Kitchen Renovation On A Budget: The $30,000 Challenge
Though it might seem like a lot at face value, the average cost of a kitchen remodel is somewhere in the $30,000 range. When you break down all this includes - plus the long-term value and efficiency you're adding to your home - it makes sense.
If you’re looking to accomplish a standard, all-inclusive kitchen remodel — this would include new appliances, cabinetry, as well as features like a sink, faucet, lights, and so on — you should budget somewhere in the $23,000-$35,000 range. If you only want to do a partial renovation, you can cut the cost in half, but that would also mean picking and choosing elements for maximum impact that could leave your kitchen looking not quite finished.
Below is a standard price module from HomeAdvisor.com that outlines what you can anticipate for your remodel. The left-hand column refers to the most inexpensive options you can try to find for each of the main elements that a kitchen requires, and the right-hand column is the luxury option, though it’s possible to spend far more if you want to make your space truly state-of-the-art.
|Item||Budget Price||Average Price||Luxury Price|
|Appliance||$100-$200 per appliance||$200-$400 per appliance||$400-$600+ per appliance|
|Cabinets||$100-$200 per cabinet||$200-$300 per cabinet||$300-$500 per cabinet|
|Faucet||$125-$200 per faucet||$200-$300 per faucet||$300-$550+ per faucet|
How To Lower The Cost For A Kitchen Upgrade
Even if you’re going in with a standard budget, there are ways to reduce your costs and perhaps even have more money to invest in other parts of the space that you value. If you have a relative who knows how to install backsplash, you can save installation fees there and put them into the refrigerator of your dreams. On the other hand, if you can teach yourself how to do some basic repairs — painting cabinets, let’s say — you can save yourself lots of money by not having to completely replace the cabinetry, and you’ll learn a new skill along the way.
Remodel your preexisting cabinets
At a few hundred dollars per cabinet, this can be one of the more expensive aspects of a redesign. You have to pay for the materials and the installation as well. The cost will only increase, then, if you need someone to come and install the new pieces.
However, there’s an alternative: Paint your cabinets and then change out the hardware. With just some paint and sealer, you can completely change the look of the cabinet itself, then add some new hardware in popular metal finishes like brushed gold.
Do some of the labor yourself
Along with the cabinetry, there are other things that you can learn to do on your own. Though you generally want to leave anything hazardous, dangerous, or particularly complicated to a professional — like reinstalling plumbing or electric, for example — there’s still a lot you can do yourself.
For example, you can pull out and then replace tile or backsplash, you can paint the room yourself, and then you can maybe opt for exposed shelving (as many modern kitchens have), which you can also install yourself. At the very least, you can remove the doors from existing upper cabinets, paint the back wall an accent color and display your beautiful collection of Fiestaware. With all of that done, you’re saving yourself a significant amount of money and time already.
Though some appliances will need to be replaced because they simply don’t work anymore or you’d like to upgrade, there are others that you can fix or clean up and get a similar result.
For example, if one of your appliances can be repaired, the cost is considerably less than replacing it, and then you can get creative. Perhaps you add a chalkboard paint to your refrigerator, making it stylish, sleek, and functional. The options are endless; you just have to be willing to think outside the box.
What You’ll Be Able To Invest In
With a standard $30,000 budget, you should be able to replace or update many of your kitchen’s core needs. Keep in mind that if your space has anything salvageable or any original fixtures that you’d like to keep, capitalize on that, because anywhere you can save money is where you can reinvest in another part of the space that really matters to you.
In this budget range, you will be able to replace your cabinetry if you don’t want to paint or repair your cabinets on your own. However, you should take into consideration that replacing cabinets and restructuring the layout of the space are two different things entirely; reconfiguring your space will also entail moving plumbing, wiring, and other appliances as well. If you want to be able to do more with your budget, you’ll want to stick as closely to the original layout as possible.
A staple feature of any kitchen is the countertops. While your remodel is an opportunity for you to invest in some beautiful stone, it’s also an opportunity to show off some style. Perhaps you opt for concrete or wood countertops, which are in style right now, perhaps with a living edge. (Note that the wood will need to be adequately sealed to ensure it remains sanitary and doesn’t erode from water and food.)
