The kitchen is the heart of the home, it’s often said. So, no surprise that when it comes to remodeling projects, few are as popular as a kitchen re-do. Not only is a snazzy, “up-to-date kitchen” something that residents dream of, it’s often a top priority for prospective buyers too.
Unfortunately, popularity comes at a cost. Remodeling a kitchen involves expensive, labor-intensive components like cabinets and countertops; there’s also an array of expensive appliances to replace, and services from a variety of contractors.
Redoing the average-sized kitchen costs between $25,000 and $40,000, according to Angi. But major projects of large spaces can mount into the six figures, and even a minor kitchen remodel could cost between $10,000 and $15,000. Plus, a kitchen renovation could easily leave you unable to cook at home for weeks at a time, and that can mean higher food bills for take-out meals or restaurants.
Still, a kitchen makeover can be a good investment, recouping around 54 percent to 72 percent of its cost, according to Remodeling’s 2021 Cost vs Value Report. And the National Association of Realtors’ 2019 Remodeling Impact Report found that kitchen renovations and kitchen upgrades rank as the top two interior projects that add resale value to homes and appeal to potential buyers.
How much is a kitchen remodel?
Few projects command as big a price tag as a kitchen renovation: Count on five figures at least, according to HomeAdvisor. Of course, your geographic location impacts how much you pay. If you live in the South, you are likely to spend up to $20,000 less on a kitchen remodel than residents of the West or Northeast. Another factor is the type of community you live in: City-dwellers often pay more for a remodel relative to people in rural areas.
Obviously, the size of your kitchen and its components also affects the cost of a makeover project. However, the scope of your kitchen re-do also influences the price you pay.
Types of kitchen remodels
Generally, kitchen remodels are classified in three ways:
- Small/minor: keeping the kitchen layout but adjusting details and refreshing: installing a new floor, adding a fresh coat of paint, converting energy-efficient appliances. The average cost of a minor remodel runs around $24,000-$26,000.
- Midrange: involves adding design elements like a kitchen island, installing custom cabinetry, changing the flooring and lighting. The average cost of a midrange remodel is around $69,000-$75,000.
- Major/Upscale: the same fundamental overhaul as above, but with virtually everything new or replaced, and featuring super-quality and specialty items — top-of-the-line appliances, built-in water-filtration systems, completely customized cabinets and countertops, designer fixtures — all made with the most luxurious materials. Upscale remodels often run around $136,000-$149,000.
According to HomeAdvisor, here’s how the different costs play out, depending on the scope of your kitchen makeover.
|Appliance||$100–$200 per appliance||$200–$400 per appliance||$400–$600+ per appliance|
|Cabinets||$100–$200 per cabinet||$200–$300 per cabinet||$300–$500 per cabinet|
|Faucet||$125–$200 per faucet||$200–$300 per faucet||$300–$550+ per faucet|
What costs the most in a kitchen remodel?
While there’s plenty to spend money on in a kitchen makeover, five key components comprise the biggest percentage of the budget. Per HomeAdvisor’s latest stats, they include:
Installing cabinets and their hardware makes up the lion’s share of expenses at 29 percent. The average cost of cabinetry and hardware hovers around $6,670, and depends on the actual stock, and refacing and refinishing costs.
Appliances and ventilation
Depending on the number and type of appliances and ventilation upgrades you plan on doing during your kitchen remodel, you could be looking at spending anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000 on custom built-in appliances, or $200 to $1,000 for economy freestanding units. The average cost for appliances and ventilation is $3,220 and makes up 14 percent of the entire cost of your kitchen remodel.
The cost of countertops typically takes up 10 percent of a kitchen remodel and is generally the fourth largest expense. The average cost is $2,300. On the low end, paper composite countertops can be anywhere from $2,500 to $6,000. High-range countertops include marble countertops, which can cost up to $9,650.
Installing all the appliances and elements of your renovated kitchen such as the cabinetry, countertops, sinks, faucets and flooring make up 17 percent of the cost of the average kitchen remodel. The average price tag to install is $3,910.
How to save money redoing a kitchen
There are plenty of ways to make a kitchen remodel more affordable. Here are a few tips:
- Choose stock items: Purchasing ready-made models instead of customizing your cabinets and countertops can save thousands of dollars.
