Everything you need to know about The cost of Kitchen Remodel projects

How to Estimate the Cost of Kitchen Remodel Projects in 5 Steps

The importance of understanding how much you can spend on creating your dream kitchen — before you get too far into the renovation process — cannot be overstated. Everyone wants to know “How much does a kitchen renovation cost?” We recommend that you start thinking about the cost of your kitchen remodel as early as possible to make sure that it lines up with what you can afford. Here is our kitchen remodel estimator tool to get you started.

The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) breaks down the cost of kitchen remodel projects as follows:

Did you notice anything specific about this list? The biggest chunks of your kitchen renovation costs are due to materials (cabinetry, appliances, countertops, etc.). That means you have much more control over the cost of kitchen renovations than you might have guessed. By doing your research on materials, it’s easy to find interesting alternatives to add to your wish list while still respecting your budget.

We want to help you carefully plan for your kitchen remodel, determine the scope and cost to remodel a kitchen, and reduce the likelihood of budget overruns, delays and every other remodeling beast you may or may not have heard of.

Only you can guarantee yourself a successful and painless kitchen renovation — by carefully considering a realistic remodeling budget, researching material costs and hiring the right crew to do the job.

Step 1: Planning
kitchen remodel planning

Determining what you like and dislike in your current space is a great first step when looking to remodel a kitchen. What exactly do you want out of this kitchen renovation? Is it more cabinet or storage space? A different layout? What key elements are you missing? Do you want to change some or all of your appliances? What about the lighting? Would you consider sacrificing some storage space to open up a window and let the sunlight in? Your kitchen wish list can go on forever, so you need to prioritize all those dreams to make it work. Figure out what is highest on that list, the things you cannot possibly do without — those are the ones you should tackle first.

Step 2: Determine the Level of Kitchen Renovation
kitchen renovation

Once you identify what it is that bothers you about your current space, you’ll have a much easier time figuring out what level of kitchen renovation you need to take on.

Small kitchen renovation: This includes cosmetic changes, such as the wall color, flooring, appliances, plumbing and lighting fixtures, and countertops.

Moderate or standard kitchen renovation: This includes the cosmetic changes of a small remodeling project, but is more labor-intensive. This type of renovation includes new cabinets, installing or moving electrical outlets, in-depth lighting changes (such as swapping out a dated fluorescent fixture for pendant or can lighting) and some plumbing/electrical/HVAC work. Still, it’s considered moderate because the entire remodel will be done within the original space.

High-level kitchen renovation: This includes the cosmetic changes and characteristics of a moderate kitchen remodel, but with all the bells and whistles. This is the kind of renovation you’ll be taking on if you want to change pretty much everything about your current space. From its finishes to its shape and size, you’re dreaming of a complete overhaul.

Custom pieces and total wall removal are factors in this type of kitchen renovation. If that sounds like the kind of project you’re looking for, you will need to allot extra time for it and have a discussion with your renovation professional about the timeline before any work begins.

Step 3: Decide on the Space
kitchen space

Space is another all-important consideration when planning a kitchen remodel. If you are looking to add on to your kitchen, the cost of kitchen renovation goes up, typically to the tune of about $95 per square foot for a one-story space (this varies by region). And that only includes the added square footage — the level of finishes (flooring, etc.) you choose and everything else you decide to put in your new space will determine the rest of your kitchen remodel cost. If you’re increasing the size of the kitchen by moving walls, and not adding to the overall square footage of your home, this cost does not apply.

Now it’s time to go back to your kitchen wish list while considering how you will be using the space and choose the best possible kitchen layout for your needs. If the kitchen tends to be headquarters for your family, you could think about opening up the area to include your living room. Start by determining where your workstations should be, who will be doing what where, and then work from there.

Step 4: Determine the Level of Finishes
finish levels

When you’re trying to stay within a specific budget for your remodel, it’s of utmost importance to determine what is most important to you. Things like granite countertops, high-end gas stoves with hood ranges and the latest fridge increase the overall cost of kitchen remodel projects. Think about what you absolutely must have, and what you could swap out for other options to stay within budget. Similar styles can be found with dramatically different price tags.

These options may not be exactly the same as the originally desired objects, but they are often pretty close, and can fit seamlessly into the rest of your new kitchen.

We can’t say it enough: Planning is the key to a successful remodel. A smart move is to grab your trusty kitchen wish list — after you have prioritized what you won’t give up — and start doing research on a Plan B for items farther down the list. Having an alternative at the ready if your first choice falls through is extremely useful in taming the cost of kitchen renovation projects. You won’t have to second-guess any backup choices because you’ll have already done your homework. And, importantly, you won’t keep your contractor waiting on a decision and you won’t feel pressured to make a rushed decision you might regret.

