Planning a Kitchen Renovation In San Diego? 8 Crucial Tips To Get It Right

The kitchen gives any family the space to enjoy unforgettable moments together. This easily makes the kitchen the most important part of any home. Renovated kitchens and bathrooms usually add great value to your home. But high-quality workmanship can truly make the biggest difference. With years of experience, GreatBuildz has compiled information to make the renovation process as seamless as possible. This blog will cover some kitchen renovation basics and cost estimates to help build your dream kitchen. 

GreatBuildz connects homeowners in San Diego and the greater Southern California area with reliable general contractors. We speak to homeowners every day about their kitchen remodels, here are some of our best tips to get you started! 

How Much Does It Cost To Remodel a Kitchen In San Diego?

In San Diego, the cost to renovate your kitchen can range from $30,000 to upwards of over $100K.

This wide range is a result of many factors; the size of the kitchen, choice of the materials, the scope of work, and the counters, cabinets, and quality of appliances. The most impactful piece of the project comes from the general contractor’s quality of work and labor contribution. The following sections will help spell out some things to highlight when going through your renovation project. 

Learn more about individual aspects of a kitchen like the typical kitchen remodel costs, which materials to use, and much more below. 

Kitchen Renovation Layout

Kitchen Renovation Layout

If you’re planning on keeping your current kitchen layout the way it is, the scope of work becomes the most straightforward and cost-effective option. The fortunate enough contractors to earn your business have a simple project to provide a proposal for. 

But if you plan on moving the location of the stove, fridge, dishwasher, adding an island, or taking down a wall to create an open floor plan, please be ready for complicated scopes of work and increased project costs. 

So you’re going to redesign your kitchen layout? 

You’ll need to develop a new blueprint. There are three options: 

  1. Hiring a designer to perform this task
  2. Have the contractor prepare it
  3. or Do it yourself

The most cost-effective way will be to do it yourself. So here are a few basic principles that are important to keep in mind:

  1. Design the kitchen in a square/rectangular shape and not an odd configuration like an L or U. 
  2. Make sure to create a good flow between the fridge, sink, and range (sometimes referred to as the kitchen ‘triangle’),
  3. Make sure the aisles are wide enough (36″ min),
  4. Include enough counter space
  5. Don’t locate the fridge right next to the oven/range (hot vs cold).

Kitchen Cabinets and Cabinet Knobs

Kitchen Renovation Cabinets

Kitchen cabinets can either be simple and cost-effective or unique and not so cost-effective, but still totally worth it. Homeowners have two options:

  1. Pre-fabricated cabinets come in standard dimensions. Can be purchased from stores like IKEA, Home Depot, and Lowes. 
    • To estimate the cost, measure the linear feet of your current cabinets and multiply by an average $200 per lineal foot. This estimate includes both upper and lower cabinets so a kitchen with 10 lineal feet of cabinetry can be estimated to cost around $2,000.
  2. Custom cabinets allow homeowners to remodel their kitchen with a higher-end look and design. If you are planning on using high-quality wood – a budget of $300 a linear foot can be used to estimate your cost.

Kitchen Countertops and Islands

Kitchen Renovation Island

The countertops are probably the most aesthetically pleasing aspect of a kitchen. From helping your children with their homework, cooking dinner with your family, or hosting friends to a wine and cheese night – the countertops are going to be used and seen daily.

Luckily, homeowners again have two options for their countertops. 

  1. Pre-fabricated countertops. These prefab countertops are cheaper, but that also comes with having a limited selection. This limited selection is because the countertops will come in standard sizes and limited styles. 
  2. Custom-Slab Countertops. This option is completely customizable and usually needed when adding an island to the kitchen. The process includes cutting and forming of these slabs which increases the price to install these custom pieces. 

For estimate purposes, the cheaper pre-fabricated option can cost around $50 per square foot. On the other hand, the luxurious custom-designed slab countertops can be upwards of $150 a square foot. 

