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What is the Cost of a Kitchen Renovation?

Last Updated Jun 8, 2016 · Written by

Kitchen Renovation|Renovation Costs

If you are thinking of renovating your kitchen, you're probably wondering how much it is going to cost. It is a major expense and a room that gets a ton of use, so you want to get it right.

If you want a ballpark figure, expect to outlay anywhere from $10,000 to $35,000+. Factors that affect the cost of your project include the size of your kitchen, the materials and appliances you select as well as labour costs.

Assuming a new kitchen includes all new appliances, plumbing and electrical installation, tiling and installation, expect to pay:

  • $10,000 to $22,000 for a small or budget kitchen
  • $22,000 to $35,000 for a mid-range kitchen
  • $35,000+ for a high-end kitchen


How long will my kitchen renovation take?

Depending on the scale of your project, the timeframe for your kitchen renovation could be impacted by a number of factors, including:

  • any structural works
  • moving plumbing and/or electrical elements
  • unforeseen events, like discovering asbestos in your wall or floor cavity

If you are working with a kitchen designer you should allow at least 6 to 8 weeks to design your kitchen. This includes time to to meet with them, measure up and then develop and tweak the plans until you are happy with a final concept. Getting everything to fit, especially in a custom kitchen can take time. You also need to lock in your appliances, cabinetry and all the other finishes you want at this stage.

If you are ordering custom cabinetry, expect to waiting anywhere from 4 - 12 weeks for these to be made. Imported lines may even involve a longer wait. If you are going for a flat pack kitchen or an IKEA kitchen, then choosing the right combination of cabinets and having them delivered is all you need to take care of. Cabinetry is a major item that can hold up the whole project, so all timeframes need to be aligned around the delivery of this component.

For the demolish and prep work, simply removing old cabinetry should take no longer than a day. Then the prep work for the installation actually begins. This includes any plumbing, electrical and flooring work that needs to be done. This stage could range from a few days for a simple project to 4 weeks or more if there are significant structural changes to be made.

The actual installation of your kitchen cabinetry, appliances and lighting can take anywhere from 1 to 4 weeks , depending on what the complexity of your job. This includes the templating and installation of your benchtops. The lead time for your benchtops will depend on the material you choose. Stone or engineered stone (like Caesarstone) could take up to a week to deliver after a template is taken. There will typically be a shorter wait for laminate. Your splashback also goes in now. Here you need to budget for a day or two for the install of a glass or tile splashback.


Read: Where to spend your money on a kitchen renovation

What tradies for your kitchen reno?

Wondering who you may need to hire for your kitchen makeover? These are the most common trades you will need to call on:


Having tons of space to work on is essential in the modern kitchen, so a kitchen benchtop specialist can install whatever surface is right for you, including laminate, timber, engineered or natural stone, amongst others.


A dedicated kitchen cabinetmaker can help you get exactly what you want in terms of storage for your kitchen including a dedicated pantry, deep drawers and all the latest hardware like soft close drawers. Don’t forget to plan for that wine rack, a must for any kitchen! Expect to be charged a premium for custom cabinetry, anywhere from $120 per hour.


An electrician or sparkie is a must-have tradie for any kitchen project no matter the size. Besides obvious elements like lighting you are also going to need tons of powerpoints and all your new appliances wired and installed. Expect to be charged anywhere from $70 - $95 per hour.

Read more: 10 tips from hipages electricians

Kitchen designer

A kitchen designer can help you squeeze the most out of your space. Let’s face it a well laid out kitchen is an efficient kitchen. Expect to chat about the kitchen work triangle, layout and cabinet sizes.


A licensed plumber is one of the most crucial tradies for a kitchen reno. They can install your kitchen sink, tapware, dishwasher and that fancy fridge with an water/ice dispenser. Expect them to charge hourly rates anywhere from $100 - $150, depending on the plumber.

Read + Watch: Meet Scott the plumber


A splashback installer can take care of a glass, tiled or stainless steel splashback - just some of the more practical options to consider.


