Atlanta area homeowners –
What you need to know before you remodel your kitchen!
You’ve fallen in love with kitchen makeover Instagram influencers, your Pinterest page is overflowing with gorgeous inspiration for the latest trends, and you’re standing in your dated, non-functional kitchen dreaming of an upgrade – the first question you will ask yourself is:
How much will my kitchen remodel cost me?
You’ve probably heard the “rule of thumb” that your kitchen remodel should cost around 10% of your home’s value; for example, if your home is worth $500k, you should plan to spend around $50k to remodel your kitchen, all-in. This isn’t far off from reality, however there are a lot of factors that can affect how much you should spend. Are you going to sell in the next year or so? Is this your forever home? Are you looking to just renovate your existing kitchen to refresh the look, or are you dreaming of a full chefs kitchen remodel?
Before you lose yourself in design inspiration magazines, you need to understand your budget constraints, where your money will be going within that budget, and what the options are for your home in order to get the best return on your remodel investment. We’ve gathered all that information for you here in one spot, so you can start planning out your budget and start your new kitchen remodel in 2022.
Where is most of my money going?
Your biggest investment for your kitchen remodel will most likely be the cabinetry. There are SO MANY choices when it comes to cabinetry, and the quality can range from inexpensive imported stock cabinets, to fully customized, American-made cabinetry, and anywhere in between! Depending on the size of your kitchen and what you’re planning to invest, cabinetry will range anywhere from 20 to 40 percent of your total budget. This can seem like a large amount, but remember that cabinetry plays an essential role in your kitchen design, aesthetic, and storage capacity.
Keep in mind, there is a significant quality difference between stock (also know as RTA – ready to assemble) cabinets and semi-custom or custom cabinetry. If you’re planning to stay in your home for 10-15 years or more, we recommend choosing a good quality, American-made semi-custom or custom wood cabinet option. Most companies provide a lifetime warranty on these cabinets, and the financial investment will be worth it. You’ll get the kitchen of your Instagram dreams, and it will be designed to maximize storage space and create a functional area for your family. Working with a designer to customize your kitchen can be a rewarding and fun experience, and when your friends admire your gorgeous new cabinetry, you’ll get to brag that you designed it yourself!
What should I spend on appliances and plumbing fixtures?
Selecting the right appliances will likely be your next big expense, after cabinetry. In almost every kitchen remodel, it’s worth the expense to upgrade your appliances alongside the rest of your kitchen. Have a dated fridge or ancient oven next to beautiful cabinets and countertops is a serious buzz-kill!
Your sink and faucet also play a huge part in your kitchen’s functionality, and certainly get the most daily use. Head-over-heels for the apron-front farm sink? Or loving an undermount stainless option with a built-in vegetable washing station? No problem – there are huge ranges of sink and faucet options to fit any budget and style, from contemporary to traditional. (We do recommend you consider investing in a higher-end sink faucet that will resist potential rust and corrosion damage, though. With so much daily use, this is a common occurrence with lower-quality fixtures.)
Have a look at the big box stores for some appliance ideas, but talk to your designer about all your vendor options. Often they can recommend unique ranges, cooktops, and sinks that you won’t find in every other house in your HOA. You can plan to spend between 10 and 20 percent of your budget on new appliances, and don’t forget to add about 5 to 10 percent to account for any electrical or plumbing work than may be associated with installation.
How much is that gorgeous quartz countertop going to run me?
Coming in hot at number three – your countertop is generally the next large expense in your kitchen. Countertops contribute to the function, ambiance, and aesthetics of your remodeled kitchen, so it’s important to consider all your pricing options here. Materials vary from the inexpensive laminate or solid surface, to the pricey and high-maintenance marble, but you’re sure to find something that fits your budget and your Pinterest page. Natural stone, like granite, has become more affordable in later years, and quartz offers the look of marble without the price tag. Your designer can show you all the options that would work in your kitchen and your lifestyle, so you can start daydreaming about cooking your gourmet Thanksgiving dinner on your new expansive quartzite island (with seating for 6, a built-in microwave drawer, chef’s butcher block prep station, apron-front sink…but we digress.) Plan to dedicate about 10 to 30 percent of your budget to your countertops.
