Break it down now! … Our Kitchen Remodel Costs

I feel like this is the post that most people wait for when you are doing a remodel. Everything is put together and looks wonderful but deep-seated in the back of their minds is the question, “But, how much did it cost?”


Being the penny-pinching, spreadsheet hoarding, let’s-get-the-best-bang-for-our-buck type of person that I am, it all comes down to cost for me. You see all these immaculately designed homes and well lit photos of kitchens and you’re like, “Wow, that looks awesome! … But what would that cost me to do that?” So, through planning this whole kitchen/dining room/living room remodel, I got serious with pricing.

First, I heavily researched not only what an average kitchen remodel costs (how much is too much?), but also how much Scott and I should spend on a remodel for our geographical area for a house in our price range. I wanted to get the best return on investment as possible when we up and decide to sell this place … whenever that might be. Through various online calculators and tons of articles later, I came up with a range of $7,000-$13,000.

When we bought our house, it wasn’t in bad shape at all, just a little outdated. So, we knew that we couldn’t sink a TON of money into a remodel and get all of it back. And as with any investment, you run the risk of losing money, so we tried to be as cost-effective as possible … not cheap, because that can actually hurt you in the long run.

So what is our final total?        $7,911

Now, the questions are: Where did that money go? Where was it budgeted? Were you over budget? So, hang on to your butts people, here is the entire kitchen remodel breakdown and where every penny went.

Budget: $2,500
Spent: $2,918
Overage: $418

Since this budget was established at the beginning of this year, there were certain assumptions made and the outlook looked clear of any big disasters. We budgeted $2,500 because we were going to buy this 3/4″ hardwood from a discount retailer. Well, when we learned that our subfloor was MDF instead of plywood, we had to find a new choice. So, this ultimately brought in an engineered hardwood floor for $2.79 a square foot .. a teensy bit higher than our projected price per square foot.


The final total for 800 sq ft of flooring, underlayment and threshold pieces was $2,629.21. Other things that popped into the picture were a Sonic Tool for trimming the door casings, new floor registers since the others ones were rusted metal, a washing machine tray to set the washing machine in, in case there was a leak or overflow, and a new threshold piece for the door (which we couldn’t use because we ended up trimming the door too short!)


Not our best moment.

Budget: $150
Spent: $495
Overage: $345

When we initially budgeted the $150, we assumed we would install, mud and tape all the drywall ourselves. But after a weekend of installing all the drywall, we quickly learned that we would probably do a pretty crappy job of finishing the drywall since … uh … we’ve never done it before! So, we went ahead and hired a drywaller to finish all our drywall for $325. But as this post says, it was the best money we ever spent. We also needed a couple additional sheets of drywall, some screws, drywall protector plates and a 2×4 so that’s what fills out the rest of the overage.

Finished Kitchen Before and After

Budget: $1,016
Spent: $1,016

Since this was a quote, we knew we weren’t going to go over in this department. This was an all-inclusive price that included the Formica 180fx laminate in Soapstone Sequoia with the Ogee edge, shipping, installation and tax.


Budget: $300
Spent: $390
Overage: $90

We almost (!!) had this one, but ended up having to purchase an extra gallon of the Benjamin Moore Advance paint in Satin (which we have about half a gallon leftover, now). Also, the primer we initially thought of going with wasn’t the best, so we opted for a more expensive, higher quality primer (Benjamin Moore Enamel Underbody) that worked amazingly well.


Budget: $300
Spent: $284
Under Budget: $16

And there was much rejoicing! The natural stone tile we bought from Lowe’s happened to be on sale, so this is what saved our budget. The budget for this area included: stone tile, grout, mastic, tile saw rental, wax pencils, spacers, caulk and grout haze remover.


Budget: $450
Spent: $284
Under Budget: $166

We initially were going to purchase our sink through Valerie and Jeremy who installed our cabinets. However, we ended up finding a MUCH cheaper, comparable one that was on sale at Lowe’s for $220 (includes tax). The other costs associated with this part were: new sink flanges, caulk, plumber’s putty and thread seal tape.


