How to Budget Your Kitchen Renovation Costs



Most homeowners are working within a limited budget for a kitchen remodel. While it is fun to spend as much as you want on each component, many people do not have this freedom. Do your homework, checking out all of your available options and prioritising areas of need before you sit down to make a budget. What features are most important to you? Don’t forget to consider the little details. For example, if you’re redoing the sink and putting in a new tap, think about what sort of tap you want. The price can vary quite a bit.

The more you know going into the project, the better. Most people run into trouble when they start the renovation without a comprehensive plan or when they make last minute design changes. You’re in control of the plan and any subsequent changes. Don’t wait to start your research. Whenever possible, keep a list of alternative options so that you can make substitutions as needed to stay within your planned budget.

Once you have a list of priorities and some background knowledge about the subject, you can learn how to budget your kitchen renovation costs.

Set a budget and stick to it

Establishing a budget and sticking to your guns during the renovation is easier said than done. The first thing that you need to determine is how much you can afford to spend. Be realistic about your finances and how much you want to accomplish. For example, $15,000 is unlikely to cover a full reconfiguration. If you’re not sure where to start, use the five to 15 percent rule. The complete renovation should cost no less than five percent and no more than 15 percent of the current value of the home.

The second thing that you need to do is consider how long you plan to stay in your current home. If you’re planning to sell within five years, you must think of the renovation as a real estate investment. If you’re not planning to sell within the next five years, you should make your own needs a top priority. Finally, think about your current neighborhood. A gourmet kitchen in a middle class neighbourhood is unlikely to attract buyers.

Understand the cost breakdown

On average, the breakdown for a kitchen renovation is as follows:

  •       Cabinets – 35%
  •       Labor – 20%
  •       Appliances – 20%
  •       Windows – 10%
  •       Fixtures – 5%
  •       Fittings – 3%
  •       Miscellaneous – 7%

Keep in mind that these percentages are estimates. Your specific breakdown may vary, depending on priority areas, materials, and the nature of your job. For example, if you have an older home, installing new appliances may take more time than it would in a newer home.

Most people do not budget as much as a third of their funds for cabinets or think about how labor factors into the equation. Resist the urge to save a few dollars and hire the cheapest labor that you can find. You want the job done right the first time around, which may mean paying a little more money. If you’re planning to put in a new backsplash, have demolition work done (i.e. removing a wall), and/or have work done in adjacent regions of the house (i.e. the hallways leading into the kitchen), make sure to factor in these labour costs.

If you’re working with a contractor, the firm should be able to supply a breakdown before starting the project. Are you planning to do the majority of the work yourself? It may still be helpful to get an estimate from a professional so that there are no surprises.


Plan for unexpected expenses

It is inevitable that there will be surprises in any kitchen remodeling job, particularly in an older home. For example, when you rip out a wall and find outdated electrical wiring or rotting wood, both are costly to fix. You don’t want one of these surprises to throw your entire project out of whack. Plan to set aside somewhere between 10 and 20 percent of your budget to handle such issues. It’s best to be on the safe side when it comes to planning for the unexpected, as it’s unlikely that you’re going to come in way under budget.

Are you still struggling to develop a renovation plan within your budget that includes all of your desired features? Consult with a professional kitchen designer or a contractor with extensive experience in kitchen remodeling to get the help that you need to put together the kitchen of your dreams.