Nationally, the cost of a kitchen remodel is $19,665, with most homeowners spending between $11,023 and $28,373. This data is based on actual project costs as reported by HomeAdvisor members.
The kitchen serves as the heart and hearth of your home. It's where you prepare your meals and it's where all of your parties gather. Is it any wonder that kitchen remodels are so popular and have the largest payoff in terms of boosting a home's resale value? Of course, kitchen remodels are also the most complicated and can be the most expensive. The average project cost varies depending on the size of your kitchen, the quality of materials, and whether you change the layout of the room. Once you've found a kitchen remodeling contractor you trust, work with him or her to develop a plan, including work and payment schedules. Then you can take a closer look at the details that will affect your overall cost.
The first step in determining kitchen remodel estimates is considering your kitchen as a whole. Before you get to the smaller questions, such as whether to reface your cabinets or replace them, ask yourself the big questions. What do you want from your kitchen? How do you want it to look and function? Is the size and configuration right? You don't have to replace everything at once, either. You can reface or refinish your cabinets instead of replacing them, which could save you time and money. You also have the option to refinish your appliances if they're outdated or need that stainless steel look to increase your kitchen appeal. Consider some of these alternative options if you want to save money on installing all-new cabinets or appliances.
Homeowners can save on their kitchen remodeling costs by making cuts in certain places. For example, cabinets take up almost 30 percent of the kitchen remodel budget, but you can save by investing in stock kitchen cabinets rather than custom cabinets. Also, you can do some of the installation and replacement yourself. You can also break up the projects over time so you can save for one project at a time. You also don't have to do everything, depending on the state of your kitchen. Here are some kitchen remodel estimates and what they typically include.Return to Top
If your kitchen is small or cramped and you only have a small area to work with, you'll have more limited options for a kitchen remodel. The cost to remodel a small kitchen usually averages between $5,000 and $15,000, depending on what you decide to install, repair or upgrade.
There are many changes homeowners can make to their small kitchen or condo kitchen without making structural changes. It's important to be prepared with a budget and expect to do some of the work as DIY projects to save on time and money. Here are some other recommendations that are inexpensive but will help you upgrade and remodel your small kitchen:
Green updates: LED lighting, environmentally friendly faucets, green appliances and double-paned windows are all possible without gutting the kitchen. If you want to update the lighting while remaining eco-friendly, you can install under-cabinet and counter LED lights, which might require some additional wiring. You can also install recessed lighting fixtures in the ceiling to save on hitting hanging lamps or ceiling fixtures.
Maximizing storage: If you're lacking storage space in your cabinets and pantries, you can install lazy susans, roll-out trays, double pull-out shelves and other tiered racks. This way, you don't have to install more cabinets into a small kitchen and lose space.
Pull-out countertops: If you need more room to prepare food or chop vegetables, you can have a countertop contractor install a counter extension that you can flip or pull out when you need it. You'll get more prep space without constantly bumping into it or reducing the space in your kitchen.
Smaller appliances: If your small kitchen was built with large appliances like a dishwasher, refrigerator, oven, range or stove, consider downgrading to their smaller and greener alternatives. This will give you more space for storage or just easier movement around your kitchen.
