Are you looking at refurbishing your kitchen without breaking the bank? Whether you want to upgrade an outdated kitchen or create more space and functionality, kitchen remodel costs can be among the most expensive home improvement projects if you don’t do your homework.
Not too long ago, we finished the very challenging milestone of remodeling our kitchen on a very tight budget. Here is what we learned from that experience.
What is the average kitchen remodel cost these days?
According to Home Guide, the average kitchen remodel cost ranges from $100-$250 per square foot, or a total spend of somewhere between $12,800-$21,200, depending on the size of your kitchen. These figures are for minor remodels, such as painting, new cabinet hardware, a fresh countertop, or replacing light fixtures.
The cost is higher for midrange remodels, ranging between $29,000 to $64,000. In addition to the changes made in minor remodels, midrange remodels can also include installing new cabinets, changing your flooring type, and building a kitchen island.
At the higher end of the remodeling, spectrum are upscale remodels. This renovation type involves stripping your kitchen from floor to walls and reconfiguring electricals, plumbing fixtures, and layouts. Upscales also include adding high-end appliances and accessories, so it is not surprising that this type of remodeling will cost you up to a whopping $126,000.
To give you an idea of where your money goes during remodeling, the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) provides a useful guide on how the numbers add up towards your kitchen remodel cost as follows:
- Cabinetry and hardware 29%
- Installation and Labor 17%
- Appliances 14%
- Countertops 10%
- Flooring 7%
- Walls and Ceilings 5%
- Lighting 5%
- Windows and Doors 4%
- Design Fees 4%
- Plumbing Fixtures 4%
- Overheads 1%
One thing to remember is that these numbers serve only as guides. Your breakdown may be slightly or entirely different, based on the extent of the remodeling you are planning.
Seven tips to save you money when remodeling your kitchen
Now that you have an idea of the kitchen remodeling costs and spending breakdown, let’s get cracking on looking at what you can do to achieve your dream kitchen but still keep your costs within reason. I listed below some of the things we learned and some steps we followed to make the most out of our limited kitchen remodeling budget.
1. Set a budget and stick to it.
The first step in planning your kitchen renovation is to determine what you can afford and set a budget around this. Use this downloadable worksheet from HGTV to help you start your kitchen remodeling budget. Once you know the numbers, list the things you intend to achieve and prioritize these according to necessity. Do you need tile floors, or do you need a better-functioning oven? Do you need to replace the entire plumbing fittings, or do you only need a new faucet? Your budget can easily blow out of proportion if you let your wants take over your needs.
The most recent data published by Statista reveal that 30% of Americans spend at least 2% to 4% more than their budgeted kitchen renovation expenses. If we put this into perspective, a $35,000 budget can easily creep up to $36,400, if you don’t discipline yourself to stick to your budget.
2. Do it yourself, as much you can.
While labor and installation costs make up a massive chunk of your kitchen remodel cost, it can also be an area where you can save the most by minimizing the need for professional services and doing some tasks on your own.
For example, you can spend anywhere between $903-$3,764 for hiring professionals to do the paint on your cabinet doors. Why not do this yourself and put the money towards something else on your kitchen wish list?
3. Shop around for contractors.
As much as we want to DIY everything to save on costs, there are some things that only professional contractors can do, like electrical wirings and plumbing piping and fittings.
Not all contractors charge the same, so make sure you ask around and get estimates from at least three different contractors. Asking your family or friends for referrals is the best way of doing this, but if there are none or you want to have more options, head on to HomeAdvisor, where you can find listings of pre-screened service professionals in your area.
Apart from having their estimate in writing, the other things you should do before hiring a contractor is to check their credentials, talk to their references, and interview them. Check here to see some valuable tips from HGTV on what you should do before signing a contract with your chosen service provider.
4. Compare your financing options.
Ideally, the most cost-effective way to finance our kitchen renovations is through our savings. Unfortunately, this is not always possible for everyone, and sometimes, we may need to turn to lenders for help with our kitchen remodel costs. If you need to resort to financing for your kitchen project, use the same principle we used for contractors – explore your options.
There are several funding options available for your kitchen remodeling. These options include taking out unsecured loans like low to no interest credit cards and personal loans or going for secured home improvement loans in the forms of cash-out refinancing, home equity loans, as well as a home equity line of credits (HELOC). For a detailed discussion regarding these, have a read through Architypes’ article on home improvement financing options.
If you already know the type of loan you are after, the next step is comparing different home loan providers available to you to find one that aligns with the size of your project and your budget. To start narrowing down your financing options, browse through Investopedia and Bankrate, who have both come up with their list of best home improvement loans for 2020.
5. Keep Existing Cabinets
The adage, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” is a good rule of thumb when doing kitchen renovations. If your existing cabinets still serve their purpose, refacing them is a cost-effective alternative to completely replacing them.
Refacing refers to replacing the external surfaces of your cabinets and drawers, which can be done by either stripping off and replacing the veneer laminates or painting over existing ones. Replacing hardware and other external components can also be part of refacing.
If you want to know more about refacing your cabinets, Houz has published a very informative piece about it here.
6. Retain existing layout.
If you have no problems with your current kitchen layout and your remodeling goal is mainly to achieve an updated or fresher look, best to keep your kitchen layout as it is. Rearranging the structure of your kitchen, such as moving appliances and fixtures or knocking off walls, would mean that you would also need to reconfigure electrical wirings and plumbing. Keep things where they are and shave thousands of dollars off your kitchen remodel cost.
7. Shop smarter.
To get high-quality appliances, hardware, or fixtures at more affordable prices, consider the following:
- Outlet Stores. Outlets offer great discounts on branded appliances that have minor imperfections, which can vary from scratched or dented stock, out of the box, or clearance stock. Browse through some of the outlet appliances offered by Best Buy, GE, and Sears to have an overview of how much you can save on your appliance purchases.
- Price Matching. A few retailers are now offering price-match guarantees, where they match competitor prices. So before making any purchases, check other retailers to find the lowest price on the same item. Check out this list of American retailers that offer price matching.
- Floor Models. Another way of getting reduced prices is by asking for any floor models retailers have on sale. For advice on how to ask for discounted prices on floor models and other items, have a read through these ideas from Tiphero.
Other than improving your kitchen’s aesthetic appearance and increasing its functionality, a remodeled kitchen can also add value to your property’s total market value. Kitchen remodel costs can range from thousands to hundreds of thousands, but with proper budgeting, some DIY, a bit of compromise, and smarter shopping, achieving the kitchen of your dreams on a limited budget is not impossible.
Don’t forget to keep these in mind:
- Identify the type of remodeling you want – do you want a minor remodel, a midrange remodel, or a full upscale?
- Make a budget, and have plans in place to stick to that budget.
- Watch tutorials on DIY kitchen makeovers.
- Research on services you intend to use – contractors, finance providers, retailers.
Leave a comment below if you have questions about our money-saving tips.