Whether you are thinking of a snazzy tiled splashback or simply having tiles underfoot, an experienced tiler can lay these on walls or floors, where is totally up to you.

Kitchen builder

And if you want someone to take care of it all for you, then a dedicated kitchen builder is definitely for you. They can manage all the above trades and save you a heap of time trying to juggle it all. But expect to pay for the convenience.

Read: 7 questions to ask your builder before your kitchen reno

Always use tradies who are licensed for your kitchen reno.

Only a licensed plumber can legally carry out any work on the plumbing system in your home

Does my kitchen builder need to be licensed?

In short, yes. Most elements of a kitchen reno, such as plumbing and tiling require the use of a licensed contractor. A complete kitchen renovation will typically require you use a licensed builder, though some states have a licence specifically that covers kitchen renovations. If you use individual trades they all need to be appropriately qualified and licensed.

If in doubt check with your local state licensing authority.

Hiring the right tradies

When it comes time to hiring tradies make sure they are right for your job. Some questions to ask include:

  • Are you licensed?
  • Are you insured to work in my home?
  • How long will my job take?
  • Can you provide a written quote?
  • Do you have references I can follow up?
  • Can I see examples of your work?

© Phillip Crouch Architects

#hiptip: Laminate is an affordable alternative to a stone or engineered stone benchtop

Getting the designer kitchen look for less

What materials you choose can make a big difference to the final cost of your kitchen. Benchtops, for example, range from relatively inexpensive laminate to stainless steel at the other end of the scale. Similarly, the cheapest cupboard doors you can buy are melamine doors. At the other end of the scale, gloss white 2 pack polyurethane doors can easily cost four times as much.

How do you get the high end look for less? Here are some options to consider:

  • Check out the designer ranges of laminates for a budget alternative to stainless steel. There are stainless steel look laminates, but for a hard-wearing benchtop that will still look great after it's been used and abused, look for textured and/or patterned laminates.
  • Do you like the rolled edges and glossy appearance of polyurethane, but not the price? Vinyl wrapped (also called thermo-formed) doors are almost indistinguishable from 2 pack polyurethane, but at a fraction of the cost.

The same principle applies to any other materials. If you like the granite look but not the granite price, consider a granite-look laminate. If that is not to your liking, check out the ranges of engineered stone (or quartz) benchtops that are on the market today.

As solid and durable as natural stone (some argue more durable), engineered stone costs less and has a distinctive uniform appearance many kitchen designers prefer to natural marble or granite.

Dedicated waste bins and an additional drawer for related storage.© Total Kitchen Worx

#hiptip: Get at least three quotes before you commit to hiring anyone, so you can compare price and level of service

Quality kitchen cabinetry - what to look for

The one place you don't want to cut corners is in the quality of construction of your kitchen cabinetry. Almost all kitchen cabinets are constructed from water-resistant MDF (medium density fibreboard). This is the least you should expect in either a custom or flat pack kitchen. Ideally, the backs of the cabinets should be sturdier than the 6mm vinyl covered backing used on some cheaper kitchens, but where you will really notice a difference is in the quality of the drawer construction:

  • The cheapest drawers have flimsy bottoms that are built into grooves along the bottom edges of melamine or vinyl wrapped drawer sides. They inevitably buckle and break under even a moderate load.
  • Better drawers are solidly constructed and fitted with quality drawer runners.
  • The best quality drawers are metal-sided drawer systems.

Most door hinges look very much alike, but can differ dramatically in quality. If you've ever had kitchen doors that sag and bind, you've had inferior hinges. Most kitchen companies will be more than happy to offer you quality hinges if they don't come as a standard feature. You will have to pay a little more for them, but they are good value for money and won't break the bank.

Read more: 6 considerations for kitchen cabinetry: height, size, storage, materials and more

Deep drawers and customisable storage are an efficient storage option. © Blum Australia

Is a flat pack kitchen right for you?

