If the kitchen is the heart of the home, what does it say when yours is falling apart? Outdated fixtures, old appliances, or a dysfunctional layout might have you daydreaming about a full kitchen renovation—but how much will it cost to remodel your kitchen?
Before you begin your kitchen remodel, you might want to consider why you’re remodeling, how much work it will require, when you’ll schedule the renovations, and how you’re going to pay for it all, not to mention the obvious: if, ultimately, it will add value to your home.
Related: How much does it cost to remodel a house?
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Why Should I Remodel My Kitchen?
Hold off on busting the sledgehammer out and first consider why you’re taking on a kitchen remodel. The goal might be to make a more functional kitchen for preparing meals, but a kitchen remodel can also be a way to increase value in a future sale.
If you can’t get the idea of your dream kitchen remodel out of your head, you’re not alone in that sentiment.
According to the Zillow Housing Aspirations Report, 76% of Americans said they’d prefer to spend on upgrading their home rather than using the money as a down payment for a new home.
Homeowners remodel for different reasons, but it’s important to consider the cost, have discussions with your spouse or partner around the kitchen table, and evaluate what the average return on the kitchen remodel will be before diving into plans or spending a large portion of your overall home renovation budget.
Do you plan to live in your place a few more years and enjoy your new kitchen, or strategically upgrade for a more appealing home sale in the near future? The answer will probably influence where and how you spend money on your kitchen.
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What is the Average Return on a Kitchen Remodel?
The truth is you may have a difficult time recouping the total cost of a kitchen remodel in a home sale. When it comes to making money off of a kitchen remodel, the best bang for your buck may be less costly but visually impactful minor renovations: things like replacing the fronts of cabinets, upgrading countertops, replacing fixtures like faucets or lights, repainting, or putting in new flooring.
According to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report 2020, the national average return on investment (ROI) for that work is approximately 78%. An upscale remodel, on the other hand, yields a 53.9% ROI on average.
If you’re looking at a kitchen renovation solely to add value to your home in a sale, you might want to consider other upgrades that are higher in return and lower in cost, as well.
In a Zillow survey, 58% of buyers said having their preferred style of kitchen was “extremely or very important to their home-buying decision.” Thus, if you’re considering selling your home in the near future, small, strategic updates instead of a full-blown kitchen remodel could potentially help the sale of the home.
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How Much Should I Spend on a Kitchen Remodel?
The budget for your remodel will vary widely based on the amount of work you want done and the quality and cost of the materials you choose. On average, homeowners spend between around $22,000 for a minor kitchen remodel up to $116,000 for an upscale kitchen remodel. With such a wide range to consider, it might be wise to think about what your budget is before calling in contractors.
Consider what overall changes you want to make to your space. Will the kitchen remodel be a simple update of appliances, or do you want to change the entire layout and design?
Once you have an idea of what you want in mind, consider how to budget for it. What items or updates are must-haves in your kitchen remodel? What could be removed if the tally for your overall kitchen renovation ends up being too pricey?
A prioritized list of updates or changes with the estimated cost for each project attached can be a helpful guide when trying to stay on budget within a certain price range.
Deciding how much you want to spend on your remodel is entirely up to you. If you’re looking for guidelines, HGTV recommends spending between 6% and 10% of the value of your home to get the best ROI.
But even the best planned budgets might go awry, so including a line item in your budget for unexpected expenses can help down the line. Use our Home Improvement Cost Calculator to get an idea of how much your kitchen remodel will cost.
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Where Can I Cut Costs Remodeling My Kitchen?
If you’re trying to keep costs down on your kitchen remodel, keep in mind that certain design choices are likely to drive the budget up. In a full-scale kitchen remodel, new kitchen cabinets are typically the biggest expense, generally accounting for 20% to 40% of the project budget.
If you’re looking to cut expenses in your kitchen remodel, you might consider trying to refinish or reface your existing cabinets, as well as adding new hardware for a more modern look.
The next biggest line item in your kitchen remodel budget might be labor for installation. When you’re starting the home remodel process, find a contractor you can trust—or consider doing the install yourself if you’re handy with tools—which means doing your research, speaking with and getting quotes from multiple contractors, and reaching out to their previous clients for referrals.
If you want to go the extra mile in your contractor search, you might consider contacting your state consumer protection office to verify that your contractor is properly certified and insured.
A kitchen remodel is a serious undertaking, but you may be able to trim some installation costs by doing projects yourself. This could be as simple as picking up items instead of paying for delivery or painting walls and fixtures instead of paying contractors for the labor. Depending on your DIY know-how, you might be able to save money by attempting portions of your kitchen remodel yourself.
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How Long Will a Kitchen Remodel Take?
No kitchen is the same, so you can expect every kitchen remodel to be different, as well. Many factors come into play like the size of your kitchen, the breadth of the project, and how readily accessible your chosen materials are.
This also means that no timeline or project is perfect. Even with well-laid plans, timelines can run off the tracks and potentially verge into bank account-busting territory.
While many homeowners may think all kitchen remodels are as efficient as HGTV makes them out to be, in reality you can expect even a minor kitchen remodel to take weeks.
A realistic expectation for your kitchen remodel timeline might be around 10 to 12 weeks; however, note that’s simply an expectation. The reality could be very different, and the time of year will also come into play.
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A recent kitchen remodel can be a big selling point for potential buyers if you intend to sell your house in the next few years. Renovating your kitchen also can be a way to add functionality to a home you plan to live in for years to come.
When beginning the process of plotting out your kitchen remodel, set a budget and prioritize what facets are most important to you. Look at the average return on a kitchen remodel investment and also consider how much of the work you potentially can attempt yourself versus what you’ll need to hire a contractor to do.
While cabinet finishes, new appliances, and fresh countertops can be exciting, setting aside a budget often is not. If it looks like your ambitions could outspend your budget, you might consider taking out a personal loan.
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