There are a million and one options to satisfy everyone’s tastes and needs. But in order to find them, you need to spend the time. That’s why drafting a backup plan is a great idea when considering the cost of kitchen remodel projects. If the budget tides happen to turn on you, you’ll be ready!

Step 5: Budget Preparation Before Renovations Begin
kitchen remodel budget

In addition to having your list of likes/dislikes, and deciding what things are the most important and what could be exchanged for other options, you can help keep your project and finances on track by creating a contingency budget. To do so, you should try to set aside an amount equivalent to about 20% of your total renovation cost.

This money will come in handy if hidden damages in your home are uncovered during the renovation process. Hidden damages range from electrical and plumbing issues to pests and structural problems. You never know what might turn up behind old walls.

Without a contingency budget, you might end up sacrificing things that you really wanted in your new kitchen in order to deal with dry rot or a leak. Worse yet, your project could be put on hold, and you could end up going over your original budget.

This additional budget will also come in handy if you decide to submit a change order along the way.

How to Calculate Your Return on Investment (ROI)

ROI (Return on Investment) is an estimate of the impact that your kitchen renovation investment will have on the value of your home. Whether you want to sell your home right away or you know you want to stay put but would like to know how to make the most of your remodeling budget, understanding ROI is essential.

ROI table

Kukun’s ROI tool makes it easy to understand your options and understand their effect on the value of your home. It can help you decide between projects (redo the half bathroom downstairs or the master bedroom?) and make informed remodeling decisions.

This kitchen remodel estimator tool can help you find out the equity that can be built into your home. Just enter your address and all the necessary details into the widget to get the cost of your renovation project and your estimated gain in equity — it’s that easy.

Find Kitchen Renovation Professional in Your Neighborhood

Most of us, especially the price conscious, don’t use professional directories, even those on Houzz and Angie’s List, because we want to make sure our kitchen remodel budget is carefully and wisely spent. The fact of the matter is that people prefer hiring a contractor through their network of friends or other word-of-mouth recommendations.

The need for the construction business to embrace technology has never been as prevalent as it is right now. As the industry faces a national contractor shortage, with the National Association of Homebuilders reporting that there are that nearly approximately 200,000 unfilled construction jobs in the U.S.today- an 81%increase in the last two years alone- something must be done to combat the loss of jobs!

Today, Kukun is hammering down on this commitment- pun intended- with the launch of Pro Tools, a solution for sourcing subcontractors and creating efficient bids, while attracting the next generation of contractors with new technology. We’ve worked tirelessly to create a digital marketplace with easy-to- use tools for home renovators to complete any home renovation project, and ProTools is an extenstion of that.

Research doesn’t stop once you have a perfect plan of what your dream kitchen will look like. After all, your dream is only as good as the professional who builds it. But how do you know who to hire? First, you need to check each candidate professional’s permit data and references. That way you will know if he or she is experienced and qualified for the job. You can check his or her permit history online, and you can call your neighbors to see how they felt about a particular contractor.

We at Kukun have made this task a snap. Kukun’s free ‘Find a Pro’ tool allows you to see who is currently working in your neighborhood, making it easier for you to find out which contractor did your neighbor’s kitchen — without having to call your neighbor and ask!

Create a Quote Request

Once you have the list of contractor candidates you want to approach, it’s time to request bids from them. The rule of thumb is to get bids from three contractors, and evaluate from there.

Kukun created our free and easy ‘Quote Request’ feature to eliminate all the headaches associated with the bidding process. Instead of making copies of photos and lists of your specifics on paper, and then trying to convey it to all to the contractors, you can create a project plan in just a few clicks. Each contractor you’re thinking of hiring will receive the same information, so you can compare apples to apples and create your dream home faster.

