Small Kitchen Remodel Cost Guide

Is the kitchen in your apartment begging for a facelift?

From new cabinets, countertops and flooring to a pretty backsplash, appliances, lighting and other small items, a kitchen remodel can be as small or big as your imagination and budget allow.

The burning question on your mind is likely: how much will it cost to remodel my kitchen?

Here is an in-depth look at kitchen remodeling costs, factors that make a big difference on the final price, and tips on saving money, without sacrificing quality.

We will cover the following topics:

1. Average cost to remodel a small kitchen
2. Kitchen Cabinets Cost
3. Countertops Cost
4. Backsplash Installation Cost
5. Flooring Cost
6. Painting Cost
7. Appliances Cost
8. Kitchen and Sink Costs
9. Hidden Kitchen Remodeling Costs
10. Hiring the Right Contractor
11. Factors that Impact the Final Price

Also check out our 3 Must-have gadgets for your kitchen

What Is the Average Cost to Remodel a Small Kitchen?

Small Modern Kitchen with Dark Cabinets

A kitchen remodel can range from just a small update, such as repainting walls and putting a backsplash, to a complete makeover, which includes big ticket items such as new cabinets, countertops and flooring.

Examples of Great BackSplash tiles:

Peel & Impress Adhesive Vinyl Wall Tiles - $23 – Peel & Impress Adhesive Vinyl Wall Tiles – $23 + free shipping

All the style of ceramic/stone/glass tiles at half the retail price
Easy application with no experience required
Flexible and humidity resistant. Quick and easy decor updates.
Backsplashes, kitchen Island walls, bathroom backsplashes, bedroom walls, laundry rooms etc.
Color palette: white, silver, black, and gray

Modern Long Sticks (black and brown) backsplash tile - $17.69 $17.69 + free shipping

Comes with 4 individual 10.5 inch x 10.5 inch self-adhesive tiles per pack
Easy to apply – just peel & stick
Decorate, protect and create
Dimensional finish for a real tile look. No grout needed
Each pack of 4 covers approximately 2.89 square feet

Marble Adhesive Backsplash tile - $8 Marble Adhesive Backsplash tile – $7.99 + free shipping

Self Adhesive Vinyl
Can be applied to the majority of flat surfaces
Ideal for covering shelves and drawers
Quick and economical solution to freshening up surfaces
Comes on a 17.7″ x 78.7″ roll

The good news is that small kitchen renovations can cost at least 30% less than large kitchens in single family homes.

Depending on what you have in mind, you can expect to spend an average of $5,000-15,000

If you are wondering where your money will go, according research by the National Kitchen and Bath Association, the average cost break down is this:

Design fees: 4%
Installation: 17%
Appliances and ventilation: 14%
Cabinetry and hardware: 29%
Countertops: 10%
Lighting: 5%
Flooring: 7%
Doors and windows: 4%
Walls and ceilings: 5%
Faucets and plumbing: 4%
Other: 1%

Kitchen Cabinets Cost

Cabinets in a Small Kitchen (1)

Cabinets are the heart of a kitchen, so if your are completely dated, it might be time to replace them. It turns out that cabinets are also the most expensive item of a kitchen remodel, costing 30-50% of the total budget! If you want new cabinets without breaking the bank consider refacing or refinishing options.

Here is a break down of how much you can expect to pay for different cabinets:

Stock cabinets: range from 6 to 42 inches wide, in 3-inch increments $75-$400 per linear foot. Readily available as they are already pre made. Most affordable new cabinets option
Semi-Custom Cabinets: same size as stock cabinets $150-1,000 per linear foot. Extra cost allows you to order these cabinets detailed, including resizing drawers and door fronts; increasing or decreasing cabinet depth.
Custom Cabinets:designed, built and installed to fit your space $500-1,500 per linear foot. Add any bells and whistles you want: exotic wood, ornate wood work, period details, etc.
Refaced cabinets $4,600-9,200 total Old cabinet doors, doorfronts and hardware are removed. New elements are installed with a new wood veneer matching the rest of the cabinet
Refinished cabinets $1,500-3,500 total Cabinets doors and drawer fronts are removed, sanded down and stained to achieve a fresh look.

Kitchen Countertops Cost

Countertops in a Small Kitchen

Countertops are a major feature in any kitchen, and they are typically the first to be noticed. This means that if you want to replace your countertops, you should focus on both functionality and style. If you cook and entertain a lot in your kitchen, you will want a durable, low-maintenance material that will last.

