The Complete Kitchen Renovation Budget

The Complete Kitchen Renovation Budget - roomfortuesday.comIf you’re not into budgeting or think the numbers behind a renovation is boring, here’s your cue to skip this one! No hard feelings, because I know it’s not for everyone, but this post was requested numerous times- so I definitely thought it was worth sharing. If you’re interested to see the budget breakdown for my kitchen, click through for the itemized list. 

*Spoiler alert… if you haven’t already browsed through the kitchen reveal, go check that out right here before reading this post!

Hopefully budgeting posts are helpful and shed light on how much certain things cost if you’re considering renovating. Of course costs vary depending on your location and home, but this is what our kitchen reno budget ended up looking like (we live in Salt Lake City, UT). Let’s get to it! Our kitchen is 168 square feet, to give you a reference for size.

I also need to mention that our home was built-in the 1950s and was totally neglected (see before images here), so it needed a LOT of love. We had to replace the subfloor, drywall, add insulation, have our electrical service updated (for a hefty chunk of change), and other miscellaneous items that were part of the territory for this specific, dated, and abused house. If you have a newer home, you won’t have to worry about those items when renovating.

The Complete Kitchen Renovation Budget -

Here’s the breakdown on the number crunching…


Plumbing Fixtures:



  • Custom Cabinetry + Millwork – $30,000
  • Hardware – $800

Building Materials:

  • Lumber, Drywall, Insulation, Nails, etc. – $1,700
  • Paint + Primer -$325
  • Electrical & Plumbing Materials – $2,000


  • Sconce – $60
  • Pendant Light – $339
  • Ceiling Medallion – $20
  • Recessed Can Lights -$300
  • Electrical Service Upgraded 60 Amps to 150 Amps (required by inspector for our old home) – $7,000



  • Large Window Behind Breakfast Nook – $1,600
  • Small Window Above Sink – $450
  • Window Treatment / Roman Shade – $164


  • Permits and Inspections – $275


  • Obviously we did all the labor ourselves, so that cost was our time spent working on the kitchen (~15 hours each week over the course of six months), rather than a dollar amount. Emmett estimated about $9,000 – $12,000 in labor… I didn’t include this in the total amount below.

TOTAL= $65,141

Although part of my job is working with brands I love, we honestly paid for the majority of the kitchen out of pocket. We always go into a renovation expecting to pay for the entire thing ourselves, that way we budget accordingly. After that, any contracts I sign for promotional content is an added bonus… it essentially goes toward my salary for living expenses, etc.

I actually have a post coming up in a week and a half on how to budget for large or expensive renovations, so stay tuned for that! We do A LOT of saving. As always, if you have any questions at all… leave me a comment below! Also remember- every renovation and home is different, this is just what our budget experience looked like this time around.

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  1. Linda Darling says:

    Your kitchen is amazingly beautiful and shows how gorgeous a small house can look! I have had one question, however. With all the work and money spent renovating your house, will you be able to recoup much of that cost when you sell your house? In my neighborhood, in a similar sized house, you couldn’t remotely get any of your money back, even though we are only 20 min from the beach. I find it challenging to decide which renovations to do to my home and feel confident the cost will increase the value of my home. Your thoughts?

    1. Thank you so much, Linda! Awesome question. We ALWAYS consider resale value ( read more in this post: ).

      We can say with certainty that we will make our money back when the time comes to sell. Luckily, we live in a highly desired location and the Salt Lake market is thriving and projected to only increase. We chat with our real estate friends, financial advisors, and other professionals to make informed decisions on just how much to spend.

      With that being said, we don’t “flip” houses. We use quality materials and don’t really go for a low end look. We certainly could’ve renovated for much less money, but we want to enjoy our home and the time we have in it. It’s really a reflection of our aesthetic and we appreciate that, so it’s worth spending more for what we want (knowing we’ll still make a profit). Could we make more money once we part with it, going in a different direction? Absolutely, but that’s not the business we’re in. Hope this helps to clarify! xo

  2. I love the transparency of these types of posts, so thank you. I was holding my breath getting to the millwork costs and was actually shocked it was so high, given the relationship with the company! But custom millwork does not come cheap. Our house was in a similar spot in terms of neglect and we’re wrapping up a kitchen/hallway/halfbath/half-the-first-floor renovation as well and also diyed a ton, plus I have the added advantage of a father who is a carpenter/general contractor so certainly helps. I know a lot of people will ask you if “you’ll see the money back on resale”, which I guess is a good question for some. For us, though? No, we will not. Do we care? Not one lick. I love this house and I bought it for all the potential that it had. We don’t plan on selling soon and can’t wait to coax even more beauty out of every nook and cranny. We will make money on the sale for sure but when your house has so much neglect, damage and is out of date with this like electrical service you can’t expect to make every dollar back.

    I love your kitchen and mudroom – great style and design that is uniquely yours!

