If you decide to do a major change and rearrange your appliances, you will have to relocate the pipes. This often involves getting new pipes – installing additional pipes costs about $1,100 – and connecting them to the main line. This also means spending more on labor and, in some cases, hiring a plumber. Plus, you might have to get a permit from the city. These building permits could cost up to $800 if your contractor gets it for you.
When you're working with $15,000 to $30,000, you can leave more work to the professionals instead of doing it yourself. This might include refinishing or refacing your cabinets, painting the walls and ceilings, installing new lighting and rewiring some electrical work. You can also focus on replacing your flooring, if it's particularly worn, and look at more high-grade countertop material like stone (granite, Corian, Formica). You might be able to invest in custom cabinets, move some plumbing, or have an island installed in this price range, but you might have to compromise on other upgrades in the process.
If you do have the budget to rearrange appliances, make sure to keep your floor plan in mind. Does it follow the natural triangular traffic pattern between the refrigerator, stove, and oven? Is the dishwasher next to the sink? It should be, because otherwise, you create a mess every time you walk across the room with a dripping dish in your hand. To save money, I once put a dishwasher in the counter opposite the sink – and as a result, I cleaned up drips on the floor for years.
You can begin planning for your kitchen remodel by knowing a rough estimate of where your money will be spent. For a full kitchen renovation, 1/3 of your budget will go to cabinetry, 1/3 will be spent on installation, and the remaining 1/3 is allocated to finishing touches. Finishing touches could be appliances, lighting, faucets, sinks, plumbing, backsplash, countertops, or flooring. Keeping these in mind, you’ll be able to balance your budget and more easily plan your project. For additional details on the cost of remodeling a kitchen, please visit our cost guide.
Older homes might need the whole home’s plumbing replaced due to narrow or rotting pipes, but hopefully your kitchen remodel only requires a minimal amount of plumbing work. Plumbing services include sink installation costs, faucet installation costs, new piping, and often make up less than 5% of your expenses. Each of these services will be billed individually unless you work out a project cost with your plumber.
Case in point: Photographer and designer Erin Kestenbaum transformed her kitchen as part of this fall’s One Room Challenge and thoughtfully included enhanced storage space. Kestenbaum’s creative solutions included vertical tray storage above the fridge, a narrow drawer for oils and spices by the range, and a coffee bar built into a full-height cabinet. "I love designing upfront ways to hide the clutter and appliances that, without a home, will inevitably end up on your countertop occupying space," she says.
Speaking of sale price, your expected date of sale has an effect on your total cost. Like I said above, if you plan on living in the home for a long time, don’t be afraid to splurge. After all, this is your kitchen, one of the most trafficked rooms in any house. However, if you plan on selling your house in the near future, say less than three years after the remodel, don’t go crazy with your kitchen renovation.