Kitchens are often considered the hub of the home, so it’s not surprising many homeowners see the kitchen as the space they most want to renovate and modernize. Kitchens are generally a reasonably straightforward project to renovate, as long as you’re prepared with some research, a scope and budget, and you find and hire a quality contractor who shares your vision. Kitchen remodels are not inexpensive, so it’s worth understanding what you can expect to spend on each component.
Here at GreatBuildz, a free service that connects homeowners in Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura & San Diego with reliable general contractors, we speak to homeowners every day about average kitchen remodel renovation costs – here is some info & tips to get you started.
How much does a kitchen remodel cost in Los Angeles and Southern California?
In Los Angeles, the average kitchen remodel cost is between $50,000-$70,000 depending on the size, choice of materials, scope, etc. However, a kitchen renovation can be done on a budget for as low as $35k and a large luxury kitchen can easily cost over $100k.
The majority of your kitchen renovation cost will primarily come from only a few categories: cabinets, countertops, appliances, and labor. And there are only a few variables that impact the total price: kitchen size, the need to reconfigure the kitchen or make structural changes, materials (including appliances), and the total scope of your project.
Related: 2021 Los Angeles Kitchen Remodel Costs and Tips
If you’re planning to renovate your kitchen by simply replacing the cabinets, counters, appliances, etc. in the same location as the old kitchen, this will be the most straightforward and cost-effective option. It’s very clear to the contractor the quantity of materials necessary and where things will be installed.
On the other hand, reconfiguring a kitchen (to create an open concept kitchen, etc.) will add to the kitchen remodel cost because ‘utilities’ like water, electrical, gas, and venting may have to be relocated in order to accommodate the new design. Also, removing and/or adding walls as part of the kitchen renovation will add costs for similar reasons.
The costs of reconfiguring a kitchen vary depending on things like the need to remove load-bearing walls and the difficulty of running utilities to a new location, but you can expect this to add $10-20k to the total kitchen renovation cost.
Homeowners generally have two cabinet options. The lower-cost option is pre-fabricated cabinets that come in standard dimensions, colors, and styles. These are often manufactured overseas and assembled by the contractor on site (IKEA or Home Depot, etc). These are likely to cost around $150-$200 per linear foot installed.
You can calculate the total cost by adding the length of the lower cabinets and the length of the upper cabinets. Average kitchen renovators spend about $10k-$15k on pre-fab cabinets.
Homeowners seeking a quality wood product with a higher-end look and design will likely choose to utilize custom cabinets. These are manufactured locally in any style, color, and size desired for your specific kitchen and generally start at $300 per linear foot installed. Custom cabinets might cost a total of $15k-$25k for the average kitchen remodel.
Homeowners also have two countertops options. Prefab countertops are less expensive but come only in standard sizes and a limited variety of styles. Alternatively, custom slabs come in a much greater variety of style & design options and can be cut to any size needed. Cutting and forming these slabs into custom sizes is called ‘fabrication’ and is part of the reason these are significantly more expensive than the pre-fab variety.
Prices for countertops can start as low as $40-$50 per square foot and go up to $100-$150 per square foot for unique, luxury products. So, the cost of countertops for the whole kitchen remodel will usually range between $5,000-$20,000. For the average kitchen renovation in Los Angeles, countertops will cost around $8,000-$10,000 installed, including a tiled backsplash.
You’ll want to visit a countertop retailer or slab yard to select your material. The salesperson should be well versed in countertop material options, and they can tell you the pros & cons of materials such as granite, quartz, marble, and others that interest you.
It’s important to select any new appliances early and well in advance of construction so you can provide this information to your contractor. They will need to plan for the cabinet/countertop sizes based on the style & dimensions of the chosen appliances.
You’ll need to shop for the typical appliances: refrigerator, microwave, oven, cooktop, dishwasher, and exhaust hood, as well as any other specific items you choose to include (espresso maker, warming drawer, wine fridge, etc).
Appliances can be a small or very large portion of your total remodel budget, depending on your preferences. Appliance prices run the gamut from the cost-effective, $5,000 total, to wildly expensive high-end brands, which can easily be over $50,000. The average kitchen renovation in Los Angeles spends $10k-$15k on appliances. Don’t forget to budget for the cost of your contractor installing these appliances, which can range from $1,000-$2,000 depending on the number of appliances.
