Any time you flip through the pages of a remodeling magazine or catch a few episodes of a home improvement show on TV, you probably start thinking about how to make your own home look Pinterest-worthy. It’s a lot of fun to dream, at least until you start pricing out custom cabinetry, high-end appliances, and all the extra features you see on display. However, just because you don’t have six figures to spend on a brand-new kitchen doesn’t mean you have to settle for an old or ugly one.  

What is a realistic budget for a kitchen remodel, though? The answer varies wildly, as everything from the costs of labor and supplies to the extent of the work you want done — and, of course, your available funds  — influence the final bill. To help you get started and set a realistic budget for your project, refer to this guide from Fairmont Kitchen Center, the premier kitchen remodelers in Fairmont, WV

Breaking Down the Typical Kitchen Remodeling Budget 

A total kitchen overhaul can cost anywhere from a few thousand dollars to over $100,000. Making a few tweaks to a small kitchen, like new countertops and flooring, will obviously cost significantly less than completely gutting and reconfiguring a large space. However, the budget breakdown remains unchanged regardless of the project’s scope. 

The most expensive part of any kitchen remodeling project is cabinetry, which takes up about 29% of the total budget. Labor and appliances are the next most costly parts of the project, accounting for about 17% and 14% of the budget, respectively. Plan on spending about 10% of the total budget on countertops. 

Other expenses you need to consider in your kitchen remodeling budget include:

  • Flooring
  • Lighting
  • Backsplash
  • Walls and ceilings 
  • Doors and windows
  • Faucets and plumbing

Remember that you may only need to include some of these expenses; for example, if you plan to keep your existing cabinets or appliances or leave a part of a kitchen untouched, you won’t need to include them in the budget.

Don’t Forget Living Expenses 

During an extensive kitchen remodeling project, you will sometimes be unable to use the kitchen. It’s a good idea to include some funds in the budget to cover the cost of takeout or restaurant meals when you can’t cook at home. Setting up a temporary kitchen with some essential kitchen tools and appliances (like a coffee maker and microwave) can also help you get by while work is ongoing. 

Include a Cushion 

Experts also recommend including an extra 20% of the projected project costs in the budget to cover unexpected expenses. Things can always go wrong, and extra cash can help keep the project on track and prevent the need to make unexpected changes or sacrifices.

For example, say that the project takes longer than originally expected. This may cause the overall labor costs to increase; without the proper budget, you may find yourself in sudden financial trouble. By including a cushion, you can protect yourself and worry less.

What To Consider When Setting Your Kitchen Remodeling Budget  

When thinking about the question of, “What is a realistic budget for a kitchen remodel?” developing a plan for the project can keep you on track and prevent overspending. Before you start crunching numbers, ask yourself some critical questions. 

What Is the Value of My Home? 

As a general rule of thumb, you should invest between 5% and 15% of your total home value in renovations to get the maximum return on investment. Spending significantly more on high-end finishes and appliances isn’t likely to pay off if they don’t align with the rest of your home or the neighborhood. Upgrades that add function, like installing a garbage disposal or increasing storage and workspace, are more likely to add value and give you a healthy ROI. 

What Is the Goal of the Project?

Thinking about why you want to remodel the kitchen and what you hope to gain from the project can guide the design and help you prioritize which part of the kitchen needs the most attention. For example, do you need more storage space or a more functional layout, or is the kitchen just aesthetically outdated and needs cosmetic upgrades? 

What Are Your Non-Negotiables?

Before establishing a budget, list the non-negotiable elements and those where you’re willing to compromise. Knowing what you can and cannot live without helps you set priorities and allocate adequate funds to each category. 

How Do You Plan To Pay for the Remodel? 

If you plan to borrow money to cover the kitchen remodel, either from a home equity line of credit (HELOC), credit cards, or a loan, include the cost of borrowing in your budget. Costs include fees and interest, which can add up quickly.

How To Keep Your Kitchen Remodeling Budget in Check 

Once you determine the answer to, “What is a realistic kitchen remodeling budget?” based on your home’s needs and your goals, look for ways to save money so you get the most value from the investment. Doing your homework beforehand will help you identify places to slash expenses without sacrificing your vision. 

Some of the ways to keep remodeling costs under control include the following.

Do Some of the Work Yourself

You can DIY certain aspects of the project, such as demo or painting, to reduce labor costs.

Research Alternatives

With so many products for countertops, floors, cabinets, and more, you can achieve a high-end designer look without the price tag. For example, look at composite or solid-surface countertops that resemble natural stone to get a similar look for less.

Keep What You Can

Before determining that you must gut the kitchen and start over, ask, “How can you make your kitchen look better?” with what’s already in place. For example, if the layout works and the cabinets are in good condition, refinishing them instead of buying new cabinets can save thousands of dollars. 

Keep It Simple

When deciding what to include, consider what’s a “must-have” and “nice to have.” Full-featured smart appliances, custom drawer organizers, and other extras can make your kitchen feel more luxurious, but they can drive up costs considerably. Stick to your budget and avoid splurges that don’t add value. 


The kitchen is the heart of most homes. From preparing and eating meals to entertaining friends and family, most people spend more time there than in any other room.

If your kitchen is worn and outdated and you’re ready for a change, contact Fairmont Kitchen Remodelers to explore ideas for an upgrade, including custom cabinets and their cost, and inexpensive kitchen flooring. Our expert remodelers will work with your budget to make your dream kitchen a reality. Check out the gallery of our work and request a consultation online or by calling (304) 362-7033. Learn more today.

Frequently Asked Questions 

How often should I remodel my kitchen?

The average kitchen needs an update every 10 to 15 years. 

How can I make my kitchen look high-end on a budget?

Give your kitchen a high-end look by choosing timeless finishes and fixtures, neutral color schemes, and buying the best-quality materials you can afford.  

Should I tell the contractor my budget? 

When you meet with a contractor, discuss what you want for the space and ask them, “What is a realistic budget for a kitchen remodel?” Don’t hesitate to share your budget, especially if it’s on the low end and you need ideas on where you can save money.