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How to Budget for a Kitchen Remodel: The 9 Main Cost Drivers

Understanding the main cost drivers in a kitchen remodel is crucial for planning your budget effectively. This blog will guide you through each of the nine main cost drivers, ensuring you're equipped to make informed decisions that match your vision and meet your financial plan.

Kristen Davis

April 5, 2024

How to Budget for a Kitchen Remodel: The 9 Main Cost Drivers intro

A kitchen remodel isn't just about spending money; it's also about investing time and effort. Our nine quiz questions help you pinpoint where you might save or splurge and how to build up a solid framework for comparing your quotes. So what are the main cost drivers?

01. The Size of Your Space

In kitchen remodels, size matters—affecting how many cabinets, countertops, and appliances you'll need and, by extension, your budget. By default, larger kitchens tend to require more units, while compact spaces demand efficient, creative use of every cabinet and appliance. Most FORM clients work with medium-sized kitchens, around 280 square feet, which comfortably fits the necessary units without extensive maximizing or minimizing.

Worth noting though—an increase in kitchen size doesn’t automatically mean a higher cost. Budgeting smartly involves choosing the right number and type of units to fulfill your kitchen's potential without unnecessary expenditure. Whether large or small, the goal is to ensure every part of your kitchen has a purpose, from storage to meal prep. Our Designers are experts at translating budget needs into a hard-working kitchen for every client.


02. The Cabinetry Specification

Choosing the right level of cabinetry significantly influences your kitchen's budget. FORM simplifies this decision with three cabinetry tiers, with most of our customers opting for our Premium, mid-range specification.

- Essentials Tier: Targeted at those who prioritize functionality, our most affordable option comes with durable, award-winning hardware and interior customization options. A medium kitchen outfitted with Essential cabinets would cost around $20,000 to $25,000, ensuring practicality and quality meet within a manageable budget.

- Premium Tier: Striking a balance, this tier allows for greater customization in finishes and features, appealing to homeowners seeking a blend of style and value. For a medium-sized kitchen, the investment ranges between $25,000 and $35,000, offering an excellent performance without a hefty price tag.

- Luxury Tier: For those wanting to make a statement, our top tier features the broadest range of customization. Expect to allocate $35,000 to $50,000 for FORM cabinets in a medium-sized kitchen.


03. The Countertop Choice

Your choice of countertop material is another major decision that affects both the look and cost of your kitchen remodel. To accommodate different tastes and budgets, we categorize our countertops into three types:

- Laminates: A budget-friendly option, laminates come in a wide variety of designs and are perfect for those looking to maximize functionality without a high cost. Durable and easy to maintain, laminate countertops can bring style and practicality to your kitchen for a fraction of the price of other materials.

- Quartz and Porcelain: Mid-range in price, quartz and porcelain countertops offer the beauty of stone with added durability and less maintenance. Ideal for busy kitchens, they provide a balance of aesthetic appeal and practicality, with prices for a medium-sized kitchen typically starting from $4,000 to $6,000.

- Stone and Marble: At the top end, natural stone and marble countertops appeal to those seeking an organic, one-off addition to their kitchen design. Each piece is distinct, adding elegance and character to your space. For a medium kitchen, the cost for stone or marble countertops can vary significantly, generally starting around $6,000 - $10,000, depending on the material's rarity and origin.


04. The Appliance Tier

For appliances, most of our clients set aside between $10,000 to $15,000. This is a range that accommodates high-quality, versatile options without compromising on style or functionality. Regardless of the level you lean towards, we're here to advise you on the best mix to meet your budget, design and cooking requirements.

We guide our clients through four appliance levels, with Premium and Panel Ready (hidden or concealed appliances) being the most sought-after for their blend of quality and streamlined modern design principles.


05. The Decorative Elements

Flooring, tiles, and paint are critical in defining your kitchen's character and cohesion. For a medium kitchen, you might allocate $5,000 for durable, no-frills brands or up to $30,000 for premium designer lines. The choice of flooring especially can shift your budget's bottom line—whether you're keeping and refreshing what's there, repurposing materials, or opting for a complete overhaul with high-end finishes. Our FORM designers can support you with these backdrop choices by adding them to your 3D visuals, so you can shop the total look you're after.


06. The Accessories

Accessories make a huge impact - think sinks, faucets and lighting fixture. These details can bring life to a kitchen and should match the quality and style of your space. A basic yet complete set of accessories might cost between $750 and $1,000, while opting for designer pieces can push your budget much higher.  It's worth shopping around to decide where you want to save and where to splurge, ensuring each choice aligns with your overall vision and budget.


07. The Design Service

At FORM, working with our designers is complimentary, offering detailed 3D renders and revisions to perfectly match your vision. If you prefer external expertise, or your kitchen is part of a wider remodel, setting aside 10% of your budget for an independent designer or architect may be your move. Whether it's with us or another professional, investing in design is crucial for making sure your ideas are turned into a practical, beautiful, no regrets project.


08. The Project Management

Navigating your kitchen remodel's management is crucial, with options ranging from full DIY to hiring professionals. While engaging a project manager typically costs about 10% of your budget, many FORM clients manage their own projects using our detailed Project Handbook for a smoother, simpler process. For tasks requiring specific skills, such as electrical or tiling work, consider a hybrid approach: manage the project yourself and hire specialists where necessary. This strategy blends personal involvement with expert precision, ensuring a successful outcome.

09. The Installation

The method of installation you choose has a pivotal impact on your kitchen remodel's final cost and quality. Opting for DIY can cut costs, but professional installation comes with the assurance of quality, albeit at a higher price. It's wise to earmark at least 15-20% of your total project budget for professional services, ensuring a polished end result. Keep in mind, installation quotes can vary widely based on the project's scope, scale, and even geographical location, adding another layer to consider in your planning process. You can tap into our Featured Installers Network to find an Installer near you who comes recommended by a FORM customer.

Ready to get underway? Navigating the complexities of a kitchen remodel is a journey of careful planning and informed decision-making. By understanding these nine cost drivers, you're better prepared to allocate your budget effectively as you collect quotes.  

Need more help? Download our Project FORM Project Handbook. This resource is designed to help you work through cost drivers at your own pace and gain insights on managing your entire project efficiently.

Ready for expert advice? Book a free consultation with a FORM Designer on our website. It’s never too early to start planning. 


"We believe that good design improves people's lives. We focus on personalization, performance, and peace of mind."

Co-founders Danny and Tom

Danny Soos & Tom Sherman

FORM Co-Founders

© 2024, Form Remodel, Inc.

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