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When it comes to home improvements, few investments pay off the way a kitchen remodeling job does. The kitchen is usually the core of a home’s life and it’s where the family spends much of its quality time together. A well-organized, updated kitchen will add enjoyment to your life, not to mention value to your home. But… just how big an investment is it?

The answer, in part, is up to you. While a general rule of thumb is that a kitchen renovation can generally run between 5% to 15% of a home’s value, many variables come into consideration.  Here are some of the issues to consider when planning this type of job.

Things to Consider when Planning a Renovation

The first thing to consider is the size of your kitchen. What is the square footage? We’re basing our recommendation and pricing suggestions on the standard 10×10 kitchen size, which is the average designers use when calculation kitchen remodeling costs. Since often material costs are calculated on the square footage of the place being worked on, you’ll want to carefully measure your kitchen to begin to get a sense of how much things will cost.

The second thing to consider is what kind of kitchen renovation you want. Do you want to do a gut job down to the studs? Are you considering moving the location of major hookups, like for a dishwasher or the stove? That could go a long way to improving the flow and layout of your kitchen, but will also add to the cost, both in materials and labor. On the other hand, you can find ways to keep costs down by resurfacing cabinets instead of replacing them, or replacing only the appliances that are in disrepair, instead of all of them (although we advise replacing them all at the same time. More on that below). Working out your budget and what you’re willing to compromise on will go a long way to helping you figure out what kind of budget your kitchen renovation will require.

DIY or Professionally Designed?

Another thing to think about is whether you want to do the design of your kitchen yourself, or you want to bring in a professional. For kitchens in which you’re happy with the layout and just want to refresh finishes, it may be okay to keep costs down by skipping the design step. But if you’re not happy with the flow and storage capacity of your kitchen, you may be well served by bringing in a pro to design the space anew for you. Home design experts have access to the latest innovations in storage and equipment and can save you time and money in the long run by designing a state-of-the-art space that will greatly add to your home’s value. Be aware, however, that a good designer may run as high as $100 and even $200 an hour in certain areas of the country. You’ll want to earmark approximately 10% of your kitchen remodeling budget to the designer’s fee, should you choose to go that route.

Kitchen Elements to Consider: the Cabinets

When it comes to breaking down individual costs in a kitchen remodel, one of the biggest ticket items you’ll invest in when upgrading your kitchen is the cabinets. But you have some leeway when figuring out the cost. If your kitchen is fairly standard and you’re okay buying cabinets in stock sizes, you can save significantly. Semi custom-made products run slightly more, and fully customized kitchen cabinets can cost between $500 to $1500 per linear foot, an expense that can quickly add up. If you’re budget conscious, definitely explore kitchen cabinet resurfacing or painting. This can add new life to sturdy but tired-looking cabinets.

Kitchen Elements to Consider: Countertops

The next thing to consider is the counter. While costs vary depending on size, the main thing that will affect how much you’ll spend on countertops is the material you choose. Expect to pay in the $2,000 to $4,000 range for countertops. An affordable but fashionable choice, like concrete, can cut down on cost while giving you a modern, updated feel. On the other side of the spectrum, certain marble and granite countertops will run you significantly more. The benefit is that a classic material is highly prized and will add to the resale value of your home. Everyone loves classic stone countertops!

Kitchen Elements to Consider: Flooring

You’ll need to upgrade your flooring when updating your kitchen. There’s been a move in recent years to wood instead of tile in kitchens. If you go this route, make sure the wood is well sealed, or that you invest in engineered wood that can take water and food spills without deteriorating. Of course, another way to make sure you have a floor that can stand up to kitchen traffic and wear and tear is to go with classic tile.

Kitchen Elements to Consider: Appliances

You’ll also need to consider appliances for your kitchen upgrade. Sometimes people are tempted to try and salvage an old appliance (replacing, say, a refrigerator and stove but keeping the dishwasher), and while that can work, if you can replace them all at the same time, that will work to your benefit. First, many appliance retailers will give you a discount for buying more than one appliance in a mix-and-match bundle. Second, you can buy yourself a good amount of time with no appliance repairs when you purchase all new appliances. If you’re on a budget, look to buy your appliances when stores are upgrading their inventory, often in January. Regardless of how you proceed with appliances, be sure you get the most energy-efficient models you can afford and which fit into your design style. You’ll save money over time with energy-efficient appliances.

Kitchen Elements to Consider: Plumbing and Electrical Work

Your 10×10 kitchen upgrade budget won’t be complete until you factor in plumbing and electrical work. If you’re looking to upgrade the location of spotlights or light switches, you can expect to spend more on electrical work. But if you’re just updating an existing light fixture, your electrical costs could be minimal.

Kitchen Elements to Consider: the Finishing Touches

Lastly, you’ll want to add a bit of your personality to your kitchen. While this isn’t technically part of your remodel, consider adding a pop of color as a finishing touch with whimsical oven mitts, or an apothecary jar full of jellybeans. You’re only limited by your imagination! Adding these fresh, new touches will help all your hard work and expense pay off the next time you have friends and family over to admire your new kitchen!

As you see, answering the question of how much a 10×10 kitchen remodel will cost depends a lot on your needs and budget. On average, we advise homeowners to be prepared to spend between $15,000 to $30,000. But add some high-end finishes and special appliances, and you could strain that budget. On the other end of things, a few frugal choices will get you on the lower end of that spectrum. Either way, in the end, you’ll be left with a space that will give you years of enjoyment and add to the resale value of your home when it’s time to sell. An upgraded kitchen is always a good idea!

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