- Do it yourself: Try DIY-ing your renovations as much as you can. But, iff you are going the DIY route, learn how to do it properly, suggests Will Lau, a realtor based in Southern California and founder of Will & Way Homes. “If you don’t, it won’t look as good, and it will bring down the value since future buyers will now have to factor in costs to fix it themselves,” says Lau.
- Upgrade the less expensive option: Opting to upgrade things like hardware instead of replacing the entire cabinet can make the total remodel more affordable.
- Keep existing piping and plumbing: Not moving or changing any of the existing piping, plumbing, gas or electric allows you to focus on the aesthetics of your new kitchen.
How to know if you should remodel your kitchen
You may not be sure if remodeling your kitchen is the right thing to do. Consider the following to help you decide:
- Funds: Do you have enough funds in your account for kitchen remodel? Would you have to dip into your rainy day fund? If so, Lau recommends waiting until you’ve saved a bit more before doing any sort of renovation — unless you want to try financing the project (see below).
- Living plans: If you just bought your home and plan on living there for at least seven years, Lau recommends remodeling before you move in. “That way you can get all done and not have to figure out the logistical nightmare of doing a renovation while living on the property,” says Lau. “Even if you go on vacation and try to get it done then, you’ll have to factor in having someone supervise the job in order to answer any questions or to make sure everything is on track.”
- Selling: If you renovate early on, and the job is done correctly and well, you’ll not only retain the value spent, but you’ll also get a boost in ROI, explains Lau. “Most buyers want to purchase a home that is move-in ready and remodeled,” he says. If you’re thinking about selling and all the neighboring homes have updated kitchens, you definitely might want to consider remodeling. “The kitchen and master bedroom and bathrooms are the most desired spaces for most buyers on the market,” says Lau.
How to pay for a kitchen remodel
Clearly, it costs a lot to redo a kitchen — even a relatively minor remodel. If you don’t have the cash (or even if you do), you may want to consider financing the project. Your best options include:
Personal loans, aka home improvement loans, let you borrow a lump sum with a fixed interest rate for a specified term. You’ll have a fixed monthly payment as a result, making it easier to budget the expense. Personal loans are also unsecured. This means you don’t have to use your home as collateral and put your home at risk of foreclosure if you fall behind on your payments.
Takeaway: A personal loan may work best if you don’t want to borrow against your home’s value or don’t have sufficient value. It could also be a strong fit if you have good or excellent credit and the ability to qualify for the best rates and terms. Keep in mind, however, that some lenders let you borrow only up to $35,000 or $40,000, which may be insufficient for your kitchen renovation.
Home equity loan
A home equity loan also comes with a fixed interest rate, a fixed repayment timeline and a fixed monthly payment. However, unlike a personal loan, it uses your home as collateral. You’ll receive a lump sum to spend on your kitchen remodeling project. To qualify, you’ll need a strong credit score, low debt-to-income ratio and at least 15 percent equity in your home.
Takeaway: A home equity loan could be a good idea if you want to borrow for a larger amount (and on better terms) than a personal loan offers, you have some equity in your home and if you feel comfortable with a secured loan. You may also qualify for a tax deduction on the interest, since the loan’s being used to improve your home’s value.
Home equity line of credit (HELOC)
Similar to a credit card, a home equity line of credit (HELOC) is a revolving line of credit with a set limit. And like a home equity loan, you’re using the equity on your home as collateral; you can borrow as much as you need, repay it, and then borrow again.
Takeaway: If you’re not sure exactly how much you need for your kitchen remodel, this could be a good choice for you. HELOCs come with closing fees and variable interest rates, though, so read the fine print to figure out what your monthly payments are, and how they could change.
Next steps for your kitchen remodel
If you’re ready to roll up your sleeves, here’s what you’ll need to do for your kitchen re-do:
- Do your homework: Research materials and contractors in your area. You’ll want to know the costs and parts of each step of your project. Don’t forget to budget for other costs, like eating out or storing furniture and big appliances while your kitchen is being remodeled.
- Get an estimate: Get several estimates from local contractors to get a better idea of how much you will need to spend on the renovation.
- Look into financing: If you’ve decided to finance your kitchen makeover, gather the information and financial documents you need to apply and get pre-approved if possible. Then, review the loan amounts, rates and terms offered.