Modern Kitchen with Large Kitchen Island in Edina, MN

Guide to Kitchen & Bath Remodeling: How to Budget for a Kitchen Remodel

Budgeting for a kitchen or bath remodel can be challenging. One reason is that we don’t do projects of this magnitude very often, so it’s sometimes surprising to see how much prices have changed since the 1990’s! Add to this the fact that most of us are not experts in kitchen and bath design. We are not familiar with today’s design trends, products, and construction costs. 

In this blog, we are going to give you some useful guidelines to help you start this process. But before we start, here are two important considerations that will influence your budget:

  1. The money that you spend on design is often the hardest to spend, but ultimately it is the best investment you can make in your home. For more on the value of design, check out 5 Reasons to Invest in Great Design. Note that kitchen and bath designers may charge a separate hourly design fee or include a certain number of hours of design time in your cabinet purchase.
  2. Even though you think you’re pretty handy, you will almost certainly be much better off hiring a contractor vs. doing it yourself. The money you spend on a qualified, experienced contractor can help keep your project on schedule and help prevent potentially costly mistakes. If you’re unsure about this, check out our blog 10 important things to consider before choosing to DIY.

So now, let’s dig into the budgeting process.

Recommended Budget

One way of establishing a budget for your kitchen remodel is to base the budget on a percentage of the value of your home. Our experience has shown that a good range to start with is between 10 – 25% of the value of your home.

Another way of budgeting for your remodel is to look at historical data, as gathered by the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA). According to a recent presentation on 2021 design trends, seventy percent of kitchen remodels involve medium sized kitchens (150 – 350 sq-ft). Of these medium sized kitchens, 63% cost between $25K – $75K. For large kitchens (350+ sq-ft), homeowners tend to spend more: often between $100K – $150K.

Ultimately, your project budget should be based on your neighborhood and comparable homes in your area, balanced with your goals for the space. Essentially, putting too much into a home improvement project can affect the rate of return on your investment. Likewise, underspending may not give you the results you were hoping for.

Budget Calculator

To help you map out your project costs, we provide easy-to-use kitchen and bathroom budget calculators located right on our Studio M website! These calculators are a great resource to help you start establishing your budget before you meet with a designer. Simply plug in your information and you’ll get comprehensive budget estimates and percentages on everything from cabinetry to countertops, appliances, and more.

Kitchen Budget Calculator
Bathroom Budget Calculator

Don’t forget to budget for contingency!

Once you decide what your budget is, we strongly recommend that you set aside 10% of that amount as a contingency. If you have decided that your budget is $90,000, set aside $9,000 for contingency, resulting in a net budget of $81,000. Once walls start coming down, there is no telling what surprises you may find behind them – and some of those surprises can be expensive to address. It’s always best to be prepared.

If you’re fortunate enough to avoid construction-related surprises, those contingency funds can come in handy for something that is high on your wish-list, whether it’s an appliance with features that you’ve always dreamed of or a stunning (but really expensive) light fixture for over your island.

If you remain disciplined enough to save your contingency until the end of your project, pat yourself on the back and treat yourself to some new dishes, cookware, or home décor. Or save it for your next project!

Budget Breakdown Guidelines

Once you have your gross budget firmed up, the next thing we recommend is educating yourself on how much each element of a kitchen remodel will cost and choose products that meet your goals while staying within your budget.

There are many models available for helping you arrive at a cost breakdown for your project. Of course, every project is unique. For example, not every project will involve moving walls – be we are pretty sure most projects will require at least some repainting of walls or ceilings. Best to account for this ahead of time!

Additionally, these are only guidelines – you may choose to spend more in one area or another. The point of this exercise is to make sure your budget includes all the typical elements, within a reasonable price range.

Following is a breakdown that we suggest based on our years of experience in kitchen and bath design:

Design*, Cabinetry, and Hardware: 35%
Labor/Contractor fee: 20%
Appliances and Ventilation: 12%
Countertops: 11%
Floor Covering: 7%
Lighting: 6%
Walls and Ceilings: 5%
Plumbing: 4%
Contingency: 10%

*A certain number of hours of design time is often included with the purchase of cabinets. Check with your design center for details.

We Can Help

Our certified designers understand your budget and priorities and will ensure that your project meets your goals and stays within budget. Not only can our designers assist you with selecting cabinetry and associated elements such as countertops, backsplash tile, cabinetry hardware and appliances, but they are also conscious of your budget and work to save you money on the overall cost of your project.

At Studio M Kitchen & Bath, we work with clients on a wide range of project sizes and budgets.  We deliver excellent design services, high-quality products, and an outstanding customer experience on every project, regardless of size and scope.

Armed with all this information, we want to remind you that we can help! Take a look at our process and set up an appointment with a designer, who would love to make your remodel project stress-free and fun!


Olivia Robert says

The DIY is very well made, extremely informative and the directions are easy to follow.

John says

Having a contingency budget in mind is so important. This is many times overlooked. Having a break down of what each line item costs is nice to see visually for the contractor, customer and designer.

Eli Richardson says

My sister wants to renovate her bathroom within the next few weeks since her mother-in-law is coming soon, and she wants her house to be perfect for her arrival. That’s why I think she’d benefit from reading your guide about budgeting for a home renovation, so I’ll email this to my sister now. Thank you for the tips on including a contingency amount in your home’s renovation budget.

James Robert says

A fantastic blog post. We sincerely appreciate your blog post.

Henry Killingsworth says

It was interesting to me when you talked about how your kitchen renovation project budget should be based on the homes in your area. I would think that it would be a good idea to go to a showroom so that you can see what the common kitchen trends are. I would imagine that going with a popular trend would help you get more return on your kitchen renovation project.

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