Smart Design With Suzette: Budgeting For A Kitchen Remodel

Remodeled kitchen. Courtesy/Suzette Fox
Remodeled kitchen with a modern look. Courtesy/Suzette Fox
Smart Design With Suzette
Budgeting for a Kitchen Remodel
Last week I wrote about getting started in your kitchen renovation. The next step is determining a budget. Let’s face it, it’s not the most fun thing to do in a remodel, but it’s the most important.

Using Your Home’s Value

If you’re looking for the best return-on-investment, expect to spend between 6 and 10 percent of your home’s value for a full kitchen renovation. For instance, if your house is worth $300,000, your budget should range $18,000 – $30,000.

If you spend 5 percent or less, there is a good chance you may be devaluing your home. If you spend more than 10 percent there is a good chance you are overspending, and will not recoup your investment at a reasonable rate.

Your evaluation of how much you spend should take into account the prominence of your kitchen within your home (the more prominent it is, the more impact it has on the value of your home), how much time you and your family spend in the kitchen and of course, how much you can afford.

The higher quality home you live in, the higher a potential buyer’s expectation will be regarding the condition of the kitchen and the bigger impact it will play in the appeal of the home.

Cost Breakdown

Every remodeling project is different, and costs vary depending on the budget, homeowner’s tastes, and priorities. In general, however, materials account for 80 percent of the budget, while labor costs represent 20 percent.

According to the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA), the largest expense in a kitchen remodel is cabinetry at around 30 percent. Here’s a guideline on how the budget should break down, on average:

  • 30 percent: Cabinets
  • 20 percent: Labor
  • 15 percent: Appliances
  • 10 percent: Countertops
  • 7 percent: Flooring
  • 5 percent: Lighting
  • 5 percent: Plumbing fixtures
  • 5 percent: Doors/windows
  • 3 percent: Walls and ceilings

Have A Cushion

You never know what you’ll uncover during demolition. Homes constructed in the 1970s and earlier can contain lead or asbestos that needs to be removed by specialists. Older homes could also require electrical upgrades to support new appliances and lighting. Plan for a contingency of about 10 to 20 percent to cover unexpected costs.

Factor In The Cost Of Eating Out

Face it, you will be eating a lot of meals in restaurants or bringing home take-out food while your kitchen is torn up. Fit this expense into your budget at the outset.

Create A Spreadsheet

Put your budget and how much you’re actually spending on a spreadsheet. Refer to it often. If you see a cost overrun starting to happen, you can address it immediately.

Ultimately, your kitchen should reflect how you live. With this guideline, you can plan how you can splurge or save your money. In the end, it will depend on what’s most important to you.

Feel free to contact Los Alamos Interior Designer Suzette Fox to suggest specific design topics or for help with your home. For more information, find her on Facebook at and on her website

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