For many homeowners who one day will sell their house, renovating the kitchen is surely among the most joy-creating investments you can make in the property. So it’s really worth thinking about how to get the best ROI on any kitchen remodel you do.
Partly because of this high-stakes scenario, and partly because of it means messing with a mixture of different utilities, it’s uncommon (and in some places illegal) that you would do a full, truly DIY kitchen remodel. Apart from more limited portions that you may be able to tackle yourself, you’re almost certainly going to want to hire a professional contractor to complete your kitchen upgrade.
So here, looking at this heading into the summer of 2021, we’re going to point you toward a bunch of great resources from a few different angles:
- How to plan and budget for a kitchen renovation (current and future)
- How to estimate the ROI of a kitchen remodel and impact on your home’s value
- How to get started with DIY kitchen renovations, and tips for good smaller projects
- How to manage and complete a kitchen remodel involving contractors
- Great kitchen remodeling examples
How to plan and budget for a kitchen renovation (current and future)
Lowe’s Home Improvement offers a Kitchen Planning Guide in four parts. The Create a Budget section offers a very broad range and orientation to the different levels and features you might consider. They also have a checklist!
For those who really get into this stuff and like to live the examined life, check out KBR Kitchen & Bath’s “9 Ways to Save” guide. It’s got tons of costs and materials. It’s got videos. It’s got infographics. It’s got existential questions about what you really want. Wow.
You’ll find tons of highly quantified and priced-out potential versions of your kitchen in Cliq Studios’ What Does it Cost to Remodel a Kitchen? Understanding Your Renovation Budget. There’s a donut chart of which percentage of your budget should go to what. They lay out a 3-tier model (classic) in two tables—one listing common features included in each remodeling tier, and one with the associated costs per feature.
How to estimate the ROI of a kitchen remodel and impact on your home’s value
There’s lots of research out there—amateur and professional—about this.
Overall, while subjectively many people say that a gleaming, fantastic kitchen can do wonders to sell a home, it’s not as though you’re going to truly profit from the investment.
Instead, the way to approach a kitchen remodel may be to consider it amongst all the other features of your home at the moment. Would a fantastic kitchen tip the place over in a potential buyer’s eyes (or potential future resident’s) from “meh” to a place that’s nourishing and satisfying to live in?
Zillow references tons of data about estimating kitchen remodel ROI. I mean, dang.
- They define midrange and upscale remodels
- They compare costs and returns in different regions of the US (consistent with what the other sources on this list find), talking about which areas statistically get the best and worst ROI
- They supply you with a set of questions to ask, including a comparison of other home improvement projects you could invest your money in to raise your home’s value
- Plus other wisdom
Ramsey Solutions dug around and found an average ROI for a kitchen remodel nationwide is a little over half what you spent on it. You’ll see they also found your renovation investment goes farther when you’re talking about a smaller-scale kitchen upgrade.
A writer for HomeLight found an even more optimistic ROI, and even in the same article, they point out that their 2019 study found on average it doesn’t actually bump up the value of the house very much. However, remember how slippery averages are. It may make a bigger difference if (a) you do a smaller-scale remodel and/or (b) the upgraded kitchen really stands out in comparison to the rest of the house.
Moving.com makes a similar point with slightly more examples, covering “minor mid-range,” “major mid-range,” and “major upscale” kitchen remodel scenarios. Again, they found that the bigger you go in the renovation, the less of your dollar you get back at sale time. And they make a good point about the downside of an underwhelming kitchen.
On the blog of Los Angeles-area kitchen remodeling company Cabinet City, there’s a great, detailed, very practical take on how to estimate ROI on this project. They really dig into a set of individual features and options for materials—including cabinets, countertops/backsplashes, appliances, flooring, and what they call finishing touches. They make the case that kitchens rank very high on buyer priority lists (they cite some stats) And they, too, compare different areas of the US.
And you’ll find some further analysis in this SF Gate article The Impact of Kitchen Remodeling on House Value, including some discussion of the relation of this project to housing market fluctuations.
How to get started with DIY kitchen renovations, and tips for good smaller projects
This post on 20somethingfinance walks you through a truly DIY kitchen renovation that they claim cost under $3,500 total! They outline their five goals that oriented the project, and then break down replacing the countertop, sink, faucet, backsplash, and the 4 major kitchen appliances (!), including what they paid for each line item. It’s a crash course in thrift when it comes to a home kitchen upgrade.
You’ll find a pretty
scrappy resourceful and creative bunch of tips from Designing Vibes, including stuff like re-tiling, DIY woodworking, and a thrifty countertop material.
This sensible-sounding walkthrough from Hunker includes some interesting specific walkthroughs of different features of the kitchen. They take us through your own “needs and wants” (wise!), an exercise and current citations on cost and budgeting, and then the full sequence in which you would do things. In the process, they throw out a few neat tips for everything from countertops to flooring to cabinets.
How to manage and complete a kitchen remodel involving contractors
An incredibly thorough ten-step plan from The Spruce focuses on what to do in which order, and keeps the list of recommended options simple for each decision you have to make.
A fairly detailed yet approachable guide from This Old House gives lots of great tips about inter-personally relating to your contractors, about exactly what to ask and what to expect from them, and literally a “Kitchen Personality Quiz” (5 questions) that is pretty clever about teasing out what general sort of kitchen you might really want. There’s a bunch more in there too about budget, appliances (again simple: five things), and common pitfalls.
Here is a very simple and concise summary version from Lowe’s that lays out 7 steps for the kitchen remodel project as a whole, in the form of a timeline working backward from the completion date. It’s not meant to be a complete guide—it’s more of a reminder checklist.
Consider this thoughtful advice from Virginia Kitchen and Bath that covers planning, budgeting, actual costs, and specific ideas to explore.
This different article from Cliq Studios visually lays out the timeline.
Great kitchen remodeling examples
So does The Home Atlas’s Guide to the Best DIY Budget Kitchen Remodel Ideas.
In a different portion of the Lowe’s guide, there is a strong Ideas and Inspiration section with a ton of sample styles that can get you thinking about what feel, colors, materials, and so on you might want. And they also have a whole Layout and Design section with different common options: one-wall, L-shaped, U-shaped.
And this succinct but accessible list from the DIY Network gives some almost philosophical advice, such as actually reducing the amount of stuff in the kitchen, and intentionally mixing materials.
Hopefully, somewhere in these numerous resources, you’ll find some good guidance for your home kitchen upgrade project.