blue kitchen with pendant lights

Kitchen Remodel Costs: 5 Ways to Save

A true luxury kitchen remodel can really stretch a budget. But you don’t need to break the bank in order to get the kitchen of your dreams. Here are 5 ways to save on your kitchen remodel costs while not sacrificing the end result.

kitchen remodel costs: new white and gray kitchen

Kitchen remodels are among the most popular — and most worthwhile — home renovation projects you can do. Not only do they transform one of the most used spaces in your home, they can also have among the highest returns on investment. Here some ways to get the kitchen you’ve always wanted while keeping your costs in check.

1. Keep the existing layout

Anytime you start changing the footprint of a space, your remodel costs are likely to rise. That’s because a new layout can mean removing walls, moving plumbing and electrical, maybe adding new windows, and more. All of these can dramatically up your overall costs. Removing a wall alone will likely require some budget for engineering, along with new support elements like a beam. Extensive plumbing and electrical work can also quickly become costly as it usually means demo-ing and repairing some walls in the process.

blue kitchen with quartz countertops

By retaining your layout, you can avoid those costs. Adding a new island and new cabinetry can go a long way to achieving a significant transformation without affecting your existing floor plan. Eye-catching new lighting elements and flooring can also be cost-effective ways to remodel. If you like to cook and need more counter space, installing a workstation sink can provide the extra counter area you need without having to expand your kitchen footprint or install additional surrounding cabinets.

workstation sink
workstation sink

2. Go for “Good” not “Best” cabinets

Cabinets typically make up a large portion of a kitchen remodel budget. And while you can certainly opt for very high-end cabinets made from real wood products like maple and with customizations including sanded dovetail joints and smoother interiors, you can often still get a high-end look without all the bells and whistles.

kitchen remodel costs: brown wood cabinets

Be smart with your materials. For the material, consider going with laminate instead of wood. A laminate cabinet usually comes with an MDF or HDF box with a white melamine interior. Melanine is durable and resists heat, stains, moisture, and abrasions. You can also save money by going with a cabinet line that features fewer color and customization options. Many in this category are still durable and effective, but your choices will be a bit more limited when it comes to specific color schemes and finish types.

Choose standard sizes: Most cabinets come in a range of standard sizes from 12 inches up to 42 inches high. Sticking with one of these rather than going for custom height or widths can really help your budget.

Go for fewer drawers or inserts: Believe it or not, choosing to go with a drawer that has just 3 inserts instead of 4 can save you money, especially when similar choices are made throughout your kitchen. Unless you have very specific storage needs, this can be an area to save.

Skip the glazing: While glazing may add a bit to the overall look of your cabinets depending on the material you use, it isn’t essential and can be costly. If you’re looking to manage your budget, consider foregoing the glaze.

Don’t pass up soft close. One area we recommend not skimping on is the soft close feature. It’s a bit more expensive than regular cabinets, but it can really help prevent damage and wear in the long run.

Reface rather than replace your cabinets

Another way to save even more is to reface your cabinets instead of replacing them. Refacing, or resurfacing as it’s also called, involves installing a new laminate or veneer surface material to the existing cabinet framework (boxes), then replacing the cabinet fronts and drawers. Related items like cabinet hardware are also usually replaced. If your exiting cabinets are in pretty good shape and just need a makeover, this could be the option. On average, refacing costs only about a third to half as much as replacing cabinets.

3. Avoid high-end countertops like marble

A marble countertop can really make a statement in a kitchen. It’s natural veining and multiple color options can be hard to replicate in man-made materials. But there are plenty of other beautiful counter options that don’t come with marble’s hefty price tag — and that are easier to maintain than marble.

Since countertops are one of the most visible areas of your kitchen, and you’ll likely use them every day, you want to select a material that is both durable and aesthetic, as well as cost effective. Here are a couple of options:

Quartz is by far the most popular countertop material we work with. It’s an engineered stone made by grinding natural quartz into dust and combining it with other synthetic materials and adhesives. The result is a hard and durable surface. Quartz countertops come in a large array of colors and a variety of brands and finishes, but they can be damaged by high heat, due to the resin and polymers used to manufacture it.

kitchen remodel costs: thinscape counter in white with wood cabinets
Thinscape / photo credit

Thinscape is made from a 1/2 inch base and mimics the look of marble, granite, and quartz surfaces, but at a cheaper cost. It’s durable, easier to fabricate than other surfaces, and is scratch and moisture resistant. It comes in 12 styles and can be integrated to create a seamless look; leaving you with a sleek and low maintenance surface.

4. Skip the hardwood flooring

Natural hardwood floors are both durable and look great, but they’re also among the most expensive kitchen flooring options. Here are some more affordable ones that don’t sacrifice quality:

Engineered hardwoods feature a real wood layer on top, then layers of plywood below. The plywood acts as a buffer from hot or cool temperature changes to protect the wood above from damage and warping. This makes them a better choice than hardwoods if placed against a concrete subfloor. They can be installed by nailing them down, by gluing down, or as floating floors. They’re less expensive than natural hardwoods, coming in on average at around $5-$8 per square foot. 

Laminate flooring consists of a base layer of fiberboard covered with another layer that is designed to appear like wood. A clear protective layer covers the upper layer, which helps prevent scratching and stains. The boards themselves usually don’t exceed a thickness of 1/2″ and are installed by locking edges that snap together; no nailing or glue required. This makes them an attractive choice for DIYers. Laminate comes in a variety of style options and costs on average between $2-$4 per square foot.

photo credit

Luxury vinyl plank, or LVP, is another hardwood alternative that won’t break the bank. It’s a synthetic product that’s much thicker than traditional rolled vinyl, making it semi rigid. The thick core layer is printed over with natural-looking finishes. It’s among also among the most durable kitchen flooring options, with good water and stain resistance. That makes it a great option for heavy use and for households with pets. As for cost, it averages about $4 per square foot.

5. Consider a movable island

If you have a smaller kitchen without a fixed island, but need the extra space, adding a mobile island can be both useful and valuable. Plus, it can help save money.

movable island
photo credit

These islands come in various sizes and usually come with a butcher block surface, great for food prep. Tip: look for one with storage underneath for things like pots, pans, spices, or towels. It’s a great way to add functionality and storage to your kitchen.

Are you thinking about a kitchen remodel and aren’t sure where to start? We’d love to discuss your project. Simply schedule a conversation with us!

Related Links