How To Set A Realistic Kitchen Remodeling Budget?

How To Set A Realistic Kitchen Remodeling Budget

Dreaming of a gorgeous new kitchen? Transforming this vital space can enhance your enjoyment of cooking, dining, and entertaining at home. However, kitchen remodels are synonymous with sky-high budgets, confusing projections, and staggering bills. In reality, you can reinvigorate your kitchen within nearly any kitchen remodeling budget if you understand accurate costs and plan strategically.

Table of Contents

Whether aiming for a budget-friendly update or a luxurious overhaul, the key is setting realistic expectations. This requires educating yourself on the many factors impacting total project cost, from layout changes to material upgrades. Breaking down pricing for necessities like cabinetry, countertops, flooring, and appliances allows for creating a detailed budget framework. Add contingencies, get contractor quotes, and decide where to splurge and save. With diligent planning and cost allocation, you can avoid financial pitfalls and enjoy your refreshed kitchen for years to come. Before you visit a cabinet store, let’s explore everything that goes into building a smart kitchen remodel budget.

Average Kitchen Remodel Costs

According to the 2021 Cost vs. Value Report by Remodeling Magazine, the average minor kitchen remodel cost is around $26,214 while a major remodel averages about $66,196. Of course, your particular project budget can vary widely depending on factors like the remodel scope, size, materials, and location.

Here is a breakdown of estimated price ranges for popular kitchen remodel projects:

  • Minor Kitchen Remodel – $20,000-$40,000 A minor kitchen remodel includes targeted updates vs. a complete overhaul. Expect to pay around $25,000 on average for projects like:
    • Replacing outdated cabinets with mid-range new cabinetry
    • Installing new countertops like quartz or granite
    • Swapping out old appliances for basic stainless steel models
    • Upgrading to wood-look porcelain tile flooring
    • Painting walls and adding a tile backsplash
    • Adding new lighting fixtures like pendant lights or under-cabinet lighting
    • Replacing the kitchen faucet and sink
    • Additional small updates like adding glass cabinet doors, crown molding, pull, etc.

    Minor remodels keep the existing kitchen footprint mostly in place. The focus is mainly on surface upgrades like cabinets, finishes, and fixtures. $20k is doable for smaller spaces; $40k allows more robust updates in larger kitchens.

  • Major Kitchen Remodel – $50,000-$100,000+ Major kitchen overhauls involve significant layout changes and top-of-the-line materials, such as:
    • Knocking down walls for an open-concept kitchen
    • Expanding the footprint with a kitchen addition
    • Complete gut job and replace old cabinets with custom-built cabinetry
    • Installing premium countertops like quartzite or marble
    • High-end brand appliances like Wolf, Sub-Zero, Viking, etc.
    • Luxury extras like kitchen islands with sinks, beverage refrigerators, built-in espresso machines
    • Designer fixtures like statement light pendants and chandeliers
    • Premium surfaces like stone tile flooring and glass tile backsplashes
    • Complicated structural work like moving plumbing and electrical

    Major remodels allow a complete kitchen transformation with the latest trends. $100k allows for very high-end finishes; $50k keeps costs lower with mid-range appliances and fewer extras.

  • New Addition Kitchen – $100,000-$250,000 For maximum space and luxury, adding a kitchen extension can cost $150,000 on average. This allows:
    • Bumping out exterior walls to expand square footage
    • Vaulted ceilings and large statement windows
    • Spacious kitchen island with seating
    • Top-of-the-line custom cabinets with clever storage solutions
    • Premium countertops like granite, quartzite, or marble
    • Fully integrated appliances like wall ovens, fridges, etc.
    • Open sightlines to living and dining rooms
    • High-end lighting, fixtures, and hardware
    • Luxury extras like butler’s pantries, wet bars, wine refrigerators
    • Outdoor access via French doors

    With a new addition, the sky’s the limit for creating an expansive, entertainer’s dream kitchen.

As you can see, even a “simple” kitchen refresh can quickly climb into the tens of thousands, while extensive kitchen renovations often exceed $100k. Creating your budget starts with having realistic expectations for pricing.