A flat pack kitchen can help you save as they are substantially cheaper than a custom kitchen. There are a number of reputable brands, including IKEA, which are popular with homeowners. They are also dedicated installers of IKEA kitchens who have received training on installing their product line - so should be efficient at getting it all done asap.

You will still need to hire an electrician and a plumber, for those elements, but if you keep the sink, dishwasher and appliances in the same places they were before, this will help keep your costs down.

Stainless steel can add an industrial feel to your kitchen, but is expensive. © Designing Women

What is the average cost of a kitchen renovation?

You might have heard of people renovating their kitchen renovated for $10,000 or less. Is this possible?

Yes, though you need to look into the detail for the full picture. This figure is likely for a smaller kitchen or a cosmetic makeover keeping existing appliances. The average spend on a kitchen renovation is closer to $18,000.

Complete kitchen renovation costs

So how much will your kitchen reno cost? As a guideline, expect to spend in the region of:

  • $10,000 to $20,000 for a smaller kitchen using budget materials and fittings
  • $20,000 to $45,000 for a mid-range kitchen using a mixture of budget and high end materials/appliances
  • $45,000+ for a high-end kitchen using top of the range materials and appliances

#hiptip: A flat pack kitchen is substantially cheaper than a custom kitchen

Mid-range kitchen reno: case study

Ballpark figures are all well and good, but what do the numbers on a real kitchen reno look like?

The Butler family were looking to update their Redfern terraced house with a complete kitchen overhaul including new cabinetry, floor tiles, lighting and appliances. The adjacent toilet/laundry was also included in the project, as were new French doors leading onto an outdoor area. They used dedicated IKEA kitchen installers Bluestone Services who also project managed it all.

This is what some of their costs for their L-shaped kitchen were:

  • Cabinetry: $4300 for IKEA Utrusta
  • Benchtop: $3619 for Caesarstone quartz (labour + materials)
  • Flooring: $4375 (labour + materials) to tile approximately 37 square metres with 600mm x 600mm ceramic tile
  • Splashback: $600 (wall tiles)
  • Lighting: $1000 (pendants and LED downlights)
  • Painting: $500 budgeted for materials, labour is DIY


  • Oven: $2130 (Bosch)
  • Cooktop: $660 (Bosch)
  • Dishwasher: $800 (IKEA)


  • Builder: $2,550 (project management)
  • Electrician: $2,485 for powerpoints, lighting and connection of appliances
  • Plumber: $2,875 for connection of appliances, and sink and laundry installation
  • Plasterer: $1,500 for replastering

Unforeseen costs

  • $550 for removal of asbestos sheeting discovered behind the laundry
  • $820 to remedy damp and rot behind laundry tub and under the old timber floor in several areas
  • $500 to unblock gutters and prune an overhanging tree (cause of damp)

Any advice on reducing your overall cost?

“We kept a spreadsheet and itemised everything with an estimate and an actual cost.”

“The tile shop cocked up our initial order, so we requested that they provide a similar tile for cost price. What should have been a $70 sq/m tile we got for $18 sq/m. They were also discounted as an end of line item. We opted for IKEA cabinetry because it looks good, is affordable and comes recommended by many architects and interior designers.”

Alternatives to a complete kitchen reno

By the time you've calculated the cost of your dream kitchen renovation, you might find it's going to cost way too much. Can you find ways to modernise your kitchen without breaking the bank?

Some alternatives to a complete kitchen renovation include one or more of the following:

  • Resurfacing your cabinetry
  • Changing or resurfacing your benchtops
  • Installing new flooring
  • Installing new lighting
  • Upgrading your appliances

Need visual inspiration? Why not browse our Kitchen Designs Ideas pages for which design elements appeal to you the most.

The best way of finding out the cost of your kitchen makeover is to get quotes from local kitchen builders. This will give you a sense of what market rates currently are.

* All the costs and prices quoted were sourced at the time this article was written. They are indicative, may vary locally, are subject to market forces and should only be used as a guide.

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