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How Much Does a Kitchen Remodel Cost?

Kitchen Remodeling Prices

With confidence in the housing market still shaky, many homeowners are focusing on improving their current home and staying in it for longer. Those that do try to sell may find that they have to make some major improvements to compete in these times. The kitchen is the most commonly remodeled room, and for good reason: it can make or break a home. Whether you're looking to move or stay put, an up-to-date kitchen is a serious difference-maker. Just remember that the more differences you want to see, the more it will cost.

The Average Cost of a Kitchen Remodel

Kitchen remodel estimates are notoriously far-ranging. You might see figures as low as $10,000 to $25,000 and as high as $50,000 to $100,000. So what gives? It's not a conspiracy from the remodeling industry to keep you in the dark. The huge price spread merely reflects the choices possible in a kitchen remodel. Select basic surfaces and fixtures and your budget will be correspondingly modest. Opt for the latest and greatest of everything and you'll end up spending more than half of what some folks spend for an entire house.

But since you didn't take to the internet looking for yet more vague pricing information, here's a little more substance, brought to you by Remodeling Magazine's 2013 Cost vs. Value Report:

  • A minor kitchen remodel costing $15,000 to $20,000 might involve new cabinet doors, drawers, and hardware (cabinet boxes are retained), a new oven, new laminate countertops, a new sink and faucet, new vinyl floors, and new trim paint.
  • A major kitchen remodel costing $50,000 to $55,000 improves upon the minor remodel by adding brand new semi-custom cabinets, a kitchen island, deluxe sink and faucet, all-new appliances, new lighting, and a fresh paint job.
  • A major upscale kitchen remodel that costs $100,000+ sees the addition of custom cabinets with enhanced storage features, stone countertops with a tile backsplash, upscale appliances, designer sink and faucet with water filtration system, lighting (including ambient lighting), and higher-end resilient flooring.

As you can tell from the examples above, kitchen remodel prices are strongly affected by the quality of the amenities. In the minor remodel, basic fixtures and materials are chosen, while some of the existing appliances are retained. The upscale remodel, on the other hand, strips away every vestige of the old kitchen and updates it with brand new, top-of-the-line surfaces, appliances, and fixtures. The mid-range project is somewhere in-between.

To further break down costs, take a look at these figures compiled by the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), which show various kitchen remodeling aspects as a percentage of the entire project cost:

  • Design Fees: 4%
  • Installation: 17%
  • Appliances and Ventilation: 14%
  • Cabinetry and Hardware: 29%
  • Countertops: 10%
  • Lighting: 5%
  • Flooring: 7%
  • Doors and Windows: 4%
  • Walls and Ceilings: 5%
  • Faucets and Plumbing: 4%
  • Other: 1%

Saving Money on Kitchen Remodeling

It doesn't take an expert to understand that top-notch amenities equate with top-dollar prices. What you probably want to find out is not the maximum cost of a remodel, but the minimum cost. While that might depend on your definition of remodel (strictly speaking, remodeling and renovating are different), the following steps should help you to stay on budget:

  • Make a plan and stick to it. According to Consumer Reports, changing kitchen remodel plans once the work has already begun adds an average of $1,500 to the project cost. Take as much time as you need to pore over magazines, browse websites, and consult with design experts. Your well-thought-out master plan is a blueprint for not going over budget.
  • Design a kitchen based on needs, not just wants. It's easy to get carried away with a new kitchen if you focus on form rather than function. Not that you should completely forego style in favor of practicality. But at the end of the day, if the kitchen looks great but functions poorly, you'll probably feel like you overspent.
  • Do some of the work yourself. Within reason, of course. Things like plumbing and electrical should be left to the pros. Remember, too, that any mistakes could wipe out the DIY savings. At the very least, you should be able to handle demolition and finish painting.

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