How to Determine Your Kitchen Remodeling Budget

This post was originally published in May 2020. Costs for remodeling have shifted so dramatically in the last two years that I edited this post to reflect more current pricing.

I designed my very first kitchen back in 2006. We were living in the Woodlea Historic District of Central Phoenix, and I got this gut feeling that it was time to cash out of the market. But, first, we needed to do something about our disaster of a galley kitchen. At that time, I had started my transition into interior design by working at a home improvement/decor store for several months in the kitchen department. I learned enough in that time to plan and budget for my own kitchen remodel. We purchased IKEA cabinets – one of their least expensive door styles – and butcher block countertops, kept two of our three appliances, and used a handyman rather than a remodeling company. Our 10′ x 10′ kitchen came in on budget at $10,000. I can’t imagine trying to fully remodel a kitchen for $10,000 today unless it were very small, the materials were all low-end or creatively sourced, and we were doing all of the work ourselves.

I’ve been designing kitchens for fourteen years now, and I have found that most people know they need more than $10,000 to remodel a kitchen. However, reality design shows have skewed perceptions of how much a kitchen remodel really costs.

Every time I hear Chip and Joanna Gaines or the Property Brothers claim they’re going to remodel a kitchen for $20,000 or less, I cringe.

But, let’s define “remodeling” first. When I refer to a kitchen remodel, I am describing a project in which the entire existing space is demoed and everything is being replaced, including cabinets, flooring, countertops, appliances, etc. The space plan will change – walls might come down, plumbing could move, the lighting will be reconfigured.

Remodeling Magazine has a great online resource for getting a general idea of how much your remodel will cost. Their Cost vs. Value report can be customized according to where you live. But, take these estimates with a huge grain of salt.

It’s important to read the definition of “minor”, “major”, “mid-range,” and “up-scale” very carefully when referencing the report.

An upscale, major kitchen remodel in Des Moines will cost well over $100,000. I know that number may seem high, but in my experience, it’s very accurate. 

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk about how you can plan your kitchen remodeling budget.

Make a Plan

Kitchen Remodeling Budget Plan Example
Conceptual Layout for a Kitchen Remodel

The first step in any remodeling project is to make a plan. The better defined your plan, the more accurate your budget will be. If you’re capable with a computer or scale and pencil, you can sketch the space yourself.

You’ll want to measure your existing space as accurately as possible and then sketch your new layout, showing the locations of the major functional elements like the appliances and sink.

The first phase of my kitchen design process involves developing a conceptual plan based on accurate measurements. Once our layout is defined, I put together a budget and scope of work. I need the plan so I can estimate the quantities I need for materials, fixtures, flooring, and other design elements.

Identify The Major Elements

When planning my budget, I begin with the major elements or cost drivers for the project – the cabinetry, countertops, flooring, and appliances.


IKEA SEKTION kitchen remodel Fells Point Baltimore Maryland
IKEA Kitchen Remodel

Cabinets can vary widely in price, with IKEA and some online sources at the low end, semi-custom cabinetry in the middle, and fully custom, hand-crafted cabinetry at the top end, depending on where you live.

In the IKEA kitchen catalog, each cabinet door style will have a price for a 10′ x 10′ kitchen from which you can calculate the cost per linear foot. When I originally published this post (pre-Covid), a basic BODBYN kitchen was $1999 for a 10′ x 10′ layout or around $100 per linear foot. You can easily pay five times that amount for semi-custom cabinets and ever higher for custom.

Your cabinetry cost will be influenced by the frame style (framed, frameless or inset), construction, wood species, door style and finish. There is a huge range of price points depending on the combination you choose.

The best thing to do is establish your budget first and then work with your kitchen designer to figure out what you can accomplish within your budget.

The cabinet fittings and hardware will also affect your budget. Soft-close doors and full-extension drawers cost more. Pull-outs, drawer organizers, and drawers all cost more than a simple base cabinet with two doors and a top drawer.

If you are shopping around, make sure you’re comparing apples to apples.

In 2019, I designed an IKEA kitchen for a family in West Des Moines, and $150 per linear foot turned out to be a fairly accurate number for their cabinetry estimate, with most of the bells and whistles like soft close doors, pull-outs, lots of drawers, and even drawers within drawers.


white kitchen soapstone countertops des moines iowa
Soapstone Countertops

There are more options for countertops now than ever before. Popular materials are quartz, granite, quartzite, marble, butcher block, soapstone, and concrete. Sintered stone and porcelain slabs are now becoming popular as well.

