Kitchen Renovations – Options You Need to Know About!


Deciding and committing to a kitchen renovation is a big decision. Aside from the costs involved, there’s also the time, patience, and hundreds of design considerations and decisions that need to be made before any work can get started. It’s a big job!

The reality of kitchen renovations is very tough going – for any homeowner. And it may not be the best time for you to get started with a full kitchen reno. That’s okay!

Our Founder and Principal Interior Designer – Heather Mastrangeli – was recently interviewed for an article feature and wanted to share her insights based on over 20 years in the design industry.

In this article, we have compiled some cost-effective kitchen upgrades that can be done without the need for a full renovation. We’ll also look at the different material options available, and share our biggest piece of advice when it comes to kitchen renovations!

Let’s explore the Kitchen Renovation Options You Need To Know About.

Sherwin Williams Forever Green paint color

Prioritizing Upgrades

When needing to value engineer or prioritize upgrades for a kitchen renovation, you need to first evaluate where the pain points are. 

For some homeowners, switching hinges to be soft close is a huge upgrade, while for others they need to look at new countertops. Start by replacing items that are broken first and then focus on aesthetic considerations after that. 

Functional adjustments should also be prioritized when planning for a renovation. Phasing a renovation is also a great option to make a project more attainable. A tiled backsplash can easily be added in the future, whereas cabinets can’t be replaced at a different time from the countertop.

Refacing Vs. Replacing Cabinetry

Many of my clients have been surprised at the costs of refacing kitchen cabinetry. Often cabinet refacing costs come in much higher than what most people expect. 

When replacing cabinets, there are many different grade levels of cabinets to select from. 

Ready-to-assemble cabinets (also known as RTA) are often the least expensive, while fully custom cabinets are the most expensive. There are multiple grade levels in between. 

For the purposes of this comparison, we will look at a mid-grade level cabinet. When refacing a mid-grade cabinet, you can expect door replacements to cost between $150 and $200 per door. Painting labor also needs to be accounted for. Painting itself is fairly quick, as the cabinet boxes are sprayed in place, however, the prep work is labor intensive which is where the bulk of the labor costs are recognized. 

All in, cabinet refacing for a medium-sized kitchen may cost between $10,000 and $15,000. Mid-grade cabinets for the same size kitchen would generally be 15%-25% more than resurfacing the cabinets. That being said, these numbers don’t account for additional expenses that need to be absorbed to replace the cabinets. When replacing cabinets, often a dumpster rental is required, labor is required to remove the existing cabinets, existing countertops, existing backsplash, any existing under-cabinet lighting, and also perform any floor repair if needed. Then the new cabinets need to be installed, a new countertop, new backsplash, and new under-cabinet lighting (if using). 

When replacing a countertop, typically a new sink and new faucet are selected and purchased as well. These additional expenses add up quickly and also cause the renovation to increase dramatically in timeline. 

Realistically, refacing cabinets costs 25%-30% of what an entire replacement would cost once all the costs are factored in.

Talking About Cabinets…

We are delighted to now be able to offer an exclusive line of custom cabinets! They are extremely durable and available in a wide variety of design styles and colors. The level of customization means we’re able to design and deliver kitchen cabinets and bathroom vanity units better than ever before!

We also carry a wonderful stock cabinet line that’s available RTA or can be assembled in the factory, as well as a great semi-custom cabinet line. As an added bonus, we also carry an outdoor cabinet line which is great for outdoor kitchens, pool bathrooms, and garages! We have carefully curated our offering to be able to meet various budget and durability levels for our clients! 

Contact us today to discuss your kitchen design or cabinet requirements.

Cost Effective Material Choices

Lower cost and budget friendly materials have come a long way in recent years. 

When renovating on a budget, I recommend looking at LVT (Luxury Vinyl Tile) or LVP (Luxury Vinyl Plank) flooring. Luxury vinyl is the replacement for what laminate used to be and is very durable. An image is printed on the material and coated in a wear layer. Luxury Vinyl is often waterproof and available in many different colors and patterns. Some even look like wood flooring! 

Luxury Vinyl is available in different thicknesses and installation methods. Some click together, while others glue down. Some varieties have an underlayment attached as well. I recommend paying slightly more for the material that clicks together with an underlayment attached in most cases because it reduces the installation pricing dramatically and saves on the overall cost of the renovation.

Similarly, countertop options have come a long way too. 

The least expensive countertop options will be butcherblock or laminate. Butcher block is a wood material that is prone to showing character over the years. Expect to see wear and be sure to wipe up water quickly so it doesn’t permeate the surface. Laminate is also cost effective. Laminate printing technology has improved over the years and stunning designs are available now!

Quartz is highly durable as well and comes in different grade levels. Many people see quartz at a big box store and think it’s out of reach. However, there are lower cost quartz options available, often from a local fabricator, that will save money and offer great durability. This will lead to a higher first time cost, but lower lifecycle cost.

Backsplash materials that are less expensive include subway tile, porcelain tile, and ceramic tile.

These are all great ideas for upgrading your kitchen without the need for a full renovation or remodel.

Our No.1 Piece of Advice

The biggest piece of advice for people considering a kitchen renovation or remodel would be to have the design completed before engaging a contractor for a labor quote. 

This is absolutely critical. 

When a homeowner requests labor pricing based on a vague description of the work, there are many details that need to be assumed for the contractor to provide a price. They will often make assumptions, but those assumptions won’t necessarily align with what the homeowner desires. 

In these circumstances, costs due to change orders or unforeseen circumstances often cause the project to go over budget by as much as 20%-40%!

When requesting labor pricing based on a completed design, guess work is eliminated for the contractor. They will have a clear understanding of what the project scope requires and their labor pricing will be more accurate. 

In these cases, most projects fall within the estimated amount or within 10%. A little preparation goes a very long way in ensuring the costs are controlled and the end result is exactly what you want.

Personalize Your Space

Would you like a professional interior designer to pull your space together? Contact us for in person interior design services in the Chicagoland area or virtual interior design services anywhere in the world.