How much does a kitchen renovation cost?

It's official, kitchens are the most renovated rooms in Australian homes - according to the 2019 Houzz & Home Renovations Trends Study, with more than a quarter of us remodelling the heart of the home last year.

Kitchens are also the most expensive room to renovate, with most people spending in the region of $20,000 to makeover a medium to larger kitchen. You can spend as little as $5,000, but this will only buy you a superficial, cosmetic makeover, or if you have the budget splurge $45,000 or more on a custom kitchen with all the bells and whistles.

Let's start by taking an in depth look at what costs you can expect to outlay, and what you get for your money.  

What's the average cost to renovate a kitchen?

kitchen makeovers
A standard kitchen renovation can cost anywhere between $15,000 and $40,000.

Here's our handy kitchen renovation costs breakdown to get an idea of what budget tier your project is likely to be in.

What's the cost of a budget or small kitchen renovation?

A budget or small kitchen renovation costs anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000. For an entry level budget you can expect to renovate a small kitchen by resurfacing cabinetry or replacing your existing cabinetry with a flat pack laminate finish, a tile splashback and a laminate benchtop.

For your flooring browse options in vinyl and laminate coverings, and entry level appliance brands.

Need help? Hire a handyman or individual tradespeople to help you get it all done.

What's the cost of a standard kitchen renovation?

A standard kitchen renovation costs anywhere from $15,000 to $40,000, with the median overall spend currently sitting at $20,000.

For this budget range you can expect to choose engineered stone benchtops, polyurethane cabinetry and a glass splashback. Mid-range flooring options include hardwood timber or large format tiles, as well as appliances from some big brands with more features and a choice of finishes.

"Mid-range flooring options include hardwood timber or large format tiles, as well as appliances from some big brands..."

You should be able to hire a dedicated kitchen builder, though you will need to keep a close eye on your budget.

What's the cost of a premium or luxury kitchen renovation?

A premium or luxury kitchen renovation can cost in excess of $45,000+. If budget is not a limiting factor or you want the very best, then you can expect to choose premium engineered stone or natural stone benchtops, polyurethane fronted cabinets and a glass or premium tile splashback.

You also get to select premium appliances with all the bells and whistles, including ovens with a multitude of cooking programs, internet connected fridge/freezers and natural hardwood floor or premium tiles.

You will also be able to hire a dedicated kitchen builder capable of building you a custom kitchen as per your preferences.

Kitchen styles, fittings and fixtures - how do they influence the cost of a kitchen renovation?

average cost to renovate a kitchen
The type of fittings, fixtures and materials you choose for your renovation can have a major impact on costs | Source: idea. | Pinterest

As you can see, the type and style of fittings, fixtures and materials you choose for your kitchen makeover can have a major impact on your overall budget.

The most obvious example are your kitchen appliances. Using our three tier system:

  • An oven could cost anywhere from $380 (budget), $700 (standard) and $2000+ (premium).
  • A dishwasher could cost anywhere from $400 (budget), $800 (standard) and $1400 (premium)
  • A kitchen sink could cost anywhere from $200 (budget), $800 (standard) and $1400 (premium).

Another area where there is a wide range in price is in kitchen benchtop materials, with laminate the budget option, engineered stone the mid-range and natural stone or premium engineered stone at the top end.

Use a spreadsheet or estimating software to help you get a handle on all your costs. From here you can get an idea of your overall budget, and where you may need to compromise or where you can splurge!

You also need a team of people to help you make it all happen.

What tradespeople will I need for a kitchen renovation?

When it comes to hiring tradespeople for your kitchen reno, you have a couple of options open to you.

The first is to hire a dedicated kitchen builder. The pros of this is that they manage the whole kaboodle for you, so you don't have to worry about sourcing each individual tradesperson.

This is the way to go if you want a custom kitchen built to your specifications and are less concerned with your budget and/or are time poor. It also makes sense if you are gutting your existing kitchen and replacing everything.

The downside is that this is likely to cost you more. The kitchen builder is likely to use sub contractors for some aspects of your project - like the electrician and plumber, so you have no control of what they charge or cost.

Keep in mind, however, you'll get the benefit of their expertise - so if they specialise in kitchen renovations they should know what they are doing.

"If you are only doing a cosmetic kitchen renovation, you may only have to hire a few tradies."

The second option is to source the individual trades yourself. This is perfectly feasible and what many people, including expert house flipper, Alex Simmons, do - it just takes a little bit more effort and time. If you are only doing a cosmetic kitchen renovation, you may only have to hire a few tradies, which is quite manageable.

In terms of what tradespeople to shortlist for a kitchen renovation, depending on the scale of your project expect to hire a:

  • Cabinet maker or carpenter to make or erect kitchen cabinetry, who cost from $50+/hour
  • Electrician to wire and connect all appliances and lighting, who cost from $75+/hour
  • Plumber to connect sink, tapware, dishwasher and appliances, who cost from $80+/hour
  • Tiler to install flooring and/or splashback, who cost from $45+/hour
  • Painter to put the finishing touches to the room, who cost from $42+/hour

The first thing you should do when you find a tradesmen you're interested in hiring is check that they have a current license on Licence Hero, or check with your state or local government authority. For example, in New South Wales you can use Service NSW to check a tradeperson's license.

How can you renovate a kitchen on a budget?

cost of kitchen renovations
Resurfacing your kitchen cabinets can help to reduce costs | Photo by Mikael Cho on Unsplash

Even though some people tend to spend a lot on renovating their kitchen doesn't mean you have to! Thankfully there are ways to save and get more bang for your buck. Try these expert approved, budget beating tips, starting with:

  • Keeping your plumbing - kitchen sink, dishwasher - where it is. Moving it is expensive, so this can help you eliminate a major expense from the get go.
  • Buying in bulk to get a discount. This applies to materials like floor and wall tiles or flooring.
  • Coordinating all your tradespeople so they work in a logical way. This avoids delays and ensures you only pay for them being productive, and they finish your project on time.
  • Resurface or respray your kitchen cabinetry a different colour, for a fresh look and feel - at a fraction of the cost of a new install.
  • Buy carton damaged or refurbished appliances for a major discount, just make sure they have a warranty.

How much should you spend on a kitchen renovation if you're selling your home?

It is all too easy to get carried away when you renovate - especially when you visit a showroom and there are a tempting array of shiny appliances or must-have fixtures and fittings.

"Cherie Barber advises spending no more than 10 percent of your property value on a cosmetic renovation."

If you are selling your home or an investment property you need to be really budget savvy and cost conscious, because every penny you spend is effectively less profit when it comes time to sell.

Cherie Barber, Australia's very own renovating for profit queen advises spending no more than 10 percent of your property value on a cosmetic renovation. Her golden budgeting rule for a kitchen renovation is 2 percent of your property's value, with an emphasis on making it a functional and practical space.

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