This kitchen upgrade has orange bar stools, glass pendant lights and a slanted shiplap ceiling.
Contractors can help you decide which areas to sink the bulk of your kitchen upgrade budget into and which areas can do with a little less. This kitchen’s neutral architecture really makes the orange accents pop. Photo by Kelly Peak Photography.

To renovate or not to renovate? If you constantly find yourself in a hamster wheel of indecision—it’s probably time to bite the bullet and go for it. For many, the financial concern is what keeps them from their dream kitchen. Have no fear, here’s the scoop on responsible budgeting that will make your kitchen upgrade less scary and more exciting.

Down to Basics

Before you start pinching pennies, know what the average kitchen renovation costs.

Low cost …………… $5,000
High end …………… $50,000
Average cost …….. $25,000
Average range ….. $11,000 to $30,000

This kitchen upgrade showcases a black and wooden design scheme with a central island.
Lots of natural light gives this kitchen a dewy glow and create the illusion of a wide open space, even in small spaces. Photo by Brian Walski and styling by Elaine St. Louis.

Price Tags

Including materials and labor, get an idea of how much these common kitchen upgrade projects can cost (with variation by location).

Moving a gas line ………………….. $400 to $700
Removing tile flooring …………… $300 to $700
Painting ………………………………… $400 to $800
Scraping popcorn ceiling ……….. $150 to $300
Dishwasher installation ………….. $575 to $1,200
Sink and plumbing relocation … $500 to $2,000
Marble countertops ………………. $7,000 to $12,000
Cabinet removal ……………………. $400 to $1,000
Cabinet refinishing ………………… $700 to $1,200

The natural patterns of exposed wood are always in style. Choose architecture that’s modern but classic—it will save you from premature renovations down the road. Photo by Jim Brown.

Cost-Saving Tricks

Work With Your Footprint

Moving gas lines, electrical, plumbing or walls immediately hikes up the price tag. If working with the existing layout isn’t an option, choose just one labor-intensive item to move.

Look Past Names

Popular brands aren’t always going to be the best choice for your kitchen. Aim for quality and your desired end look over what name will be on the box.

Make a Plan

Before heading to the home improvement store or calling the contractor, create a detailed list that prioritizes tasks. Not only will this keep you focused on what matters to you most, it will help simplify the process of comparing bids.

Mid century kitchen upgrade has white cabinets with an orange stove, turquoise dining chairs and a patterned accent wall.
This stunning Texas kitchen uses color sparingly for a bold effect. Appliances, furniture and alcoves are great places to add accent colors. Photo by Molly Culver Photography.

Try Local

Compare bids from the big box store and the local retailer. You might be surprised as to who comes in lower, especially when it comes to deliveries and installations.

Read Bid Contracts

Did you know? Many contractors won’t include items like cabinetry, tile and appliances in their bid. Why? They aren’t supplying design services and product prices can vary widely. Look over your bid carefully and research your desired products to create an accurate budget.

Dumpster Rentals

Ask about disposal costs! Renting a larger dumpster is a good alternative to paying removal fees to contracted installers.


An example of what a blue print drawing would look like for your kitchen upgrade.
Contractors and designers create blue prints and visuals so you can get a preview of the final product before you even touch a nail and hammer.

Common Hidden Fees in a Kitchen Upgrade


Chances are high that any remodel will likely need at least one permit—especially if walls or utilities are being affected.


Eating out adds up, and if your remodel is delayed for any reason (permits, backorders, surprise repairs, etc.) your timeline will be pushed back. Leave a little wiggle room and invest in a mini fridge.


From cutting at the wrong measurement to a dropped box of floor tiles, mistakes happen. Budget with a buffer on each project to avoid extra stress over common mishaps.


Getting rid of old appliances and materials doesn’t come for free. Proper disposal fees for things like water heaters and the cost of renting a larger dumpster for at least the demolition days of your project add up.

Looking for dining room styles to match your new kitchen? Check out these gorgeous mid century modern dining rooms!

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