Here is a breakdown of how much you can expect to pay for different countertop materials:

Recycled Glass $50 – $80 per sq. ft. Durable; heat and stain resistance; easy to clean Susceptible to scratches and chips
Paper Composite $90 – $130 per sq. ft Easy to clean and durable Susceptible to stains and scratches
Laminate $1,200 – $2,000 Easy to clean; heat, stain and scratch resistant Can be damaged by hot pans and sharp objects.
Solid Surface (Formica, Corian, Wilsonart, Avonite) $1,500 – $3,000 Scratch resistant; eco-friendly renewable material Susceptible to high heat and stains
Tile $1,000 – $4,000 Easy to DIY installation, easy to clean Susceptible to scratches and chips
Bamboo $2,000 – $3,000 Easy to clean; eco-friendly renewable material Susceptible to scratches and burns
Concrete $2,600 – $5,300 Highly durable; heat and stain resistance Regular maintenance is required
Wood $2,000 – $7,000 Durable and long lasting. Resistant to scratches and burns Expands and contracts with extreme temperature fluctuations
Metal $2,000 – $7,000 Highly durable; heat and stain resistance Susceptible to scratches
Stone (Granite, Marble, Soapstone, Quartz) $4,000 – $7,000 Highly durable; heat and stain resistance; easy to clean Regular maintenance is required; need to be re-sealed every couple of years

Kitchen Backsplash Cost

Kitchen Tile Backsplash

If you want to make a quick and fairly inexpensive update with a big visual impact, installing a new kitchen backsplash is the way to go! Interestingly, in terms of price/sq.ft. backsplash installation is one of the more expensive items, but because the total sq.ft. is small, the total cost of the project will be less than any of the big ticket items.

There are many backsplash tile materials to choose from, budget to high-end. You can expect to spend anywhere from $2.00-25.00/sq.ft. on the tile itself. Ceramic and porcelain tile are the most economic options, whereas art glass, mosaic and stone tile, such as marble will be a lot more expensive.

Depending on the size of the job, complexity of the tile pattern you want, and ease of access, you can expect to pay an average of 8.00-20.00/sq.ft for labor. Alternatively, installing a backsplash may be a fun DIY project; you can create something unique and save money along the way.

Flooring Cost

Kitchen Floor Tile

A new floor is another costly item, but it can really transform the overall look and feel of your kitchen. The material you choose the and total square footage you need covered will determine the final cost. Keep in mind that usually more expensive, high-end flooring options require more care and maintenance than their more budget-friendly counterparts.

When you consider the many natural and man-made flooring materials available, focus on the ones that will best meet your personal needs. Thinking about the following questions will help you pick the right flooring:

1.Is your kitchen a high traffic area?
2. How much maintenance or cleaning are you willing to do?
3.Do you have kids and/or animals in the apartment that can scratch or dent the floor?
4. Are there typically a lot of spills and other moisture on your kitchen floor?

Here is a rundown of the most popular flooring materials, typically installed in kitchens:

$1.00 – 7.00 / sq.ft Durable, easy to clean, comfortable to walk on. Moisture resistant in sheet form. In tile form, moisture can seep through the seams between tiles. Difficult to repair. Cheaper grades can quickly loose color.
$3.00 – 7.00 / sq.ft. Stain resistant, easy to clean and maintain. Available in many colors and patterns Can be scratched, top layer can start to peel off, cannot be refinished.
$2.00 – 9.00 / sq.ft More durable than vinyl. Color extends through entire material. Can be cut to create interesting patterns. Cannot be left wet. Needs to be resealed every year.
$4.00 – 9.00 / sq.ft Stain, moisture and mildew resistant. Easy to clean. Contemporary look Wax finish needs to be resealed every 7 years.
$4.00 – 12.00 / sq.ft Durable, water and stain resistant. Wide range of colors and textures Difficult to clean grout lines. Tile may chip or break.
$4.00 – 18.00 / sq.ft Very durable stain and protective finishes, shrinks and expands less than solid wood Off-brands are much lower quality, typically can only be refinished 1-2 times
$6.00 – 15.00 / sq.ft Long lasting, resists wear and can be refinished. Offers a warm look and feel. Susceptible to moisture, finishes may darken with age. Softer wood grades may dent upon impact. Can shrink, expand, warp.
$8.00 – 40.00 / sq.ft Extremely durable and long lasting. Offers a classic, timeless and luxurious aesthetic Needs to be sealed, difficult to repair. Darker stones will show stains and footprints. Marble and limestone are susceptible to moisture

Painting Costs

Green Walls in a Small Kitchen

Repainting your kitchen can be one of the quickest and cost effective ways to freshen up the overall look and feel. You can save considerable money if you are willing to DIY the job. If you are painting yourself, a 12×12 room will cost you an average of $200-400. On the other hand, hiring a contractor will cost an average of $1.5-3.00/sq.ft (labor only).

