Increasing Your Kitchen Remodel’s Cost-to-Value Ratio

According to Remodeling Magazine, the size and scope of your kitchen remodel can make a major difference—not only in initial cost but in the amount of cost that you’re likely to recoup in terms of added value. While a major kitchen remodel may be cost-prohibitive with an average cost of nearly $57,500, a minor kitchen remodel may be feasible at about a third of the cost. As if that’s not enough motivation to think smaller, when you compare Remodeling Magazine’s often-cited Cost vs. Value Report for 2010-2011 to their 2011-2012 report, you’ll see another reason why the trend toward minor remodels continues: Major kitchen remodels continued to decline from 68.7 to 65.7% in recouped costs, while minor remodels decreased less than a full percentage point from 72.8 to 72.1%.

Ranking as the fourth overall in the 2011-2012 report, a minor kitchen remodel is just below the following exterior replacement projects: steel entry doors, mid-range garage doors, and fiber-cement siding. It’s within a few percentage points in value to these other popular projects: vinyl or foam-backed vinyl siding replacements, wood deck additions, mid-range wood or vinyl window replacements, attic bedroom additions, and basement remodels.

In some ways, the minor kitchen remodel is an interior replacement project, and replacement projects seem to fare the best during troubled economic times. Such projects are seen to be more than merely aesthetic, but rather a necessary aspect of home maintenance. The key difference between a major and minor kitchen remodel is that the layout is essentially the same, without the need to move electrical, plumbing, or major structures. The typical minor kitchen remodel includes replacing the following aspects of your kitchen: cabinet doors, drawer fronts, and related hardware; countertops; and all major appliances.

The most expensive aspect of your minor kitchen remodel is probably your cabinet doors and drawer fronts; we’ll discuss a few extra ways to save when considering your options for those.

Today’s cabinet styles mean great news for budget-friendly homeowners who want to update their kitchens: In-vogue Craftsman and contemporary designs are much more cost-effective than many older looks. With partial overlays and flat panels instead of raised ones, these simpler styles are good news for your pocketbook. Current styles also coordinate well with open shelving, which saves on cabinet faces. Other design-based ways to save include using larger cabinet boxes with dividers rather than smaller-sized boxes. Cabinet wood species is a major area for savings.

As long as you hire great builders who use quality solid wood, you’ll end up with a quality product. Using alder instead of cherry won’t make much difference once the wood is stained, but you’ll have more money lining your pockets. Finishing is another place where you can save: Stain is less expensive than glazed or painted finishes. For cabinets that look dated but are still in good shape, cabinet refacing might be the way to go. Incidentally, cabinetry might be the best way to give your kitchen a custom look without splurging for high-end, built-in appliances.

D.R. Hartman Construction Inc

If you are looking for a full service commercial or residential construction company in the Maryland, Washington, D.C., or Fairfax County, Virginia region, we'd love to have the opportunity to learn about your construction project and give you a free quote. Submit our online contact form or call Don Hartman at (301) 926-9000.

If you would like to contact us for a quote, please use our online form or click the orange button above. Note that if you request a quote through the blog comments, we might not receive your message.


  1. Laila Keirstead says

    There is no doubt that remodeling adds value to your home. There are a lot of people that use this method to add a few more dollars to the cost of their home before they sell it. I honestly really would like to remodel my kitchen to match the rest of the house. We recently painted the house. It looks really nice, but we left the kitchen the way it was so when we are ready for a remodel we can get the rest of the walls.

  2. Taylor Parker says

    Thanks so much for sharing this information! I’ve been wanting to update my kitchen, but I’m a little worried about how much it might cost. The house was built in the 70’s, and the kitchen needs some dramatic updates. I might start with the really expensive things – like the dishwasher and the stove, and then go from there with cabinets, flooring, and other various appliances. This will be so exciting!

  3. Logan Brown says

    The cost to value ratio of a remodel is very important. Many people just consider how well their kitchen and bathrooms will look at they remodel but don’t consider the value it’ll add to their home. Remodeling add value to your home and you should use that to your advantage as much as you can.

  4. Jeremy Schopper says

    It’s been our experience that a full remodel rarely makes the homeowner money. That’s something they do if they are planning to stay in the house and they want their kitchen a certain way. An upgrade, with a fresh coat of paint on the cabinets and walls. And maybe some new appliances and flooring will bring the best ROI.

  5. Reginne Kelly says

    Experts suggest a renovated kitchen will bring you the best financial return