A Fail-Proof Formula for an $8,000 Kitchen Remodel

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: Emily Billings)

Say you want a new look in your kitchen. And you have a budget of $8,000. This may seem like a lot of money (and Trulia tells us it’s what the average person wants to spend), but in the world of kitchen remodels it’s definitely on the low end of the scale. (Intrepid remodelers Claire and Jeffrey, who shared their kitchen renovation with us, finished the whole thing for just $8,720, but that involved a lot of budget choices and a whole lot of DIYing.) But it is possible to transform your kitchen, even at this relatively low price point. Here’s one fail-proof formula.

For this breakdown, we’re assuming a 200-square-foot kitchen, with 25-30 linear feet of cabinets. And of course, all costs are approximate. Costs for materials will vary depending on the size of your kitchen, and costs for labor can vary a great deal depending on where you live.

Painting Cabinets

When you’re considering a remodel, the most budget-friendly option for cabinets is keeping the ones you already have. Dress them up with a new coat of paint and they’ll feel new, and you’ll save a ton of money. If painting doesn’t intimidate you, this is a good candidate for a DIY project — but the price estimate is for having the job done professionally.

Estimated cost: $1,000 – $2,000, depending on where you live. Check out this article from Kitchn for more information.

Replacing Hardware

Another way to transform the look of cabinets without replacing them? Change the hardware. This is also a fairly easy DIY. Of course the price of cabinet hardware can vary dramatically, but we’re assuming something pretty middle of the road — 50 knobs (less for a smaller kitchen) at $18 each. Check out our roundup of cabinet hardware sources at all different budgets for more information.

Estimated cost (hardware only): $900

Replacing Countertop

Replacing the countertop can have a huge impact on the look and feel of your kitchen. This price estimate is for a Carrara marble countertop, which falls at the low end, price-wise, for stone countertops. Home Advisor estimates an average of $3,000 for a kitchen with 25 square feet of marble countertops; this is also what Kitchn editor Faith paid for hers. Of course, if you want a material like quartz, the price tag will be somewhat higher.

Estimated cost: $3,000 (including installation)

New Backsplash

This is another improvement that can have a huge impact on the look of your kitchen. In this case, we’re assuming subway tile, which is one of the most affordable varieties of tile, although of course prices can vary greatly. You also have the option to install the tile yourself, but if you choose to call in the pros, installation for a whole kitchen will typically run around $1,000, according to Home Advisor. (For kitchens with less wall area to cover, this number might be a lot lower.)

Estimated cost: $300 for materials, $1,000 for installation

Installing Cabinet Storage Solutions

Expanding the amount of cabinets in your kitchen probably means enlarging the kitchen itself, which can be quite expensive. If that’s not an option, you can make the cabinets that you do have more efficient with things like cabinet organizers and pull-out drawers. These Slide-a-Shelf organizers are a good place to start.

Estimated cost: $600