The Kitchen Is The Heart Of The Home

Budget For A Typical Kitchen Remodel

The average cost for a major kitchen remodel is roughly $60,000, a minor one under $20,000, but you can spend a lot more---or less.

Per John Bredemeyer, spokesperson for the Appraisal Institute, a standards-setting organization, you should spend 10 to 15 percent of your property value and expect about 75 cents back on the dollar at resale on a kitchen remodel.

The NKBA says for a "gut" remodel, plan to spend approximately 30 to 50 percent of the budget on cabinets (including installation), 5 to 20 percent on countertops, 10 to 20 percent for appliances, 5 to 11 percent for flooring, 2 to 5 percent for lighting and other electrical work, 1 to 2 percent for a tile backsplash, 3 to 6 percent for plumbing and fixtures, and 10 to 20 percent on fundamentals like windows and wallboard.

Using these guidelines, let's say your home is valued at $250,000. Your budget for the kitchen remodel should be $35,000.

By category:
Cabinets $17,500
Countertops $4,500
Appliances $3,000
Flooring $2,500
Lighting/electrical $1,000
Backsplash $1,000
Plumbing/fixtures $1,750
Misc. $3,750

You should also set aside a minimum of 10% of the budget as a contingency fund (in case of unforeseen structural problems, for example.)

Spend Smart
The July 2012 Consumer Reports is a special issue all about KITCHENS. If a kitchen update, large or small, is in your future, it is a great guide to have. Some of our favorite pointers include:

~~Open shelving (instead of closed cabinets) keeps the frequently used items accessible and adds decorative interest-as long as you keep them neat.
~~Seemingly small touches like cabinet hardware or countertop appliances can help create a sophisticated, finished look on even the tightest budget-so stay detail oriented.
~~Concrete countertops, limestone backsplash tiles, enameled sinks, and white-painted cabinets are all gorgeous options. But they are also risky ones because they're vulnerable to staining and chipping, and they therefore require more care.
~~Add freestanding storage like armoires, hutches, and chests. Flea markets and estate sales are great sources for these storage-rich furniture pieces.
~~Consumer Reports tests showed quartz countertops outperform granite and that factory-finished wood floors are more durable-and less messy-than those finished on-site. Plus the finish on the prefinished floor is covered by the manufacturer's warranty

Kitchen Don'ts

~~DON'T be trendy. Kitchen-design trends are nearly as fickle as runway fashions. The more up-to-the-minute something is today, the more dated it's likely to look in a few years. Trendy choices today include translucent glass tiles, industrial-style lighting fixtures, super-dark hardwood floors, and retro red and blue appliances.

~~DON'T try to fit an island into a small kitchen. You need at least 36" of walkway on each side of the island. A 12-foot-wide kitchen is too narrow for an island.
~~DON'T trust a swatch when you pick your countertop. A visit to the stone yard is a must.