If you are going with the custom option, you’ll want to find a trusted countertop retailer or slab yard to select your material. The vendor should have a well-versed selection of materials and should also be knowledgeable in the differences between marble, granite, quartz, and others that might interest you. 

Kitchen Appliances

Kitchen Renovation Appliances

Even though the appliances are last to be installed and fit into place, it is crucial to select any new appliances early and well in advance of construction. This information needs to be provided to your contractor during the planning process because they will need to incorporate all the correct dimensions and styles to plan for the cabinetry and countertops. 

Here is a short list of the typical appliances that you’ll need to account for: 

  • Refrigerator,
  • Microwave,
  • Oven, cooktop,
  • Dishwasher, 
  • Sink
  • and Exhaust Hood.

Kitchen Renovation More Appliances

Some appliances to think about for higher-end custom designs would be:

  • espresso machine, 
  • warming drawer, 
  • wine fridge, 
  • built in-air fryer,
  • a farm-house style oversized sink,
  • or an Ooni pizza oven.

The cost-effective option can be as low as a total of $5,000 or can be upwards of $50,000 for expensive high-end brands. The kitchen appliance average for San Diego is $10-15K plus a labor charge of roughly $2,000 for proper fitting and installation by your contractor.  

Kitchen Lighting

Kitchen Renovation Lighting

Kitchen renovations require upgrades or additions to the electrical outlets/switches and updated lighting. The budget is entirely dependent on the light fixtures you decide to install. 

For budgeting purposes, recessed lighting will be your cheaper option. The higher costing fixtures are considered to be pendant lights, island lights, or hanging ceiling lights. 

On average, you can budget $1,000 to $2,000 for updating your kitchen’s lighting. 

Kitchen Flooring

Kitchen Renovation Flooring

There are four great options for your kitchen flooring needs that most homeowners decide to include in their kitchen remodels. The four are listed below with their respective installed cost per type: 

  • hardwood – $10 a square foot 
  • tile – $10 a square foot 
  • vinyl plank – $5-$8 a square foot 
  • laminate flooring – $3-$5 a square foot 

The major difference between the four is that tile flooring is completely waterproof. The other three are water-resistant wood or wood-style flooring. This water-resistant classification indicates that the flooring will most likely get ruined if there is a flood or excessive standing water in your kitchen from a spill or leak. 

Related: How to Find the Right General Contractors For Any Project


Kitchen Renovation Misc.

So it’s been a few weeks since you started your renovation journey and you and your contractor team are wrapping up the project. The contractor will perform some final items such as doing final touch-ups, making any punch-list repairs, and lastly painting the walls. You’ll want to make sure to include in your budget an average of $1,000 and $2,000. This budget can include painting costs, city permit costs if needed, demolition, open shelve installation, pantry items like doors shelves, knobs, and switches. 

All in all, remodeling your kitchen will transform your enjoyable space while adding value to your home. 

When it comes to planning and budgeting for your kitchen renovation costs, you shouldn’t have to go it alone – GreatBuildz can help simplify your kitchen remodeling experience.

GreatBuildz is here to help you and your family through the exciting process. 

GreatBuildz is a free service that connects homeowners in San Diego and the greater Southern California area with reliable, thoroughly screened general contractors. 


Call now (818.317.3567) to chat with a real person about your next renovation project or take some time to visit our website for some more great information on how to renovate your home.

Hi, we're Paul and Jon - Co-Founders of GreatBuildz. We believe everyone deserves to find a great contractor, have a stress-free renovation, and enjoy their beautiful new space. There are so many contractors out there and it's often hard to tell the good from the bad... until it's too late. We started our company to help simplify your contractor search and help you have a stress-free renovation experience. We're always available to help, no matter where you are in the process. Click here to learn more about our story.

How can we help with your project?

Explore More Remodeling Topics

Remodeling Cost Guides

Cost Guides

design ideas

Design Ideas

Finding a Contractor

Finding a Contractor

Picking Materials

Selecting Materials

remodeling advice

Remodeling Advice