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How to save money on kitchen renovation

      You are in the process of planning a kitchen renovation but the family budget will be stretched too thin. Or you are in a situation where you have gotten multiple quotes and the prices vary greatly between the different remodelers and you wonder why. This post will answer questions around kitchen remodel cost and how you can save. Before we get into the details of where you can save, let me introduce you to the project management triple constraint.

Kitchen renovation triple constraint

In the perfect consumer world, all projects will be completed before the deadline, high quality, and minimal cost. This scenario may exist in an alternate world or distant future but not in the era and world we live in. Consumers like me and you must make sacrifices to get the things that matter to us the most. In the context of a kitchen renovation, here is how the scenarios will play out. 

low cost and high quality – this almost never exists, labor and material cost grew much faster than the rate of inflation. Theoretically, in the scenario that this exists, the remodeler must have taken on kitchen projects beyond the capabilities that one can handle. This means, your project may not get done in the timeline it was promised and warranty may not be honored after it was complete. 

low and done quickly- Depending on the level of quality you are willing to sacrifice, this can be achieved. Your remodeler should explain to you the complication of the sacrifice and how it will impact your project.

High quality and done quickly- High-quality kitchen reflect on the material and smoothness of execution. Some remodeler has priced in all the possible risk and surprises that may occur during the remodel hence the double or triple in prices. You will also get dedicated team, trade backup, fast track freight delivery etc and these are all built into the prices.

Perfect project involve compromising, pick what matters the most to you and set expectation accordingly. 

Core Kitchen Savings

There is number of items that would be considered core of the kitchen. These items are simply too complicated or impossible to manufacture at home, and can not be replaced once the renovation is complete. This section discusses how you can save on these elements.

Cabinet – It is possible to produce your own cabinet at home if you have the right tool, expertise, and time.  We do not recommend this route as DIYer can not produce all door style (Unless you have CNC or a genius at carpentry), and difficult to maintain the accuracy of every cut. An alternative to DIY your kitchen cabinet, you can lower the material quality. Custom cabinetry can cost up to double the price as standard cabinetry while the material is the same. Removing accessories such as garbage can, spice rack, or Lazy Susan will reduce cost. Lastly, lowering the material used ie: from solid wood door to Thermofoil door or from plywood boxes to particle boxes will decrease cost. 

Countertop – It’s not possible to DIY concrete top or quartz tops at home, but you can DIY laminate tops. You can purchase laminate counters from a home hardware store for a few hundred dollars. With the right tool, you can install the laminate counter yourself. On the stone front, your remodeler may able to offer you quartz from different brands for a lower price. If a warranty is important to you, DIY or selecting a brand that is lower prices may not be an option for you.

Flooring – It’s unlikely that you will able to manufacture any sort of flooring yourself. average vinyl is more cost-friendly than tiles. Depend on the footage, you can save a few hundred dollars using vinyl. Before going forward with vinyl, examine your existing flooring and see if you are noticing any slope or uneven areas. This could be a result of uneven subfloors. The vinyl floor does not work well with uneven sub-floors. There is also the option of Vinyl sheets, these are glued down to the floor providing a tile-like look but has a leather texture. Over time, the vinyl texture can feel sticky with the grease build-ups, but this is the lowest price option among all.

Backsplash- The lowest price option for a kitchen is no backsplash. If backsplash is a must have in your project, plain subway tiles will cost less than tiles with design elements on it, ie: vein. 

If you are looking for maximum reduction, ask your remodeler about discontinued products. Your remodeler may able to provide larger discounts on discontinued products. In many cases, the product is discontinued due to style and not quality for flooring, cabinet, and counter slabs. The downside is these products may not carry warranties and it will be difficult to find replacement later on.

Minor Kitchen Savings

Minor saving section is a list of items that can be DIY with some skills or adjust down the road.

Demolishing- With the proper tools and help of family members, many homeowners can tear down the cabinets, flooring themselves. Depending on the method that backsplash is attached, this may require some expertise to remove. Before attempting removing light fixtures and plumbing, make sure that the electric panel or the water valve is completely shut off.

Appliances- Open box appliances will be at least 15% of the sticker price, and older model appliances also have discounts. It’s best to buy these on sale during Black Friday or holiday period and have them delivered when needed.

Plumbing fixtures- Similar to appliances, there is limited opportunity for saving at this item. However, the retailer may occasionally offer discounts for bulk purchases or have few odd items on sale.

These minor savings may seem small but could save you a few thousands dollars altogether.


You should able to save 10-30% by following this guide. Using this guide to save will mean sacrificing on aesthetics or service level. I would recommend openly discuss your budget with your remodeler and they will able to provide you with the option for your space.