Small Kitchen Remodel Cost: Factors, Averages, and Saving Tips

Last updated on April 10, 2024

Discover the factors that influence the cost of a small kitchen remodel and how to budget for your renovation project.

Key takeaways:

  • Cabinetry: Can account for 30% of total budget.
  • Appliances: Energy-efficient models can offer long-term savings.
  • Countertops: Costs vary based on material choices.
  • Flooring: Vinyl and tile are budget-friendly options.
  • Labor: Up to 30-35% of project cost.

What's Inside

Small Kitchen Remodeling Cost Breakdown

small kitchen remodeling cost breakdown

Understanding the various elements that contribute to the total expense of a small kitchen renovation is essential. Typically, the breakdown includes:

1. Cabinetry: A major cost driver, cabinetry can account for about 30% of your total budget. Stock cabinets are more affordable, while custom solutions escalate the price.

2. Appliances: High-end appliances can skyrocket costs, but energy-efficient models might offer long-term savings.

3. Countertops: Material choices here range from laminate to granite, with costs varying widely.

4. Flooring: Durable and stylish options like vinyl or tile can be budget-friendly, whereas hardwood usually costs more.

5. Labor: Professional installation and labor can constitute up to 30-35% of the project cost.

6. Plumbing and Electrical: Changing layouts may require significant plumbing and electrical work, adding to the budget.

7. Lighting: From ceiling fixtures to under-cabinet lighting, the choices made will impact the overall cost.

8. Paint: A cost-effective way to transform the space. High-quality paint and finishes can affect pricing.

9. Backsplash: Choices here can be economical with ceramic tiles or more lavish with mosaic designs.

10. Permits: Necessary for structural, electrical, or plumbing changes, permit costs vary by location.

Each component plays a key role in shaping the final cost, so decisions should be made with both budget and desired outcomes in mind.


Understanding the impact of your kitchen’s square footage is crucial when it comes to remodeling costs. Typically, contractors price projects by the square foot, which means the overall size of your kitchen will directly influence your budget.

For a small kitchen, usually defined as 70 square feet or less, the remodeling cost can range from $5,000 to $20,000, depending on the extent of the renovation. To put it in perspective, larger kitchens could easily double that cost due to increased materials and labor.

Keep in mind that in a smaller footprint, you may face limitations with layout changes, but this can also mean fewer cabinets, countertops, and flooring materials, effectively lowering your cost. However, select high-end finishes and the cost per square foot could escalate quickly, even in a small space.

Additionally, while the basic setup of plumbing and electrical systems might remain unchanged, any reconfiguration can result in a significant expense. Therefore, retaining the existing layout could result in considerable savings.

To sum up, when considering the size in remodeling, remember these points:

  • Smaller kitchens may cost less overall but could have a higher cost per square foot.
  • Layout changes impact the budget more significantly in small kitchens.
  • Choosing fewer yet high-quality finishes can elevate the small kitchen without a proportional increase in the budget.
  • Common Remodeling Materials and Their Average Costs

    Navigating materials costs is critical when plotting out your kitchen remodel budget. Let’s delve into the heart of remodeling expenses by examining average costs for key materials:

    • Countertops: The centerpiece for many kitchens, options range from laminate at around $20 to $50 per square foot, to granite or marble that can climb from $40 to over $100 per square foot.
    • Cabinets: Ready-to-assemble cabinets might start near $60 per linear foot, while custom cabinetry can easily soar to $500 or more per linear foot.
    • Flooring: Vinyl and tile floor materials can be economical, hovering between $1 to $15 per square foot, but if you crave hardwood, expect to pay $5 to $20 per square foot.
    • Backsplash: Tile choices typically run from $5 to $40 per square foot, with installation costs adding up, especially for intricate patterns or high-end materials.
    • Appliances: A major slice of the budget pie, a basic appliance suite starts around $2,000, but for chef-grade appliances, you might be looking at $5,000 or more.

    Keep in mind, these are estimates and prices can vary based on quality, brand, and region. Securing multiple quotes and considering various materials can lead to a favorable balance between cost and quality in your small kitchen remodel.

    Common Renovation Expenses and Their Average Costs

    Cabinetry and Hardware: Expect to spend around 30-35% of your budget here. Stock cabinets cost between $60 to $200 per linear foot, while custom cabinetry climbs upwards, potentially beyond $500 per linear foot.

    Appliances: Devouring 14-20% of the total cost, appliances can be a moderate $100 for a basic microwave to over $2,000 for a high-end refrigerator.

    Countertops: Accounting for 10-15% of the budget, laminate surfaces start at $10 per square foot, while granite can range from $40 to $100 per square foot.

    Flooring: Kitchen floors represent 5-7% of your expenses. Vinyl flooring is budget-friendly, starting at $1 per square foot, while ceramic tile can average $5 to $10 per square foot.

    Labor: Labor takes a significant bite, typically 20-35% of the overall cost. Expect to pay $50 to $100 per hour for a qualified contractor.

    Electrical and Plumbing: Allocated 4-6% of your budget, small updates may cost under $500, but extensive electrical or plumbing work can quickly exceed several thousand dollars.

    Paint and Finishes: Consuming 1-3%, a gallon of quality paint costs about $25 to $50, not to mention additional supplies or hired labor.

    Permits: Often overlooked, permits can take up 2-5% of your budget, depending on local regulations and the scope of your project.

    Miscellaneous: Set aside 5-10% for unexpected costs—these surprise expenses can pop up during any remodel.

    Remember these numbers are averages; obtaining multiple quotes can give you a clearer picture of what your own small kitchen remodel might cost.

    How to Save When Remodeling a Small Kitchen

    Opt for a DIY approach where feasible, especially in tasks such as painting or installing shelving. This can significantly reduce labor costs.

    Consider refacing or repainting cabinets instead of replacing them entirely. It freshens up the space at a fraction of the cost.

    Choose budget-friendly countertop materials like laminate or butcher block over more expensive options like granite or marble.

    Incorporate open shelving as it can be less costly than upper cabinets and also gives the illusion of a larger space.

    Look for sales or discounts on appliances and fixtures, or consider purchasing floor models for a price cut.

    Limit changes to plumbing and electrical layouts as rerouting can drive up the expense rapidly.

    Prioritize your expenditures, focusing on aspects that will have the greatest impact on function and aesthetics, rather than splurging on unnecessary upgrades.

    Utilize budget planning tools and apps to track expenses and ensure alignment with your financial goals throughout the renovation process.

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