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The Average Kitchen Remodel Cost in 2021 Is $14,864

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Kitchen remodel costs average $14,864 in the U.S. in 2021. While nutritionists and dietitians differ on whether people should eat three meals a day, kitchens are getting a lot of face time, especially amid a pandemic when more people are working — and snacking — from home.

A dream kitchen comes at a cost, though. Between 2020 and 2021, the cost of a kitchen renovation rose an estimated 20%. Of course, costs can vary depending on remodeling choices and whether the kitchen is being spruced up or fully remodeled. The do-it-yourself (DIY) route could save money but cost more time.

LendingTree takes a closer look at average kitchen remodel costs to help people budget properly.

Average kitchen remodel cost

While the average kitchen remodel costs $14,864, the scale of renovations can greatly impact the cost:

  • Major remodels cost an average of $51,379
  • Minor remodels cost an average of $7,595

For those keeping score, that’s a difference of 576%.

But spending money on a kitchen remodel isn’t an entirely sunken cost. The costs of a remodel often come back in some form when selling a home.

In fact, according to the Cost vs. Value 2021 tool from Remodeling magazine, homeowners can expect to recoup an average of:

  • 72% on a midrange minor kitchen remodel
  • 57% on a midrange major kitchen remodel
  • 54% on an upscale major kitchen remodel

Kitchen remodel: Major vs. minor

If you’re wondering what a major or minor remodel typically includes, here’s a brief look from Home Depot:

Major Minor
  • Semi-custom cabinetry
  • 3-by-5 foot island
  • New countertops
  • Deep sink and faucet
  • New appliances
  • Custom lighting
  • New flooring
  • Freshly painted walls
  • Cabinet refacing or new cabinets
  • New energy-efficient appliances
  • New countertops
  • Kitchen sink and faucet
  • New flooring
  • Freshly painted walls

In the past year, the cost of remodeling has risen, likely because of an increased interest in renovations as people spent more time at home due to the coronavirus pandemic. Between 2020 and 2021, the cost to remodel a kitchen rose by an estimated 20%, per CRD Design Build.

Professional kitchen remodeling vs. DIY kitchen remodeling

The average cost of a professional kitchen remodeling is $20,215, while the average cost of a DIY kitchen remodeling is $8,316.

About 55% of remodelers choose to hire professionals, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Of course, depending on whether you choose a major or minor kitchen remodel can impact the average cost:

  • Major professional kitchen remodel: $66,608
  • Minor professional kitchen remodel: $10,558

Paying that much can sting, but it’s important to remember that professionals have a business to run and expenses to cover. The gross profit margin for professionals is around 30%, according to the National Association of Home Builders, but their net profit margin drops to around 5% after business overhead and operating expenses.

As a reminder, homeowners who choose the DIY route to achieve a budget kitchen remodel can expect to spend an average of $8,316. Just like with professional remodeling, whether you choose a major or minor remodel impacts the average cost:

  • Major DIY kitchen remodel: $31,103
  • Minor DIY kitchen remodel: $4,029

Before deciding if you should hire a professional or go the DIY route, ask yourself the following questions:

  • How much will I need to spend buying or renting tools if I do the remodel myself?
  • How much time will it take me to learn the skills I need and to execute the remodel?
  • What is the scope of my desired remodel and can I realistically tackle it?
  • Can I split the work with a professional kitchen remodeling contractor and do some of the easier projects on my own?

How much does a kitchen remodel cost by feature?

Cabinetry will typically be the most expensive cost, accounting for 29% of a professional remodeling and 37% of a DIY remodeling, on average.

For homeowners who move ahead with a remodel, here’s what they can expect to spend by feature:

Average cost of kitchen remodel features (professional)
Feature Percentage of budget Implied average cost
Cabinetry 29% $5,862
Installation and labor 17% $3,437
Appliances 14% $2,830
Countertops and backsplashes 10% $2,021
Flooring 7% $1,415
Lighting 5% $1,011
Walls and ceilings 5% $1,011
Doors and windows 4% $809
Plumbing 4% $809
Design 4% $809
Other 1% $202
Average cost of kitchen remodel features (DIY)
Feature Percentage of budget Implied average cost
Cabinetry 37% $3,053
Appliances 18% $1,474
Countertops and backsplashes 13% $1,053
Flooring 9% $737
Lighting 6% $526
Walls and ceilings 6% $526
Doors and windows 5% $421
Plumbing 5% $421
Other 1% $105

When looking at the average cost of kitchen remodel features for do-it-yourselfers, LendingTree eliminated installation and labor and design, since those elements will cost you only in time.

It’s important to plan for the unexpected. When tackling a remodel, unplanned expenses are bound to pop up when least expected, so leave wiggle room in the budget.

These kitchen features are growing in popularity

Certain kitchen features, such as working pantries and increased natural lighting, are growing in popularity for those looking to remodel.

