What is the True Kitchen Remodeling Cost?

We’ve all heard the saying, “The kitchen is the heart of the home.” This is true – it’s the primary place for everyone (residents and visitors alike) to gather, talk, eat, and simply be together. A tired, worn out kitchen does the family very little favors, whereas a fresh, invigorating kitchen can infuse the family itself with new life. Sounds great, until you start digging into what is involved in a kitchen remodel. Of course, it generally comes down to this: What is the kitchen remodeling cost? Can we afford it? Is it even worth it?

What does kitchen remodeling cost?

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Of course, we can only speak to the average situation here, as everyone’s kitchen scenarios are so individual. A lot of the projected cost will depend upon the size of your kitchen and the actual design of what you want your new kitchen to be. Replacing some cupboard hardware, for example, will be far less expensive than a floor-to-ceiling kitchen revamp.

Generally speaking, though, a kitchen makeover/remodel costs an average of almost $22,000, between the span of around $12,500 and $33,000. These are averages, of course, and your particular costs are going to be less…or more. Again, though, kitchen remodeling is complicated, and you’re going to have to do a lot of personal research and budgeting and crossing and combining figures to get an actual estimate for your own personal kitchen remodel, to make sure that your vision (low-, mid-, or high-level kitchen remodel) matches the reality of your costs.

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What affects the price of a kitchen remodeling?

As we’ve already established, and as you already know, all kitchen remodels are not created equal. And it’s not just the cost of a cabinet or two that affects the cost. Things such as how long the project takes (how long will you be eating out for every meal?), where you live (e.g., accessibility to your home), the presence or absence of existing cabinet units, the presence or absence of walls, and your own handiness will play a role in your total kitchen remodel cost. Here are some factors that can affect how much you are going to spend on your kitchen remodel before it even begins:

Demolition.

If you are confident in your ability to do it correctly, performing your own demolition can save a little money. Of course, doing it correctly is critical here – any inadvertently broken pipes or cut wires will not only cost you extra money, but time as well.

Architect.

Will you design the new kitchen yourself, or do you want to hire an architect? The price of architects, as with all specialists, will vary. Be sure, if you go this route, to find an architect that catches your vision…and your budget limits.

Contractor.

A kitchen remodel contractor is different than a handyman. Because s/he has a crew and other business expenses, as opposed to an individual handyman, the contractor might charge a few hundred dollars per day, plus charge per each laborer on top of that.

Kitchen Designer.

Certified kitchen designers definitely provide an outside-the-box perspective, as they stay current on options and know how to navigate tricky kitchen dilemmas and are aware of ideas you may have never considered. These services will probably add to the design efficacy of your kitchen but will undoubtedly add to your budget.

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Pros & Cons of A Kitchen Remodel

There are definite advantages and disadvantages of conducting a kitchen remodel, such as the following:

Pro is the kitchen is the heart of the home. Not just an adage, this is a truth that rings clear for many homes across the globe. If you and your family spend a lot of time in the kitchen, for whatever reason whether it’s cooking or interacting or cleaning, a facelift and/or remodel of this well-used space will likely be worth every penny.

Pro is a remodeled kitchen adds value to the home. Particularly to the homeowner who is planning on selling, an updated kitchen that both looks and functions beautifully will likely boost the home’s resale value. So you can recoup a lot of your expenses when you go to sell.

Con is it’s a complex project. Today’s kitchen is a complex space. It’s used for food prep and cooking, of course, but also for eating, doing projects and homework, interacting, entertaining, the list goes on. Having an accurate vision of the end result, and then doing all the appropriate things (e.g., plumbing, electrical, cabinetry, etc.) to make that vision come to fruition is a challenge even for the pros…even more so for the average homeowner.

Con is it’s expensive. Pretty much, no matter what you do, a kitchen remodeling project is going to cost you. Of course, there are ways to keep costs down (discussed in the next section), but the bottom line is: You’re going to need a firm bottom line and make hard choices to stay within budget…and even then, you might be surprised at the expense. Be prepared for that.