Budget: $300
Spent: $445
Overage: $145

We would have been right on budget, but then we decided to go ahead with the board and batten project through the dining room and kitchen. Of course, this was always in the plans, but it wasn’t intended to happen until later … and escape the kitchen remodel budget. So, that’s where the majority of this overage came from. We also had to buy a few extra pieces of lattice to help fill out the door casings since they became recessed when we installed the drywall. The moulding included: baseboards in the kitchen, dining room & living room, crown moulding in the kitchen and dining room, a chair rail and board & batten in the kitchen and dining room, shoe moulding and moulding around the top of the cabinets.


Budget: $75
Spent: $200
Overage: $125

This is simply a huge brain fart on my part. I figured that we would be able to prime the fresh drywall with a gallon and then paint it with a gallon. Well, it took two gallons of drywall primer, two gallons of regular wall paint (the first coat really absorbed), and we had to buy a gallon of white for the board and batten that was not included. Oh and I threw the ceiling paint in there too. So, that’s four gallons of paint that were unaccounted for. I already had all the brushes and rollers, so we saved more there.


Budget: $200
Spent: $215
Overage: $15

This could have been a HUGE overage had it not been for a couple strokes of good luck and some reassessment. We intended on taking out the fluorescent light in the kitchen and replacing it with track lighting. Installing two pendants over the counter and taking out the two boob lights and fan and replacing it with another set of track lighting. So, two track lights and a couple of pendants would have come in under $200, but we realized that it would be one heck of a dark space.

Once we started pricing certain items, we knew we were going to be WAY over budget. So, we decided to leave the florescent light in the kitchen and paint the oak wood around the light white and buy decent pendants that we liked. We also were given (for FREE!) the chandelier that hangs over the kitchen table. The two pendants are from Pottery Barn, but were purchased off eBay for $67 each. We also had to buy a bunch of light bulbs (those add up quickly!) and we had to buy electrical boxes and wires for the new electrical units. We did, however, save a bundle by having my dad do all the labor on this!


Budget: $842
Spent: $537
Under Budget: $305

We had a set of base cabinets that Jeremy (our contractor) custom built to go underneath the re-positioned wall cabinets. By furnishing a couple doors that we didn’t end up using on some cabinets and by not needing our entire countertop raised so the new flooring would fit under our dishwasher (which sits under the cabinets), we saved $300!


Budget: $200
Spent: $133
Under Budget: $67

We originally wanted to go with a Euro handle for our cabinet doors. However, once we got it to the house we didn’t like the look of it in our space. We ended up with a much cheaper version that we like a whole lot better. We also opted for a cheaper hinge, rather than the Blum hidden hinge (although, those would have been nice!) We also saved because we found we couldn’t put hardware on our drawers under the counter because in a couple spaces they would have run into each other.


New Door: $400

We didn’t expect to have to buy a new door by any means, so that was unexpected, but we are happy to have it!


So, back to the final total for flooring, drywall, paint, hardware, lighting, new sink, countertops, a base cabinet, moulding and a swanky backsplash:


That puts us over budget by about 14% or $984. Not too bad considering if we wouldn’t have had to have a new door installed and have hired a drywaller, we would have only been over budget by $259. Which, I would take that any day considering what all we have to show for it. For you visually-minded people, here is a pie chart to see which sections were the budget eaters … like countertops and flooring taking up about two-thirds of the total! But they are soooo worth it!

Remodel Pie Chart

We are extremely happy with how everything turned out and although remodels can be tricky and expensive, I feel like we rolled with the punches pretty well. My thrifty, competitive self is still a little bummed that we couldn’t beat the budget, but I feel like I was a little naive in some aspects of the renovation. So, taking that into perspective, this whole thing could have been a lot worse!

Also, as a final note, when we initially priced out our kitchen remodel with brand new cabinets, countertops and flooring (no paint, no moulding, no new drywall, no new sink, no backsplash, no new lighting or anything else) our total would have been $11,600. For doing a lot of this ourselves and by painting our cabinets, we got a whole lot more for our money and also came in towards the bottom of the suggested remodeling range for our area.

