Budgeting for a Kitchen Remodel

This spring we’re embarking on a “fun” project, a kitchen remodel. As I mentioned last month, this is something we’ve been wanting to do for several years. Since it’s been on our radar, we’ve been saving up.

As with anything, there are varying cost levels when remodeling a kitchen. You can have a budget of $5,000, $50,000, $150,000 or anywhere in between. Several sources cited that kitchen remodels shouldn’t be more than 15% of the total value of your home. We’re going slightly above that, at an estimated 18% of our house value. According to these folks, we’re doing a mid-range budget, major kitchen remodel. Essentially, a gut and redo.

When we were budgeting we found it helpful to think about all of the areas where you can spend money when you’re remodeling a kitchen. Here are the buckets we came up with…

Kitchen Remodel Buckets

Depending on how many of these categories you’ll be changing, your budget will be affected. Also realize that in the Cabinets, Countertops…bucket that there can be huge variations in the quality of materials and therefore cost, so much of your budget will be driven by those items.

After looking at our breakdown by category, about 78% of our budget money is going into the Cabinets, Countertops…bucket. The rest is for the other items, which we unfortunately need to do primarily because of poor layout of the existing kitchen.

We’ve spent a lot of time over the last few months doing research on the major expenses. For us, the cabinets and appliances are driving the budget. We were pleasantly surprised to find a carpenter that will build high quality, custom cabinets for us at a very fair price. Additionally, we’ve never really purchased appliances before so there was a learning curve given the range of products available and our specific needs. Plenty of time was spent talking to folks about what appliances they have and what they like and don’t like about them, reading online message boards, and visiting area stores.

The main lesson I’ve learned so far is the importance of research and considering different options based on your needs. Most likely, there are going to be some tradeoffs involved in order to stay within budget. For example, we really wanted a built-in eating area, but when the carpenter priced out building it for us we decided we’d just purchase a table and chairs for the space. The extra expense was driving us way over budget. We also decided that a matching family of appliances wasn’t that important to us. They’ll all be the same color, but they won’t be the same brand.

Next up, coming up with the right design and layout.