What It Costs to Remodel a Kitchen: Here’s the Typical Price Tag

A stunning, well-appointed kitchen makes cooking and entertaining a breeze. Plus, upgrading the heart of the home attracts buyers and raises your home value to some extent. But before you can host Thanksgiving with your double ovens and gas range (all against a lovely backsplash) you’ll have to drum up the cash for upgrades. So just how much is it to remodel a kitchen?

Here’s the short answer: According to Harvard University’s Center for Joint Housing Studies, homeowners spend a median of $12,361 on their kitchen remodel. Sounds reasonable, honestly! But our research reveals that kitchen remodels can cost as little as $10,000 for a DIY spruce up to north of $50,000 for a full out chef’s kitchen.To give you the most accurate picture of how much kitchen remodels cost, we’ll break down this ever popular home improvement project in four sections:

  • Cost overview
  • Costs by feature
  • Project costs by scale
  • Return on investment
  • Personal budgeting for your remodel

Kitchen remodel cost overview

The average cost of kitchen remodeling ranges dramatically with variables like size, finish quality, and depth of the renovation differing from project to project. For a general overview, let’s compare a few of the web’s most reputable sources for remodeling costs:

Source Average kitchen remodel cost Average cost per square foot Low- and high-end remodel range
HomeAdvisor $13,492 – $38,050 $75 – $250 $3,800 – $60,000
Remodeling Magazine $26,214 – $75,571 $131 – $377 $26,214 – $149,079
HomeGuide $12,800 – $21,200 $100 – $250 $12,200 – $126,000
Fixr $11,000 – $42,000 $100 to $250 $8,000 – $150,000

Methodology 

  • HomeAdvisor collected survey responses from 9,455 members who recently completed a kitchen remodel.
  • Remodeling Magazine estimates project costs using Clear Estimates remodeling software, creating detailed construction estimates for each project, and adjusting the cost for each market to account for pricing variations.
  • HomeGuide connects people to local contractors for project quotes. The site tracks millions of estimates from local companies and creates reports on averages for their Home Improvement and Repair Cost Estimator.
  • Fixr’s cost guides are informed by a wide variety of sources, including their own cost data, specialized books and websites, published cost studies, U.S. government reports, literature reviews of DIY websites, contractors and subcontractors, material suppliers, material price services, and other vendor websites.

Average kitchen remodeling costs by feature

How does the cost of granite countertops compare to stainless steel? Will solid wood cabinets stretch your budget? Knowing how the cost of kitchen features differs can help you manage your remodel dollars. Here’s what you can expect to spend on kitchen upgrades:

Kitchen feature Typical cost range
Cabinetry
Stock cabinets $1,250 – $2,500
Semi-custom cabinets $1,875 $10,000
Custom cabinets $7,500 $18,750
Countertop materials
Granite $150 $1,800
Marble $1,050 $9,650
Quartz $3,000 $7,500
Stainless steel, prefab $1,200 $3,700
Butcher block wood $1,000 $4,200
Appliances
Refrigerator $430 $10,600
Range $410 –  $750
Cooktop $320 –  $4,030
Double-wall oven $1,800 – $6,560
Dishwasher $330 – $1,900
Installation and labor $3,500 – $6,000

Souce: HomeAdvisor

Kitchen Cabinetry: $4,000 – $13,000

If you’re planning to replace your cabinets. the size of your kitchen and the materials you choose can drastically affect the overall cost. Wood cabinets can run anywhere from $5,000 to $25,000 and up, while a high-end material such as stainless steel could set you back $25,000 to $38,000.

Countertops: $825 – $3,850

Upgrading your countertops not only transforms your kitchen’s design, but also boosts your home value. According to HomeAdvisor, upgraded countertops can return 25% of their cost in your home value. Real estate agent Stacey Glenn, who sells 21% more homes than the average real estate agent in her market, recommends steering clear of loud or trendy styles. “Natural stone in a neutral color is timeless,” she says.

Appliances: $320 – $4,030

If you’re planning a major remodel, determine the new kitchen layout before you purchase appliances to ensure they’ll fit the space. If you’re looking for a deal, look for open box discounts and clearance markdowns at your local box store, such as Home Depot. Also, keep an eye out for manufacturers’ rebates that put cash back into your pocket.

Installation and labor: $3,500 – $6,000 

According to HomeAdvisor, installation and labor can account for 30% to 35% of a kitchen remodel budget. Your location, type of features being installed, and the size of your kitchen all influence the overall project labor cost.

Project costs by scale: From minor to upscale kitchen remodels

Now that you’ve got some broad kitchen remodel cost averages and the cost of specific features in mind, let’s dive into the details of kitchen remodels by scale.

