Renovations – how much will my kitchen cost?

The cost of a kitchen renovation varies from one project to another because there’s a plethora of diverse factors involved.  Let’s have a look at the range of choices and how you can outline reasonable budget.

A definition

First, the idea of a renovation can mean anything from stripping everything down until the walls are the only thing standing to just changing the elements that get most of the abuse (such as cabinets, counter tops, and/or floors). This is why no one will be able to offer a straight answer when hit with the dreaded ‘how much to remodel a kitchen’ question.

Despite the variability, most experienced designers and contractors will be able to give you an idea of the costs. And that’s exactly what we’ll do here: walk you through the major steps and help you create a realistic budget for your upcoming renovation.

Cost of materials

This category includes anything from the wood you select for the floors and cabinets, to the type of counter top, paint, fixtures, and appliances. Also, the budget varies when it comes to quality levels. For instance, high-quality materials may be a large financial investment right now, but in the long-term the investment will make a lot of sense.

It all depends on the budget you have available, which is why specialists tend to have the following three main types of offers.

  • Kitchen renovation on a budget (around $10,000 to $20,000+).
  • Renovation using high-quality materials ($20,000 to $45,000+).
  • Luxury renovation with ultra-modern touches ($45,000 to $100,000+).

These represent the average, and there’s plenty of  flexibility within each band. This means that you shouldn’t be discouraged if your budget is around $10,000. Depending on the size of your kitchen, the materials you want, and the type of renovation, this may be enough.

Outlined below we’ll cover how to use a lower budget with amazing results, but first let’s have a look at some of the most requested items in renovations.

Counter tops

As one of the most-used surfaces in any kitchen, the counter top must be durable and look good at the same time. The good news is that there is a material for every budget and taste. The bad news is that prices vary greatly and are influenced by factors such as location, transportation costs, and finish.

To give you an idea of the cost, below we have listed some of the most popular materials used for counter tops (prices are per square foot):

  • Laminate ($20 – $60)
  • Butcher block ($35 – $70)
  • Solid surfacing ($35 – $100)
  • Quartz ($40 – $90)
  • Granite ($45 – $100)
  • Marble ($50 – $125)
  • Concrete ($65 – $125)

As you can see, prices vary quite a lot, which is where finishing comes in. If you want a basic version of the material, the price will be lower, but if you want a certain color/hue or pattern, the cost will go higher. Also, the prices mentioned above don’t include the cost of transportation and installation.


The backsplash is not mandatory, but it is highly recommended and makes maintenance a lot easier. This area behind the stove protects the wall from grease, food stains, and humidity, and makes cleaning look effortless.

Just like with counter tops, there’s a wide range of materials available for the backsplash, and you can choose options that are more cost-appropriate to your budget. For instance, many homeowners decide to go with tiling for the backsplash because it’s cheaper (around $10 to $25+ per square feet depending on finishing and materials). But if you want something exotic, like mosaic sheets, you have to be prepared to dig deep into your wallet.


The cabinets occupy most of the space on your kitchen walls and the color/pattern and materials you select matter for the design (and for durability). Considering this aspect, the cabinets will take a big chunk out of your budget so it’s wise to do your homework before taking a decision.

First, if you already have cabinets installed, consider the option of a revamp by simply adding a fresh coat of paint or new handles. Also, another great option is to change the faces, but keep the old cabinets in place. If you choose any of these options, the costs would be minimal and you can focus the budget on other areas.

If you really have to go with new cabinets, it’s important to know if you want a custom fit or you’d be happy with out of the box cabinets (less expensive).

If you’re looking for a custom fit with a specific design and materials, you should be prepared to pay somewhere in between $500 and $1,500 per linear foot. Of course, you should consider adding the cost of labour (which is directly proportional to the size of your kitchen) and installation.


Nothing brings life to your kitchen like a newly-installed floor. It looks and feels amazing, and depending on the selected material, you may get to enjoy it for many years to come. Not to mention that high-quality flooring (such as wood or tiling) adds value to your home.

If you’re on a budget, the best choice is vinyl ($0.50 to $2.00 per square feet on basic options), but you need to know it won’t last for long. For increased durability and overall value, specialists recommend wood or tiles.

Depending on the material, tiles can go from $1.30 to $8+ per square foot, while wood (depending on the type) is on offer from $3 to $14 per square foot (for exotic wood).

Labour costs

According to, the labour costs involved in a kitchen renovation can go from $6,000 to $10,000 in 2018. However, the costs usually increase from one year to another, so it’s best to do some research before finalising the budget.

Of course, the costs vary according to the complexity of the project and the size of the kitchen. There is also the option of transforming the kitchen renovation into a DIY project, but if you’re not skilled in this type of activities, it can be risky.

According to the annual Houzz & Home Australia survey, about 92% of Australian homeowners would rather hire a professional to take care of their renovation projects. Also, plumbing and electrical are the first systems to install/refresh when it comes to a renovation and you will need a qualified professional to undertake these tasks.

Finally, labour costs are not the same all over the country. For instance, the average labour costs for kitchen renovations in Australia is between $56/h and $62/h, but in big cities such as Perth or Sydney, the cost can go up to $70/h.

How to achieve great results on a budget

As you can see, a full renovation can be costly. However, there are ways to avoid spending your life savings on your kitchen.

For instance, the best solution (and the fastest) is to choose a flat pack kitchen and ask a few friends to help with the installation. While it may not add much value to the house, it is a perfect short to medium term solution. Even more, the offer is rich and there are many options that look amazing at the fraction of the cost of a custom fit.

Another way to reduce costs is to stay with basic materials, with standard finishing (vinyl flooring over hardwood, for instance). These days even the low-cost materials look and feel great. While it’s true that they are less durable, they can be a perfect way to do the renovation within budget.

Basically, you shouldn’t postpone a kitchen renovation just because the costs look scary. If you already have a budget, find ways to do the work without going overboard. Given that the costs are going up from one year to another, there’s no better moment like the present!


Author Bio: Nicole Andrews is the Marketing Manager for in Sydney, Australia. With a background in interior design, she enjoys writing about the latest industry trends. In her spare time, she walks her dog Rusco down at Bondi Beach.


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