Some quartzes and granites can cost less than others. Caesarstone and Cambria are on the higher end for quartz countertops. For budgeting purposes, I’ve found that $75.00-90.00 per square foot is a good place to start.

The edge detail that you choose for your countertop will affect the price as well. A basic eased edge (square) is included in the cost. More complicated edges like an ogee will add to the cost by linear foot. 

Thicker countertop edges are a popular detail now, especially for  islands. The double edge is created by mitering two pieces of the solid material together. The labor and materials involved will increase your cost.

Of course, laminate and other composite materials will be on the lower side while quartzite, marble and soapstone will be on the higher side. Once I have my conceptual plans done, I send them to my countertop fabricator and ask for quotes based on different materials, thickness, and edge details.


White and gray modern kitchen remodel with high gloss white cabinets by Jillian Lare Des Moines Interior Designer
Refinished Red Birch Wood Floors

Depending on square footage, the cost of new flooring or repairing existing flooring can add up. If you’re patching a wood floor, your contractor might determine that you need to refinish all of your wood flooring in order for the new to blend with the old.

Popular kitchen flooring choices include hardwood, engineered wood, luxury vinyl plank, and tile. I would start at $10.00 (LVP or tile, not including labor) – $18.00 (hardwood or engineered wood) per square foot for budgeting purposes.

I designed my very first kitchen back in 2006. We were living in the Woodlea Historic District of Central Phoenix, and I got this gut feeling that it was time to cash out of the market. But, first, we needed to do something about our disaster of a galley kitchen. At that time, I had started my transition into interior design by working at a home improvement/decor store for several months in the kitchen department. I learned enough in that time to plan and budget for my own kitchen remodel. We purchased IKEA cabinets – one of their least expensive door styles – and butcher block countertops, kept two of our three appliances, and used a handyman rather than a remodeling company. Our 10′ x 10′ kitchen came in on budget at $10,000. I can’t imagine trying to fully remodel a kitchen for $10,000 today unless it were very small, the materials were all low-end or creatively sourced, and we were doing all of the work ourselves.


Custom cabinetry style hood, white kitchen, dark hickory floors
GE Monogram Professional Style Range

Just like with cabinets and countertops, you can easily blow your budget on appliances. On the low end, you could spend $10,000 for new appliances, and on the high-end, you could spend $60,000 or more. There is an enormous range.

What is appropriate for the value of your home and your neighborhood? This question is more important than ever because many higher-end appliances are now built-in and not easily changed without modifying cabinetry. If you live in a high-end or exclusive neighborhood, then future buyers may expect luxury level brands like Sub-Zero, Wolf, Viking, or Monogram, to name just a few. 

Ask yourself what you really need out of your appliances.

Clients often tell me that they can’t live without double ovens, but upon further questioning, I find out they only use them once or twice per year. A slide-in range with two ovens can save money and increase your countertop space by eliminating the large cabinet required to house the double oven.

Fill in the Rest

After you’ve identified the major elements, it’s time to list all of the supporting characters. This category includes the sink, faucet, and garbage disposal as well as decorative lighting, cabinetry hardware, and backsplash tile. It could also include other decorative elements, accessories, and window treatments.

Sink & Faucet

Under-mount sink in front of windows with stainless faucet, quartzite countertop
Under-mount Sink with Stainless Faucet

Sinks are a very personal selection. How big of a sink can your plan accommodate? Do you prefer a farmhouse style or an under-mount sink? Do you like stainless steel, cast iron or a composite? What color sink do you like?

Sinks can range from a few hundred dollars to well over $1000 dollars.

I almost always recommend single handle pull-down faucets. There are certain kitchens where a bridge faucet with a side spray can look amazing if the client is up for it. Delta makes a few great options at reasonable prices, and Kohler and Brizo have some higher style (and higher priced) models. 

Finish will affect the price of your faucet with polished nickel and brushed brass being higher than polished chrome. 

Hands-free technology is an option with most major brands, and it will increase the cost of the same faucet model without touch by a few hundred dollars. (owned by Ferguson) is a good place to research your plumbing fixtures.