If you're really adventurous and have the wall or floor space in your home or condo to do it, you can knock out the wall and cabinet space. You can even combine the kitchen and dining room space into one transitional area that flows together, instead of having a bar or tall wall separate the two from one another. If you live in a condo, check building codes to make sure you can knock out walls. Consult with a contractor before you knock down any walls in your home, as they could be connected to a supporting beam for the house.Return to Top
When you're willing to spend between $10,000 and $15,000 on a kitchen remodel, you'll do some of the work yourself and hire a professional for some of the smaller projects. You should attempt to do as much of the work yourself, and if possible, purchase some of the materials before calling in the professionals. While contractors can get some materials for wholesale prices, some might charge extra for the purchase and labor. Save time and money by getting them in advance and then paying for installation. Some projects typically involved in a $10,000 to $15,000 kitchen remodel include:
Upgrading your kitchen sink and faucet
Installing or replacing your countertops with inexpensive materials (laminate, vinyl, tile)
Adding a tile backsplash
Refacing or refinishing your cabinets
Installing stock cabinets
Upgrading your appliances
Painting your walls and ceilings
Installing energy-efficient lighting in the ceiling and under the cabinet
When you're working with a $15,000 to $30,000 kitchen remodel budget, you can leave more work to the professionals instead of doing much of it yourself. This might include refinishing or refacing your countertops, painting the walls and ceilings, installing new lighting and rewiring some electrical work. You can also focus on replacing your flooring, if it's particularly worn, and look at more high-grade countertop material like stone (granite, Corian, Formica). You might be able to invest in custom cabinets, move some of the plumbing, or have a kitchen island in this price range, but you might have to compromise on other upgrades in the process. Projects that you could take on for the $15,000 to $30,000 kitchen remodel cost range include:
Replacing your countertops with high-quality materials (stone, wood, metal)
Installing custom cabinets
Building a kitchen island
Installing high-end kitchen appliances
Adding recessed lighting and rewiring as necessary
When you spend $30,000 or more on a kitchen remodel, you'll have more leeway to pick and choose which improvements you want to make to the kitchen. You might want to do everything on this list:
Installing high-end appliances with the EnergyStar rating
Adding granite countertops
Installing a new sink and faucet
Having custom cabinets built
Opting for additional overhead lighting
Adding hardwood flooring
If you decide to go with a major kitchen remodel and spend upwards of $50,000, you should consider consulting with a kitchen designer. A professional designer has the experience, connections and examples to suggest what fits with your plan. He or she can also help you save here and there so you don't spend needlessly while still getting the final product you want.Return to Top
Kitchen Renovation Cost Factors
When estimating the cost of a kitchen remodel, there are various factors to keep in mind. The most important are budget, longevity, and what other homeowners in the neighborhood are doing with their kitchens. By planning a remodel around these factors, it's possible to come out with a kitchen that meets expectations, lasts for a long time and will recoup the majority of its original cost in the resale.
Budget should be a homeowner's number one concern when planning a kitchen remodel. It shapes how much can be accomplished with a kitchen remodel, the materials available, how much professional help to call in, and what the final product will look like, among other aspects. If you don't plan a budget appropriately, there's a good chance that you will find yourself in debt by the end of the project or left with a half-finished kitchen after the funds run out. Homeowners should expect to spend an average of $5,000 for a low-cost remodel, $25,000 for a mid-range remodel and $45,000 for a major kitchen remodel. You should also set aside additional money for any unexpected problems during the remodel. These issues can include plumbing, electrical, structural, and pest or toxic material problems that could arise. Be aware that if you hire professionals for the remodel, labor will factor into the budget. You should account for at least 25 percent of the total costs in addition to the contractor's hiring fee.
As a homeowner, the next question you should ask when planning for a kitchen remodel is how long you plan to live in your home from the time of the remodel. If you plan to sell your home shortly after the remodel, you shouldn't spend too much money on it. The rule of thumb is that you should spend between 5 and 15 percent of their home's total value on your kitchen remodel. This is the optimum range for homeowners to spend and expect to recoup during a home's resale. If you plan to remain in your home for years after the remodel, then you should consider splurging on items like new countertops, appliances, cabinets and flooring. The fact you'll be living in the house for years to come means that you'll continue to find value in their repeated use. If you plan to live in your home for years or decades after the renovation, there's no point in spending money on a kitchen remodel and only making small changes.
While this applies more to sellers than to lifetime homeowners, the neighborhood you live in should reflect the kind of changes you make in a kitchen remodel. Your kitchen should not be significantly more understated or overstated than other kitchens in the neighborhood. This could reflect poorly when potential buyers are perusing and comparing homes in the area. Ideally, you want a renovation that brings out the best qualities of your kitchen and also complements your home. Avoid any colors, styles and other design qualities in your kitchen that will disrupt the overall scheme of your home.Return to Top
Cost of Typical Kitchen Remodeling Elements
Here are some of the elements that go into an average kitchen remodel and how much they cost, depending on whether you want a small, mid-range or major kitchen remodel:
Countertops play a major role in the look and usability of your kitchen. Choose the materials based on what looks and functions best. Within each category of materials, you'll find huge price swings depending on quality. Seamless materials, such as Corian and granite, tend to be more durable, but are generally more expensive. Formica and concrete tend to be cheaper, but add less value to the home. Tile can be pretty, but you can expect quite a bit of maintenance down the road. Kitchen countertop materials include:
Bamboo ($2,000 - $3,000): eco-friendly, easy to clean, but susceptible to scratches and burns
Cabinets often make a room's first impression. If your cabinets are dated or damaged, potential buyers may walk away with a bad impression. The cost of new cabinets varies depending on whether you opt for custom or stock cabinets.