Material Cost
Paint: flat, semi-gloss, gloss $8.00-50.00 / gallon depending on quality and brand
Primer $8.00 – 10.00 / gallon
Other supplies (brushes, rollers, trays, drapes, drop cloth, etc) $35.00 – 60.00 total

Appliances Cost

Kitchen Appliances

Your brand new kitchen may call for new appliances. To avoid wasting money and electricity, be sure to get appliances that carry a green Energy Star sticker, which means that they have optimal energy-efficiency.

Typically, new appliances include: a stove, refrigerator, dishwasher, range.

Here is what you can expect to spend on appliances (table below). Don’t forget to budget for appliance installation cost, which runs $150-500 per appliance. Installing a vent hood will also cost around $200-500 for labor. If you are planning to install a range, budget for around $560 – 1,030 for labor.

Budget/ Outlet Appliances $200 – 2,000
Energy Star Appliances $350 – 3,500
High-end, Store Bought Appliances $400 – 5,000
Custom build-in appliances (may involve structural changes to your kitchen) $1,000 – 10,000

Kitchen Sink and Faucet Cost

Modern Kitchen Double Sink

Installing a new sink and faucet is one of the most functional updates you can do in your kitchen. There are many sink materials and designs to choose from, but its best to stay away from fads. For example 3-4 years ago, the everyone was obsessed with apron/farm sinks, but they are not nearly as popular today. Its best to go for a timeless classic, such as an undermount stainless steel sink. If you cook a lot, your efficiency will greatly increase with a double sink.

Depending on the material and brand you choose, you can expect to spend $250-3,000 for the sink. Don’t forget to calculate the cost of installation: $180-350. However, if you need to move the sink to an entirely different location in your kitchen, this will be very expensive: plan to spend at least $3,000 on this job.

You can get a good quality faucet for $200-300, but if you want to splurge, specialty and designer faucets, such as those made by MGS sell for well over $1,000

Finally, installing a waste disposal will cost an average of $280-500

Hidden Remodeling Costs

White Modern Kitchen

When you are budgeting for your remodel, its important to keep in mind that there will be hidden and unexpected costs, that were not obvious in the beginning of the project. Its important to have an extra 5-8% of the total projected cost stashed away to cover these unexpected costs when the time comes. The worst thing that can happen is being stuck with a kitchen that is 80% finished because you ran out of cash.

Here is a rundown of some of the potential hidden costs:

Plumbing: install additional pipes $1,100 and up
Upgrade electrical board to accomodate new fridge or over $1,000 and up
Install a Duct (requires hiring an HVAC contractor) $6.80 – 12.10 / Ln.Ft.
Repair Drywall $150-250
Replace outdated electric outlets $175 – 200
Install can lighting $125 – 240
Install under-cabinet lighting $70 – 120
Install trim molding $3.20 – 5.60 / Ln.Ft.
Demolition of existing floor or wall tile $0.95 – $1.45 / Sq. Ft.
Replace old/broken sub-flooring (requires hiring a carpenter) $90 – 135 (for around three hours of labor billed at a rate of $30 – 45 / hr
Remove waste material (dumpster fee) $150

Hiring the Right Contractor

Kitchen Cabinet Install

One of the factors that will determine your overall satisfaction with the new kitchen is the quality of installation and labor. Even the most expensive materials and appliances will not last long if they are not installed by a highly skilled contractor. Its best not to try to squeeze every penny out of labor costs, and hire a licensed pro.

To find the best deal, be sure to get at least 3-4 estimates from different contractors. Steer away from contractors that bid too low or too high for the job. Typically, small to midsize companies will be able to offer a good price without compromising quality. If you go through a big box office store, like Lowe’s or Home Depot you will have an extra level of protection against faulty installation, but their sub-contractors will charge at least 20% more than independent companies. Lastly, if you want a good deal, try to schedule your remodel for sometime after the winter holidays and before late spring/summer. This is usually the least busiest time for most contractors, they are actively looking for work, and might be willing to give you a decent discount.

Factors that Impact the Final Price

Small Kitchen with Brick Kitchen island

Every kitchen remodel is as unqiue as the homeowner. That is why there is a wide range of factors that impacts the final cost. However, some of the most common factors are as follows:

1. Expect to pay significantly more for labor if you live in a high income area, such as San Francisco vs. Kansas city. High real estate prices in an area always jack up local contractor rates.

2. Specialty materials are more difficult to install and require specialty tools and experience. This will drive up installation cost.

3. Your apartment’s and kitchen’s accessibility will impact the final price.

4. Designer and famous brand products and materials will cost significantly more, sometimes more than 50% the cost of average materials. However, the quality may not necessarily be better. If your budget is tight, do your research to figure out if an item you want is worth splurging on, or a more reasonably priced alternative will be equally good.

5.You can realize significant savings if you are willing to purchase all materials yourself vs. asking your contractors to do it. DIYing some of the tasks can save you 25-30% off the total remodel cost.


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