Remodel scope Minor kitchen remodel Mid-scale kitchen remodel Major kitchen remodel Chef’s kitchen remodel
Cost range $10,000 – $15,000 $15,000 – $30,000 $29,000 – $64,000 $50,000 – $100,000+
Remodel overview Update the most dated elements without demoing your entire kitchen. Keep your kitchen’s existing layout while bumping up the quality of materials. Reconfigure your kitchen’s layout while incorporating some high-end updates. Transform your home kitchen into a restaurant-quality space.
Remodel elements
  • Paint cabinets
  • Replace the  backsplash
  • Splurge on new appliances
  • Reface cabinets
  • Replace cabinetry hardware
  • Splurge on granite or quartz countertops
  • Invest in quality cabinets and countertops
  • Open the floorplan by removing walls
  • Convert space into a walk-in pantry
  • Select top-of-the-line appliances
  • Install durable countertops, such as stainless steel
  • Tailor your kitchen’s layout with custom cabinetry

Minor kitchen remodel: $10,000 – $15,000

Increase your home’s marketability with easy, low-cost improvements. Target the most dated elements in your kitchen to bring your home up to date without breaking out the sledgehammer. Top real estate Douglas Huebner, who specializes in buyer-focused renovations as the CEO and principal designer of The Habitatilist in Newark, NJ, details an easy makeover:

“A minor remodel could be something easy for a homeowner to do. They could easily just change out the hardware and the backsplash. New kitchen appliances, of course, are always a nice bonus.”

Before:

A kitchen before a remodel.
Source: (The Habitatilist)

After:

A kitchen remodel.
Source: (The Habitatilist)

Where to save:

Where to splurge:

  • Invest in appliances: Buy new stainless steel appliances in a bundle from big box retailers like Home Depot ranging from $1,398 to $5,102. This upgrade is a big selling point for buyers, with 40% stating they would pay more for a home with stainless steel appliances, the majority agreeing they’d offer an extra $1,850.

Mid-scale kitchen remodel: $15,000 – $30,000

For homeowners with a bigger budget, Huebner recommends investing in quality materials.

“If you wanted to fix up your kitchen to sell it, for a medium size kitchen — because obviously, you could add thousands if you start adding square footage — it would probably cost about $20,000 with labor. And that would get you nice, decent cabinets with quartz countertops.”

Where to save:

  • Keep the existing layout: Stick to your kitchen’s original layout to cut down on added costs of plumbing, electrical, and structural work.
  • Reface the cabinets: While a mid-scale remodel calls for upgraded cabinets, you don’t need to start fresh if your existing structure is in good condition. Instead, save thousands by refacing the cabinets with new doors, fronts, and hardware for an average cost of $4,000 to $9,500.
  • Choose simple, but sleek hardware: Buyers might love pulls at $45 apiece, but they won’t add a line item in for them in their offer. Save yourself hundreds by choosing a low cost alternative like these top rated GlideRite 10-pack stainless steel pulls for $24.29.

Where to splurge:

  • Invest in quality countertops: Avoid passé grainy granites, and opt for either a solid color or a veined design resembling marble. Expect to pay $40 to $60 per square foot for granite or quartz, for a total price of $2,000 to $4,500, including installation.
  • Add a kitchen island: “The average cost of installing a kitchen island can range quite drastically. Depending on the size and material you decide to go with, a kitchen island can cost anywhere between $800 to $20,000,” explains Keith Melanson, Project Manager of RenosGroup, who has over 13 years of project management experience in home renovations. Kitchen islands are, in fact, one of the hotter kitchen renovation trends at the moment, as every kitchen needs more counter space.”
A kitchen remodel.
Source: (The Habitatilist)

Major kitchen remodel: $29,000 – $64,000

In a competitive market, a major kitchen remodel can give a higher-end home an edge over the competition. This renovation level entails structural changes such as moving walls, reconfiguring layouts, and adjusting plumbing and electrical lines.

Where to save:

  • Mix high and low end finishes: The best design seamlessly melds luxury materials with more affordable elements. Save on hardware, faucets, and lighting fixtures; quality cabinets and countertops will hold buyers’ attention.

Where to splurge:

  • Open the floor plan: Modernize your home’s floor plan by opening the kitchen to the dining area or living room. The cost of removing a non-load-bearing wall — a wall that doesn’t support the weight of the floor or roof above — is relatively affordable, at as little as $700. Load-bearing walls, on the other hand, are more complicated to remove and can set you back a few thousand.
  • Add a walk-in pantry: In the National Association of Home Builders’ latest What Home Buyers Really Want report, 81% of buyers hankered for a walk-in pantry, ranking it as the second-most desired kitchen feature. Convert an existing space into this coveted feature for an average cost of $1,000 to $6,500.

