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5 Things to know before you attempt a kitchen renovation

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If you sometimes have trouble deciding what to make for dinner, a kitchen renovation can feel paralyzing. But listen up: It doesn’t really matter much which backsplash tiles or tap you choose. As long as you get the big stuff right, you’ll be thrilled with your new kitchen.

These five rules will help you get the best result at the right price.

1. Keep your outlay in sync with your home

To avoid over-improving, it’s a good idea to cap your kitchen renovation budget at 15% of your home’s value. For budgeting purposes, figure about 30% on cabinets; 14% on appliances; 10% on counter tops; 5% on lighting; 4% on plumbing fixtures; 2% to 3% on paint; 1% to 2% on tiles, and 35% on construction costs, such as windows, flooring, and labour.

2. It pays to pay for your design

There’s no such thing as a free lunch—or a free plan for renovating the place where you prepare lunch. While the designers at home centres, kitchen stores, and cabinet shops won’t charge you a fee, they aren’t working for free. Their paycheques come from the retailer or manufacturers of the products they’re selling, which limits your choices. What’s more, in-store designers, especially those working at home centres, tend to be relatively inexperienced with actual renovation work.

Since your project will only be as good as its design, skip the freebies and hire a qualified designer without any conflicts of interest. Expect to pay 3 to 10 % of your project costs for design—a fair price for a design that really works.

3. You can expand the kitchen without busting the budget

Unless your house was built within the last few decades, your kitchen is almost certainly undersized. If you’re doing a major renovation (in other words, tearing things out and starting over), now is the time to expand the kitchen; here’s how to do it affordably.

  • Steal space. By repurposing square footage from an adjacent hallway or a no-longer-needed chimney, closet, or patio, you can expand your kitchen at perhaps half the per-square-foot costs of an addition. Exactly how much you’ll pay depends on the project and location, but you’ll probably pay a whole lot less for a renovation than you would for building new.
  • Open the floor plan. Even if you don’t expand the kitchen at all, you can make it feel much bigger by taking down a wall and creating an open floor plan between the kitchen and adjacent dining, family, or living room.
  • Bump out. If you need to expand, you may be able to add a two-foot extension along one whole side of the kitchen by hanging it off the house like a bay window rather than putting it on a foundation. That could save you several thousand rand compared with a full-fledged addition.

4. To cut costs, hold on to what works

You can slash the price tag for any kitchen renovation by limiting how much of the old kitchen you replace. Keeping original windows is a great way to save costs. Keeping the original wood floor hiding underneath all of those layers of linoleum and vinyl could also save you money. And simply keeping the plumbing fixtures and appliances in the same locations likely means you can reuse existing plumbing, saving you money too.

5. Stay skin deep if you’re moving anytime soon

If you expect to put your house on the market within a decade, skip the expensive renovation and go for a cosmetic upgrade instead. You can have old cabinets painted for refaced with a new wood veneer and new doors and drawer fronts made. New taps and fresh cabinet hardware are great ways to upgrade; and even replacing Formica counter tops with granite is a great idea.


Whatever your renovation job, big or small, we’ve got all the tools to craft you the upgrade or the rebuild of your dreams. Contact us for an obligation free quotation.

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