My advice is to purchase your faucet from a local plumbing supplier (like Ferguson). Often, the parts in faucets that you can purchase at big box stores are cheap plastic even though the brand name is the same. You can add $500 to your budget for a lower end, quality faucet, and $900 and up for a higher end, high-quality faucet.


White and Gray Modern Kitchen, Beveled gray subway tile backsplash, Jeffrey Court subway tile
Beveled Subway Tile Backsplash

From your plan, you can easily figure out your backsplash quantity by multiplying the linear cabinetry feet by 1.5, then adding another three square feet for the range area, and multiplying the total by 1.1.

A basic subway tile splash might run you $8.00 – $9.00 per square foot while a marble mosaic can cost $50.00 a square foot or more. I like to start with $25.00 per square foot.

Decorative Lighting

Jillian Lare Interior Design - Grimes Iowa Kitchen Remodel White Farmhouse Kitchen
Lantern Pendants over the Peninsula

Count the number of decorative lighting fixtures you’ll need for your plan. Maybe you need two or three pendants for your island or peninsula and another for over the sink. $300 per pendant is a healthy budget, though you can certainly find them for much less or much more.


Black Bar Pulls in Different Sizes

If your plan isn’t finalized yet, you won’t know how many knobs or pulls you’ll need, but you can add an allowance for hardware. $400 is a good mid-range number for a small to medium sized kitchen. A large, upscale kitchen with decorative appliance pulls could require well over $1000 in hardware.


I think this is the hardest category to estimate. It can be influenced by so many different factors. Lately, I’ve been doubling the cost of my materials to estimate my labor costs just to start. A project with more construction might have a higher labor to materials ratio.

Once you’ve started getting bids on your project, you can update your labor estimates with more concrete numbers. The bids might also help you prioritize some of your material selections. Maybe fully custom cabinetry doesn’t work for your budget, but you can still get a great kitchen with semi-custom or even stock cabinetry.

There are many parts, pieces and variables that play into your kitchen remodeling budget. The faster you can make decisions, the more quickly you can hone in on the right number. With cabinetry playing a key role in the budget and design process, I recommend engaging a kitchen designer as soon as possible. Once you establish a layout for your kitchen, the other elements fall into place pretty easily.

If you need help planning your kitchen remodel, please connect with us over at Morris Lare. We offer one off strategy sessions to help get you started on your kitchen remodeling journey.


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38 thoughts on “How to Determine Your Kitchen Remodeling Budget

  1. I love the fact that you put a section in called “supporting characteristics.” This called also be called “the points of difference.” These parts can make or break the kitchen in terms of its ability to stand out and have a little wow factor. I have found that it is a case of having something different that stands out to grab attention without spending too much, if any, extra money. My wife and I recently renovated our kitchen and we added in a 110 bottle wine rack kit we bought online from that came in kit form as well as some floating shelves from IKEA. They make excellent conversation starters with guests!

  2. Each point you mentioned in article is very important for kitchen remodeling

  3. Generally, kitchen renovation is the important part of home renovation and for this first you have to make a plan. And kitchen remodeling cost will depend upon several factors, that will depend upon the size of the kitchen, which type of flooring material you should use, then your kitchen cabinet and appliances. For better you can ask the expert and they can estimate correct budget. If you want to know more about the kitchen remodeling budget then you can refer this:

  4. What a fantastically useful post, Jillian. I love seeing actual numbers in a post.. low to high…especially for a kitchen renovation where the numbers can vary so dramatically. I am bookmarking this one for my own future reference.

    Thank you for this!

    1. Thank you, Leslie!

  5. What a helpful and insightful post. Too often the most daunting part of a remodel is knowing what things might cost.

    1. Thank you so much, Lisa! I agree. I wrote this post for potential clients so they could see everything that goes into planning the budget for a kitchen remodel.

  6. Jillian, your kitchen turned out so beautiful! It must be a joy to be in. This is an excellent, well-written post. I know your clients will find it so helpful when they are figuring out their budget.

    1. Thank you, Julie!

  7. Oh I cringe at that $20,000 quote too! What a great comprehensive blog for anyone thinking about a kitchen renovation!

    1. I get so frustrated whenever I see those types of numbers. It’s totally unrealistic. That’s why I love that report I linked to. It really puts things in perspective.

  8. Great post and information. Thanks for adding realistic numbers so people can actually really plan for a kitchen remodel!