Stock cabinets ($80 - $400) are pre-made and sold in home improvement stores. They are affordable, but can be found in a limited number of designs and sizes.
Semi-custom cabinets ($150 - $1,000) come in the same sizes as stock cabinets, but you can have them detailed at an extra cost. Semi-custom details include resizing drawers and door fronts and increasing or decreasing cabinet depth.
Custom cabinets ($500 - $1,500) are designed however you want them to look. Start with a standard cabinet and add on anything you want to meet your kitchen's needs. These are the most expensive and often require a skilled carpenter to create.
Refaced cabinets ($4,500 - $9,100) can give your kitchen a new look for a fraction of the cost. Refacing involves removing the old cabinet doors, door fronts and any hardware. Next, select new elements and apply a wood veneer that matches the rest of the cabinet. With refacing, you don't have to replace the entire unit cabinet and still get a brand new face to your cabinet for a fraction of the cost.
Refinished cabinets ($1,400 - $3,500) are less expensive than refaced ones. This process involves removing, sanding and staining the drawer fronts or doors. The end result is cabinets that look almost brand new without having to replace any of the parts. You'll probably need to hire a professional if your cabinet fronts are particularly dinged up, or if you're worried about how to proceed with either project.
Investing in a quality stove, dishwasher or refrigerator can certainly drive up your costs. If your objectives are to improve your home's value, though, skimping here can prove self-defeating. There are various kinds of appliances to choose from when planning your renovation, from EnergyStar-certified to custom built-in to high-end store bought to budget outlet appliances. Whichever type of appliance you decide to invest in will contribute to the total cost of your remodel as well as determine how long you'll have an appliance before you have to buy a new one.
EnergyStar appliances ($200 - $3,500) have been marked by the U.S. Department of Energy as energy-efficient appliances that benefit the environment and the consumer. While these appliances are more expensive up front than their noncertified counterparts, they last longer and offer savings in the form of lower utility bills. You can find all types of kitchen appliances that have been certified by EnergyStar: refrigerators, dishwashers, light bulbs and freezers.
Custom built-in appliances ($1,000 - $10,000) also come with a higher upfront cost, but they can benefit your remodel in other ways. These appliances include the dishwasher, oven, range, stove, microwave and potentially the refrigerator. These installations sometimes involve some structural changes to the kitchen, which means additional labor and work by the general contractor. This also means the appliances take up less floor space, which can be good for a small kitchen remodel design.
High-end store bought appliances ($300 - $5,000) are less expensive than custom built-in appliances, but they're as expensive, if not more so, than EnergyStar appliances. They can last as long as EnergyStar appliances, depending on the brand. These are the appliances with all the bells and whistles, like sensors, hot water dispensers in the fridge and Bluetooth capabilities, but they don't always come with the capacity or the simple necessities that a homeowner requires.
Budget outlet appliances ($100 - $2,000) might not last as long as their high-end counterparts, but that will depend on the brand and whether you buy the appliance new or used. You should probably avoid buying most appliances used, but you can usually find appliances at an outlet store that are just a little dinged up from transport or used as displays in stores. These don't have all the extra features or technology that more expensive models do, but they can still do the job and will work in most kitchens.
