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How to Cut Kitchen Renovation Costs

By Melissa Green | Citizens Bank Staff

Kitchen renovations are among the most popular projects homeowners take on, and with good reason. Families spend a lot of time cooking, talking, and sneaking bites of something tasty. Coincidentally, kitchens are also one of the most expensive projects to take on.

The national average for a mid-range kitchen renovation is $66,196. But don’t panic — that’s just an average. With some thoughtful planning and creative thinking, you can get that number way down. Read on to learn how to prepare for your kitchen renovation project as well as get tips to help you stay on budget.

How kitchen remodeling costs break down

How much you can expect to spend on your kitchen update depends on where you live, who you hire, and the materials you choose. Take a look at the chart below to get a better sense of how the overall cost breaks down by percentage. Knowing where the majority of your money is going will help you save where it matters most.

Keep the existing layout

Changing the layout of your kitchen might look simple on HGTV, but moving around major appliances and electric, water, and gas lines will definitely add to the overall project cost. If your kitchen already has a functional layout, consider keeping the footprint as is.

For example, this couple was able to create an open concept without changing the existing layout:

Before

After

Cut cabinet costs

Cabinets represent almost 30% of kitchen renovation costs. Let’s break down a few ways you can save on this potential budget-buster.

  • Consider RTA cabinets. If your cabinets are in rough shape and need replacing, ready-to-assemble (RTA) is a good option. RTA or semi-custom cabinets can be half the cost of full-on custom cabinets depending on the material, style, and cost of installation. 
  • Give your cabinets a facelift. If you have good quality cabinets, but they’re just old and/or outdated, you may want to consider painting or refinishing for a fresh look. This DIY project can save you a considerable amount of money.
  • Try open shelving. A modern and frugal option is open shelving. It can save you a few thousand dollars — doors are pricey! You can also mix open shelving with full cabinets, creating a truly custom look.

Get thrifty

If you’re not opposed to gently used pieces for your kitchen, check to see if you have a Habitat for Humanity ReStore or other organization that sells reclaimed building materials, furniture, and accessories in your area. Not only can you get some great discounted stuff for your project, but you’ll also be helping a great cause. Proceeds are used to help build strength, stability, self-reliance, and shelter in local communities and around the world — a good deal for you, your community, and the environment.

Choose the right funding option

How you fund your project can also cause you to spend more in interest if you’re not careful. When you’re ready to think about ways to fund your project, you have multiple options. Using your savings or credit cards for small projects can be a good idea, but when you’re tackling a kitchen renovation over a certain dollar amount, you’ll want to make sure you’re being thoughtful about your financial plan.

Ready to renovate?

Citizens customers Judy and Kathy Kiley decided to fund their kitchen renovation with a HELOC. Check out their heartwarming story below, and get some design inspiration for your own project.

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