Your kitchen is the lifeblood of your home, both in terms of functionality and value. It is the one room in the house that all guests, family members, realtors and potential homebuyers agree is the focal point of your home.

The room that houses the nourishment also holds the key to the overall value of your home. A new kitchen or kitchen renovation is the number one investment you can make in your home. It instantly provides a higher resale value.

But what is a proper project amount in relation to your home’s present value? In other words, how much is enough to make sure your investment pays off or gives you aesthetically what you need in functionality?

That depends on many factors, most of which pertain to your individual taste. Are you cabinets stock, semi- custom, or custom? Are your appliances standard or professional grade? What type of countertops do you prefer, laminate or stone? What special options or accessories would make your life easier: appliance garages to declutter? And finally, what types of materials do you desire to use in construction: stone, tile or wood floors?

Canyon Creek Coronado

Canyon Creek Coronado

There’s a lot to consider, but there are a few general rules when budgeting for a kitchen project. Among the factors to consider are the age of your home, the current value of the house, and your anticipated longevity in the house. Obviously, your finances drive the boat, but remember the effects a major investment project will have if you plan on selling in a few years. Spending too much can risk you not getting back your full investment. Spending to little may actually lower the resale value of your home if potential buyers compare your kitchen with other homes in the same price range. However, if you’ve decided that you’re a “lifer” in your present home, then spending whatever it takes to get the job done is extremely reasonable.

Canyon Creek with Shaker style inset

The 5% to 15% rule is the standard tool used to help homeowners determine a proper budget on a major kitchen project. The entire kitchen project (cabinets, appliances, countertops, flooring, lighting, trim, moldings, and wall coverings) should cost no less than 5% and no more than 15% of the current value of your home (with 50% of the total cost allocated to cabinets). High- end for a slightly higher percentage because it deems custom features (such as a butler’s pantry, custom cabinetry, extensive wood moldings, granite/ stone counters, etc.) a definite cost increase. Even at the high- end, there are limits. The total cost of a high- end kitchen project should not exceed 20% of the current home value.

Many of the medium sized kitchens we design and build consist of 24 to 34 handles (drawers and doors), are an “L” shape or “U” shape design and use semi-custom cabinetry in natural or painted wood with a few special treatments.  The cabinetry runs $20-$34,000.  These homeowners opt for mid-priced granite with more character or “movement” in the natural stone to give their kitchen pizazz, and coordinate a tiled backsplash with the granite.  Mid-priced undermount sinks such as Blanco’s Silgranit (80% granite) or their stainless sinks, plus a nice Moen high arc pulldown sprayer faucet combined with around 55 square feet of granite will bring most to $3,400 – $4,000.  Add the plumber, electrician and cabinet installer and your whole project can run $32,000 – $50,000.

Choosing more features with your semi-custom cabinetry, or selecting inset doors or custom cabinetry can bring the project into a higher category, but not always.  Knowing where to buy, when to buy is key and your professional kitchen designer knows where to find the specials, sales and promotions for you. 

With so many choices and options available, where do you possibly start the ball rolling on a kitchen project? The simple answer is a kitchen expert. The large retail stores are most often component sellers without expert training in design or construction. You need an expert who tackles each and every detail from concepts and designs, to installation.

As stated before, cabinetry plays a major role in the kitchen, so make sure your kitchen expert has the ability to show you choices in every grade from builder/stock cabinets to completely custom cabinetry. Custom cabinets tend to be the best quality products so your custom contractor/ designer can mold your personal taste into a reality, and then properly install your new kitchen.  Bringing your dream kitchen to life just the way you imagined.