The Average Cost of a Kitchen Remodel

Kitchen Remodel Costs Can Be High, but You Can Take Steps to Lower It

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Thinking of remodeling your kitchen? You’re not alone. Kitchen remodels are typically one of the most popular home renovation projects nationwide.

It makes sense when you consider the fact that your kitchen is likely one of the most-used rooms in your home. It’s the site of cooking, eating, food preparation, family dinners, and even the occasional homework spot.

But a kitchen renovation isn’t a small project by any means. Here's how much you can expect to spend if you decide to move forward.

Average Kitchen Remodel Cost

One report puts the national average of remodeling a kitchen at $25,465, or about $150 per square foot.

But there's definitely a range when it comes to expected spends for a kitchen remodel. Projects can range from $13,306 to $37,626, the report found, depending on the size of the kitchen, materials needed, the level of finishes, cost of appliances, and if any other major spends are expected, such as installing new flooring or purchasing new appliances. Materials usually account for a majority of your budget, so keep that in mind if you find yourself having to cut costs.

If you’d like to stay at the lower end of this range, consider refinishing your existing cabinets, keeping the original footprint of the space, and incorporating your old appliances into the design. Other money saving tips include buying materials such as tile and hardware from a wholesale retailer, or doing some of the work yourself. However, you'll need professionals for the plumbing and electrical.

If you plan to knock out walls, install custom cabinetry, and finally splurge on that high-end Viking range, then expect to spend the big bucks.

Specific Costs to Plan For

Regardless of the level of your kitchen renovation, you’ll probably have to hire a contractor at some point. Unless you’re a contractor yourself or very experienced in the construction aspect of things, it's best to bring in an outside constractor to manage the other workers who come to your home, such as plumbers, electricians, and cabinetry installers. They will also ensure your supplies arrive on time, coordinate work days and installation dates, and ensure the process goes smoothly from start to finish.

You’ll also pay for demolition unless you feel you can do it yourself. With a kitchen, the margin for error is high. And if you are designing a completely new space, you also may need to hire an architect.

Then there's materials. You will be buying cabinetry, appliances, tile for the backsplash, hardware, appliances, flooring (or floor refinishing), and any specialty touches like a custom vent hood or pot and pan rack.

Don’t Bust Your Budget

Before you begin a large-scale project like a kitchen renovation, you’ll need to set a budget. While it can be tempting to bust your budget on the high-end cabinets you’ve been lusting over, resist the urge. Chances are, some unexpected costs will inevitably pop up that you’ll need to cover.

Start by creating a budget of how much you’d like to spend. Say your home is worth $400,000—in this case, a good, middle of the road budget for a kitchen renovation would be around $40,000. Then decide how you’ll fund this—from cash flow, your savings, refinancing, or maybe your rainy day fund.

Regardless, be sure you have the bulk of these funds set aside before you begin work in an easily accessible, fairly liquid account.

When you pay contractors and other workers, you’ll likely pay a portion of their work’s cost up front (usually 10-20%) and then the rest upon completion of the job. So if you are paying out of cash flow, keep your timeline in mind. Also, it never hurts to ask for a cash discount, since sometimes it can save you big.

Research ROI and Resale

And before you jump headfirst into your remodeling project, do your research. After all, you want to make sure you’re getting a return on your investment (ROI), especially considering the cost of your average kitchen renovation.

Experts suggest spending between 5-15% of the home’s value on a kitchen renovation to ensure you don’t negatively impact resale of your home.

It also may be helpful to speak with a real estate agent in your area, who will be able to give you a fuller picture of the real estate market in your area, as well as what type of renovations will procure the best ROI.