How much is labor and installation going to cost?
In all our time designing and installing kitchens, we’ve heard (and seen!) some horror stories from DIYers. While it IS certainly possible to remodel your own kitchen and install cabinets, there are so many nuances that homeowners don’t see on those remodeling shows that become serious headaches – or worse. In order to avoid a moneypit, subpar installation quality, or poorly fitting appliances, we recommend you leave your kitchen remodel to the professionals. All the expertise needed to install cabinets, countertops, flooring, tiles, plumbing fixtures, electrical, specialty items, crown molding, toe kicks, etcetera etcetera…There is so much more that goes into a kitchen install than meets the eye. Or the remodeling show re-run on HGTV.
Labor cost can run high if there are a lot of unexpected issues, but a good contractor can estimate and prepare for potential unknown expenses up front. Depending on your location, the features you’re installing, and how customized your kitchen will be, your labor cost can run anywhere from 30 to 35 percent of your total budget.
Where can I save if I need to tighten my belt a little bit?
The most obvious choice when trying to cut your budget down is to go with stock cabinets instead of semi-custom or custom. You’ll lose the benefits of customizing your space to be exactly what you dreamed, but you’ll save a decent chunk of cash. Most stock cabinets are offered in popular styles like white or grey shaker, but even within the stock cabinetry world, there are ranges of quality. We still recommend working closely with your designer to make sure your cabinets are going to hold up with the every day use that a kitchen demands. No one wants a cheap cabinet door to fall off in the middle of hosting your neighborhood progressive dinner party. Oh, the scandal!
Smaller items such as cabinet hardware can also be a great place to scale back. You can find unique and on-trend hardware options for a good price at most big box stores, or online in shops like etsy.com. Again, we recommend working with your designer here since he or she likely has connections in the hardware world and can help you make a price-sensitive selection.
Your sink basin is another place to save; as we mentioned above, we don’t recommend skimping on the faucet itself, but a pretty standard sink basin can run you as little as $130. If you have beautiful counters, an eye-catching faucet, and well-chosen cabinets, you can keep your sink cost low and not lose the overall wow factor in your new kitchen.
Do I really need to pay for a kitchen designer?
In a word, yes…but, not exactly! If you work directly with a kitchen and bath showroom like InDesign Kitchen and Bath, you will get your initial design consultation for free! Many showrooms will roll their designer’s fee into the total cost of the kitchen, with no incremental cost to you. You’ll get access to a trained eye and a team member that is focused on making your vision a reality.
If all the kitchen lingo like backsplash, grout, plumbing fittings, semi-custom cabinetry, countertop fabrication, and functionality hasn’t convinced you, think about bringing it all together to create the vision you have saved on all your social media accounts. Kitchen designers are typically specially trained, and can provide guidance not only on layout and function but also on trends, design recommendations and pattern coordination, vendor suggestions, quality control, and complementary colors. These designers live and breathe kitchens, so you can count on them to understand your needs, bring your ideas into a well-thought-out design, and create function in your kitchen that will provide you and your family a central hub for years to come.
The bottom line is that you need to establish a reasonable, realistic budget, and stick to it. There’s a huge difference on whether you want to simply renovate and refresh, or completely remodel and upgrade your entire kitchen layout. No matter your style or budget, you can almost always guarantee that a kitchen remodel will be worth every penny!
If you’re ready to begin the kitchen remodel journey, come on by to visit our design team at InDesign Kitchen and Bath. We specialize in offering our clients a range of pricing options during the design process, so whatever your budget, we will find a way to create a kitchen that works for you and your home. Come visit us to get inspired for your kitchen project, and get a complimentary design consultation!
Our brand-new, flagship showroom is opening in early 2022! In the meantime, visit our website https://www.indesignkitchenandbath.com to schedule a free virtual or in-home design consultation. We service Johns Creek and all surrounding areas: Alpharetta, Milton, Roswell, Cumming, Norcross, Peachtree Corners, Duluth, Buckhead, Sandy Springs, Dunwoody, and more.