You’ll probably want to update your sink, too, and, given that they tend to fall somewhere within the few-hundred-dollar range, you should be able to afford it. Perhaps you invest in a beautiful farm sink or one with a double basin. Similar to the cabinet issue, keep in mind that replacing your sink and creating an entirely new space for a differently sized or shaped one in your countertop are different tasks. To keep costs as low as possible, you’ll want one sized to match the cutout that exists.
Of course, you’re not going to want a new sink without a new faucet. Your faucet and sink combination will be the jewel of your kitchen, so take the time you need to really choose the shape and finish you need to complete your design plan. Prices can range from $150 for basic faucet to upwards of $4,000 or more for a luxury piece, though there are plenty of mid-range options with great features like touch and touchless operation, virtually impervious finishes, and voice control technology.
This is where the costs can start to add up. If you’re going to replace all of the appliances in your kitchen — refrigerator, dishwasher, oven/stove, range, microwave, and so on — put aside at least a few thousand dollars. With each of them running in the few-hundred-dollar to few-thousand-dollar range (refrigerators can go up to $3,000 though they average about $700), you’ll want to outline exactly what you’re getting and from where. Note that some appliances are cheaper than others (a microwave, for example), and any new pieces change a space’s look and functionality, so they’re a great idea regardless.
To really change the look of your kitchen, don’t forget that lighting is everything. You’ll want to invest in recessed lighting to create a bright but adjustable look to the space. This will probably require professional installation.
Unlike your recessed lighting, which tends to go unseen except for the trim on the ceiling, your pendant light fixtures will be the visible, main lighting in the kitchen. Go for an option that both fits into your style and provides the type of lighting you want. If you want a bright room, go for one with multiple bulbs; if you want something dim and cozy, consider a fixture where the bulbs are shielded so the light is only going down. A dimmer is always a great feature if you can install it as well.
If your kitchen floor is divided from the other flooring in your home, it will be an easier fix than if you had to replace the floor in multiple rooms to maintain a continuous look. Fortunately, the flooring in kitchens tends to be tile, which is not only the most sustainable and sanitary option, it wears the best over time. It’s also a lot less expensive than, say, hardwood. With a lower budget, you’d maybe consider something like laminate, but with a $30,000 budget, you can opt for some nicer tile.
What Else To Consider
Remember that when you’re creating a budget for a kitchen, you need to not only include the price of the materials and labor, but some other variables as well.
- Are you moving any plumbing work?
- Are you planning to knock any walls down?
- Are your material and labor costs split evenly? (They should be about 50/50.)
- Do you have backup funding in case of an emergency?
It’s generally recommended that you reserve about 10 to 15% of your initial budget as a safety net, because in kitchens especially, unexpected issues tend to crop up and you want to be sure you’re able to cover them, especially if it’s something really important like a technical issue.
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Recreating This Kitchen Style On Your Budget
The example above is definitely high-end and very contemporary, but you can absolutely create a similar look in your own space and with your budget. Stick with a monochromatic color scheme (perhaps all black, or even white or grey) and consider keeping it neutral as well. There are no visible appliances here (even the dishwasher is concealed) and no pops of metal or accent colors such as with a gold faucet or farm sink. This design stays distinctly away from any Mid-Modern elements, but if you think that makes it easier, don’t be fooled. Creating a streamlined, minimalistic space is one of the most challenging design tasks there is, which is why you’ll need to get creative when it comes to a kitchen like this.
Another very popular kitchen design right now is farmhouse chic. This involves rustic features tied together with a lot of whites, greys, and neutrals. The appearance you’re going for here is old-timey but sleek and updated. Here are some of our favorite products to achieve it.
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Recreating This Kitchen Style On Your Budget
These high end products provide a more modern rustic appearance, perfect for open kitchen designs like in the example above.
A Note On Styling
Though all of these products can help you create the look you’re going for, remember styling will be one of the primary factors in bringing your vision successfully to life. You’ll want to pull inspiration from different sources and incorporate small touches that really bring the space together. For example, there’s a rustic-looking box to hold soap on the counter, an old-fashioned bread box, and an old radio on the shelf. All of these come together to give the space a really authentic feel and an even more cohesive look.