The kitchen is the center of many homes. Renovating your kitchen can make your kitchen a more compelling and pleasant space to spend time, but it also might increase your home’s resale value.
A kitchen renovation is a large undertaking, and you will likely have many questions. Before tile colors and floor swatches, the first question is: how much does a kitchen renovation cost?
Kitchen Renovation: Questions to Ask
Before you dive in, it is important to ask yourself some questions, like:
- Why do I want to renovate my kitchen?
- What do I want my kitchen’s design to accomplish?
- Do I need more space than I currently have?
- Do I like the layout of my current kitchen? If not, what would I change?
- Can I simply update some parts of my kitchen, or do I need a full renovation?
- What choices could I make to increase my home's value?
Components of a Kitchen Renovation
Next, it is important to consider all the components of a typical kitchen renovation.
Cabinets can often be one of the biggest expenses of remodeling a kitchen. Minor remodels can come with money-saving measures like refacing existing cabinets or selecting cabinets that are mass-produced and ready to install. Customs cabinets are more expensive--the average homeowner can expect to pay $500 to $1,200 per linear foot for custom cabinets or $2,261 and $8,350 for the average kitchen with 25 linear feet.
While appliances can be expensive, it is worth it to invest in high quality appliances. Efficient Energy-Star certified appliances pay for themselves over time by lowering your utility bills--and they’re better for the environment. New appliances may require electrical rewiring, so it is important to factor that into your budget and timeline.
Lighting and electrical
Electrical work is easier to do when your kitchen is already under construction. You should hire a licensed electrician to help you install any new lights you need, add outlets and fixtures, and perhaps even change your floor plan.
The cost of flooring varies widely, dependent on the kitchen size and material you choose. Vinyl is an affordable option, but word to the wise: investing in a more expensive floor might boost your home’s value!
Need to move your sink or dishwasher? Be prepared to pay a plumber if you need to install new pipes. If hiring a plumber seems too involved, ask yourself this: in three years, are you still going to want your sink a different place? If the answer is yes, hiring a plumber now might be worth it.
Demolition and removal
Does anything need to be removed entirely, like an island or a set of cabinets? Take a look around the edges of any built-ins. Does it look like the floor was cut to put them in? Look at the ceiling as well; a former project could have taken a chunk out of your ceiling!
If your kitchen cabinets, countertops, or any other heavier structures need to be removed, it’s smart to factor in labor costs. Depending on the existing structure or past renovations, the time and money spent on the job might increase or decrease. And unless you’re an experienced renovator yourself, it’s almost always better in the long run to have an experienced professional do this work for you.
How much will it cost?
Kitchen remodeling costs can range from $5,000 to $50,000 or more, depending on the scope of the renovation and the quality of the cabinets and/or appliances you want to install. Most renovations fall in the range of $12,500 to $33,000.
HomeAdvisor suggests that you spend between 5% and 15% of your home’s value on the kitchen renovation to get the best return on investment. That means that if your home is worth $550,000, a good budget to remodel a kitchen might be around $55,000. Take HomeAdvisor’s advice with a grain of salt: the only one who knows what your kitchen remodel should cost or look like is you!
As you break down the actual costs of your budget, there’s another suggestion you might consider: the one-third rule. Roughly one-third of the budget should be spent on cabinetry, one-third on upgrades like counters, sinks, flooring, and appliances, and one-third on labor. This keeps the balance between minor work, major upgrades, and professional help.
It’s smart to factor in additional funds for unseen circumstances and costs, such as bad weather, labor delays, and material cost fluctuations. 10-20% beyond your budgeted cost should cover most of these circumstances.
Budgeting and Savings Tips for Kitchen Remodels
A kitchen renovation can be expensive, but there are a handful of ways that you can cut costs.
Create your budget, and stick to it
First, be sure to create a budget and stick to it. It can be easy to watch your spending balloon out of control as you think of more things to add, or as you find more expensive or higher quality options. Make a list of the items that are absolute must-haves and be sure to cover those. From there, you can think about where you may be able to splurge with any leftover budget you have.
Determine what, if anything, you can do yourself
Labor costs can take up a large chunk of your budget. Depending on the scope of your remodel and your personal experience, you may be able to handle parts of the project. But if you have a specific timeline in mind or a complicated project, hiring a professional is almost always easier. Consider any potential areas where you can DIY parts of the renovation, and consider any downsides.
Understand your financing options
Home equity loans (HEL) are the most favored options because of their tax-deductible components. With a home equity loan, the borrower is given a lump sum, and the interest is charged on the full amount from the beginning of the loan. You are borrowing money against your home’s value, but ideally, your kitchen renovation should also increase the home’s value. An increase in home’s value is never guaranteed, so be sure to consult professionals when calculating your return on investment. Because home equity loans are larger, they’re one of the best options for large kitchen renovations.
You also have the option of a home equity line of credit (HELOC). A HELOC is a revolving source of funds, like a credit card, that you can access as you choose. Unlike home equity loans, they tend to have few or no closing costs, and you can borrow against your credit line at any time. HELOCs are better for smaller kitchen renovations, or projects that you might be taking on over time.
Are you ready to remodel your kitchen?
Everyone’s home is different, and every renovation is unique! Depending on the size and current state of your kitchen, it may be daunting to even know where to start. Maybe you’ve already done all of these steps—congratulations! You may be ready to get that home equity loan and start on your dream kitchen. Regardless of your budget or process, you’ve just taken one step closer to that kitchen. Now let’s make it happen!