How to budget for a kitchen renovation

By looking at things a bit differently and following her vision, Nikki from @thise17life, has created one of the most covetable kitchens on Instagram. But it doesn't come cheap and a big home improvement project can have lots of surprise costs, so we asked for her ultimate kitchen renovation budgeting guide

Whether it’s a cosmetic update or a full-scale structural renovation, a new kitchen is one of the most satisfying changes you can make to your home. It will often add value and completely change the way you live but it can also be expensive and disruptive.

As with any financial decision, it’s important to understand exactly what is involved before you commit. If you are considering a kitchen renovation for the first time, it probably feels overwhelming. To help, I’ve put together a list of things to consider when putting together your budget.

Who will design your new kitchen?

The vision will come from you but what about the boring bits: ensuring it fits in the space, connects with utilities and meets your practical needs?

Depending on the size of your project you may want to pay for a designer or interior architect to help design your kitchen. They may charge a fixed fee, an hourly rate or a percentage of the total project spend. Make sure to get a few quotes and ask about where these services are likely to result in savings. Working with a designer or architect from the start of a project can often help you to avoid costly mistakes and some will pass on trade discounts if they are sourcing products for you.

If you are not making structural changes, you may prefer to use a kitchen company with an in-house design service. This is often included in the cost of the kitchen and many of the high-end suppliers will offer a design service based on your own measurement without any obligation to buy. However, you should factor in the cost of them coming to site to measure up before your order is confirmed.

If you are on a tight budget and prefer to be hands on, there are many suppliers who will allow you to measure and design your kitchen yourself, ordering online “off the shelf”. This might be full units or perhaps just new fronts for the cabinets. This can be a huge cost saving but you will need to be very confident with your measurements. If your preferred supplier offers a design package for a small fee, it might be worth adding this on to make sure you don’t make any expensive or time consuming mistakes.

What are you ordering?

It is helpful to have a list of everything that you will need to order, even the small things, with a budget attached for each item. Some will be obvious, like your units or door fronts, appliances and worktops but others are easy to overlook.

If you are ordering the kitchen yourself, make sure to factor in filler pieces and kickboards. These are necessary to complete your kitchen but often need to be added on to the order as separate items. There may also be an additional fee for your chosen finish and colour choice.

The cost of a new sink can range from £50 to £5000. What type do you want? How about the tap? Will it be inset or undermount, this can make a difference to the cost of the worktop.

Then there is the tap. This won’t be included with the sink, so you will need to choose one and whether you are going for a simple tap or something with added functionality, there is a huge price range.

Do you need a cooker hood or extractor fan? Or a backsplash for your sink or cooker? If you are changing to induction, check whether your existing pans will work or if you need a new set.

Then there are the finishing touches, which make all the difference. Think about lighting, open shelves, light switches, plug sockets and hardware. Most units will not come with handles, so you will need to choose those separately and they can add up.

Who is installing the kitchen?

Various trades will be required to install your kitchen. You will need a carpenter to fit the kitchen units, an electrician to deal with the appliances and sockets and a gas safe registered plumber to deal with any gas appliances or pipes. If you are having a specialist worktop such as marble, concrete or quartz, this is likely to require a specialist fitter.

When you look at quotes, make sure they include fitting and materials and check whether VAT will be added. If your kitchen supplier is also fitting your kitchen, double check that they will be providing all of the above trades included within the cost.

Who is getting rid of the waste?

This can be a huge inconvenience and unexpected cost. If you are removing an existing kitchen, you will need to think about the cost of removing it and how it is being disposed of. Second hand kitchens can have value, so if you can pass it on, great. Otherwise you will need to take it to a recycling centre, pay for a skip or pay for someone to take it away.

There will also be plenty of waste created when installing your new kitchen. Packaging from new appliances, offcuts of wood, broken tiles, tubs of sealers and silicone. The simplest solution is to ensure the contractor is responsible for removing all waste but there will be a cost for this.

What are the knock on effects?

If you are changing the layout of the room, you will also need to factor in the cost of new flooring. When budgeting for this, think about the fitting cost as well as materials. There will usually be additional items required such as adhesive, grout or sealer. Depending on the flooring you choose, you may also need to factor in preparation work to the sub floor, such as the application of latex or a self levelling compound.

Then there is the clean up. There will be lots of dust and even the most careful of trades are likely to cause some damage to the existing decoration. It is therefore advisable to factor in redecoration of the room and a post builder clean.

Will you be living in the property while the work is done?

Whether you live at the property or not, it is likely that you will have some additional expenses to factor in. This might be the rent for a few weeks in a short term let, the cost of setting up a temporary kitchen at home or perhaps a few nights in a hotel.

Staying home will save the most cost but you might need to invest in some additional equipment, such as a portable hob or a slow cooker. If the kitchen is out of action for a few weeks or more it is also likely you will eat out more or order takeaways, which all add up.

You can save a lot by staying with family or friends, if you are lucky enough to have the offer but again, think about whether you are likely to eat out more often than usual to give them some space, or take them out for a meal as a thank you.

If your washing machine is going to be out of action, you will also need to think about laundry costs.

Other administrative costs to consider

You will need to inform your existing insurance providers that you are carrying out the work. This may result in an increase in your premium or you may need to take out an additional insurance policy for the period of the work.

Depending on the scale of your work you may also need to pay for a party wall survey, structural drawings, planning or permitted development applications and a building regs inspector.

If you live in an urban area, check whether you need to pay for parking permits for your trades or for a skip permit.

For a large project it is also worth considering appointing a project manager or paying your architect an additional fee to come on site at intervals throughout the project to check and sign off stages of the work.


No matter how careful you are, there will always be something you didn’t think of or an unexpected problem. It is wise to include at least 10% contingency in any building project. If you don’t end up needing it, you can always treat yourself to those fancy light fittings you’ve been Pinterest stalking!

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