We hear numbers thrown out all the time about the amazing cost of a new kitchen ($25,000, $40,000, $70,000!!). It’s enough to scare us out of the project altogether. Yes, it certainly is possible to spend this much on a new kitchen, but if you know where to cut corners, it’s also possible to spend far less.
A kitchen remodeling project can be as simple as new window and wall treatments, new flooring, or new cabinets. Or you can create the gourmet kitchen/family room that is so popular today.
First, this article is written for those on a budget. If you can buy the very best of everything discontinue reading. Most of us need to pick and choose where we will spend our money. Let’s look at some of the main items in a kitchen remodel that drive costs, and decide where we are going to spend our money.
In the appliance category the main driver is the range. (Can you live with your existing appliances by the way?). Do you need the “status symbol” six burner gas range with twin ovens below? If so, plan to spend about $10,000. However, if you are fine with the status quo 4 burner / one oven stainless steel range you should not have to spend more than $4,000 for a very high quality range and you can spend much less than this if you want. Want $1,000 off, find a nick and scratch store.
Can you live with laminate flooring at $2 to $3 per square foot. Most hardwood will cost $5 to $8 a square foot and that is what you will spend on most tile as well. Of course, there are many brands of hardwood and tile that will easily eclipse $10 per square foot.
If you absolutely need hardwood over laminate, discount stores like Lumber Liquidators will have many brands and types of hardwood at under $5 a square foot. Also, it’s not uncommon for stores like Home Depot, Lowes, Color Tile etc. to “blow out” certain lines of tile for about $2 a square foot for items that are discontinued, etc. You can find deals if you look hard enough.
Tiles designed for the backsplash can get expensive, easily eclipsing $20 per square foot. Remember, any tile that’s meant to be walked on can also act as the back splash and any cheap, square 4 x 4 tile can be installed diagonally on a backsplash. The savings in the tile will more than make up for the additional labor charge.
The typical kitchen has 23 linear feet of counter space. This can get expensive. Marble can be $80 per square foot as can granite which can go as high as $150 per square foot. The good news is granite is getting cheaper and where you buy the granite makes a very big difference. There are deals to be found out there. As you probably already know, this is not the area to cut corners. The heart of the kitchen is the countertop. Make this decision first along with your cabinets and plan the rest of the kitchen around these two things.
Concrete countertops are all the rage but don’t think concrete means “cheap.” These are even more trendy than granite today.
The main expense in the kitchen is the cabinets. The cost will be driven by whether you go with completely custom cabinets or stock. Pricing here will be “all over the place.” Are you bringing in a carpenter for one-of-a-kind Brazilian Cherry Wood or buying from Ikea, a $20,000 difference. (Don’t laugh, Ikea cabinets are not as easy to assemble as their TV stands, but they have some beautiful cabinets at reasonable costs. Although they will tell you they can be assembled and installed yourself, we don’t recommend it.)
The handles in the cabinets (the hardware) can fluctuate from $4 to almost $15 per knob and handle. Again, this is an area where if you can live with what comes “stock” it will save you a tremendous amount of money you can use elsewhere.
How much money do you have left for the sink and fixture? Here we would put less money on the sink, spending about $200 for generic stainless steel instead of the $500 or $600 for name brands with noise dampening, and put our money into the faucet, where there can be a big difference in quality between $80 and $200. Saving $100 on the fixture is not worth it because a plumber will charge you $150 just to walk through your door. Put in a quality fixture that will last for 15 years and keep the plumber at bay.