Architectural Home Designs & Decorating Ideas

Smarter Budgeting for Your Next Small Kitchen Renovation

Gabriela Connell
3 minute read

Renovating your kitchen can be an exciting endeavor, but it also involves significant costs. If you have a small kitchen in need of an update, determining an accurate budget is crucial before diving in.

Understanding the key factors that influence the price of a small kitchen remodel will help you create a realistic budget.

Average Costs – What to Expect for a Small Kitchen Remodel

According to the 2021 Cost vs. Value Report by Remodeling Magazine, the average cost of a major kitchen remodel is around $135,000. That assumes a full gut renovation of a 200 square foot kitchen.

cost of small kitchen remodel

For a small kitchen specifically, you can expect to spend in the range of $15,000 – $25,000. Some ultra-basic cosmetic upgrades may cost around $7,000 on the very low end, while larger and more high-end small kitchen overhauls can surpass $35,000.

Your Budget – Assess Your Goals and Home Value

Instead of relying on averages alone, take time to think through your specific remodeling goals and constraints. What do you want to achieve in the new kitchen? Are you primarily looking to update worn finishes and appliances to improve function? Or do you want a full style transformation with layout changes?

It’s recommended to budget approximately 15-25% of your home’s total value for a major kitchen overhaul. The overall scope of your project should align with your budget ceiling.

Additionally, consider potential return on investment if you plan to sell your home. Minor renovations recoup about 81% at resale, while larger mid-range projects regain around 86%, according to Remodeling Magazine.

Create an Itemized Budget

Research average costs in your local area, factoring in must-have elements versus nice-to-have upgrades. Then build an itemized budget with costs for cabinetry, countertops, flooring, lighting, appliances, labor and more. Pad each line item with an extra 10-20% in contingency funds in case of unexpected expenses.

Factors That Influence Cost

Several major components impact the overall price tag for revamping a small kitchen. Understanding these key cost drivers will help you plan and budget accurately.

Layout Changes

Modifying the existing kitchen layout typically costs less than changing the footprint entirely. Repositioning appliances and fixtures starts around $1,000, while knocking down walls and completely altering the layout can cost $15,000 or more.


The cost of new cabinetry ranges widely based on the type of cabinets selected. Stock cabinets cost $100-300 per linear foot, while semi-custom runs $200-700 and custom cabinetry averages $500-1,200 per linear foot installed. Refacing existing cabinetry can save thousands compared to full replacement.


Granite, quartz, laminate, solid surface, and tile are popular countertop options, with installed costs typically ranging from $40 per square foot up to $100 per square foot. The complexity of installation is also a cost factor.


Kitchen flooring costs range from $3-8 per square foot for vinyl tile to $8-15 for materials and labor on ceramic or porcelain tile. Refinishing existing wood floors or installing new hardwood averages $6-15 per square foot.


You can spend $300 on a basic refrigerator or $4,000+ on a high-end smart fridge. Shop sales and consider lower-priced brands to control appliance costs. Price also depends on the number of appliances being replaced.

Plumbing & Electrical

Moving plumbing for sinks or adding electrical for new lighting, outlets and appliances will incur labor charges. However, you can save by reusing existing fixtures.


Finally, don’t forget permit costs. Building permits average $800-1,500 but can exceed $3,000 for larger renovations. Be sure to account for these location-dependent fees in your budget.

Ways to Reduce Costs

Now that you understand the major elements that drive kitchen remodel costs, here are some smart ways to cut expenses without compromising quality:

Setting an accurate initial budget is crucial, as going over budget mid-project can be hugely stressful. Pad estimates with an extra 10-20% in contingency funds, and confirm that quotes match your expectations before signing contracts.

Focus first on must-have functional elements, while cosmetic upgrades like backsplashes and decorative hardware can wait until finances allow. Take on DIY work like painting and deconstructing old cabinets to save on labor when able.

With strategic planning and budgeting, you can craft your dream small kitchen refreshed while staying on track financially.