Kitchen Touch Up or Major Renovation?

Kitchen Touch Up or Major Renovation?


Homeowners planning to improve their houses will often consider making changes to the kitchen. After all, in today’s culture kitchens are the heartbeat of the home, where Americans prepare and consumer meals, and spend the bulk of their family time together.

Smart Investment

And, renovating a kitchen is smart if you have in mind the sale of your home. According to, you’ll get 92.2 percent of your investment back when you update the kitchen, beating out bathroom renovating and other projects as offering the best bang for your renovation buck.

But, renovations of any kind are expensive and may not provide the satisfaction you’re seeking if not planned carefully. Basic renovations can be managed by most homeowners themselves who can tap their personal funds to get the work done. Complete renovations, including the gutting of the kitchen, are far more expensive and usually require a bank loan or home equity line of credit to bankroll.

Kitchen Renovations

Given that your needs are unique, we’ve developed three levels of kitchen renovations for your consideration. Basic, medium and complete overhauls are the three categories we’ve crafted to help you see what you can tackle and the results that will follow. Our price estimates are just that — you’ll need to work with a contractor when considering a higher end renovation and have a budget in place to track your expenses.

Basic — You shouldn’t consider a “basic” renovation as something that is lacking. You can still make many changes to your kitchen with just $1,000 to $5,000 to spend, but in this case you’re doing almost all of the work which means labor costs are not a factor.

A basic renovation can include resurfacing the cabinets or laying down a new floor. If your cabinets and flooring are fine, a new look can be had by replacing appliances including the range, dishwasher and refrigerator. Those items can be ordered from a home appliance store with the older equipment removed. Touch up your kitchen with a fresh coat of paint or wallpaper, new curtains and by replacing cabinet handles.

Medium — New appliances may not be enough to give you the kitchen renovation you need. A middle of the road renovation doesn’t gut your kitchen, but it does make room for some significant changes including possibly moving or replacing a sink, adding an island, changing the lighting and, in some cases extending the plumbing.

Expect your budget to begin at $5,000 and run as high as $20,000. You’re not replacing cabinets, but you are replacing fronts. The counter top is worn down which means granite is looking mighty fine. Flooring needs to be changed and you’re comparing wood with ceramic. You’ll pay less if you choose last year’s style or discontinued merchandise, but you’ll pay more if you want a trophy kitchen and are adding a skylight, new furniture and putting in a new closet.

Complete — With a complete reno, nothing currently in your kitchen will remain except maybe that deep freeze refrigerator and the island you bought last year. Complete renovations can start at $30,000, but easily top $100,000 if the square footage is already large or if you plan to knock down a wall and claim the dining room as an extension for your kitchen. Needless to say, a general contractor should be hired and a budget drafted up so that you know how much your project will cost you.

Moving appliances means you’ll be running new plumbing and electrical lines. You’ll work with a draftsman who will design your kitchen layout and then hire a contractor to get the job done. Expect a series of plumbers, electricians, cabinet makers, flooring and counter specialists and an interior designer to walk you through your job. Each professional costs money; your labor costs can easily outstrip what you paid for new cabinets, counter tops, floors, the room extension and new appliances. If you’re a foodie, you’ll spare no expense because the kitchen is an extension of your personality.

Cost Counter

Though you stand a chance of recouping much of the cost your renovation when you sell, time and wear and tear can take its toll on your kitchen. If you’re planning to sell within two years, can you reasonably expect to recoup your $50,000 investment? Consider your local housing market before making that leap, because your home’s anticipated value may sink if your market is trending downward.

Note — Before you call in a professional, make use of our free spec sheets which are just perfect for helping you plan your kitchen renovation. When you’re ready to obtain bids, you’ll have a good starting plan on hand, saving you time and ensuring that your project requirements meet your expectations.



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Categories: Kitchen and Dining

About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Auto Trends Magazine", an online publication. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and weblogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".