiguring the cabinet layout, switching from an electric to a gas range, and adding a dishwasher where there wasn’t one are relatively minor changes, removing a load bearing wall, changing the location of the sink and vent hood, and rewiring the entire space are much more substantial projects that can add several thousand dollars to the budget; and that’s before you’ve even picked out flooring and cabinets. This type of construction work is typically not seen in the finished product, but can really improve the productivity and efficiency of a kitchen.
One of the most significant finish material choices you will make for your kitchen project is the flooring. There are a number of practical choices for a high-traffic, moisture-prone area like this, from economical sheet vinyl to engineered and solid hardwood and high-end natural stone tile. Choose your flooring carefully; it will take a beating in the kitchen and can be difficult to replace down the road, depending on the installation method and layout of the kitchen.
How is Flooring Installed?
Static or fixed floors, like tile and hardwood, are typically installed over the entire surface of the floor before base cabinets are set on top, while floating and sheet floors, like laminates and vinyl, are cut to fit around cabinets. In addition to the more costly materials and installation process, the larger coverage area of tile and hardwood make them more expensive choices for any application. These higher-end materials are more durable and long-lasting, but can cost more than twice as much as other options, such as sheet or click vinyl.
Getting to Work
When it comes to productivity in the kitchen, choosing the right appliances can make all the difference in the world. New appliances are more energy efficient than their predecessors, and more options exist than ever before to provide homeowners professional results. Choosing a high-end dishwasher with a stainless steel tub may provide better performance and longevity than a base model, but could cost three times as much. Likewise, standard ranges, cooktops, ovens, and refrigerators provide reliable performance for most homeowners and may cost a fraction of professional-style options.
How are Appliances Priced?
Regardless of their caliber, the features of each appliance can affect its price. Gas cooking appliances are typically slightly more expensive than electric, with dual fuel and inductions costing even more. The capacity, quality, controls, and even the color of all appliances will be reflected on their price tag, providing a broad range. Replacing the standard appliances in the average kitchen could cost less than $1,500 for basic options, $2,000 - $5,000 for higher-end consumer appliances, or well over $20,000 for commercial or professional grade equipment.
The Icing on the Cake
The most prominent features of a kitchen are typically the cabinetry, countertops, fixtures, furniture, and lighting. Although most of us see these as the definition of the space, they really are just the finishing touches on a workhorse of a room. Don’t be misled, though; a quality kitchen is more than just a pretty face. Cabinets provide essential storage space, and durable counters, well-planned lighting, and quality sinks and faucets make it possible to get essential work done in style.
Your choice of finish materials will have a lot of influence on the cost of your remodel. Natural and custom materials such as slate or granite countertops, solid-surface engineered counters and sinks, and custom solid wood cabinetry are much more costly than laminate or tile counters, steel sinks, and stock cabinets. The price difference between the two styles in a similar configuration could be $6,000 or more. Not only are the higher-end materials more expensive, the skills required to install them often come at a higher price tag for labor. One way to keep the budget in check but create a high-end look in your new kitchen is to combine custom and stock elements and natural and synthetic materials to get the best of both worlds and come in at the middle of the typical price range.
Preparing for Your Kitchen Remodel
When planning your kitchen project, go a step beyond pinning ideas and saving inspirational photos and envision what you need to accomplish in the room and how you intend to use and maintain it on a day-to-day basis. Choose appliances and finish materials that suit your lifestyle, design plan, and budget.
Planning on a Modest Budget
If you have a modest budget, compare material options to find a way to replicate the high-end look you want without breaking the bank. For example, if you just cannot fit a line in the budget for both natural slate tile and a farmhouse sink, consider installing a ceramic tile with the color and texture of slate so you can splurge on the sink of your dreams. Or, if you are not a serious home chef, avoid overspending on appliances you won’t really use to their potential and direct more funds toward storage and furnishings.
If you are able to do some of the work on your kitchen remodel you can save a considerable amount on the cost of labor, even if it’s just initial demolition. Be sure to work closely with your contractors if you do this, though. It is important to carefully coordinate each phase of the project so tasks are completed in a logical order that prevents duplication of effort, delays, and damage to finish materials and appliances. If you plan to leave the whole job in the hands of professionals, hire a remodeling or general contractor who will be your single point of contact for the job.
Kitchen Remodel Cost Comparisons
|$3,300 - $15,800||$14,620 - $55,680||$56,900 - $124,600|
To see how the budget for your kitchen renovation or remodel might stack up, consider the features you would like to include and compare your ideas to a few scenarios. The potential price range is quite broad for a professional remodel of a 150 square foot kitchen. Our example accounts for 25 to 50 linear feet of new cabinetry, 52 square feet of new countertop material, a new range, dishwasher, and refrigerator, and varying levels of structural or system changes.
Kitchen 1: A Fresh Start $3,300 - $15,800
- • Cabinetry: A cabinetry budget of $1,500 to $10,000 allows for stock cabinets to fill up to 50 linear feet in a combination of upper and lower cabinets. The low end includes a minimal number of laminate cabinets with particle board construction, while the high end allows for a full installation of upper and base cabinets with plywood construction.
- • Counters: Laminate countertops throughout the kitchen are an economical choice for a renovation of this scope, with choices ranging from $12 to $50 per square foot.
- • Appliances: A standard kitchen can be outfitted with basic appliances in standard colors for $1,200 to $1,500.
- • Structural and System Changes: This basic kitchen renovation allows for all new fixtures and finishes, but limits them to the existing layout, plumbing and wiring configuration.
Kitchen 2: Upgrades All Around $14,620 - $55,680
- • Cabinetry: Semi-custom plywood and solid wood constructed cabinets can make up between $2,500 and $32,000 of the budget on this job. The number, size, features, and finish of the cabinets will all affect the cost of materials and installation.
- • Counters: Solid surface or natural stone counters are typical in an upgraded kitchen in this price range, with popular options ranging from $60 to $90 per square foot.
- • Appliances: High-end consumer appliances are a substantial upgrade here. The quality, features, capacity, and finish of the appliances add five times the expense of the most basic options.
- • Structural and System Changes: A moderate reconfiguration of the space can add $1,000 to $8,000 to the budget, such as relocating the sink, adding new dishwasher connections, and upgrading the wiring for more outlets and improved lighting.
Kitchen 3: Only the Best $56,900 - $124,600
- • Cabinetry: Solid wood, custom built-to-order cabinetry is the norm at this price point. With $12,500 to $70,000 set aside for cabinets and trim, a homeowner can create the perfect balance of beauty and function.
- • Counters: A natural stone countertop is expected with this level of finish, and materials such as granite or slate can come with a price tag of $75 to $300 per square foot.
- • Appliances: Professional grade appliances distinguish a high-end kitchen from its modest and upgraded contemporaries. Depending on a home chef’s preferences, it wouldn’t be surprising to budget $22,000 for just the right equipment.
- • Structural and System Changes: A kitchen remodel of this scope would likely include significant reconfiguration, such as moving or removing walls or windows, relocating water supplies and drain lines, rewiring the entire space, and installing new gas and ventilation lines.
Level of Difficulty
There are many potential projects to complete within a kitchen renovation, so the overall difficulty of the job depends on the scope of the work. Coordinating, overseeing, and carrying out a complete remodel is a complex and time-consuming job, and requires an advanced level of skill, organization, and commitment. Specific portions of the job, such as drywall or flooring installation, plumbing changes, and cabinet refinishing require an intermediate to advanced level of skill, while others like painting, changing cabinet hardware, and replacing some types of freestanding appliances only require basic skills and tools.