Factors That Impact Kitchen Remodel Costs

Many elements influence the total expense of renovating your kitchen and dining room. Being aware of these cost factors will help guide decisions to keep your project on budget:

Size of the Kitchen

Kitchen size significantly affects cost, as more square footage equals higher material and labor costs. The national average for a kitchen is about 150 square feet. Using average install pricing per square foot for items like cabinetry and countertops, you can estimate:

  • 100 sq ft kitchen remodel – $30,000-$50,000 For a petite galley kitchen around 100 square feet, expect to spend $30,000-$50,000 for a full remodel involving new cabinetry, countertops, tile, appliances, paint, and lighting fixtures. $30,000 would allow for budget-friendly finishes like laminate counters and stock cabinets. $50,000 enables higher upgrades with semi-custom cabinetry, quartz counters, and premium appliances.
  • 150 sq ft kitchen remodel – $40,000-$65,000 The average new construction kitchen is 150 square feet. This size accommodates more generous work areas and storage. Plan on investing $40,000-$65,000 for a complete renovation. This budget range supports popular upgrades like shaker-style maple cabinets, granite countertops, subway tile, high-efficiency appliances, and new hardwood flooring.
  • 250 sq ft kitchen remodel – $55,000-$90,000 For a spacious 250 square foot kitchen, expect to spend $55,000-$90,000+ to remodel. This allows for very roomy work zones, large islands, expansive cabinetry, and premium upgrades. You can splurge on custom cherry or walnut cabinets, commercial appliances, quartzite counters, porcelain tile, and extras like built-in espresso machines. $90,000+ enables ultra-high-end luxuries.

Measure your existing kitchen space carefully so you can accurately plan costs.

Scope of Renovation

The extent of changes and upgrades influences pricing as well. A minor remodel costs less than a gut job.

Minor remodel:

  • Replace worn cabinets, countertops, sink, light fixtures
  • Fresh paint, new backsplash
  • Upgrade appliances
  • Improve storage organization
  • New faucet, hardware
  • Glass cabinet inserts

Major front room remodel:

  • Knock down walls to open concept
  • Entirely new cabinetry, counters, flooring
  • Reconfigure plumbing, electrical, and gas lines
  • High-end appliances like built-in refrigerator
  • Expanded kitchen footprint
  • Luxury materials like granite counters

Layout Changes

Altering the existing kitchen layout or footprint costs more due to the required structural work.

  • Removing walls for an open-concept kitchen costs $1,000-$2,000 on average. This requires re-running electrical, plumbing, and HVAC to new locations.
  • Adding a kitchen island can add $5,000-$15,000 depending on size. Plumbing must be added for sinks or other fixtures. Electrical is needed for added lighting, outlets, and switches.
  • Relocating primary elements like the sink or stove tops $2,000+ per item. Plumbing lines must be re-routed.
  • Adding square footage with a kitchen addition costs much more for foundation, framing, roofing, and extending utility hookups.

Carefully consider the return on investment for significant layout changes, as these can drive costs up quickly.

High-End Kitchen Appliances

Appliance costs vary tremendously based on type, brand, and features:

  • Budget appliance suites under $3,000 total
  • Mid-range appliances $3,000 – $8,000 total
  • High-end brands like Viking, Wolf, Miele $15,000+ total
  • Commercial-grade or restaurant-style can exceed $20,000 per appliance
  • Integrated dishwashers, fridges, etc. add $1,000+ per appliance
  • Extra features like wifi, touchscreens, and specialty modes add costs

Make sure high-end appliances align with your overall appliance budget amount. Setting a percentage of the total budget for appliances keeps this in check.

High-End Materials

Kitchen remodel materials also run the cost spectrum. Prioritize finishes that deliver the look you want at the right price point.

  • Stock cabinets cost 50-60% less than custom cabinetry.
  • Laminate counters are $100+ less per linear foot than stone.
  • Porcelain or ceramic tile is cheaper than natural stone or glass tile.
  • Factory wood flooring is $4+ less per square foot than custom hardwood.
  • Marble and granite cost more than engineered quartz or solid surface counters.
  • Economical materials like concrete sinks offer high-end looks for less.

Thoughtful material selection allows splurges on key elements like cabinetry or counters.


Where you live significantly impacts remodeling costs. Variables by location include:

  • Labor rates based on cost of living for contractors
  • Permit fees affecting total budget by $500+
  • Material availability resulting in higher supply costs
  • Transportation fees for tradespeople and materials
  • Regional average home prices influencing cost expectations

A $75,000 remodel may cost $85,000+ in higher-demand areas. Get quotes locally before setting a firm budget number.

Tips for Setting Your Kitchen Remodeling Budget

Now that we’ve covered the many factors affecting cost, here are some tips for establishing your kitchen remodel budget:

  • Get quotes from at least 3 contractors for accurate pricing
  • Prioritize must-haves vs. nice-to-haves
  • Allow 10-20% extra for unexpected issues
  • Consider future resale value with upgrades
  • Weigh the cost vs. return on investments
  • Check the costs of DIY options you can tackle
  • Set a percentage budget for each area like cabinetry, flooring, etc.
  • Avoid going overboard on trends unlikely to last
  • Take advantage of sales for appliances and materials

Being strategic at the planning stage allows you to maximize impact while controlling costs.

