So, you have decided you want to get your dream kitchen and now your next question is, “What is it going to cost?” That all depends on whether you want a basic kitchen remodel or a deluxe version or something in between. There are so many things that will influence your project’s cost, from basic construction issues, to your choice of cabinets and appliances, to whether or not you want to add space or move things around. Certain elements can inflate your budget, while others can give you great value for your money. Knowing the average costs to remodel, and how those costs break down, can really help you plan and budget for your fabulous new kitchen.
Determining Your Goals and Budget
Your kitchen is the heart of your home. It’s where you spend a lot of time as a family and where guests frequently congregate. Deciding on what you want your new kitchen to be will depend on what you can afford, what is important to you, and how long you plan to stay in your home. Are you a gourmet cook that loves to entertain guests? Have you always wanted an island where everyone can gather? Do you want new cabinets or need more storage? Are your appliances out of date or insufficient? Are you planning to move in the next five years? Will you stay in your home while the renovations are being done? These are all factors that will influence your budget and your priorities.
Allocating Your Kitchen Remodel Budget
Once you have determined your priorities and your budget, you need to know how that budget will break down in a typical remodel project. Every remodeling project is unique, and costs vary depending on the homeowner’s budget, tastes, and priorities (a minor renovation can be $5,000, while an upscale overhaul can easily cost more than $75,000). In general, materials account for 80 percent of the budget, while labor costs represent 20 percent. According to the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA), the largest material expense in a kitchen remodel is cabinetry, which can account for about 30 percent. After labor, appliances are the next biggest expense, accounting for about 15 percent of the budget. Countertops will absorb about 10 percent, while flooring takes up 7 percent. The smallest expenses, at about 5 percent each, are lighting, plumbing fixtures, doors and windows, and walls and ceilings.
Remember to allocate about 20 percent of your budget for unforeseen expenses, which are inevitable. Unforeseen expenses can include things like rotting floors under your dishwasher, new wiring that is necessary, and other situations that arise once demolition and construction has begun.
Controlling Your Kitchen Remodel Expenses
With products representing such a large percentage of the budget, a kitchen remodel allows homeowners to exert greater cost control than with perhaps any other remodeling project. When deciding where to scrimp and splurge, consider how you will use the kitchen. Do you really need a built-in espresso machine or wine cooler? Are you planning to move in the next few years? If you won’t live with this kitchen forever, save your splurges for items popular among home buyers, such as stainless-steel appliances and granite countertops. Then, there are the little extras to consider. These things can add up. Think about how extras like crown molding and deluxe faucets fit into the overall look and function of the kitchen. There may be a cost-saving alternative, or you may be able to do without them entirely.
Evaluating Spending Cuts
Most budgets must endure certain cuts along the way. Things may crop up during demolition and construction that eat up a part of the budget. When you need to make spending cuts, evaluate them based on where they will have the greatest impact on the bottom line. Choosing stock cabinetry rather than custom designs will likely make the biggest difference in your budget. Cutting costs on countertops, on the other hand, may not be worth the trade-off. While stone countertops cost several times more than laminate, they don’t eat up much of your budget percentage-wise.
Considering Ancillary Expenses
While your kitchen is being remodeled, will you be staying in your home? Living someplace else while the work is being done can be a good idea and can lessen your stress. Take into account the cost of an apartment or hotel, storage fees and moving fees. You could also opt to set up a temporary kitchen in an adjacent room, and you should add in the cost of doing this. Another thing to consider is the cost of eating out. You will be eating a lot of meals in restaurants or bringing home take-out food while your kitchen is under renovation. This expense should factor into your budget.
Breathing new life into an outdated or inefficient kitchen can be the smartest money a homeowner spends. Kitchen remodels deliver more bang for the buck than any other home project, offering 80-85 percent return on investment. When getting estimates from reputable and experienced kitchen remodeling contractors, be sure they provide line-item descriptions of exactly how your money is being spent and get references from previous customers. This will help you determine the biggest expenses and where you can cut costs for the greatest impact.