Where to Save and Where to Splurge on a Kitchen Remodel

Where to Save and Where to Splurge on a Kitchen Remodel
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Are you thinking about doing a kitchen remodel in your home? If so, you’re not alone.

Statistical data from 2019 shows that as many as 37% of people want to do a remodel for a long time before they actually have the funds available to go ahead with it. And that comes as no surprise. The average redo can cost anywhere between $5,000 and $50,000, depending on the features you’re after.

Sure, you may have a solid idea about your dream kitchen’s most prominent features (whether it’s a professional gas range or a Pinterest-worthy farmhouse sink). Still, there will always be some things you won’t have as much insight about. And with these, it can be hard to decide if you should save or splurge.

Fortunately, however, there are a few rules you can keep in mind when budgeting for your remodel. These are the top areas to pay top dollar and the ones to save on when redoing your kitchen.


Let’s face it – cabinetry is likely going to be the most expensive part of your kitchen renovation. And, depending on the size of the room, that’s no surprise.

Now, whether you should save or splurge on this part of your home depends on a simple choice. Are you looking for an ultra-fashionable look and undisputed quality? Or are you OK with functional cabinetry that’s simple, offers a good amount of storage, and won’t take funds away from other parts of the remodel?

If you found yourself answering yes to the first question, you’ll definitely have to splurge on custom-made cabinets. But, rest assured that a new set can last you 15 to 20 years, with proper care and maintenance.

If, however, you don’t want something brand new, you can make considerable savings by repairing and repainting what you already have. Or go with a ready-to-assemble option like Ikea, which looks great but won’t dent your budget too much.

Pro-tip for saving: Even if you’re replacing cabinetry, try not to make too many changes to the layout of your kitchen (water and gas lines). This will keep the costs down and allow you to only change the things that really need an update.


Though technically a part of your cabinetry, countertops fall in a completely different category budget-wise. And that’s because of the use and wear they get over the years.

If you have some leeway regarding your budget, you should definitely splurge on stunning, high-quality countertops. Granite, quartz, marble, and soapstone are all durable options. They will need professional installation but will resist staining and damage if done properly. Plus, if you ever decide to sell your home, they can be one of the features that (at least partially) bumps up your asking price.

Pro-tip for saving: If you can’t afford stone, go with a tile, hardwood, or stainless steel option. All of these can be made to look great and will last long enough with proper care. Do keep in mind, however, that they will inevitably show signs of use after a few years.


When it comes to the appliances you invest in for your kitchen, the best way to decide about your budget is to determine how much time you actually spend cooking.

If you’re someone who loves trying out new meatloaf recipes every week, then definitely go with something oriented towards pro cooks. But if you’re more of the UberEats type of person, your best bet would be to save on this aspect of your remodel.

The one thing to keep in mind, regardless of your cooking preferences, is to prioritize energy efficiency and warranty when choosing appliances. Yes, a smart cooking range sounds like all the cat’s pajamas. But, if you take a closer look, you’ll find that it’s likely that its real-life use is still limited and involves a hefty price tag.

Pro-tip for saving: When buying appliances, remember that the newest models aren’t necessarily the best ones out there. Not only can older models offer excellent performance, but they’ll also likely cost less, making them the superior investment for most people.

Backsplash & Flooring

Are you just making a few updates to your kitchen? If that’s the case, then the backsplash and flooring definitely fall into the “save” category. You can cheaply refresh them by giving them a deep clean and possibly redoing the grouts.

But, if you’re doing work that’s supposed to last the next decade or two, then it’s definitely time to spend a bit more money.

When it comes to flooring, you’ll find that eco (and budget) friendly options like cork, reclaimed wood, and linoleum all perform great. But, their downside is that you will have to replace them at some point. If, however, you’re ready to spend more, go with a porcelain or ceramic tile or even natural stone if you can afford it.

As for the backsplash, if you’re redoing it, then don’t cut costs. A beautiful kitchen wall can instantly elevate an otherwise modest room. If you have the funds, go with natural stone or, alternatively, a high-quality porcelain tile. These will look breathtaking and perform wonderfully for decades to come.

Pro-tip for saving: If you decide to go with tile for your flooring, consider choosing a larger format. This won’t only lower installation costs but also minimize the amount of grout. And that means less time spent scrubbing mucky floors.

Hardware & Accessories

Unless you’re really looking to impress, your best bet would be to save on kitchen hardware and accessories. Sure, you can go with designer options that look amazing. But you’re likely to get the same appearance and performance from several more budget-friendly retailers as well.

Fortunately, there are a few items that can make your life easier. For example, a touch-free bin makes for a great accessory to invest in. So does a good-sized wooden cutting board, a cast-iron skillet, and a chef’s knife. On the other hand, staples like tableware and kitchen cloths tend to suffer a lot of damage. In the case of those kinds of items, don’t feel like you need to have the best of the best.

Pro-tip for saving: When it comes to hardware, it’s one of the cheapest ways to update the look of your kitchen. Buy from a local store, browse Etsy, or even make your own. You’d be surprised with how much you can do with just a couple of hundred dollars!


Last but not least, every great kitchen needs some well-placed sources of light. So, if you’re doing a remodel, give yourself permission to splurge on this category.

Whether you’re putting in a big window to add some natural light, investing in functional over-the-counter lights, or are swapping out your fixtures and bulbs, this is a category that’ll definitely add value to your home.

Pro-tip for saving: While having an ultra-bright kitchen works great, make sure that you don’t set yourself up for sky-high electricity bills in the future. An easy way to guarantee energy efficiency is to group your lights by category. Furthermore, consider automated switches that’ll ensure all the lights are off when not needed.

In Closing

There you have it: the top tips on where to save and where to splurge on a kitchen remodel. As you can see, the correct answer doesn’t just depend on your budget. Your cooking and living choices will play a major role.

No matter your preferences, however, know that investing in this part of your home pays off in the long run. And if you’re preparing to put your house on the market, it will definitely help you boost its value.

For other remodeling tips, check out these blogs:

How To Prepare for a Home Remodel

7 Ways to Save on Your Next Home Remodel

Will The Government Pay Me to Remodel My Home?