Breaking Down Kitchen Remodeling Costs

To plan your budget, it helps to break down pricing for individual kitchen remodel elements. Here are typical costs for common upgrades:


Cabinets significantly influence cost, averaging $6k-$12k for lower cabinets, mid-range semi-custom cabinets, or $25k+ for high-end custom cabinetry in a medium-sized kitchen. Opting for stock cabinets and avoiding specialty configurations saves substantially.

Labor accounts for 50%+ of cabinetry construction costs for sizing, installation, and modifications. IKEA cabinets are the most budget-friendly option, averaging under $300 per linear foot installed.


Countertop costs range widely based on material:

  • Laminate – $20-$40 per linear foot Laminate provides the most budget-friendly option starting around $25 per linear foot installed. It comes in hundreds of colors and patterns for versatility. While laminate resists scratches better than solid surfaces, the seams are visible. Life expectancy is about 10-15 years.
  • Butcher Block – $40-$100 per linear foot Butcher block offers warmth and scrubbability. Costs range from $50 (pre-fab) up to $100+ per foot for custom hardwood blocks. Requires diligent oiling/sealing. Integrated sinks cost more. Can last decades if maintained properly. Adds cottage, rustic, or farmhouse style.
  • Quartz (Engineered) – $80-$120 per linear foot Quartz counters are normally $100-$125 installed. Made of natural stone aggregates and resin, quartz is durable, stain-proof, and stylish. The patterned engineered material resists cracks and heat. Matching sides/edges costs slightly more. Adds upscale look for less than natural stone.
  • Marble – $70-$250 per linear foot Beautiful marble countertops range from $150 (smaller projects) up to $250+ per linear foot installed. The veined natural stone comes in bold patterns. Softer than granite or quartz, marble can chip or stain and needs sealing. Integrated sinks also drive up costs. Adds high-end luxury.
  • Granite (Natural) – $80-$150 per linear foot Granite countertops installed typically cost $120-$150 per linear foot. The natural material resists scratches, stains, and heat. More affordable granites start around $80 per foot. Adds rich, timeless elegance, but some granites can have slight imperfections.

Proper installation also impacts durability and cost. Allow an extra 10-15% on top of material costs.


Ceramic or porcelain tile backsplashes average $5-$10 per square foot, including installation. Popular backsplashes like marble tile or glass tile cost $15-$30 per square foot installed.

Sink & Faucet

Expect to spend $250-$600 on a new sink, with top-mount stainless steel being the most budget-friendly option.

Designer and apron-front sinks run $600+. Faucets average $200-$600 for mid-range options, $800+ for commercial style and smart faucets.


Kitchen flooring costs approximately:

  • Vinyl tile – $2-$5 per square foot

Vinyl tile comes in wood, stone, and abstract looks starting at around $2 per square foot installed. Easy DIY installation. Durable and waterproof with a plush feel. Limited color/style options.

  • Laminate – $6 per square foot

Laminate wood-look flooring costs about $6 per square foot installed. Mimics real wood with many color choices. Durable and scratch-resistant surface. Avoid glossy finishes that show scratches. Can seem artificial.

  • Engineered hardwood – $9 per square foot

Multi-layer engineered wood costs around $9 per square foot installed. Made to resist moisture and scratches. Easier installation than solid wood. Still shows some dents over time. Classic hardwood look.

  • Solid hardwood – $12+ per square foot

Solid 3/4″ hardwood starts at $12 per square foot installed. Timeless material that can last lifetimes. Dents and scratches over time. Avoid around sinks/ovens. Dark stains hide wear. Adds warmth and value.

  • Tile – $7-$15 per square foot

Ceramic or porcelain tile averages $10 per square foot installed. Durable, water-resistant, and easy to clean. Comes in endless colors, shapes, and textures. Can crack or chip. Harder underfoot than wood or vinyl. Matching grout is key.

  • Stone – $15-$30 per square foot

Natural stone like marble, slate, or granite starts around $25 per square foot installed. Provides upscale elegance but requires sealing. Scratches and stains are possible despite durability. Maintenance can be demanding.

Remove existing flooring first when factoring in installation workload and costs.

Painting & Lighting

The cost to paint kitchen walls runs approximately $1 per square foot for labor when surfaces are in good condition. This allows a fresh coat of paint and primer in the color of your choice.