The largest factors in the cost of new flooring include the square footage and material you choose. Vinyl and linoleum flooring tend to be the most affordable options but add little or nothing to the value of your kitchen. Tile, granite and wood are more expensive options and will help to increase the value of your home. The more expensive flooring options sometimes prove to be the more difficult ones to maintain, though. Kitchens can be volatile workstations, and damage from stains, grease, heat and moisture can be as common as Sunday pancakes. If you can't keep up with the cleaning and maintenance, the more expensive flooring options might not be the best for you. The complete list of flooring options includes:
Ceramic tile ($1,300): durable, strong, wide variety of colors, but is susceptible to cracking and chipping
Cork ($3,000): eco-friendly, mildew-resistant, stain-resistant, but requires regular maintenance
Laminate ($2,500): inexpensive, comes in a variety of styles, but requires regular maintenance
When you take on a kitchen remodel, it's important to try not to move the plumbing elements if possible. Otherwise you will pay more to install additional pipes -- which costs about $1,100 on average -- and you'll need to connect them to the main line, which could be problematic. If you decide to do a major remodel or rearrange your sinks, dishwasher and icemaker, you will have to relocate the pipes. This will certainly lead to high labor costs and even, in some cases, hiring a plumber just to handle this project. The additional cost might include having to get a permit from the city, as well as the cost for the contractor to acquire it -- up to an additional $800. In most cases, you should avoid this extra hassle unless it's absolutely required.
The best time to do electrical work is when your room is torn up for a remodel. Determine whether you need to upgrade your electrical board to accommodate that new refrigerator or oven -- which can cost $1,000 on average. This is often an overlooked expense that most homeowners don't think about until the project is already underway. Plan ahead and be ready to spend about 5 percent of your budget on this expense. Make sure you have an electrician on hand to guide you through the process instead of just plugging everything in and hoping for the best. Changing the layout of the kitchen might also require you to move outlets and fixtures. If needed, this can drive up costs a bit. If you have outdated outlets and try to plug in appliances, you might need to have an electrician replace them as well -- that's an added $175 to plan into your budget.
If at all possible, try to avoid moving your gas lines. It's expensive and ups the total cost of your kitchen remodel. Unless you're planning to move your oven and stove cooktop to an entirely differently place in your kitchen -- which shouldn't be necessary in most remodels -- you should be able to avoid this cost. The process involves moving and running additional gas lines in a kitchen, plus you have to upend flooring and knock out walls to get to the gas line. You will also have to acquire a permit to mess with natural gas lines. So, just avoid it unless absolutely necessary.Return to Top
How to Prepare for a Kitchen Remodel
Don't start a kitchen renovation without a plan or a clear idea of what to expect. Before you proceed with a kitchen remodel, you should complete these steps:
Find a professional. You're going to need a contractor to help you through this process, especially if there are electrical or plumbing changes involved. Interview three or four candidates for the position and make sure you check their backgrounds and past work thoroughly. You want someone you can trust and work with easily throughout the remodeling process.
Set some money aside for any surprises. You never know when a pipe could break, a contractor could discover mold or other problems could arise. Set aside a good chunk of money to cover any of those unexpected expenses. About 20 percent of your estimated project cost, or around $3,000 to $5,000 is a good amount to save for surprise turns of events.
See if you can help out. While there are some projects that only a contractor can accomplish, you might be able to do some of the smaller projects yourself. This could cut down on total cost. Talk with the contractor and see what you can do to speed up the remodel and save money.
Discuss the floor plan and timeline. Before the contractor gets started, you will need to know the schedule and exactly what the finished product will look like. He or she will bring in a designer or draw up a floor plan of the remodel, which you will need to approve. From there, the plan goes to the local building permit office and onto the record for your home.
Sign a contract. This step is imperative. If you don't sign a contract with your contractor, he or she might not be held liable for any mistakes or misunderstandings. You do not want to be saddled with additional repairs after the fact, so make sure you get in writing the scope of the project and his or her responsibilities. In addition to a full project description, the contract should also include the cost estimate and timeline.
What's driving you to remodel the kitchen? Before you consider gutting the room, make sure you have ideas in mind for how the new kitchen will look. Without anything to go on, the kitchen remodel contractor won't know how to design it to meet your needs. You want the kitchen to flow with the rest of your home for aesthetic appeal and potential resale value down the road. Here are some different kitchen remodel designs to inspire you, whether you decide to follow one style or mix and match to create your own look. Get inspired to renovate your kitchen to your taste and budget: