How much does it cost to renovate a small kitchen?

June 25, 2023

When it comes to buying and selling real estate, the kitchen can make or break a sale. With small kitchens, in particular, it is vital to get them right. It is frustrating for those buyers who have exhausted their budget in their purchase to inherit a small kitchen with so much more potential if only they had the funds. Albeit a quick makeover may save them money, the hub of the modern home deserves a bit more love. 

Fortunately, renovating doesn't have to break the bank

There are many factors that affect the cost of renovating a kitchen, which is why we don't have a definitive answer to the question we posed above. But ultimately, your reason for renovating, the design of your kitchen and the cost of labour and what you spend on the fixtures, fittings and materials, will determine your budget.

What is the best way to approach the project?

Step 1: Decide WHY you are renovating 

Are you renovating an investment property for maximum return? 

Are you renovating because your kitchen needs an update? 

Are you renovating to sell? 

Or are you renovating because your existing kitchen is falling apart?

We know that renovated properties hold their value, but if you are styling to sell, most designers recommend you spend no more than 2% of the value of your property on a kitchen renovation. 

As Luke Harris from The Property Mentors advised Better Home and Gardens: “If you’re selling the property, install a kitchen that appeals to a wide range of buyers and try and stick with a simple colour palette. Kitchens and bathrooms are two areas that buyers look out for, so make sure your kitchen renovation is suitable for the property type and the area it is located but be careful not to over-capitalise.”

Step 2:  Understand the FULL scope of costs 

Ultimately, your overall spending will depend on how much of the project management, design and labour you undertake yourself, so if you are looking to minimise your outlay, this is an area in which you have some control. 

Not all of us are natural renovators - as I found out when I took a sledgehammer to our old kitchen - so to give you a better idea of what your kitchen renovation should cost, we’ve created a shopping list for you, which itemises every cost (including those sneaky, hidden ones that are so easy to forget) that you should consider in your budget: 

  1. Labour – This cost may include the demolition and removal of your existing kitchen, plumbing and electricals – for example, you may require new gas or water pipework and wiring for appliances, lighting or sockets if you change your kitchen’s design - tiling, painting and decorating.
  2. Cabinetry and carpentry – This cost covers the installation of the cabinets and benchtop in your new kitchen. In the case of a high-end kitchen, it may also include the manufacture of custom cabinetry.
  3. Benchtops - These do not come with your cabinets. You will need to budget for them separately and costs vary enormously for different materials.
  4. Lighting - Most kitchens have recessed or strip lighting under the cabinets, a light in the range hood, downlights or a strip light in the ceiling and pendant lights over the island if there is one.
  5. Hardware and tapware – You must include the cost of new tapware for your sink and hinges and handles for your cabinets.
  6. Appliances – You may be able to reuse some of your existing white goods if you are on a tight budget, but the chances are they will look outdated in your new kitchen. You should factor in an oven, cooktop, dishwasher, and microwave (if your space allows for it).
  7. Splashback – This protects the wall area between your benchtop and wall cabinets. Like benchtops, the price of different materials varies enormously.
  8. Flooring – We are not including this cost in our guide because as I found when I carried out my kitchen renovation if your living/dining area is open-plan, you may end up replacing the whole area. However, this is a substantial cost that needs to be taken into account and the price for different flooring options vary. 
  9. Painting and making good – Your kitchen may require some remedial work before installation, the ceiling and woodwork will most likely require a facelift, and there will be certain patches of wall that need repainting and made good.
  10. Sundries - Pesky, hidden costs like skip hire, the cost to plumb in those fancy fridges with ice and water dispensers, extra flooring (see above), wall modifications, and even range hoods often catch people out. 

And finally...drum roll... the cost

The following estimates are our guide to the cost to renovate three different quality kitchens:  

  • Our “Budget” kitchen. The lower end of this price spectrum is where you stick to your existing layout and take on the demolition and preparation yourself. You design it with a free kitchen planning service such as the one Ikea offers and you employ a local handyman to carry out most of the labour.
  • Our “Mid-Range” kitchen. This is a one-stop shopping experience for those who are time-poor or need creative inspiration. With a kitchen retailer like Freedom, you work with one of their designers to create a custom kitchen and their price includes your new design, supply and installation of the cabinetry, splashback and benchtop (if that suits you), and project management of their services. Additional costs include your designer's time and the additional trade hours required to implement any layout changes, but you get expert advice and better-quality appliances, materials and finishes.
  • Our “High-End” kitchen is from a high-end retailer such as Provincial Kitchens or a joinery company that offers a comprehensive, bespoke service, supplying premium materials and finishes. Those stunning farmhouse kitchens with solid timber cabinets painted in trendy earth tones you see in interiors magazines don't come cheap, but if money is no issue, they are very on-trend for 2023. Your chosen company will project-manage the job from start to finish, re-design it, supply and install each component, and organise the necessary trades.







"Budget" appliances 

"Mid-range" appliances 

"Premium" appliances

Melamine cabinets

Polyurethane cabinets

Hand-crafted timber cabinets

Laminate benchtop

Composite stone benchtop

 Granite bench top

Ceramic tiled splashback

 Glass splashback

 Premium tiled splashback

Strip lighting for cabinets and ceiling 

Recessed lighting under cabinets and for ceiling and pendants over the island

Recessed lighting under cabinets and for ceiling and premium pendants over the island

AU$10,000 - $20,000

AU$15,000 - $25,000

AU$25,000 - $35,000

If you are styling to sell, there are easy ways to save money when you renovate your kitchen. Project-managing the job yourself and taking responsibility for as much of the demolition stage as you can will reduce costs. Choosing flat-pack cabinets over a custom kitchen and hiring a local handyman to install them will also help, as will buying second-hand or ex-showroom appliances and maintaining the same layout.

Have you considered selling your property?

There is no doubt the market is tricky at the moment and you may feel nervous about investing in renovations. But renovated properties - done well - are holding their value. If you are looking to sell your property, Listing Loop provides three options instead of the traditional one way.

If you would like to use the proven and most common method of selling with an agent, but don’t know where to start, our free Seller Assist service can help. Seller Assist identifies the best local agent to sell your property who will value your property correctly so you don’t undersell.

If you’re up for giving it a go yourself, Listing Loop can guide you through the process of selling privately. This includes listing your property for sale on Listing Loop and the option to have marketing products such as a For Sale signboard and a property brochure.

If you’re interested in selling, but not ready to fully commit, you can Test the Market for free. List your property unofficially to determine buyer interest. You can do this without even revealing your address or contact information.

Explore Listing Loop’s options for selling and importantly, list and sell your property with confidence.


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