Any degree of kitchen remodeling elicits feelings of excitement, after all, who wouldn’t be happy about fresh paint and new surroundings. There’s also the stress of managing all of the smaller jobs that make up the renovation: making sure deliveries happen on time, getting the right colors, and sticking to the budget. Sticking to a kitchen remodel budget can be especially difficult.
Although budgetary concerns are the least exciting aspect of planning any remodeling project it tends to be one of the most important.
The Importance of A Kitchen Remodel Budget
Budgets are usually the hinge-pin of the kitchen remodel because they determine how the project can proceed. You can’t know what changes to make to the space without knowing how much you can spend.
Creating your kitchen remodel budget gives you an idea of your priorities and limitations.
It gives you time to think about which choices are necessary, and which ones need to be altered. Sticking to your renovation budget ensures that you’ll have enough money for the things you want, as well as any unexpected problems.
Check out our guide before you start your next kitchen remodel to learn how to stay on track so that your project is a success.
1. Include a buffer
Renovations rarely go perfectly as planned. The cost of kitchen remodels are notoriously difficult to calculate because of unexpected delays and problems that are often encountered.
A buffer helps mitigate the expense of those surprises so that you’re not thrown completely off track.
Professionals suggest calculating 10 to 15 percent of the total budget as a buffer.
For example, if your ideal spending amount is $50,000 then try keep your spending at or below $42,500. Expect to use the remaining $7500 towards repairs, mistakes, or other surprises.
On the other hand, if everything goes well and you stay within your kitchen remodel budget then you could wind up using your buffer for splurges or savings for another project.
2. Watch the cost of small things
Door handles, drawer pulls, and hinges are seemingly inconsequential items that don’t add up much. But when you consider that the cost drawer pulls can range significantly, and that you need several of them… well, then you notice the cost.
Big items like sinks and refrigerators are easy to remember to include in the budget, but most people end up forgetting small items such as the baseboards, garbage disposal, stove hood.
Talk to professionals or friends who’ve recently done a remodel to see what small items really impacted them. A group of small items can change your kitchen remodel budget by as much as 30%.
3. Choose between needs and wants
You want a new refrigerator but you need a new dishwasher. Maybe the fridge is outdated and doesn’t match your décor, but the dishwasher leaks and is unreliable.
Divide your remodeling budget into two parts: things that you have to have (needs), and things that would be nice to have (wants). Functional, albeit older appliances and fixtures come secondary to irreparable ones.
If you’re updating the kitchen in order to sell the home then anything that adds value to the home will be considered a need. For example, new appliances are generally valued more than a trendy paint scheme.
4. Keep the existing layout
A good rule of thumb is “the simpler the remodel, the less expensive it will be.” Extensive work requires additional skilled labor, extra materials, and more time. Cosmetic changes such as cabinet refacing or updating a countertop will make a huge impression without cleaning out your wallet.
Whenever possible, avoid dynamic ideas like removing a dividing wall, moving your stove across the room, or relocating the sink.
Finishing your kitchen will get expensive if you have to rebuild walls, or reposition pipe and wiring. Additionally, those projects require you to open spaces that are normally enclosed leading to an increased chance of finding unexpected problems.
5. Avoid last minute changes
Once you have a design plan, have picked out your appliances, and begun work then stick to it. Making changes adds the cost of materials and time to your kitchen budget. If you must make a change then make sure to consider how much extra work it will entail.
Changes to the floorplan or location of lighting can impact the permitting process causing delays. In other cases changes may become impossible once certain things are completed. For example, you may not be able to change your mind about a sink location once the countertops are in.
Some last minute changes may sound appealing at first, but not after some additional thought. For example, finding a less expensive appliance is ordinarily a good thing, unless you’ve started the renovation process. Trying to replace appliances takes time to re-measure the space and have the items delivered.
You’ll spend more time and labor changing your mind than you saved on the actual purchase.
6. Spend wisely
There’s no rule dictating on what items you should splurge and which you should skimp; it depends on how you use your kitchen and why you’re renovating. But it pays do your homework before settling on expensive name-brand appliances, custom cabinetry, and high-end countertops.
Your spending should be largely determined by how you use the space. Someone who cooks often and enjoys entertaining would invest in professional appliances. A busy family with small children may see more use in purchasing a larger dishwasher.
The most expensive choices aren’t necessarily the best, especially if you’re remodeling the kitchen because you want to sell the home. Buyers probably won’t see the beauty in the pricey granite countertops you chose so you’re better getting the less expensive grade. And most won’t notice a veneer-covered cabinet from an expensive solid wood.
Renovating is both a thrilling and a tense experience. Updating the space with new appliances and furnishings is fun, but managing the process, especially its budget, is usually nerve-wracking.
Your kitchen remodel budget isn’t the most fun part of your renovation process, but it’s definitely an important one. Budgets set the tone for the type of renovation you’ll complete, and help keep you on track.
Use our handy tips during your next kitchen renovation to help you stick to your budget.