    1. Thanks, Michelle! I always try to keep 100% real. The fact of the matter is renovations take a lot of time and money, so I wanted to share our experience. Custom millwork most certainly does not come cheap, but we LOVE having quality cabinets… it’s a noticeable difference from our previous kitchen. We did get a discount on the cabinetry, but I included the retail price to give a more accurate representation of what it would cost the average consumer.

      Great question about resale value! We always consider that. In fact, I even posted about it here:

      We’ll definitely get our money back out of the kitchen. We’re not sure how long we’ll be here, but in the meantime, we try to make informed decisions when renovating. I’m guessing we’ll be here for at least 3 – 5 years, so we also want to enjoy it while we can. We’re lucky to be in a highly desired location. Old houses are tricky though… there is SO much to update that isn’t cosmetic. We’ve added / updated air conditioning, insulation, electrical, plumbing, subfloors, drywall, etc. The list goes on and we still need to replace the roof. I’m with you though… the character of an old home is the main appeal. It’s definitely not ideal for a “flip” though.

  3. Thanks for sharing hard numbers, it’s refreshing and informative, especially for those who have never done a reno. In my opinion, you may have under-estimated the labor. I live in SoCal, so a different area, but we renovated our kitchen/dining/living/family rooms (1500 SF of space, keeping in mind we removed a major structural wall and raised two sunken floors so there was lots of “hard” construction involved) but our labor costs were 40% of the total budget. Then we renovated our master bath, and the labor costs in that space were closer to 50% of the budget. Labor adds up quickly when you make big layout changes, like adding a sink in the island that didn’t previously exist, installing three struct beams to remove a 15’ wall, moving your shower (plumbing) kitty-corner from it’s orig location. Of course, every project is unique and you don’t know costs until you commit to the design and estimating process of your renovation. (All I know for certain is double your budget and timeline, and you’ll be in a better place throughout the process, ha!)

    PS LOVE your kitchen, and your post about soapstone has been added to my reno spreadsheet as I’m helping my sister w her kitchen reno and I think soapstone is perfect for a 1920’s Craftsman!

    1. You got it, Karen! Haha! I always plan for more budget than expected, as well as more time. There’s always the unexpected and it makes it far less stressful. Emmett might’ve under-estimated the labor… I had that same thought, but he was convinced- then again, we’ve never really hired contractors since we do the majority of the work ourselves. I think location also plays a big factor.

      Love that you’re considering soapstone for your sister’s craftsman! That is the PERFECT option. We’re loving ours. xo

  4. Thank you for your honesty and transparency! I had no idea what some of those costs actually were, so this is really helpful. And your kitchen looks like a million bucks: so unique and full of personality.

    My husband and I have been doing a DIY (except tiling) bathroom reno, and it’s eye-opening how much everything adds up. I wish that more blogs, design magazines, etc would be honest with just how much renovations cost especially when you address the ‘guts’ of an older house. It would definitely help with setting expectations knowing that some things may not be in your financial reach!

    1. Of course, Sarah! That was my goal… hopefully it helps other people budget for their own renovation. It definitely adds up quickly. Have a great Monday! xo

  5. What aspects of your kitchen were provided by sponsors (and ultimately reduced the final $65k total)?

    1. Hi Liz, I shared the retail costs as a consumer… so the total is actually $65k. We obviously ended up paying less than that since some of the products were sponsored and it’s apart of my job. I’d say we ended up paying for 75% of the kitchen out of pocket. I only try to align or accept products from brands that I have outlined in my initial design plan. I’m pretty picky about that stuff, so we always budget as if we were paying for the entire thing. Each post that includes sponsored content is always notated, but as always- feel free to ask if you have additional questions about the budget. Hope this helps to clarify! xox

  6. Sarah! I’m late to the kitchen reveal party, but it looks fan-freakin-tastic!! Thanks so much for breaking down your costs-super helpful although we’re hoping to avoid another kitchen reno in our next place! Does your estimated labor costs include your design time, as well and just out of curiosity, roughly how many hours did you spend planning, designing, sourcing, etc.? If you didn’t include your design time, I think you definitely should. The majority of people who would be hiring out their kitchen re-do and wants it to look as unique and beautiful as yours, would definitely need to hire a designer! Add me to the list who are super interested in a pantry organizing post, too,

    1. Hi Anne! Thank you SO much! Really appreciate your kind words. My estimated labor doesn’t include design time… I’m not sure why I didn’t think of that! I spent a lot of hours planning / sourcing / designing. I should’ve kept track. It’s always hard when it’s your own home. Pantry organization post coming up! xo

  7. I’m not sure if you already have a post on this, but do you have any recommendations for finding a local millwork/cabinet businesses? We live in an old home and it seems like custom woodwork may be our only option for redoing most things, but I can’t seem to find any local businesses. Are there any good alternatives for custom work that isn’t so local if that’s what it comes down to?