Finally, I was out shopping the other day and ran into our Realtor that helped us find this house. I mentioned that we did this renovation and told her how much it cost. She was pretty enthusiastic and said, “You shouldn’t have a problem recouping all the money you spent.” Although you can never predict home prices or what the market will do, we feel pretty good about our resale horizon!

So, that’s about it from our side of the street. Hope you all have a great Christmas filled with love and hugs from your family and friends!

– Allie


25 thoughts on “Break it down now! … Our Kitchen Remodel Costs

  1. I love your kitchen, and I was drawn to it by the photo of your kitchen counter. I am looking at the exact same countertop and edging and wondered how you are liking it after living with it for a year. I was especially wondering about the finish – how it’s held up and how it is to keep clean. Thanks in advance for any input.
    Great job!

    • Hi Jeannie! We still love our countertop. It’s a honed finish so it isn’t shiny, but we like that look. I was initially worried about the texture before we purchased it, but it’s very subtle and cleans like any other surface. I’d definitely recommend it! Hope this helps and let me know if you have any other questions!

  2. Great job on the kitchen. My wife and I are getting ready to DIY our kitchen, minus the counter tops, we’ll leave that to the professionals.
    Where did you get your floors? Brand?

    • Thanks, Ruben! The flooring was bought locally, but through the company Aurora Hardwoods. Not sure of the model number, but it is their Wire-Brushed Elm engineered click hardwood in the color Gunstock. We also have a “quiet foam” pad underneath. Hope this helps and best of luck on your remodel!

    • Hi Amy! The pendants are Pottery Barn’s “Small Rustic Glass Pendant”. However, I didn’t want to pay the Pottery Barn price, so I looked on eBay and they were much cheaper there! Hope this helps!

  3. The fx soapstone is the one I have picked out for the new kitchen, my cabinets are dark grey stained hickery I hope it will look as good as yours

  4. Hi Amy,

    We will soon be doing a remodel in our home office and I would like your opinion if you think the FX SOAPSTONE laminate would be suitable. Usually soapstone is seen in kitchens but after exhausting many searches we seem to like this choice. Our Office cabinets will be shaker style and painted in white like your lovely kitchen.

    L. Baker

    • I think the soapstone would look very nice in a home office. Our laminate has held up great in our kitchen these last couple of years, so it would do just fine in an office. I think if you like it, then go for it! It would look great with shaker-style cabinets too. Hope this helps!

  5. I am loving your countertops! I think I just found what I’ve been looking for 🙂 Curious about the edging though. It looks as though it just wraps over as the design seems to continue… How were the edges done?

    • Hi Toni! You choose from a few different edge types, but this one is the ogee edge. The edge is not seamless from the countertop like a waterfall edge, but there is a very thin line. You really don’t notice it, but it is there. Hope this helps!

  6. How were your counter top corners done? Were they mitered with a seam or was the laminate material cut in an L-shape to avoid a corner seam? I was considering using this laminate pattern and cutting in L-shape at the corner but not sure if the linearity of the soapstone might look odd if done that way. What do you think?

    • Hi Virginia! Our countertop has two seams. The peninsula is one piece and there is a seam where it butts up to the part of the counters under the cabinets. The other seam is the piece of counter to the left of the peninsula. So, the counter that has the sink cut out of it is actually one big “L”. There are no corner/mitered seams. I specifically requested that no seams be anywhere near the sink! I think a mitered seam would be hard to match the design of the soapstone since it is a lateral pattern. I hope this has answered your question! – Allie

    • If you scroll up to the photo of Scott drilling in the cabinet doors under the section “Cabinet Hardware” of this post, we can see where the two seams are. His foot is on one and the other is to the left. 🙂

    • Honestly, not that often. Usually I’m holding onto the handle when I open the door. The door does rest against the wall when needing two hands to get something out, but it doesn’t leave a mark or anything. Hope this helps!

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