    1. Thank you, Mary Ann!

  9. What a good breakdown of what a kitchen costs and why!

    1. Thank you, Christina!

  10. Jillian, this is PURE GOLD! What a wonderful breakdown into what goes into a kitchen remodel. You have done a beautiful job in breaking down all of the areas.

  11. Great advice here. The cost of the kitchens is Magazines often far exceeds the number people have in mind. The cost to value is such a valuable tool!

  12. I double my materials cost also for labor, it seems to work out most of the time. Thanks for this info it’s very informative!

  13. OMG Jillian, we redesigned our kitchen in 2006 as well and used IKEA! You are absolutely right about the price tag for designing now vs then. You know I am a sucker for getting ‘real costs’, this is brilliant for people – including designers – to better understand the investment for a kitchen redesign. Great post!

  14. Brilliant post, Jillian! And such a helpful reference to include real life ranges for all the elements that go into a kitchen. I too cringe every time I see an article listing an “average kitchen renovation” for under $10K – average what? Barbie’s dreamhouse? Thanks for sharing real numbers and resources!

  15. This is one of the most in-depth posts I’ve seen for quite some time. You go into such detail with each point. And to that I say, bravo! The average post about kitchen remodeling touches on the very same points you do, however, you always get the generic “plan your existing space, pick out the correct colors”, blah, blah , blah. It’s the same thing over and over again.

    It’s just refreshing to get some real insights from an expert in the field. The mere fact that you were able to give an equation on how to estimate your backsplash square footage was just amazing. Hopefully more people find this post because it can help simplify many of the burning questions we get as kitchen remodelers.

    Anyways, just my 2 cents. And again, great post, very insightful.


  16. Having a good result in remodeling a kitchen is very satisfied, it is a great experience for everyone.

  17. Thank you for sharing this information about determine kitchen remodelling budget. It was useful and interesting. You indeed have written it in a layman way so that anyone can understand and work accordingly. You have done a great job… Great post!!

  18. It’s great that you explained that there are more options now than ever when it comes to remodeling your countertops. When picking a material for your countertops, I would think that it would be a good idea to pick one that is durable and isn’t damaged by hot temperatures. Many people put hot pots and pans on their counters, so it would be important to have one that won’t be damaged.

  19. LOVE this. Great information! This was very helpful!

  20. I’ve heard that kitchen budgets should not exceed 20% of the homes value to stay within the expectations of your neighborhood. Thoughts?

  21. Excellent blog you have posted. Thanks for sharing this informative blog with us. Suppose you live in Clearwater and searching for an expert to renovate your kitchen. So I would like to recommend “kitchen Remodeling in Clearwater” to you.

  22. Thanks for writing this great article for us. I have gained good stuff from this website. Looking forward to your next article. I am happy to share this post to my friends. Keep it up.

  23. Hello, I’m Alexander. I’m a Kitchen remodeler living in Irving. I am a fan of photography, technology, and design. I’m also interested in music and entrepreneurship. You can visit my Profile with a click on the button above.

  24. Great article and it is very informative. Keep up the good work.

  25. Loved your post!

    We’re planning a kitchen reno and we are at the point of trying to make a creamy white kitchen look interesting. I really like the tile in the top kitchen, used in your title. It looks a bit like stone. Could you please tell me what it is? What material?

    Thanks so much!


  26. I love this backsplash tile! It’s exactly what I’ve been looking for! Where can I find it? Or what’s it called?

  27. Pre-planning can save a lot of money! BTW great post!

  28. Any chance you can share the info on that black splash tile?! My husband and I are obsessed and can’t find anything like it!

  29. Thanks for sharing. I really appreciate it that you shared with us such informative post, great tips and very easy to understand.

  30. This is a very helpful and informative post. I love how you explain everything, thank you for this article.

  31. Quartz does sound like a valuable addition to the kitchen. I need someone to upgrade my cabinets. I’ll have to hire someone with good online reviews to help out.

  32. I read this post. Your post so nice and very informative! thanks for sharing it!

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Jillian Lare Des Moines Interior Designer

About Jillian

Welcome! I’m a Des Moines based interior designer, boy mom to one, avid reader and always aspiring artist. I started this blog when I moved to Iowa in 2008. Currently, I write about life in Iowa, personal development, and my creative journey.

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