How to Keep Your Kitchen Remodel Costs Low

A person in a kitchen holding a clipboard writing on a paper that says "estimate."

Kitchen remodels are typically one of the most expensive remodels you will ever do. After all, you’re potentially looking at new cabinets, countertops, flooring, paint, appliances, lighting, and more. Depending on the depth of your project, you can easily rack up $25-50k in renovation costs. There are, however, ways to cut down on those costs. These can be important to know, especially if you’re on a tight budget or are simply giving the room a facelift before selling. Use these pointers to figure out where you can trim the fat in your kitchen remodel budget.

1. Know the Scope of the Project

Painting cabinets in a kitchen white.

What is the scope of your project? Is it necessary to gut everything and completely rebuild from the studs up? Although it might be tempting to haul in new everything, think about what honestly needs to be replaced to gain the look and value that you hope to achieve. For example, instead of replacing outdated cabinets, consider painting them, refinishing them, or replacing only the doors. When considering new countertops, evaluate a new surface that will brighten and modernize the space without replacing all of the counter’s components. It’s important to remember that hauling trash away is part of your expense, so if you can reuse items, you will save yourself money in that department, too.

2. Plan Well

Since kitchen remodels are a major undertaking, the more you have things planned out, the more money you will save. Not only will you find better deals by scouring the internet, but the process will be streamlined, saving both time and the number of dinners you have to eat out while the kitchen is dismantled. (While we're on the subject of meals, save money by placing the slow cooker in the dining room and relying on a hotplate for cooking some meals.) When it comes to planning the remodel, make sure any products you order will arrive on time. Ensure that the electrician will have his job done before the next professional is due to arrive. Good planning will help avoid long gaps in your remodel schedule, which are costly.

3. Don't Pay Full Price for Supplies

Two people walking through a home improvement warehouse.

There are many ways to save money on the products you will use during your kitchen remodel and some of those decisions can make a significant difference in the overall cost of the project. Shop around to find the lowest prices for the items you need. Look for home improvement store discounts, such as the 10% new customer discount at Lowe’s. Consider replacing your appliances with slightly used models still under warranty. Take a look at bulk flooring warehouses for products that will work for your space. Also check out membership stores such as Costco or Sam’s Club to see if they have sinks, faucets, lighting, flooring, or appliances at a great price.

4. Do the Work Yourself

Think about the number of professionals you could potentially use during a kitchen remodel. The list may include a general contractor, sheet rock experts, plumbers, electricians, floor installers, countertop installers, painters, cabinet specialists, and more. Any job that you can do yourself will save money. During the planning phase, invest time in YouTube and watch how-to videos. If you know how or can learn how to reroute the plumbing or install the backsplash, the savings will quickly add up. The caveat is to make sure that you have the skills and know-how to do the job right; you want it to look professional. Don’t expect to be able to do everything yourself. Sometimes, hiring a professional will actually cost you less in the long-run than if you give it a try and then end up hiring a pro to finish the job right. Be honest about your abilities and plan accordingly.

5. Ask for Help

Reach out to friends that may have more experience than you. Maybe you know an electrician, cabinet maker, or plumber. Offer a trade for their work, or at least see if you can get a discount in their service.

6. Borrow or Rent Tools

With so many different aspects to the project, you probably won’t have the proper tools needed to complete a kitchen remodel. But before you run out and buy everything from the paint sprayer to the table saw, consider which tools you are likely to use again. If you are not going to get your money out of it, borrow or rent tools to keep your costs low, or even buy them secondhand.