Remodeling your kitchen with limited funds is harder today than has been in the last several decades. But just because remodel costs have increased doesn’t mean that a new kitchen is beyond your budget.
With a little flexibility and some design tips from our team at Lamont Bros., you can find a healthy balance between a kitchen that looks great, meets your needs, and fits your budget.
This article will walk you through the factors you should consider when trimming down your kitchen remodel budget. Then, we’ll discuss a few specific steps you can take to cut down on the cost of your remodel.
What should I consider when budgeting for a kitchen remodel?
If you’re trying to do a remodel as inexpensively as possible, the first thing you’ll need to do is let go of the nonessentials. Anything that qualifies as a luxury or convenience should be left off of the design, at least until the end of the process. You can always add things back in if you come up under budget, but for now, stick to the necessities.
The first thing to consider in your budget is whether or not you want to keep your current cabinets. Do you have enough storage space as it is?
If your answer is “No,” then you may first want to consider new organizational systems before adding additional cabinetry to your kitchen. Is it possible that you simply have more kitchenware than you actually need?
Since cabinets are the most expensive part of a kitchen, you’ll immediately save yourself a lot of money by keeping the cabinets you already have. If you include accessories, the average cost of $500-$2,000 per cabinet box can add up quickly.
Obviously, you want your kitchen to look good – and it isn’t just about vanity. The appearance of your kitchen matters to your home’s value, too. When working with a slim budget, you can still achieve a kitchen that is as aesthetically pleasing as it is functional. This is where the importance of flexibility comes into play.
Perhaps you have a very specific color or door style you want for your cabinetry. Maybe you’re partial to a specific design style. In any case, consider it a rule of thumb that the pickier you are, the more money you’re apt to spend.
You should have an idea of how you want your kitchen to look, but you should also be willing to compromise. Most entry-level cabinetry have a limited selection of available colors and finishes. High-end lighting or plumbing fixtures usually have comparable counterparts in a lower price range.
One of the most difficult decisions to make for many homeowners is whether to keep or replace their appliances. If they work well and are still energy efficient, there’s no need to replace them from a functionality standpoint.
Even appliances that are grossly outdated or an aesthetic nightmare can still do their job. Factor in a price tag of $7,000-$12,000 for a replacement package, and suddenly a 15-year old refrigerator might not sound too bad.
On the other hand, consider your situation as a homeowner and a cook. Have your appliance needs changed? Maybe there are more mouths to feed than there were a few years ago, and you need a bigger fridge. Or you might need more cooktop space.
In any case, you’ll want to make sure that the decision you reach makes your kitchen as functional as you need it to be.
People don’t often consider the lighting in their kitchen to be a major cost point, but it certainly can be. If you want to change the lighting fixtures or add more lights to your kitchen, that will require some extensive work on multiple fronts.
The most expensive factor when it comes to lighting is hands down the labor – electricians are in increasingly short supply. Hiring someone to come out and re-wire your ceiling could tack on an additional $3,000-$6,000.
This isn’t to say that some spaces don’t seriously need more lighting – they often do. The trick is to get creative with how you solve the lighting issue – softer colors and more reflective surfaces in the kitchen, such as mirrors or stainless steel, can go a long way to brighten the space.
Replacing flooring can open an entirely new can of remodeling worms, but it is something you need to consider.
Some older floors wear out or become water-damaged from years of use in the kitchen. This creates an actual safety hazard and should be addressed. Fortunately, flooring doesn’t necessarily need to be expensive, but it should be a good balance between cost and function.
Should you decide to re-floor, you’ll also need to decide where the boundaries will be. The less overall area you replace, the less it will cost. You’ll also want to make sure your transition from one flooring material to the next doesn’t stick out.
What can I do to keep my kitchen remodel costs low?
Once you understand what factors can affect the cost of your kitchen remodel, then you can start developing an action plan to keep it within your budget. Here are a few tips to help you get started.
1. Change only what you need to
Of course, a remodel is supposed to change your kitchen. That’s kind of the point. The trick is to decide what changes will actually be useful and cost-effective. Layout changes to your kitchen drive up the price astronomically, as does adding cabinet boxes, changing light circuitry, or replacing appliances.
Avoiding major layout changes in your kitchen will save you thousands, if not tens of thousands. When it comes to kitchen remodel costs, the best thing you can do for your budget is to keep your current kitchen layout.
2. Opt for entry-level cabinets
If you have to replace your cabinetry, you’ll save yourself a lot of money by choosing “good” level cabinets instead of “better” or “best.” In fact, it’s about a 30% price increase between each tier, so going with the cheaper option could save you up to 60%.
3. WilsonArt Thinscape countertops instead of solid surface
A synthetic, durable alternative to quartz or marble, WilsonArt Thinscape is less expensive to make, easier to install, and still looks pretty darn good. These combined factors make Thinscape a strong choice for budget-friendly countertops, saving you anywhere from $1,500-$3,000.
4. LVP, sheet vinyl, or water-resistant laminate floors
Not only will going with any one of these options save you $2,000-$3,000, but they also have excellent water resistance, an important feature for kitchen flooring. Hardwood flooring tends to be much more expensive and carries a much higher risk for water damage.
5. Go with cheaper plumbing fixtures
Like cabinetry, we rank our plumbing fixtures in tiers of “good, better, and best.” Good plumbing fixtures will almost certainly serve your needs, unless your needs are designer-brand fixtures.
We consider Delta, Moen, and Price Pfister to fall into the “good” category. Moving up into the “better” category costs 10-15% more, and “best” will be anywhere at or above 60%.
6. Minimal tile work
If you’ve got your heart set on a specific tile backsplash, we have bad news for you. Tile work qualifies as one of the expensive line items in a kitchen remodel.
Whether it’s on the floor or the backsplash, tile is expensive to install, especially if you want it done correctly. One of the most cost-friendly options for backsplash is to use a piece of the countertop. It maintains aesthetic continuity in the kitchen, and can save you thousands on tile material and installation costs.
7. Fewer cabinet drawer banks & features
There are a lot of cool cabinet features out there. Most are also very expensive. Rolling shelves run about $200 per, while a pull-out trash cabinet can cost over $500.
Even a simple drawer bank can cost $300-$400 more than a standard base cabinet. The fewer drawers and special features you include in your cabinetry, the more money you save.
Still curious about kitchen remodel costs?
It’s important to do your own research before jumping right into a renovation project, so if you’re looking for more information on how to budget, check out this article that dives deep into the different cost factors of a kitchen remodel.
Or, maybe you’re ready to talk to a design consultant about how to design a new kitchen for yourself that fits within your budget. If so, click the button below to schedule a call, and one of our design consultants will contact you personally.