All-out chef’s kitchen remodel: $50,000 – $100,000

A chef’s kitchen is designed for functionality and efficiency, with top of the line appliances and a restaurant kitchen inspired layout. With an eye-widening price tag, a chef’s kitchen remodel brings you more joy as a homeowner than it will a high return on investment when it’s time to sell.

Where to save:

Where to splurge:

  • Select high-end appliances: For a top of the line kitchen, you need a Sub Zero fridge and a Wolf Range stove, starting at $4,229 and $4,726 respectively.
  • Build durable countertops: Outpricing granite, professional-grade stainless steel countertops cost $70 to $215 per square foot at an average of $7,500 for installation.
  • Design a functional layout: Layout is everything, so expect to splurge custom cabinets running an average of $700 per linear square foot. Huebner describes the layout of a recent chef’s kitchen his team designed:“I laid out the kitchen so that we have all the areas covered. I have a prep area with its own sinks and a stove nearby, a cook area with its own trash and storage, and then a separate cleanup area where there’s another sink, trash, and dishwasher with its own storage for dishes. Then finally, a large pantry wall that’s just a ton of storage.”

Already know the scope of your remodel? Estimate your project cost

For a tailored estimate, Kukun’s Home Renovation Cost Estimator predicts the cost of your kitchen remodel based on your location, kitchen size, scope of remodel, and quality of finishes. Designed with sellers in mind, the tool also estimates the project’s return on investment by analyzing recent sales data.

A kitchen that has been remodeled.
Source: (Sidekix Media / Unsplash)

Return on investment: Spend wisely for the best return

In a recent survey by Porch.com, buyers ranked a remodeled kitchen as their most desired home feature, admitting they’d spend on average $4,570 over budget to secure a home with this inspirational space.

“It’s what I called the AF: the aggravation fee. Whoever goes through the aggravation, gets the fee,” Huebner.

“If you are the seller and you go through the aggravation of the kitchen renovation, and you deserve to make the profit. Or, if you’re a buyer and you’re going to buy somebody’s old, outdated kitchen, then you have to go through the aggravation of renovating. So you should get the fees and should buy the house at a lower price.”

When planning the scale of your kitchen remodel, keep future homebuyers in mind to maximize your investment return. Generally speaking, kitchen remodels rarely bring a 1:1 cost to value exchange, so don’t expect a ‘spend more, get more’ dynamic.

According to Remodeling Magazine, a minor kitchen remodel with midrange finishes adds on average $18,927 to your sale price, yielding 72.2% ROI. Comparatively, a major kitchen remodel with upscale finishes adds $80,284, but only recoups 53.9% ROI.

While lower cost kitchen models might be the way to go for most homeowners, it’s not necessarily the route you should take. Glenn points out that you should consider spending the “appropriate amount of money” for the type of home you have. Do you have a starter home, a mid-level home, or a luxury home?

For instance, if your home belongs in the upper echelons of the market, budget materials won’t cut it with your buyer pool; you’ll need a mid-scale to major remodel to fetch a top sale price.

Conversely, if you have a mid-level home and install a chef’s kitchen, future buyers in your home’s price point may not fully appreciate the high-end fixtures and appliances the way you do. For tailored advice, consult a top real estate agent in your market. They’ll let you know what buyers are looking for in your home’s price bracket.

Personal budgeting for your remodel

Before you start a Pinterest vision board and stalk interior designers on Instagram, you’ll need to map out a budget for your project. While your ideal remodel budget is unique to your home and financial situation, we’ve pulled together a few tips to help get you started.

For the best ROI, spend 5% to 15% of your home’s value on your kitchen remodel

According to Home Advisor, you should spend 5% to 15% of the home’s value on your kitchen remodel for the best return on investment. For instance, if your home is worth $300,000, then a modest remodel budget is $15,000.

Follow the one-third rule when allocating your kitchen budget

When determining how much budget you should allocate to each part of your remodel, follow the one-third rule: spend one-third of the budget on cabinetry, another third on other upgrades including countertops, backsplashes, sinks, flooring, and appliances, and the final third on labor.

Consider hiring a professional designer

If you’re investing a fair sum in the remodel, bring in a professional designer to protect the quality of the final product. Professional kitchen designers charge on average $100 to $200 per hour, so leave some room in your budget for their services.

Pad your budget by 15% to 20% for unforeseen expenses

Last, but not least, set aside 15% to 20% of your budget for any unexpected problems that arise during the remodel. This is your insurance to cover extra costs for mending the termite damage, plumbing leaks, or mold you might discover when you rip out those cabinets from the last century.

Consult your local real estate agent for advice about how remodeling could affect your resale value

Whether you plan to sell your home in the near or distant future, it never hurts to reach out to a real estate agent with your questions on your kitchen remodel’s return on investment. They can lend an objective eye on design choices, share what upgrades buyers crave in your market, and connect you to reputable local contractors.

