Remodeling a kitchen is one of the most popular home improvement projects, and for a good reason. People spend a significant amount of time in their kitchen daily. It’s the heart of the home and having an attractive, functional kitchen design improves everyday living.
It’s also one of the most important ways to increase the value of your home. Kitchen remodels have a return on average of 92.9% of the investment cost, and in some markets, homeowners can see triple-digit returns on the kitchen remodel project cost when it comes time to sell their home. For this reason many banks will offer a home-equity loan to help cover the kitchen renovation cost.
Whether you’re remodeling for resale or simply looking to improve the look and function of your kitchen, the most important thing to determine is your budget. Once you know what your budget is, you can accurately prioritize the scope of the kitchen renovation and narrow your field of options.
How to Budget for a Kitchen Remodel
When remodeling on a budget, there are two main factors to keep in mind:
- You should keep the existing structure. Walls, electrical, and plumbing need to stay where they are. Removing walls, moving sinks, appliances, and cabinets, are major undertakings. You will need to hire professional contractors and may need building permits, all of which turn the project into a major, expensive renovation.
- The total cost of kitchen remodel shouldn’t exceed 6-10% of the value of your home. Putting an over-priced kitchen into an inexpensive home isn’t a good investment and won’t pay off at resale.
Possible exception: If your current kitchen lacks a window or adequate natural light, that can be a big deterrent for potential buyers. If possible, get an estimate to add at least one window and factor that into your total remodeling budget.
Setting Your Budget
Once you have a preliminary budget in mind for your remodel, here are the projects that should be included in your budget, in order of priority:
New appliances are very attractive to home buyers and will save you energy and money while you are living in your home. Replace the longest-lasting appliances first. These dollar amounts are for mid-range models at standard sizes and with standard features. When comparison shopping for specific items, there are always ways to save and ways to splurge on new appliances.
- New range + stove: budget $1000-3000 for a new one, expect it to last 12-18 years
- New stove hood: budget $200-1000, expect it to last about 14 years
- New refrigerator: budget $1000-2000, expect it to last 9-13 years
- New dishwasher: budget $400-700, expect it to last 9 years
- New microwave (not countertop): $500-1000, expect it to last 9 years
Tip: Get an over-the-range microwave with built-in hood and light functions to save money and space while adding convenience.
Remember that all of these appliances will also need to be installed, with varying degrees of difficulty, and there will be costs associated with removal and disposal of the old appliances. If new appliances are very different in size than the current ones, it will have implications for cabinets and countertops, and the costs can add up quickly.
New cabinet doors, drawer fronts, and hardware
The cost and complexity of this job varies tremendously. The look of cabinet exteriors determines the entire look and feel of a kitchen, and is extremely important in a remodel. However, the job can be as simple as taking off the doors, repainting them, and re-hanging them, or as expensive and complex as purchasing new ones. Definitely include cabinet refreshing in your kitchen remodel, but flex the budget and complexity of this item around the rest of your needs.
If you are remodeling for resale, new countertops are a must-have, and they can’t be cheap. Opt for granite, quartz, or other natural materials, and have them installed by a professional.
If you are remodeling for yourself, there are a number of lower-cost materials available and DIY kits for countertop tiling or resurfacing that will update and improve your kitchen without a hefty price tag. If you have the space consider a kitchen island counter top.
Budget $50-$250 per square foot for granite countertops and between $2000 and $4000 for installation.
Updated kitchen lighting doesn’t just improve the style and feel of the room, but it also adds convenience and safety. Homeowners and home buyers love a well-lit kitchen. While there are DIY options for under-cabinet lighting, if you are remodeling for resale, it’s best to have these installed by a professional.
Budget $250-$500 for fixtures and professional installation of under-cabinet lighting.
Kitchen floors take a beating, and if the floor is worn, stained, or simply out-of-style, it’s worth redoing. The cost of this project varies widely, depending on the current flooring, the desired new flooring, and the square footage of the kitchen.
While a homeowner may be able to remove and replace vinyl or laminate flooring, it’s good to use a professional for tile floors. Wood floors are expensive, while laminate achieves the same look at half the cost.
Budget between $500-$5000 for a new floor and professional installation, depending on materials and square footage.
Tile and backsplashes
This is another update with a wide range of possibilities and budget options. If the current tile backsplash looks old, stained, or dated, it should be updated or replaced.
By using these priorities and estimates, you can begin to plan out the scope and budget of your kitchen remodel and prioritize what needs to be updated in your kitchen. Here are a couple of additional things to keep in mind if your remodel is intended for resale:
• Buyers prefer neutral colors and classic style. If remodeling for yourself, you can choose dramatic colors and powerful statement pieces, but that’s likely to turn away potential buyers
• Match the kitchen to the home. A buyer who is charmed by a quaint exterior may not want an ultra-modern kitchen. Be consistent to attract the most buyers.
Final Kitchen Remodel Tips
- Your kitchen renovation project can have a big impact on your home resale value. So consider consulting a kitchen designer, especially for a major kitchen remodel.
- More space is better than more features. If you have a small kitchen don’t try to squeeze things into every sq ft. Allow enough space for you and your family to enjoy the kitchen.
- Research your contractor. If you are using a general contractor for your kitchen project make sure they are a good fit. Research them on the Internet and read their reviews.
- Stick to your budget. Whether it is a small kitchen remodel or a total kitchen replacement stick to your kitchen remodel budget. Don’t let the cost of remodel blow out. Even a minor kitchen remodel can get out of hand if you don’t stick to your plan.
Kitchen and bathroom remodel projects are the most popular home improvement projects. When you remodel a kitchen it can improve your home life and increase the value of your home. Have fun shopping for your new kitchen, and enjoy it for years to come!