In essence, appliances are cooking and food storage tools. The style and usability of the whole kitchen should be the focus of your kitchen makeover rather than the appliances. Therefore, unless you’re a fantastic cook who cooks regularly, focus your money on big picture elements that increase value, such cabinetry and flooring.
Most kitchen renovations require some upgrades or additions to the electrical outlets/switches and outdated lighting. The budget will depend on the light fixtures you decide to use.
Simple recessed lights are rather inexpensive, while some pendant, island, or ceiling lights come with a hefty price tag. On average, you may want to budget $1,000-$2,000 for this category of kitchen remodel costs.
Although these seem like minor items in your kitchen renovation costs, it’s important to include these in your budget. Of course, you can find very cost-effective options for a stainless-steel sink, basic kitchen faucet, and simple round cabinet knobs. Alternatively, these items can also come in unique & expensive colors, materials, and styles.
It’s a good idea to budget $1,000-$2,000 on average for these items which would include both materials and labor.
There are at least four flooring materials options most people consider for their kitchen renovation. These include hardwood, tile, vinyl plank, and laminate. Tile is the most waterproof but can crack if heavy items are dropped into it. The other wood and wood-style products are water-resistant but will likely get ruined if there is a flood or standing water in your kitchen.
The cheapest product is laminate which can cost $3-5/sf installed and is not nailed or glued down (called a floating floor). Luxury Vinyl plank flooring is also a ‘fake wood’ but is made from a heavier duty material and can cost $5-8/sf installed. Engineered wood and tile are the most expensive and usually start at around $10/sf installed but will vary based on the specific material you choose.
Flooring is a relatively easy item to budget by measuring the total square footage of your space and multiplying it by the average cost per square foot you want to spend.
Once your kitchen remodel is just about complete, the contractor will perform the final items like painting the walls, doing final touch-ups, and making any punchlist repairs. You’ll want to make sure to include in your budget the various minor expenses like painting as well as other items such as city permits, demolition, any open shelves, pantry items if applicable (door, pantry shelves), etc. Although these items aren’t large expenses, they will likely add up and cost you $1,000-$2,000.
Reach out to contractors to get a thorough kitchen remodel estimate:
Once you’re ready to get a real kitchen remodel estimate from a contractor, there are a few things you should do. First, review and complete a kitchen remodel checklist so you can have total clarity on the scope of your remodel. Then you can reach out directly to contractors and ask them to come provide you a kitchen remodel estimate. Alternatively, you can contact GreatBuildz and get matched to three fully-vetted contractors in your area that are available to provide you with a kitchen remodel estimate. Make sure you review each contractor’s estimate carefully and don’t just select the lowest price.
Click this link to download an editable kitchen remodeling checklist: Kitchen Remodeling Checklist (excel)
Don’t be shocked if the kitchen renovation contractor estimates you receive differ significantly. Different contractors will make diverse assumptions regarding the scope, materials, etc. of your project. Additionally, each contractor has their own cost structure and profit objectives. Does this mean you should select the lowest bid? Absolutely not. Therefore, the first step is to thoroughly review the contents of each estimate to ensure that you are comparing like-to-like scopes. In addition, you must indicate which materials (and costs) are included in each bid. Once you see that all estimates are thorough, exhaustive, and comparable in terms of scope, you will be in a better position to choose the best contractor for you.
Make sure you don’t choose a contractor based solely on price and your ‘feeling’ about their personality. Remember, everybody seems nice at first, especially if they are trying to sell you on a kitchen remodel. Do your homework on each contractor you’re considering. At GreatBuildz, we put every contractor through a ten-step vetting process. If you’re choosing contractors without our help, please make sure you use this screening process to find a truly good contractor. Living through a renovation nightmare is exceedingly stressful, especially when you can’t use your own kitchen during the process.
For detailed remodel costs on other major home renovation projects, you can read our Home Remodel Cost Guide.
When it comes to planning and budgeting for average kitchen remodel costs, you shouldn’t have to go it alone – GreatBuildz can help simplify your kitchen remodeling experience.
GreatBuildz is a free service that connects homeowners in Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura & San Diego with reliable, thoroughly screened general contractors and provides project support from start to finish. Call now (818.317.3567) to chat with a real person about your next renovation project or visit our website for more information: www.greatbuildz.com