The actual numbers are quite geo-specific. In many areas, a $20k budget can get you a nice kitchen facelift: Items like painting your existing kitchen cabinets, new counters, new backsplash, new lighting, new hardware, and maybe some minor construction work. That's assuming you aren't paying a general contractor or a designer. The cost of a full kitchen gut really depends on where you live. In the US, the low average end of the range is about $40k with the high end of the range hitting $150k or more.
In terms of time, a minor kitchen facelift can be done in as little as two weeks if everything runs smoothly, provided you've selected all of your finishes already and have scheduled every contractor back-to-back. A full kitchen remodel can easily take as long as a few months or longer. This time frame may not even include the design and planning phases. Sometimes, it can take a while to find the perfect countertop or research the appliances you want, and sometimes the items may be out of stock, or have long lead times, so plan appropriately and don't rush the process.
It’s important to spend on the areas that matter most. If you were our client, this is where we would tell you to invest in:
Countertops: Functionally, your countertops can take a beating on a regular basis. You want something that will hold up and look great for years to come. Aesthetically they’re one of the first things people notice when they walk into a kitchen. If you ever sell your home, high quality countertops are always desirable.
Cabinetry: If replacing, our advice is to go with a mid-range cabinet box and door. Splurge on soft closed hinges and glides, and full extension drawer slides: Once considered a luxury, they are becoming more common and a great selling point. If your cabinets are in decent shape or you can’t replace them at the moment, consider refacing, re-staining or repainting them.
Hardware: You’ll be touching your cabinetry hardware every single day, so go for decent quality. Hardware reinforces whatever style you're going for and makes a difference in the final look of your overall design.
Faucet: There's a big difference between the most affordable and the most expensive options, at least from a quality standpoint. Go for mid-range with a stainless-steel body, ceramic disc valve, magnetic spray, pull down design, and reliable, touchless on and off capabilities (a function that is fantastic to have in the kitchen).
Lighting: Under cabinet lighting not only serves an important function as additional task lighting for your countertop, it also provides a beautiful ambiance to a kitchen. If you have an island or a breakfast nook, take the opportunity to select statement lighting for the area that reinforces your kitchen style.
Quality cooktop or range: Unlike the oven, which typically gets used infrequently by most homes, a cooktop is often the true workhorse of the kitchen, and is typically one of the longest lasting appliances as well.
And finally, an honorable mention goes to the sink: While you can save a lot of money and get a decent quality stainless steel sink, sometimes a sink really does make the design, such as a farmhouse sink in farmhouse, English country, French country, modern French, and cottage kitchens. Replacing the sink down the road is quite difficult, so better to spend on a quality sink upfront.
All these areas carry a big design impact. Many of them have a great ROI and more importantly, will make you love your kitchen even more, whether it's cooking, entertaining, or whichever activities you enjoy doing in your kitchen.
Final word: If remodeling is not in the cards for your kitchen in the near future, consider a time and cost effective kitchen refresh, which can be done in a short amount of time and at a relatively small investment. Many parts of a kitchen refresh can be DIYed. If you need some friendly advice or a nudge in the right direction to get you started on your kitchen transformation, contact us for one of our design & décor services and consultations.