How to Create a Kitchen Remodel Budget You’ll Actually Stick To



With any type of remodel, the number one step is to set a budget. The number two step is to stick with it. Number two is undoubtedly harder than number one. But if you approach your budget realistically, you’ll have a better shot at staying the course when you see that much more expensive countertop that you just have to have.

How much should you spend on your kitchen remodel?

According to,the typical range for a kitchen renovation is $12,500 to $34,000, with most homeowners spending around $23,000. Of course, costs of living and cost of housing and labor varies across the country. “Think about what your house value is and how long you’ll stay there,” says Tracey Burrell-Combs, a Certified Kitchen and Bath Designer with Shenandoah Cabinetry. A good rule of thumb is to spend no more than 15 percent of the home’s estimated value on a kitchen remodel.

Kitchen remodel budget breakdown

After you have an idea of what you’re able to spend, it’s a helpful exercise to start putting real numbers to all the different areas involved in a remodel. You can do that by understanding the typical way a kitchen remodel budget breaks down, percentage-wise. The caveat is that these numbers do not include construction costs (like tearing off the back of your house and enlarging your kitchen). This is a typical breakdown for a remodel that keeps the same footprint

  • Cabinets: 20%
  • Countertops: 15%
  • Backsplash: 5%
  • Plumbing fixtures: 2% (if not moving plumbing)
  • Paint & Trim: 8%
  • Flooring: 18%
  • Appliances: 20%
  • Eating out: 2%
  • Unexpected: 10%

If you’re tempted to leave off the “unexpected,” or allocate less money to it: beware, Burrell-Combs says. There are always things that crop up that you can’t anticipate. Set the money aside to save headaches later.

Why is it so hard to stick to a kitchen remodel budget?

“People dream too big,” Burrell-Combs says. “When you walk into a store, there are so many things to pick from today. The selections are endless.” It isn’t just the showroom. It’s the magazines and blogs and the noticing what others have. You think you know the refrigerator you want, and then you see a friend’s SubZero, and it looks so tempting!

The more you look around, the more enticing things you are going to see. “This is why it’s good to do a breakdown, so you know how much you have to spend in any one area,” Burrell-Combs says. Ask yourself: if you go over in one area, what are you prepared to cut from another area? One of the best ways to stick to a budget is old-fashioned tough love with yourself.

Working with a contractor adds another element to your budget. Burrell-Combs advises that you get quotes from two or three contractors — and ask for references. Look at reviews too. “I’ve been burned by contractors,” she says. One way to avoid having your budget snowball when there is a contractor involved is to get everything in writing. “Never start the job without a good, clear contract that you understand. Make sure you agree to their terms of when payment draws are due. Never pay the whole fee upfront,” she says.

A great first step to determining your budget is visiting a Lowe’s showroom and talking to an in-store designer about your wish list for your new kitchen.