Kitchen Remodel Cost Per Square Foot: We Break It Down

Kenneth Wilson

Setting the proper budget for your kitchen remodel project can be rather challenging. Even if you do online research on the matter, there are different price estimates even for the same kitchen remodel project scope and area sizes.

That said, we're here to help you fully understand what to expect and break down the estimated costs of a standard kitchen remodeling project. (Related: Where Does The Money Go? The Ultimate Kitchen Remodel Cost Breakdown)

Hopefully, this will give you a solid understanding of the many possibilities you can achieve with your budget.

Now, let's answer the question of "How much does a kitchen remodel cost?" Nationally, the average cost of a kitchen remodel project runs from $150 to $300 per square foot, with most homeowners spending between $13,000 and $22,500 in total for the project.

Large-scale kitchen re-dos and the use of high-end materials will only hike up the costs accordingly. Expect to spend $70,000 up to -$136,000 for a major or upscale kitchen renovation.

Breaking Down Costs by Type of Remodel


Ultimately, the total amount you'll pay will depend on the kitchen remodel scope, the new fixtures, and finishes, among other things. Let's discuss the different estimated costs per kitchen remodel type to give you a solid understanding.

  • Low-cost Kitchen Remodel (Starting from $150+ per square foot): A minor kitchen remodeling project may only cost a few thousand dollars, especially if you're looking to reface your existing cabinetry instead of opting for a replacement. This project scope also includes painting your walls and introducing a few new appliances, lighting fixtures, backsplash, faucets, and sinks. Simple cabinet organization trends can help you get started in your kitchen makeover by installing cabinet pull-outs and similar productive accessories.
  • Mid-range Kitchen Remodel (Starting from $200+ per square foot): For a mid-range kitchen remodel project, this will allow you to replace some kitchen fixtures while replacing others. Think of new kitchen appliances, backsplashes, cabinets, countertops, and more. Cost-effective kitchen cabinets range from $120 to $350 per square foot, while custom cabinets may cost you $550 to $1300 per linear square foot. New flooring costs will depend on the chosen material. Suppose you have a standard square foot kitchen; installing new floors will cost you $1,300 to $2,700 (or more than $4,000 for hardwood floors).
  • High-end Kitchen Remodel (Starting from $300+ per square foot): Naturally, major, high-end kitchen remodeling projects go beyond merely replacing fixtures. This includes new custom cabinets, a new kitchen layout, state-of-the-art appliances, or taking down walls to extend your space.

Factors Affecting the Cost of Your Kitchen Remodel Project


Aside from the scope of the kitchen remodel project, here are some cost factors to consider which make hike the total project costs.

Labor Costs


Professional contractor costs will depend on the scope of your kitchen remodel project. Most contractors will cover every service involved in the project, including the project management fees. That said, several general contractors may expect a design prepared beforehand, so it's better to hire a designer to prepare the kitchen design.

A general contractor charges anywhere from $35 to $90 per hour. This will depend on the location of your property and the scope of the projects. Plumbers (pipe installation or replacement) will charge you from $60 to $140 per hour, while an electrician’s hourly rate ranges from $50 to $130.

Important Note: Some GC companies may employ all their laborers in-house, while others rely on subcontractors for electrical, plumbing, and other repair work.

Kitchen Appliances


Each kitchen appliance will impact your total kitchen remodel cost. This is usually not included in your bid, as contractors only install the appliances you'll buy for the remodel. Consider investing in high-quality appliances and higher-end brands. These products are reliable, and your purchase will most likely come with a warranty to protect you from various issues in the long run.

Expert-backed Tip: Choose stainless steel finishes if possible, as they are not only trendy but will also increase your home's resale value.

Kitchen Cabinets


New kitchen cabinets start from $80 to $1,000+ per linear foot. Meanwhile, refinishing ranges between $1,800 and $6,000. This will largely depend on your cabinet material, linear feet coverage, and local labor costs. (Related: Cabinet Installation Cost & Consumer Guide)

Here's a quick overview of how much new kitchen cabinets will cost you on average:

  • Stock cabinets cost about $80 to $400+ per linear foot. These refer to pre-made cabinets from home improvement stores.
  • Semi-custom cabinets are priced from $170 to $900 per linear foot. These cabinets are customized from a higher grade MDF than standard stock cabinets. As such, they offer more flexibility in measurement and configuration.
  • Custom cabinets cost $600 to $1,000 per linear foot. These cabinets are personalized and hand-constructed by carpenters to your desired specifications. You can request unique cabinets designed and built specifically for your space and aesthetic.

Countertops


On average, granite countertops will cost you from $50 to $210 per square foot, depending on the granite slab type, color, and thickness. Laminate counters prove more cost-efficient, with some projects only costing you below $1,000. This is because laminate material is easier to work with and commonly sourced.

Expert-backed Tip: Ensure that the cabinets you purchase are sturdy enough to support your new countertops to avoid any damage in the long run.

Kitchen Island


Homeowners who want to add a kitchen island will spend $6,500 on average. However, premium options may hike the costs up to $20,000.

Kitchen Flooring & Backsplash


If you're considering new tile, stone, hardwood, or vinyl floors for your kitchen, this will cost you anywhere between $1,500 and $12,000 on average. On the other hand, a kitchen backsplash costs $500 on average, with the cost per square foot ranging between $15 and $50.

Dishwasher and Garbage Disposal Installation


Installing a new dishwasher ranges from $150 to $270. Meanwhile, new garbage disposal costs between $150 and $180.

How to Save Money on Your Kitchen Remodel Project


Avoiding changes after the plan is in place, keeping your original kitchen footprint, and sourcing materials yourself are the keys to keeping your kitchen makeover expenses low.

  • Avoid changes. Once the construction has started, changes in design or material may lead to increased costs due to wasted materials, change orders required, and extra labor. You can also prevent mishaps by measuring and marking any changes in your layout.
  • Keep the existing footprint. Surface and a total kitchen makeover have significant differences that need to be understood. A surface-level makeover is typically the way to go if you have a limited budget. You can give your kitchen a fresh new look without spending on under-the-surface work such as plumbing, electrical, and more.
  • To save money, consider keeping your appliances in the same place. This means do not move your countertops and do not take down walls.
  • Source materials. Save money by researching the appliances, counters, flooring, and tiles yourself and save on paying a designer. Always run choices by the pros before purchasing.  

Overall Verdict: Is a Kitchen Remodel Worth It?


A kitchen remodeling project can be a hefty investment at the end of the day, especially if you're trying to make a limited budget work. However, it may also provide a great return on investment (ROI) by increasing your property's resale value and improving your day-to-day life at home.

In hiring a local contracting company, always check for online reviews to avoid wasting money on so-called "professionals" who will only make the project harder than it has to be. If possible, you may also ask your loved ones for personal recommendations to hire only the best contractors for your next home improvement project.

Kenneth Wilson
March 2, 2022
Cost Guides, Remodeling

Kenneth Wilson

Retired contractor. Currently residing in Southwest Florida. Now in semi-retirement, I write and manage this blog focused on helping home owners make savvy decisions when it comes to finding contractors and getting their projects done. I also operate remodeling design service for homeowners.

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