Deposit boxes at a bank that can finance a kitchen remodel.
Source: (Tim Evans / Unsplash)

Financing Your Remodel

According to an August 2020 Bankrate survey, 58% of homeowners pay for home upgrades using money from their checking or savings accounts. But a lack of cash in the bank doesn’t mean you have to nix your dream of a chef’s kitchen. You could finance your remodel using a credit card, a home equity loan or line of credit, or a personal loan.

Just proceed with care, warns Glenn. “My initial thought is ‘hesitation,’” she says about using home equity when financing a remodel project — especially if you aren’t planning to live in your home for the long term. When you borrow money to remodel your home, it’s easy to overspend, she says. “You can get more easily carried away.”

If you’ve weighed your options and you think borrowing money for your kitchen remodel works for your financial scenario, consider these available options:

Loan type Loan description Consider this option for LTV limits Other factors to note
Cash-out refinance Fixed or adjustable-rate mortgage loan, often a 15- or 30-year term, that pays off your existing mortgage with a higher loan amount 

Lump-sum at closing to use at your discretion  

Larger, extensive remodeling projects when you need a large lump sum  80%-90%, depending on the lender These loans use your home as collateral, usually at a lower interest rate than unsecured loan options. 

Funds used to remodel your home may be tax-deductible.

Home equity loan Fixed-rate loan, commonly a second mortgage

Lump sum at closing to use at your discretion

Most remodeling projects when you need one large lump sum 85%-100%, depending on the lender These loans use your home as collateral, usually at a lower interest rate than unsecured loan options. 

Funds used to remodel your home may be tax-deductible.

Home equity line of credit (HELOC) Revolving line of credit that allows you to draw funds as you need it 

Predetermined time period to draw funds before loan payoff term begins 

Often has a variable interest rate

Most remodeling projects when you don’t need all of the funds upfront  85%-100%, depending on the lender According to Weiss,  HELOCs have relatively low closing costs when compared to a traditional mortgage. 

Pay interest fees only on funds you draw.

These loans use your home as collateral, usually at a lower interest rate than unsecured loan options. 

Funds used to remodel your home may be tax-deductible.

Fannie Mae HomeStyle® renovation loan Conventional purchase or refinance loan used to finance improvements and repairs

Funds placed in a custodial account and released in payments directly to your contractor

Extensive remodels when you want to borrow money based on your home’s post-renovation value for LTV purposes 95%, or 97% with homebuyer education These loans require extra paperwork and compliance requirements when compared to traditional mortgages. The lender releases funds as work progresses, subject to inspections. 

These loans use your home as collateral, usually at a lower interest rate than unsecured loan options.

Funds used to remodel your home may be tax-deductible.

Limited FHA 203(k) Federally-insured mortgage loan to renovate your home  Projects under $35,000

Borrowers who don’t qualify for a traditional mortgage due to a low credit score or have limited equity in their home

97.75% of the post-renovation value when refinancing an existing loan 

Location-based loan limits

These loans have higher fees when compared to a conventional mortgage, with the added expense of mortgage insurance (MI).

Government compliance and inspection requirements apply.

Minimum credit score of 500 required (some lenders may require higher).

FHA 203(k) Federally-insured mortgage loan for the purpose of renovating your home  Projects over $35,000 and extensive remodels

Borrowers who need work done on their home but have a low credit score or limited equity

97.75% of the post-renovation value when refinancing an existing loan

Subject to Location-based loan limits

HUD consultant to oversee closing required.

These loans have higher fees when compared to a conventional mortgage, with the added expense of mortgage insurance (MI).

Government compliance and inspection requirements apply.

Minimum credit score of 500 required (some lenders may require higher).

Home improvement loan / Personal loan Unsecured, fixed-rate loan with a shorter term than a mortgage  Most renovation projects under $100,000 

Borrowers with good credit who don’t want to risk using their home as collateral

Not applicable Home improvement loans may require proof of home improvements or repairs, depending on the lender.

These loans usually have a higher interest rate than a conventional loan, home equity loan, or HELOC.

The loans require good credit — at least 610 to 640, depending on the lender. Borrowers with a FICO score of 740 or higher see the best rates.

Credit cards Unsecured, revolving line of credit that can be used at your discretion Small projects and emergency renovations  Not applicable Credit cards usually have the highest interest rates. 

Credit cards could be beneficial if you have a low introductory rate and you pay off the entire balance within the introductory period.

Remodeling your kitchen could help sell your home faster

Even people who fear cooking love a beautiful kitchen — elevate yours and buyers will flock. “The kitchen is the most important room,” Huebner reiterates; “you can’t go wrong in improving your kitchen before the sale, because it’s gonna help sell your house faster and more money.”

Header Image Source: (Sidekix Media / Unsplash)