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How to Budget for a Kitchen Remodel

Updated on May 17, 2014

After the Remodel

After the remodel.  By Home Finishings, Inc. in the Vail Valley, Colorado.
After the remodel. By Home Finishings, Inc. in the Vail Valley, Colorado. | Source
Before the remodel.
Before the remodel.

Show Me the Kitchen Remodel Money

Remodeling a kitchen, one of the central rooms in your home, can be extremely stressful. Staying organized through the process is key to a positive experience. One of the biggest stressors is money and staying within budget.

The best way to handle finances is to plan ahead and set aside some contingency money for unexpected costs. Planning ahead involves determining how much money you want to spend, in total. This needs to be done before anything else in the process.

Once the total budget is determined, the most important task after that is to make sure you are not tempted to go over budget. If well planned, there should be no reason why you cannot work within the set amount.

**Note: Generally speaking, a high-end upgrade remodel for the kitchen costs around $80,000.

Consider What Needs to be Remodeled in the Kitchen

After a total budget is set, it is time to consider what needs to be done. Walking around the kitchen and making a list would help. At this point in the process, it is not time to prioritize the list yet. Simply getting everything down on a list first helps you consider the total picture before deciding what is most important to remodel.

The big kitchen remodel items are usually the countertops and appliances. Many also consider cabinets, especially if they are old or out of date. Knowing everything you want to get done ahead of time will save potential headaches during the remodel process.

What is the top priority in your kitchen remodel?

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Prioritize the Remodel List

Once a brainstormed list of needs is established, it is time to prioritize the list. While considering priorities, it is important to take note of the true conditions of various things. For instance, do the cabinets need to be fully replaced, or are they good enough to just refinish? Refinishing the cabinets would likely be much cheaper than replacing them.

The prioritized list needs to be made with the budget in mind. The good news is that you should have determined your budget before getting to this point, so now it is a matter of what you are willing to put into different aspects of your kitchen.

Some considerations include:

  • Do you need new cabinets or just to refinish them and update the pulls and knobs?
  • Do you need new appliances or just to clean up the ones that already exist in the kitchen?
  • Do you need new countertops?
  • Do you need a new stove/oven/microwave?
  • Do you need to replace a linoleum floor and put in tile?
  • Do you need new fixtures?

Breakdown of Costs

Percentage of Total Cost
Remodel Feature
Miscellaneous / Other

These are rough, estimated averages - adapted from

Different Types of Kitchen Countertops

Expect the Unexpected When Remodeling a Kitchen

Although it has been recommended to set aside some money for your kitchen remodel to cover miscellaneous costs, the concept cannot be emphasized enough. You just never know what might happen when the project gets rolling.

Some people set aside roughly seven to 10 percent for contingencies. It is recommended that if you can afford it, to set aside up to 20 percent of the total costs. This will help assure that extra costs for materials and labor don't end up stalling or stopping the remodel process.

Kitchen Remodel Ideas

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Don't Forget!

During a kitchen remodel, the homeowner usually has to eat out often. The cost of eating out needs to be considered, especially when remodeling the full kitchen.

How Will You Pay For Your Kitchen Remodel?

Before starting the job -- before contacting a contractor -- it is important to determine where the money will come from to pay for the kitchen remodel. Will some of it come from a home equity loan? Have you been saving up for years and have some cash stashed away? Did you just inherit some money?

Knowing where the money for the remodel will come from gives the homeowner a certain peace of mind. The process will run much more smoothly and there will be less headaches if you know exactly where the money is coming from to pay for the remodel project.

Will You Stay or Will You Go?

Some people prefer to leave the home and go on vacation or stay with family and friends when their homes are being remodeled. Others don't mind the raised dust. One decision that needs to be made is whether you will stay in the home or be gone so the contractors can have their space.

Reputable contractors prefer to have full run of the place during a full kitchen remodel so they can leave their tools out overnight. They often feel obligated to clean up each day when the homeowners are around, costing labor time in the long run. Sometimes it is worthwhile to be gone during the remodel so workers can go about their business without any worries.


Do Some of the Work Yourself

To save some money, homeowners may consider doing some of the work themselves. Demolition is certainly one thing that any can do for themselves rather than pay someone else to take things apart and haul them out.

Another easy thing for homeowners to do for themselves is paint. If any of the walls in the kitchen need a fresh coat of paint, it is easy for anyone to figure out how to do it.

Kitchen Remodeling Design Ideas


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