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Renovation Costs 101: Kitchens

Updated: Jan 3

(updated to late 2023)

Renovation costs are the most common query I get, so I wanted to help bring some clarity to this topic. I will break down some common types of renovations and a rough estimate for them in this series. As always, there is a lot of room for the numbers to be lower and higher depending on your home, location, timeline, selections, and even how involved you wish to be.

To start, let’s go through all of the items that go into a kitchen:

Items to consider when designing a kitchen,

Wow, that’s a lot, right? Yup, there’s a lot that goes into a kitchen.

Kitchen pricing can vary the most of almost any renovations and is entirely dependent on what you select. For this exercise, I’m using an average size kitchen that is around 8’ x 12’ with an island. The construction work is completed by a general contractor and help with the layout and selections from a designer. The pricing I give is only an estimate and there can be quite the range within each level I give.

Keep in mind that you should add in a contingency amount, at least 10% on top of the amounts given for unknowns that will ALWAYS come up with any renovation. Sometimes there’s weird plumbing issues that you don’t know about until the room is gutted, you’ve got some really weird electrical wiring going on that need to get corrected, or you discover your floor needs “beefing up” to support your nice stone floors your heart is set on. Basically, don’t be surprised when things happen and make sure you’ve got some backup cash for it.

Sometimes you can do a savvy minor facelift (in the DIY category) instead of a full gut and just refinish your cabinets, if you are happy with the functionality, and replace your countertop and backsplash. This would be a pretty easy and affordable option that could start at $10000.

Base level: Think of an Ikea kitchen or pre-fab Big Box store cabinets that are on the shelf. You stick with basic types of cabinets, so just doors with shelves inside, and only a few drawers (drawers cost more). Your countertops are pretty basic, either laminate, wood, or a low-end quartz or granite, and your backsplash is a basic tile. Your floor is laminate, tile, or LVT/LVP. As for appliances, you stick with average level appliances, just a range, fridge, dishwasher, microwave/hoodfan and basic stainless-steel sink and faucet. Your lighting will only be a track light or two. This will be around $20000 to start. You can go less, but there’s always a trade-off. Certain items are not worth going too low-end but other items are fine too. I would base my recommendations on your needs, use, goals, budget, and where you live.

This Ikea kitchen got Kitch door/drawer fronts to make an Ikea kitchen not look like Ikea. Great option!

Mid-level: This would be a kitchen built by a kitchen cabinet manufacturer/supplier selecting their average range of door/drawer fronts, adding in some more drawer units, and some nice hardware inside to make your corner cabinet and pantry more functional. Some finishing carpenters can even build you a kitchen for a similar price-point, although you’ll need a lot of detail in the drawings you give them to make sure you don’t go over your budget and you get what you want. Your countertops would be an average range for quartz or stone, and a nicer tile backsplash. Your floor is hardwood or a better-quality porcelain tile. For appliances, you select slightly better appliances, but again stick with the same items as in the base level option. Lighting will be potlights, undercabinet lights, and some pendants for your island. This will start at $35000, but averages around $60000.

Higher-end: Well, this is where things can only go up. Cabinets can be completely custom or made by a good quality manufacturer, and you can get all the bells and whistles for inner workings, and fancy appliances, likely panelled fridges and dishwashers, including some of those extra appliances listed above. Your countertops can be an exotic grade natural stone or one of the good quality quartzes. Your floor is a high-end hardwood, natural stone, or good quality porcelain. Your lighting will involve fully integrated smart lighting with potlights, undercabinet lights, and cool pendants for your island. Minimum starting point is $100000. I worked on one project awhile back that had their kitchen quoted at $200000! The sky is the limit here.

Kitchen design, custom designed, panelled fridges
High-end Kitchen design (with panelled Sub-zero, appliance garage, hidden entrance to pantry, toe-kick drawers, etc.)

This reno involved painting the old cabinets and installing new counters, backsplash, plumbing, and handles

The gist of it all is the final price all depends on what you like, your needs, your likes, your wants, the things that are really important to you, and how extensive of a renovation you want to go for. Figure that out and work that into how much you're willing to invest in your home, and that will make your renovation a more straight-forward process. As always, if you'd like help from an experienced design, reach out.


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