According to the American Institute of Architects, here are the kitchen features that saw increased interest in the fourth quarter of 2020, compared with the fourth quarter of 2019:

Fastest-growing kitchen features
Feature Jump in interest in Q4 2020 from Q4 2019
Butler’s pantry/working pantries/prep pantries 45%
Increased natural lighting 41%
Upper-end appliances 36%
Under-counter appliances 36%
Induction cooking tops 30%
Wine refrigerator/storage 30%
Concealed and disguised lighting 27%
Built-in appliances 24%
Drinking water filtration 24%
Duplicate appliances 24%
Mix countertop materials 23%
Hands-free/sensor faucets 22%
Device charging/computer work area 22%
Coffee bars 22%
Antimicrobial surfaces/coatings 21%

How to finance your kitchen renovation

Nearly three-quarters of homeowners (74.4%) are financing kitchen remodels with their savings, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

These are the financing options that homeowners turn to when renovating, and pros and cons with each.

Financing method % on remodeling* Pro Con
Savings 74.4% Spend only money you currently have Could drain savings quickly
Home equity loan 6.1% Typically comes with a fixed interest rate Have to borrow against home equity
Homeowners insurance settlement 6.0% Insurance company may pay contractor directly May not fully cover kitchen remodeling costs
Home refinance 4.0% Could access cash based on home equity Have to have enough equity to do cash-out refinance
Credit card 2.9% Could potentially borrow on 0% APR introductory offer Could owe interest if not able to pay off balance on time
*Another 6.2% were considered other/not reported

While the breakdown from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development data didn’t include personal loans, a June 2020 survey from LendingTree found that two-thirds of personal loan borrowers combine them with other funding sources for their home improvement projects. The survey also found that kitchen remodels are the top project among consumers who took out personal loans to fund home improvements.

So, are kitchen remodels worth the cost, especially the added expenses that come with borrowing money? While you’ll likely never fully recoup your spending, remember that homeowners can recoup 72% on average of the costs of a professionally done midrange minor kitchen remodel once they sell their home. That return, combined with the enjoyment of using the new kitchen, may pay off in the end.

How to save money during a kitchen remodel

Kitchen renovation costs can add up quickly, so let’s look at a few different ways to save money during a remodel.

  • Refresh cabinets instead of replacing them. If you can get away with painting or refacing your cabinets and adding new hardware instead of doing a complete kitchen cabinet remodel, you can save a lot of money. As noted, it costs a lot to completely renovate kitchen cabinets.
  • Refurbish your appliances. There’s no need to dump appliances just because they appear broken at first glance. Nowadays, many municipalities have restrictions in place to stop people from dumping appliances in landfills. These restrictions have led to an increased interest in appliance repairs. Consider hiring a professional to breathe some new life into your appliances or read up on repairing them yourself.
  • Embrace DIY projects. The numbers above make it clear just how much money you can save by tackling a kitchen remodel as a DIY project. While some projects require professional help (plumbing, for example), other projects are easier for beginners to tackle, such as interior painting, tiling, changing outlets and lights, and installing baseboards.
  • Keep your layouts the same. Massively overhauling the layout of a kitchen can make the price of a renovation shoot up. Keeping the same layout but refreshing tiling, paint and other design elements should help keep costs down as you should avoid needing pricey plumbing or electrical work.

Kitchen remodeling FAQs

How much are Americans projected to spend on kitchen remodels in 2021?

Americans are projected to spend nearly $37 billion on kitchen remodels in 2021. With Americans spending more time at home than before, it’s easy to see why they’re willing to invest in making their home more enjoyable.

How do I stick to my budget?

The key to sticking to a renovation budget is doing your research and carefully planning. Knowing exactly what your renovation will cost before you start, and what you’re going to execute, will make it easier to stay on track. Don’t forget to leave a little cushion in your budget though for when unexpected costs inevitably arise.

How much can homeowners expect to recoup in a home sale?

To recap, homeowners that undergo a midrange minor kitchen model can expect to recoup 72% on average of the renovation costs when they sell their home, 57% for a midrange major remodel and 54% for an upscale major remodel.

Can people remain in their house during a kitchen remodel?

This depends on the scale of the remodel and desired comfort levels, as well as whether the layout of the home makes it possible to set up a makeshift kitchen. A kitchen remodel can be very inconvenient, so in many cases it can make sense to stay with friends or plan a trip during the times you’ll have the least amount of kitchen access. That being said, it’s very possible to remain in your home during a kitchen remodel.

Is a kitchen remodel worth it?

While a remodel can help increase the monetary value of your home when it comes time to sell, it can also improve the lifestyle of the current homeowner. Whether a kitchen remodel is worth it is a question that needs to be looked at both financially and emotionally. If you love to cook or have a current kitchen layout that just isn’t working for you, you may find that renovation pays off in more ways than one.

Sources

  • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University
  • CRD Design Build
  • Remodeling magazine
  • Home Depot
  • National Association of Home Builders
  • RemodelingCosts.org
  • American Institute of Architects
  • LendingTree internal data
  • National Kitchen and Bath Association

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