Some cost considerations for additional painting costs to consider:

  • Prepping surfaces with skim coating or light repairs adds $.50-1.50 per square foot.
  • Painting cabinets professionally add $300-500 for an average-sized kitchen.
  • Painting ceilings costs a bit more if over 9′ tall requiring extra labor time.
  • Faux specialty finishes like glazing or distressing add $3-5 per square foot.

New paint can make a huge visual impact. Focus first on visible areas like walls instead of inside cabinets.

Kitchen lighting costs break down approximately as:

  • Recessed can lights – $75 per fixture
  • Under cabinet lights – $10-30 per linear foot
  • Pendant lights – $50-$250+ each depending on size/style
  • Sconce lights – $100-200 per
  • Chandeliers – $300+
  • New wiring – $2-3 per linear foot if adding more fixtures

Factor electrician labor for installation costs if not just replacing existing lights. Dimmer switches cost $15-25 more per switch.

Permits & Professional Fees

Any major kitchen remodel over $10,000 typically requires permits adding $250-$1000 depending on your region. Requirements vary based on the scope of work.

Architects cost around $150 per hour for layouts and plans. Kitchen designers charge by the project or $50+ per hour.

How to Finance Your Kitchen Remodel

A kitchen remodel isn’t cheap, so you’ll likely need to finance part of the cost. Here are options for funding your dream small kitchen remodel:

  • Savings – Tap into existing savings accounts or emergency funds.
  • Home equity loan/line of credit – Borrow against your home’s equity at better rates.
  • Cash-out mortgage refinance – Take cash from your home’s equity.
  • Personal loan – Unsecured loans with fixed rates from 3-36% APR.
  • 0% credit cards – 0% intro APR cards let you pay over time.
  • Home improvement loan – Special low-rate loans from home improvement stores.
  • 401(k) or IRA loans – Borrow from your retirement savings.

Compare rates and terms to choose the most strategic financing mix for your budget and financial situation.

Avoiding Costly Kitchen Remodel Mistakes

While exciting, a kitchen overhaul is not the time for impulsive decisions. Avoid expensive mistakes by:

  • Clearly defining your style to prevent mismatches
  • Measuring existing kitchen accurately for planning
  • Deviating from floorplan once work starts
  • Overlooking needed structural or electrical updates
  • Going overboard on finishes that will seem dated shortly
  • Not getting enough quotes for comparison
  • Making purchases without checking rebates/sales
  • Not inspecting work before payment
  • Skipping permits to dodge fees

Take time to carefully map out plans and budgets to realize your ideal kitchen within budget!

Hiring Contractors vs. DIY Kitchen Remodel

Can you save substantially by doing a DIY kitchen remodel? Maybe, but only for smaller projects or if you have advanced DIY skills. Quality contractors have expertise well worth the price for complicated installs like running electrical and gas lines, installing cabinets properly, and ensuring countertops fit right.

Pieces you may be able to DIY include:

  • Painting and backsplash tile
  • Minor carpentry like adding open shelving
  • Cabinet updates like new hinges and knobs
  • Lighting installs like pendant lights
  • Decor updates like window film

Unless you’re very handy, hire pros for major structural, gas, and electrical work. a contractor A general contractor can also manage the entire remodel cohesively. Interview contractors thoroughly and check references. Agree on project pricing and timelines in an official contract.

Ideas for Affordable Kitchen Updates

If a full kitchen renovation isn’t feasible now, small inexpensive upgrades can still make a noticeable difference:

  • Replace dated light fixtures
  • Paint the walls or cabinets
  • Remove cabinet doors for open shelving
  • Install new drawer organizers
  • Durable peel-and-stick tile backsplash
  • Switch out knobs and pulls with modern hardware
  • Use chalk paint to refinish old cabinets
  • Add a kitchen island or peninsula
  • Glass cabinet inserts for more light
  • DIY butcher block countertop

Even just clearing out cabinets and drawers can feel amazingly refreshing!

Plan Your Dream Kitchen Remodel Wisely

The costs of remodeling your kitchen can really add up, from structural changes and luxury finishes to essential appliances and lighting. But a well-planned kitchen remodel can be a worthwhile investment that recoups much of its cost when selling your home. By understanding accurate pricing, setting a realistic budget, and allocating wisely, you can avoid sticker shock and create the gorgeous, functional kitchen of your dreams.

What part of a kitchen remodel or renovation are you most excited to plan? Make sure to account for all details in your budget, get professional help when needed, and enjoy the process of designing your ideal heart-of-the-home space.

Bayram Gulsen

Bayram Gulsen is the owner of Cabinets City. He always had this passion to redefine cabinetry to be at its best along with his dedicated team and the author of Cabinets City blog: You can find Bayram on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Related Articles


Free Catalog: See our all brands and cabinet doors