I’ve been scared to publish blog posts in the past, but sharing this one is definitely making me a little queasy. And I think that’s because no one really likes to talk about money and it can make you feel pretty vulnerable when you put it all out there. But, by far, the most asked question I’ve received about our recent kitchen renovation came down to the cost.
“Can you break down the budget? How much did it all cost? How much is labor? How do you figure out how much you should spend on a renovation?”
I’ve received all of these questions, and more, countless times over the past few months and it’s finally time I spill the details. But before we get to the line items for our particular kitchen, let’s back up and chat about our home in general.
Buying Our House in 2019
When we bought our house in the spring of 2019, we bought it for a great price, under our budget, fully knowing that we were going to put a lot of money into making it our own. It was an old and outdated house in a really nice neighborhood in Chicago, where many homes sell for two to three times our home price. Because of that, we felt confident renovating the home from top to bottom, living in it and enjoying it along the way, and probably selling it within the next five years for a much higher price tag.
In the summer of 2019, we put a lot of money into phase one of the home (taking down walls, replacing doors and trim, redoing the electrical, replacing the floors, etc.) and you can read all about those costs in this detailed blog post. But we left all of the bathrooms and kitchen intact, knowing that we would slowly save and rehab those spaces with thought and intention. We also realized that in order to get top dollar when we eventually sell this home, redoing the kitchen was an absolute must. So we decided that we might as well undertake this project sooner, rather than later, so we could enjoy it for as long as possible.
Budgeting for Our Kitchen
We’ve never renovated a kitchen before, so I really didn’t know how much money we should save before starting this project. $50,000? $100,000? According to Remodeling magazine, the national average cost for a full, mid-range kitchen remodel is $66,000. And one that is considered “upscale” is around $131,000. I’ve also heard that you can expect to pay 10% of the price you want to sell your home for on a new kitchen. For example, if you want to sell your home for $800,000, then you could expect to spend $80,000 on a kitchen renovation. Of course, these numbers can vary tremendously based on where you live, your labor costs, etc.
I also wanted to chat with my go-to contractor to figure out his labor costs before diving right into this big project. He visited earlier this year and we walked through the entire space, discussing my main goals for the new kitchen. He was able to give me a very rough estimate for the labor portion of the project, knowing that we would firm up that number once I had my design plans ready for him to review. Having a rough idea for the labor cost was helpful because most of the other line items I could research ahead of time, like appliances, lighting, and more.
Let me add in that it’s always a good idea to budget for the unexpected. I would say add at least 10-20% of your total renovation budget to your savings for the project. You never know what might happen when you open walls up and it’s good to be prepared for the worst, but always hope for the best. Our $25,000 steel beam saga has forever made us more cautious going into big projects.
Our Kitchen Renovation Budget
Okay, so let’s break down the kitchen renovation budget. Actually, we should refer to it as the kitchen and dining room, since it is all in the same space and I included those numbers too. Again, I can’t stress enough how these categories can vary wildly, depending on the size of your space, where you live, etc. Our kitchen is huge (360 square feet) and we live in an expensive city where labor probably costs more than other areas of the country.
Part of my job is working with brands that I love, but we paid for a majority of this kitchen out of pocket. We always go into a renovation expecting to pay for the entire thing ourselves so we can budget accordingly, and then, if some items are gifted through a partnership, it’s a nice bonus. I included an asterisk if an item was provided by a partner.
- Labor: $27,000
- Cabinetry: $25,000
- Appliances* (includes refrigerator, wine fridge, range, microwave, double oven, & dishwasher): $9,000
- Plumbing Fixtures* (includes pot filler, sink, and faucet): $1,000
- Quartz (includes backsplash and countertops): $9,000
- Hardware: $500
- Butcher Block: $720
- Lighting (two pendants, in-cabinet,under-cabinet lighting, and chandelier): $2,000
- Sliding Glass Door: $5,000
- Shelving*: $1,000
- Dining Room Furniture & Bench Cushion*: $2,000
- Paint*: $300
- Other (garbage disposal, decor & accessories): $800
Total = $83,320
I’m not gonna lie, it’s definitely scary putting that number out there. But at the end of the day, some people will think that’s so much money, while others will think that’s not that much. Money is so relative, based on your lifestyle and situation. We both work like crazy, budget accordingly, and save our pennies so we can spend our dollars the way we want. And investing in our home is our favorite way to spend those hard-earned dollars. Plus, we now get to enjoy our dream kitchen for years to come.
Who Buys What?
A good question I received on Instagram was about who buys everything when you’re working with a contractor. I can only speak to our situation, so I’m not sure how it works with every contractor out there. For us, all of the construction materials were included in my contractor’s labor cost. This includes drywall, junction boxes, plumbing parts, bricks, etc. Really, any material that was needed for him to do the work behind the walls was included in his labor cost.
At the beginning of the project, we reviewed everything that I would need to have on-hand for the project and I then went ahead and ordered and bought the rest myself. This included things like the garbage disposal, wall outlets, lighting, sink, faucet, cabinetry, etc. If you work with a full-service designer, I believe they will handle all of the ordering for you, although that service comes with a price tag. Coordinating all of the ordering, shipping, etc., takes a lot of time and effort and I definitely made mistakes along the way. My best advice is to keep a document with everything you purchase, so you can keep track easily.
Another question was about when you actually pay for everything. When it came to labor, we deferred to our contractor. He preferred three payments – one at the beginning, one in the middle, and the final payment upon completion. This worked out just fine for us and helped us plan accordingly.
So there you have it…an inside look at our kitchen renovation budget and all of the costs that come with such a big project!
I want to add that budgeting and finances are very personal topics. However, I know that numbers can be very helpful when planning for your own home renovations. That’s really the only reason I wanted to share – to help you plan accordingly. With that in mind, I’d appreciate it if the comments are kept positive and constructive. I am more than happy to answer questions but I want to keep it a civil discussion as there’s no more need for negativity in 2020. (Ha!)
And if you need sources for anything in the new kitchen, you can find them in the kitchen reveal here. Or check out the posts below for more information.Casey
Catch Up On Our Kitchen Renovation
- Kitchen Before Photos
- Hiring a Designer
- Our New Kitchen Layout
- Design Plan & Mood Board
- Single vs Double Bowl Sink
- Ordering Our Kitchen Cabinets
- Tasks To Do Before a Kitchen Renovation
- Our Old Kitchen Is Out
- Creating Our Electrical Plan
- Our Kitchen Cabinets Are In!
- Kitchen Hardware Guide
- Dining Nook Design Plan
- Choosing Quartz Countertops
- Painting the Kitchen
- Our Dining Room Nook
- Finding a Kitchen Runner
- Our New Lighting
- Our Wood Butcher Block
- The Kitchen Renovation Timeline
- The Big Kitchen Reveal
- What I Learned from Our Kitchen Renovation
- Kitchen Before & After Video
- Our Kitchen Appliances
- Renovation Budget & Cost