Why Kitchen Renos Cost so much

Here is the truth about budgeting for a kitchen Reno…

Kitchen’s are where most people decide to spend their money in a home renovation. But why do they cost SO much? We love to design kitchens and yet always find that the final costs surprise even US sometimes. So I’m going to break down the big ticket areas when it comes to kitchen design. 

Often clients will guestimate the cost of their kitchen within the scheme of their reno and it’s usually under budgeted for. Here are the four big areas when you can expect to spend the most in any kitchen reno.

  1. Cabinetry


I feel like this goes without saying but this can one of, if not the biggest cost associated with a new kitchen. Especially if your kitchen doesn’t involved a big reno. Custom millwork can ranged from 25k up to 100K+ depending on the size of your kitchen. If you want a lot of cabinets or you want a lot of drawers instead of doors - this will drive up the price. Also consider whether your kitchen is framed or in-framed. Framed kitchens will cost you on average 10% more. If you’re looking to save on your kitchen then cabinetry is an easy first stop. The best priced kitchens that offer good value are still IKEA in my mind. You can save ⅔ of your cabinet costs by going this route. To learn more about IKEA vs. CUSTOM kitchens watch my YOUTUBE video on this topic, here.

2. Construction


This is almost always about the same value as the cabinetry if you are going custom. The costs of construction can vary depending on how much or how little plumbing and electrical is required. In my YouTube video I talk specifically about this and why it costs so much. Considering if you are relocating appliances or sinks to new locations, this will bump your construction costs.

3. Countertops


This is perhaps the most overlooked area in a kitchen reno. I’m not sure why but people often forget about the cost of the counters when they create their budgets. Quartz and Marble counters are still the most popular options but are also among the priciest ones. Be sure to budget a minimum of 3k, if not 5k for a standard 14 x10 kitten with quartz counters. A way to save money here is with mixing materials - maybe addingin butcher block to the island. It can be a fraction of the cost of natural stone. 

4. Appliances


This can also be an overlooked area and it’s an area that can double your kitchen budget. I always suggest you select your appliances first. Not only does it help your contractor know what to plan for (ie. a water line to an ice maker) but you can see the REAL costs before you’ve committed. A fridge can range from $1000 to $20,000. That’s a BIG RANGE! So keep your appliances in mind when you’re budgeting.

If you’re still unsure how to budget your kitchen reno you can download my free SAMPLE KITCHEN BUDGET here. In it I share the budgeted and ACTUAL costs of a full kitchen redesign for a kitchen approx. 14’-0” x 10’-0”.  Of course always remember that your designer fees are on top of all that!! 


Happy budgeting!