By: Amy Howell Hirt
Find out how much it costs to remodel a kitchen, item by item, so you never spend more than you need to.
How much is that kitchen remodel going to cost you? That’s a hard number to nail down. It’s not like you can cost compare on Amazon.
Instead, you need to research, create a budget, and track your expenses. Having your own kitchen remodel worksheet can help. Download it here. (You’ll be prompted to make a copy of the interactive worksheet — just for you).
Or, scroll on to see what kind of costs to expect and how to save on a kitchen remodel to get the most return on your investment.
Costs of a Typical Kitchen Remodel
Below are itemized costs of kitchen materials and labor so you can see where the possibilities for savings exist.
Price ranges on materials include builder-grade, mid-grade, and better quality, but not the most expensive you can buy. These numbers are meant to convey typical costs.
How to Save on the Cost of Kitchen Cabinets
Go with stock cabinets. Avoid custom, which can quadruple your costs. A typical stock cabinet costs as little as $200, whereas custom gets much closer to a grand per cabinet (even more if you go super high-end).
Just replace parts. You can absolutely transform the look of your cabinetry without buying new. Buy new doors, upgrade your hardware, and/or take off some doors completely for open shelving.
Hire a handyperson. If the installation is simple — without tricky corners or bowed walls, for example — hire a handyperson instead of a carpenter and pay less for labor. Installing cabinets typically costs $35 to $65 an hour. The more skilled, the higher the rate.
DIY your demo. This is also a labor cost you can trim — and you get to wield a sledgehammer. Win-win!
Refinish cabinets. If your cabinetry’s bones are in good condition, you can simply add trim, paint, or stain for a look that feels as fresh as the day they were installed.
Scout Ikea’s clearance room. Sektion is Ikea’s standard cabinet box. They’re popular and flexible, and they make frequent appearances in the clearance room. If you’ve got time, you can fill a whole kitchen with deeply discounted floor models, piece-by-piece.
How to Save on Painting
Wait to paint. Painters drop their rates when business slows in the winter, and some offer discounts if your job is a fill-in between other projects.
DIY the prep. Many painters charge hourly, so do some of the prep work yourself, like removing outlet covers and light fixtures.
Or DIY it all. The only skill necessary is patience, and the biggest resource needed is time. If you’ve got those, you can finish off even the most professional of remodels with your own paintbrush without sacrificing quality.
How to Save on Appliances
Pick up last year’s models. Stores hold sales on brand-new dishwashers, ovens, and microwaves in September, October, and January, while prices for fridges bottom out in May.
Keep appliances in place. Water, gas, and electric lines are way expensive to move or add. In fact, our cost estimates don’t include this expense because costs vary widely depending on the complexity. But one thing is for certain: If you do plan to move them, your costs will jump considerably.
Skip stainless. Stainless steel almost always costs $100 or more per appliance. If white appliances appeal to you, your costs can be much less. And white never goes out of style.
How to Save on Countertops
Skip the big box stores. Go with a local fabricator. They have a greater variety of options and often cost less, as big retailers outsource both the labor and fabrication.
Get prefabricated laminate. On-site cutting could jack up your labor costs.
Choose discontinued, remnant, or odd lot materials. They come with deep, deep discounts.
How to Save on Your Sink
Choose a self-rimming sink. Sink costs vary, but the installation for a self-rimming (or drop-in) sink is generally easier, and therefore cheaper, than other sink styles, like an undermount or farmhouse sink.
Focus on the faucet. If your sink is in good shape, just replace the faucet, and you’ll still dramatically change the look. And — bonus — faucets are an easy DIY install.
How to Save on Flooring
Go with quality sheet vinyl. It’s the least expensive for both materials and labor. Plus it’s durable and easy to keep clean. Tile and hardwood cost about the same each for materials, but tile costs more to install because of the grouting. If you need a new sub-floor or the existing floor is challenging to remove, your costs could jump even more.
Other Ways to Save on Your Kitchen Remodel
DIY the buy. If you’re using a general contractor, buy your own materials. Contractors mark up the prices to cover their time and risk in purchasing for you.
Get the inside scoop. Get on the email list for your local hardware or home-improvement store, and get the jump on daily deals, seasonal specials, and clearances. Unsubscribe your heart out once your project is done.
Let ’em know you’re price shopping. Email specialty stores, such as cabinet and countertop suppliers to get quotes, and let them know you’re shopping around. You’ll save time and could get a lower price if they know there’s competition.
Measure. And measure again. It’s the most common remodeling mistake homeowners make. No appliance, countertop or other kitchen feature is a bargain if it doesn’t fit or needs so much extra work and labor to work that you’ve lost any savings.