How Much Does It Cost to Remodel a Kitchen?

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How Much Does It Cost to Remodel a Kitchen?

Recently, while visiting a client regarding a kitchen remodel in Mission Viejo, California, she asked me “How much does it cost to remodel a kitchen?”  She also asked if there was a difference in both cost and work between remodeling a kitchen and updating a kitchen.  I said “yes.”

  • The cost to remodel a kitchen averages $400 to $850+ per square foot.

  • Kitchen Facelifts average $200 to $300 per square foot.

The total expense depends on:

  • The size and layout of the space
  • Amount of work being performed
  • Quality of materials
  • Appliances selected
  • Whether you change the layout and size of the kitchen

How Much Does It Cost To Remodel A Kitchen?

How much does it cost to remodel a kitchen?

First, it’s important to decide what you are really looking for, a kitchen remodel or a kitchen facelift. 

There is a big difference between the two.  Many consumers become frustrated when looking for a kitchen remodeler because they don’t know there is a difference.  A kitchen remodeling contractor’s infrastructure, tooling, materials, overhead, skill, and processes differ greatly from that of a contractor who performs kitchen facelifts.

A contractor who performs kitchen remodels will seem expensive compared to a kitchen facelift contractor, who has much lower overhead, expense structures, and skill levels.  Can a contractor perform both kitchen remodels and facelifts?  Sure, but I’ve rarely heard of anyone being happy with the results.

Second, understand the math.

How much does it cost to remodel a kitchen?The lower the square footage, the higher the per square foot cost.  For example, if a kitchen is 100 square feet and you replaced the cabinets with new $10,000 cabinets, the cost is $100 per square foot ($10,000÷100).  If the square feet were 200, the cost per square foot is $50 ($10,000÷200).  The price of the cabinets did not change, only the square footage changed.  Understanding this is extremely important in understanding kitchen remodel pricing.  The inverse is also critical to understand. What’s the inverse?  Instead of installing $10,000 cabinets in that 100 square foot kitchen, install $5,000 cabinets.  Now the cost is $50 per square foot ($5,000÷100) – a $50 or 50% reduction.

If a person or advertisement illustrates a full price to remodel a kitchen or simply wordsmiths (skillfully uses words but provides little in the way of details), be very critical of that.  In other words, what exactly are you getting for that price?

Third, size does not matter.

What matters is what’s inside.  Why does your 100 square foot kitchen cost more to remodel than your neighbors 100 square foot kitchen – or more than some average on the internet?  It’s what’s inside.  Even if they have the identical layout, the price can be dramatically different.  All due to the amount of work performed and the quality and type of materials used.  Think of it this way.  Two cars, both from the same manufacturer and are the same year, make, model, color and style.  Why does one cost $10,000 more?  Because the one costing more has every option offered inside the car.  Taking it a step further, once inside the car you notice how amazing the sound system is.  Can you see why it sounds so great?  No, you can’t – it’s all behind the walls – but it sure sounds amazing!

How Much Does It Cost to Remodel A Kitchen?  Let’s talk about the differences.

How much does it cost to remodel a kitchen?Kitchen Remodel:

Remove and discard all cabinets, countertops, backsplashes, appliances, sink, faucet, disposal, plumbing p-traps and water supply lines, lighting, electrical outlets and switches, center florescent light box is removed along with the drop ceiling (as applicable), flooring, drywall, and insulation.  May also include the removal, replacement, or relocation of windows, doors, walls, ceilings, entrances/exits/openings, and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) ducting and registers.  A kitchen remodel can also include adding room to the kitchen by using other areas from inside the home or by adding an outside addition.

Plans and city building department permits and inspections are required for a kitchen remodel.

How much does it cost to remodel a kitchen?The cost for a kitchen remodel varies greatly.  Honestly, it’s entirely up to the client how much they want to spend.  In my 45 years performing remodels, I’ve never seen any 2 kitchens that look alike.  Moreover, I’ve never seen kitchens have similar characteristics or pricing.  The kitchen is a very personal space. Everyone has very specific ideas on how they want their kitchen designed and constructed.

Quality and durability are big factors in kitchen pricing.

But the price!  OK, so I’ll give you the best and most honest answer there is, and that’s a square foot price range.  The average range for a full kitchen remodel is $400 to $850+ per square foot.

In a Kitchen Remodel, What Goes Back?

All new cabinets with accessories and convenience items, granite or quartz for your countertops, tile or stone backsplashes (typically with an accent liner), large undermount sink, faucet, disposal, air switch, dishwasher air cap, refrigerator water/ice maker box, upgraded appliances, tile or wood flooring, upgraded Decora (paddle) style electrical switches and TR/AFCI and TR/GFCI outlets and locations (required every 4’ on counter spaces and at least 1 outlet on an island), new dimmers (can be Smart/Wi-Fi type), added and/or corrected appliance circuits (for example, a microwave must be on its own dedicated 20 amp circuit), LED recess lighting, pendant lighting, under cabinet LED accent/countertop lighting, insulation (saves you money on your heating and cooling bills), drywall, and paint.  This could also include enlarging the current kitchen space along with new windows, doors, walls and entrances.  Converting the electric stove to a gas stove is also an option where applicable.

Kitchen with wood cabinets, quartz counter tops, wood floor, recess lightsKitchen Facelift:

Reface, paint, or refinish existing cabinets, new countertops (today, these are typically placed over the existing countertop) with a 4” matching backsplash, drop-in sink, faucet, new electrical TR/AFCI and TR/GFCI outlets, new switches, existing appliances typically remain but can be replaced (there are limitations), and paint.  Depending on how the kitchen transitions to other parts of the house, new tile or laminate flooring is installed.  In some instances, the florescent lights inside the recessed ceiling box are removed.  Then, four to six LED retrofit recess lights are installed inside the existing space.

Plans and city building department permits and inspections are required for a kitchen facelift.

The average cost for a kitchen facelift is generally between $200 and $300 per square foot.

I hope this helps answer the question “How much does it cost to remodel a kitchen?”

Always Hire a Reliable and Dependable Contractor to Remodel your Kitchen

Design Build Bathroom Remodel | Best Local Contractor DAD's ConstructionAlways work with a trustworthy contractor like DAD’s Construction.  We are experts in Kitchen Remodeling who can manage projects in an efficient manner.  DAD’s Construction will do everything to minimize the possibility of change orders.  Our team will make sure we have all the necessary information to prepare a proposal that meets your requirements.  Rest assured that we will provide you with a detailed, by line-item contract.  We will make sure that the contents of this agreement are properly and clearly communicated to you.  If you have questions or need updates regarding your project, we will always answer your inquiries.

How Can I Receive More Information on Kitchen Remodeling?

If you would like more information on enjoying the best bathroom, kitchen, and interior remodeling experience in Orange County, call Dan at (949) 380-0177 or at for a free in home consultation.  DAD’s serves all of South Orange County California.  This includes Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Foothill Ranch, Portola Hills, Ladera Ranch, Irvine, San Clemente, Dana Point, San Juan Capistrano, Rancho Santa Margarita, Coto de Caza, Dove Canyon, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Hills, Newport Beach, and Aliso Viejo.

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Daniel A. Derkum is the owner of DAD’s Construction, a leading South Orange County, California design-and-build remodeling and renovation contractor,  © DAD’s Home Services & Construction, Inc.  All Rights Reserved.

This article was updated on February 28, 2022