Kitchen Remodeling on a Budget
What you need to know about kitchen remodeling costs
If you are planning on remodeling your kitchen this year, you probably already have some ideas about what you want to change, upgrade, or take out. In most cases, the vision for the remodel comes first, and then is followed by the budget once the homeowners have time to price everything out. It’s at this point that many would-be remodelers realize that their plans and budget don’t match. Where do you go from there?
In this article, we’ll review the most important aspects of a kitchen remodel, and what separates them from the “extras” that may not be entirely necessary for an upgraded kitchen. We’ll also discuss ways to save money without compromising the quality or return-on-investment (ROI) of your new kitchen.
New countertops and cabinets should be your priority
The basics of any kitchen remodel—updating the countertops and cabinets—are also typically the aspects of the project you’ll spend the most money on. According to data from the National Kitchen & Bath Association, homeowners spend between 39 and 56 percent of their total kitchen remodeling budget on new cabinets, granite or quartz countertops, and the installation of both.
While this may seem like a lot of money to spend upfront on just two parts of your total remodel, the home value boost is often worth the investment. New cabinets and counters are the essential things that most buyers are looking for and looking at when searching for homes. Even if you upgraded every other part of your kitchen, older, scratched-up countertops and dinged-up cabinets are going to be a major turnoff for prospective buyers in your area.
Our recommendation is that you set aside about half of your remodeling budget for new countertops and cabinets, and then follow our tips to save on other aspects of the project that have a lower ROI.
Easy ways to save money
Now that we’ve discussed the basics of your kitchen remodel, let’s review a few ways you can cut down on your remodeling costs:
Open kitchen versus keeping your current layout
Home remodeling shows on TV have popularized the “open kitchen” concept. While an open kitchen can be appealing (and taking a sledgehammer to that wall can be immensely satisfying), not every home is right for the concept, and the cost of removing a wall and then moving plumbing and electrical can bloat your remodeling costs. In many homes, the size or layout of the kitchen is fine; opening the kitchen may be an improvement, but you also may not get a decent ROI for your trouble.
Do some things yourself (and leave the rest to the experts!)
Most remodeling costs can be split into two sections: the cost of the materials and the cost of the installation. A handy homeowner can cut down on the cost of labor by taking some aspects of their kitchen remodel into their own hands. For example, most types of laminate and vinyl flooring are relatively easy to install, and doing so yourself means you can reserve more of your budget for other upgrades in your kitchen.
Be sure to know your limits, however. Leave complex or heavy installation projects—including new countertops and cabinets—to the experts, and hire a licensed electrician or plumber when needed.
Avoid cutting corners to maximize your value
One way many homeowners try to save money on their kitchen remodel is by taking shortcuts, ranging from buying cheaply made cabinets to hiring non-professionals to handle their tile floor installation. Unfortunately, this decision often has disastrous consequences. Cheap cabinets will look cheap, which means you’re not getting the ROI on them that you thought you would. Improperly installed tile—installed crooked or not level—can be an eyesore and a tripping hazard for years to come.
Make your kitchen a place you will enjoy
Too many kitchen remodels start with the premise: “What will the person buying my house want?” While it’s important to take the market and general trends into consideration when making upgrades, don’t lose sight of the fact that this is your home. If you’re not planning on selling your home for several years, you want your new kitchen to be a space you and your family enjoy and use.
For more useful tips, check out this infographic from the team at , the go-to source for custom, wholesale countertops & cabinets in sunny Phoenix, Arizona.