Kitchen Remodeling on a Budget

  • You can save on kitchen renovations costs by giving older pieces a fresh coat of paint — a simple and often extremely effective solution. There is a variety of products on the market that are easy to apply. You can choose from white, black, vanilla, anthracite, stone, chocolate, red, tangerine, eggplant — your imagination is the only limit when it comes to color. Once you have a gorgeous color (or two, or three) picked out, you can choose the best effect for your furnishings: lacquered or matte. If you happen to have furniture that’s made of wood, you can simply apply some varnish to give them a fresh shine and make them look like new.
  • You’ll be happy to know that you don’t have to spend an entire year’s salary on the cost to renovate kitchen furniture. In many home furnishing stores, furniture is sold in modular sets, which will take up less of your remodel budget than putting a configuration together yourself — look for “kitchen kits.” Another option is to swap out some of the older pieces. Perhaps you could start with the upper cabinets, or consider changing only the cabinet doors.
  • You don’t have to replace outdated furniture if yours is still workable. You can save on kitchen renovations costs by giving older pieces a fresh coat of paint — a simple and often extremely effective solution. There is a variety of products on the market that are easy to apply. You can choose from white, black, vanilla, anthracite, stone, chocolate, red, tangerine, eggplant — your imagination is the only limit when it comes to color. Once you have a gorgeous color (or two, or three) picked out, you can choose the best effect for your furnishings: lacquered or matte. If you happen to have furniture that’s made of wood, you can simply apply some varnish to give them a fresh shine and make them look like new.
  • The huge effect that changing the handles and hardware of your kitchen cabinets will have on the look of the whole space will surprise you — and help you save space in your kitchen renovation budget. The possibilities are almost endless, too, though it’s a good idea to coordinate your hardware with another element in the room. For example, if your appliances are stainless steel, your cabinet handles could be, too.
  • No matter your kitchen remodel budget, when deciding on colors, you should consider the predominant tones of the countertop and kitchen furniture so you can produce a cohesive look. If, for example, the predominant colors are dark, you can opt for lighter shades on the walls for contrast.
  • One of the changes that undoubtedly and most easily transforms the look of your kitchen has to do with the countertops. Sometimes just by changing the color, a kitchen becomes practically unrecognizable. The range of prices and materials is surprising, so there is really no need to pay a lot to renew your kitchen.
  • Perhaps the idea of painting doesn’t excite you because your kitchen tiles are still in pretty good shape — if your kitchen has white tiles, for example, they will not go out of style. In that case, there are excellent options that will add a little flair to your new kitchen. Perhaps you could hang chic sheets on the walls with motifs related to food or panels with messages. Even something as minor as putting out new ornaments, plants, or kitchen items on open shelves and your countertop will up the style ante.

4 Kitchen Design Ideas

Before and After Kitchen Remodel Costs with Pics

Here are four kitchen remodel design proposals we made using Kukun’s projected home value tools, which allowed us to get an idea of how much the renovations would cost and what the total return on investment would be (keeping in mind the actual condition, location and market value for each case).

Kitchen 1

For this house in San Francisco, we proposed a modern yet warm and inviting look with new cabinets, new flooring , new lighting fixtures, the relocation of the oven and the kitchen sink, and the installation of tiles on the walls. The remodel options — with “high level” plumbing and flooring, and “good level” cabinetry and electricity gave a projected cost of kitchen remodel for this project of $17,600 and an impressive estimated equity gain of $15,000.

Kitchen before remodel
Alexis Figuera Kitchen before
Kitchen after remodel
Alexis Figuera Kitchen after
IMAGE CREDIT: Alexis Figueira
Kitchen 2

For the second kitchen remodel, we left the plumbing and electrical installations as they were. Instead, we decided to go with replacing the cabinets, the oven, the lights, and some of the furniture and fixtures. The renovation cost for this kitchen in Sunnyvale was estimated at $16,000, with an equity gain of $13,600.

Kitchen before remodel
Mariana Bautista Kitchen before
Kitchen after remodel
Mariana Bautista Kitchen after
Kitchen 3

The third kitchen renovation proposal we’d like to present is for a house built back in 1950. This remodel was basically about a new countertop, a new backsplash and new cabinets. The change in style was the most dramatic difference — the result was a minimalistic, pure look, in contrast to the original (and rather dated) look of the old kitchen. The estimated cost for this kitchen makeover was $3,900, with a superb estimated equity gain of $5,850.

Kitchen before remodel
Maria Saldivia Kitchen before
Kitchen after remodel
Maria Saldivia Kitchen after
Kitchen 4

The fourth renovation proposal is for a kitchen in Tappan, New York. The room was practically begging for brand new high-end cabinets, new flooring that would continue into the next room, new appliances and fixtures, and some work on the ceiling to improve the general illumination of the kitchen . The plumbing installations were left as found. The whole project put the estimated cost of kitchen remodel at $18,400, with an equity gain of $15,600.

Kitchen before remodel
 kitchen before remodel
Kitchen after remodel
 kitchen after remodel

Sometimes our renovation dreams can run wild, so it’s good to remember that major kitchen remodeling and design renovations aren’t always necessary — your space might only need a facelift. If your kitchen is in good functional shape, you don’t have to completely transform it, which is good news for your budget and the amount of time you’ll spend without a functioning kitchen. If your kitchen is only in need of some minor work, you can choose from smaller yet impactful kitchen redesign ideas, such as changing the finishing of surfaces, upgrading the appliances and installing new light fixtures.

Other Remodeling Calculators


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