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How Much Should a Kitchen Really Cost

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The longer, warmer days are a promising sign that Spring is on the way. As the snow melts and sunlight spills into our kitchen windows, we often feel the urge to freshen things up.

Enter remodeling season. Maybe you plan on listing your home in the summer and are looking to increase its value with a new kitchen. Or maybe you plan on staying in your home and you’ve decided it’s time to break up with your 1980’s oak cabinets and beige counter tops.

Whatever your reasoning, investing in your kitchen has many benefits:

  • It enhances functionality in your home.
  • It might even encourage you to save money by cooking at home instead of dining out.
  • It can lessen energy costs.
  • It can enhance the comfort and safety for your family.
  • It can significantly increase the overall value of your home.

Expectation vs Reality

While it’s safe to say that no renovation will add as much equity to your home or will be enjoyed as much as a kitchen renovation, it’s also one of the most costly renovations. Most people plan and prepare for the costs associated with the bigger ticket items that fill our Pinterest boards – cabinets, countertops, appliances – but there are other important financial considerations that might come as a surprise to you.

Deslaurier Designer Barb Purdy notes that “many people underestimate the cost of contracting, which can cost an equal amount to the kitchen itself”. Barb also explains that a lot of cost fluctuation is determined by the selection of finishes and accessories people choose – “you can easily add $10,000 onto your bill depending on which details are important to you”.

If you’ve watched TV renovation shows, you might be expecting a glamorous and seamless process where a fully stacked team of contractors and interior designers make your kitchen dreams come true overnight. Although appealing, the budgets and timelines we see on our favorite HGVT shows are often unrealistic. In reality, Nearly one third of homeowners have significant trouble staying on budget when getting work done on their homes—and they tend to allocate most of that budget to the kitchen.

So, where is your money going and how much should you budget for your kitchen renovation?

The 5 to 15 Percent Rule

According to Deslaurier Sales Manager Sam Marrello, your kitchen should equate to 10 – 15 percent of your home’s overall value. HomeAdvisor.com shares a similar opinion, stating that you should follow the 5 to 15 percent rule, which means your kitchen remodel should cost no less than 5 percent of your home’s value, and no more than 15.

Here’s what that looks like. If you own a $500,000 home, for example, the lowest number you likely want to spend on your kitchen remodel will be $25,000 to $50,000 (5 to 10 percent). But you probably wouldn’t want to exceed a budget of $75,000 (15 percent). Spending less than 5 percent might not be enough to see your home’s value increase, while investing more than 15 percent could put you at risk of losing money if you decide to sell your home. It’s also a good idea to add 15 to 20 percent to your budget as a safety net to handle surprises or unexpected costs that come up. You never know what could be lurking behind those old walls.

Pick Your Must Have Items Ahead of Time 

You don’t have to splurge on everything. Determining how you and your family will use your kitchen is an important discussion to have ahead of time. You might want a show stopping kitchen island with a built-in beverage center because that’s where your family gathers for nightly dinners and parties. If you’ve already decided that this is a must have for your kitchen, you’ll be more willing to re-evaluate other items in the event that you’re coming in over budget. Maybe you don’t need that high-end stove, or maybe ceramic flooring isn’t such a bad idea after all.

Obviously, there are exceptions to this kitchen cost rule, but when you’re trying to estimate a budget for your kitchen renovation, the 5 to 15 percent rule is a good guideline. Once you’ve decided on an amount that you’re comfortable spending, it’s on to the fun part of the remodel: choosing counter tops, shiny new hardware, and toying with the idea of multi-colored cabinets. Let the Pinterest boards roll.

For kitchen inspiration projects in the Ottawa area, check out our Houzz account.


Author: Kayla Huchenski, Marketing Manager, Deslaurier Custom Cabinets