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Best Budgeting Strategies for a Kitchen Renovation

March 17, 2022

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Before You Give Your Client an Estimate, Consider This

Landing a new kitchen renovation is an exciting endeavor. But before you give your client a ballpark estimate when they ask “how much is this going to cost?” be sure to review the guidelines I’ve created to help you through the client budgeting process.  As an NKBA Certified Kitchen Designer (CKD), I provide my clients with a realistic budget prior to the design phase, one that encompasses every product, trade, and material necessary in completing the job to suit the client’s needs.

Kitchen renovations are one of the most complex spaces in the home to design and implement. With so many moving parts, homeowners lean on trade professionals to guide them through the arduous process of planning, selecting, ordering, scheduling, and completing construction. At Liz Walton Home, we are well versed in the science of kitchen renovations and take a systematic approach to budgeting for these large scale projects which starts before a contract is ever signed.

During our discovery call with a potential client, one of the first questions we ask is, “What is your budget?” To which many potential client’s will answer, “I have no idea. How much should we budget?” As an aid, we developed a sample budget cheat sheet based on projects we have completed within the past year, reflecting a low, medium, and high price tag. These price points will vary depending on your market and ideal client. We cater to a high end clientele so our “low” category could easily be the “high” for your business. Either way the approach to budgeting is the same.

Sample budget for interior designers

Expectations and Budget AlignEd? Onto Design!

Once we determine the client has realistic expectations and solidified their budget, we proceed with the job. With a clear understanding of our client’s needs and aesthetics, we design the kitchen and develop 3D color renderings using Chief Architect, which reflects specific materials and colors for the proposed space. After the design phase is complete, we take a deep dive into the project and start putting real numbers towards their project. We provide our clients with a detailed budget including:

  • Kitchen Cabinetry ($35k – $100k)

  • Countertops ($85/square foot +)

  • Decorative tile ($30/square foot +)

  • Cabinetry hardware ($6 per piece up to $65 per piece and beyond)

  • Plumbing fixtures ($5k +)

  • Appliances ($35k +)

  • Hardwood flooring ($12 per square foot +)

  • Decorative Lighting

  • Contractor fees (this includes all labor and materials necessary to complete the renovation, including electrical, plumbing, cabinetry and tile installation, drywall, paint, HVAC, etc.)

Kitchen design with brown cabinets

While this may seem like a lot of work to prepare upfront, it avoids any confusion regarding what is or isn’t included, and gives us a solid base when discussing the overall costs of the job. We provide generous allowances for each category which helps keep us on track and within budget. If our client falls in love with an item or material that exceeds our allowance, we can easily refer back to our budget to determine where we might be able to save in other areas.

Our clients appreciate our transparency and are able to understand how that overall number is derived. Having a detailed budget enables us to engage in educated conversations in regards to where we might want to save some money and where it is worth spending more to achieve the desired function and aesthetic. 

Working this way puts us in the driver seat throughout the duration of the project, builds trust with our client and contractors, and makes for a much less stressful project. If you’re just starting out in kitchen design projects and would like to discuss any strategies in the budgeting process, I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to get in touch!

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Written by Liz Walton

Liz Walton is the founder and proud owner of Liz Walton Home. As a certified kitchen designer, Liz and her team work seamlessly with clients and custom home builders to deliver one-of-a kind kitchens, tailored to suit their needs. Liz’s pragmatic and function based approach paired with humor and humility put clients minds at ease and ensure an exceptional experience.

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