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Tips To Keep Kitchen Remodeling Costs Down

We all have expensive tastes, right? But the truth is, we can’t always have the best of the best. Plus, you probably want to keep your kitchen remodel on par with your home’s resale value, so it’s not always wise to go all out. When it comes down to it, materials comprise about 80% of the average kitchen remodel cost. Here are some ways to maximize your style…and your budget by keeping costs down:

Maintain existing layout. The bottom line is this: The more structural changes that are required in a makeover of any kind, but particularly a kitchen remodel with plumbing and electrical placements being so critical, the more the remodel is going to cost. So, one of the basic (and, arguably, more frustrating) ways to keep your kitchen remodeling cost down is to avoid making structural alterations. Keep the sink where it is, don’t make the adjacent room part of your kitchen, and leave the doors where they are.

Get creative with cabinets. Cabinets, on average, comprise a large chunk of the typical kitchen remodel budget – anywhere from a third to a half of the overall cost, according to the National Kitchen and Bath Association. This is not only for the cabinets themselves, but also for what swapping out the cabinets can produce in the domino effect of kitchen remodel costs (e.g., flooring, countertops, lighting, etc.). The good news is, you’ve got several options these days to cut down on the cost of cabinetry.

First, you can find cheap kitchen cabinets that are standard, “over-the-counter” cabinets. Because these aren’t customized to your space, you’re going to have to do a little work to make them fit. Another alternative is to track down some used kitchen cabinets, which can be dirt cheap or even free but will require, again, some elbow grease.

A third option involves looking into kitchen cabinet refacing, which essentially keeps the bulk of your original cabinets (the cabinet boxes) structurally with an updated veneer and a complete replacement of the drawer and door faces for a completely new look. Lastly, you can maintain today’s contemporary style in the kitchen by installing only lower cabinets and use open shelving in lieu of uppers.

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Be flexible with countertop options. Sure, you drool over quartz and granite and concrete countertops, but if these aren’t in the budget, maybe you could consider alternatives that are still stylish. Tile or laminate countertops have a variety of designs these days and can save a lot of money. Some even mimic the more expensive countertops quite nicely, so you can get the look without the price tag…and often with better functionality. Another cost-saving method is to DIY faux concrete countertops, which gives a kitchen a great contemporary-industrial vibe.

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Get a bang for your backsplash buck. Backsplashes tend to cover very little relative square footage in the kitchen but play a big role in the visual aesthetic of your kitchen. You can use almost anything for backsplashes, really, so do your research to find the material that will work best for your kitchen and with your other components (e.g., cabinets, countertops, etc.). Good news: You don’t need a ton of tiling experience to lay subway tile for a kitchen backsplash.

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Choose flooring strategically. The laminate and vinyl flooring options of yesteryear are a thing of the past. So many looks, finishes, colors, and patterns are available now. You can mimic, quite accurately in some instances, the look of nearly any expensive flooring option for a fraction of the cost with vinyl or laminate sheeting, planks, or tiles.

Ceramic tile costs a bit more than vinyl or laminate, but tile is very durable and is still offers cost savings on the flooring front. Concrete, stained or otherwise, has become quite popular in the recent few years with this bonus that is vinyl’s biggest appeal: easy maintenance. Porcelain tile is also an excellent kitchen flooring choice because of its stain, dent, and scratch resistance, as well as heavy foot traffic durability.

Install cost-saving appliances. Let’s be honest; there’s only so much you can do to cut costs on new appliances. (Tip: Sometimes you can save money by bundling your appliances and by avoiding pro-style models.) Other than the traditional cost-saving methods (e.g., sales, local vendors, used), you can look at your appliances as contributing to your budget with their energy efficiency, if you choose them well.

According to Energy Star, an energy efficient fridge can actually save you from $200 to $1100 over its lifetime. An energy efficient dishwasher can save up to 1300 gallons of water during its working life. Make your appliance purchases looking long-term, and it will help your overall household budget every month from here on out.

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Is the kitchen remodeling cost worth it ?

It depends, really. If it’s your dream to have a beautiful kitchen from which you can create and serve meals and host parties, a remodeled kitchen might add much to your quality of life. But it’s a complex endeavor, and one that, as a rule, is generally better for professionals to tackle rather than the average DIYer. Be sure to keep the remodel within the value scope of your home and location so the remodel makes sense as well as cents in the long run.