Kitchen Renovations: Costs & How to Find the Right Tradies

When you think about it, you use your kitchen every day. Whether for your morning cuppa, a quick sandwich at lunch or that inspired evening dinner, the kitchen is the heart of many Australian homes. Turns out, it’s also the most renovated part of the home according to Houzz, so if you’ve been itching to get in on the kitchen renovation trend, you’re not alone.

Read on for all the ins and outs of what’s involved, kitchen renovation cost estimates and how to finance it all.

How much does a kitchen renovation cost?

Kitchen renovation costs can vary widely depending on the appliances, installation, plumbing and electrical work required as well as the size of the kitchen. As a guide, the average renovation cost ranges from:

  • $15,000 to $28,000 for a budget renovation
  • $25,000 to $50,000 for a mid-range renovation
  • $40,000 to $90,000+ for a higher end renovation

Reasons to renovate your kitchen

  • Boost your home’s value. One of the top reasons and an easy way to help market your property.
  • Upgrade to fit your personal style. If your style has changed over the years or you bought the home with a very loud aesthetic that’s the opposite to yours then a kitchen renovation could be just the ticket.
  • Create a space that better meets your family’s needs. Maybe you need more counter space or storage or you’re keen to add in some gourmet features.
  • Update an awkward layout. Eliminate the inconvenience of a space that hasn’t been updated in a while by improving the functionality.
  • Increase energy and water efficiency. An upgrade to your appliances can help you save on energy and water.

What to do before you start a kitchen renovation

  • Work out your budget. Figure out how much you want to spend overall including a little bit extra (5-10%) for any unexpected emergencies.
  • Choose your design. Time to let your creative side out and decide what you want your new kitchen to look like and the key aspects that will be changed.
  • Create a schedule. Like any project, you’ll have to work out a plan for the sequence of events and when things actually need to happen.
  • Pack it up. Pack up all your kitchen items so your workers can do their job without clutter.
  • Set up a temporary kitchen. Take the bare essentials and basic tools you’ll need during your kitchen renovation and put together a temporary kitchen space. You’ll need a space for prepping, somewhere to wash dishes and options for cooking such as your microwave, a hot plate or a BBQ.

man renovating the kitchen

The step by step process for renovating a kitchen

  1. Hire professionals. Undertaking a kitchen renovation is no easy feat so make sure you hire tradespeople that can help the project go smoothly.
  2. Design the space. Visit showrooms, research online and consider consulting a kitchen designer for a professional opinion.
  3. Order all the appliances, fixtures and fittings. Some items can take multiple weeks to arrive and the cabinet-maker will need to know what you’ve chosen before they start.
  4. Measure up. The cabinet-maker will measure up and provide the working drawings needed to build the kitchen.
  5. Demolish the kitchen. Time to get the sledgehammer out and get rid of the old kitchen.
  6. Update plumbing and install the electrical. Get your space ready for all the fixtures and fittings with any necessary rewiring and replumbing.
  7. Lay the flooring. This is dependent on the material and personal preference. Concrete floors need to be installed ahead of final finishes because it’s a messy job. Other options can be done once the kitchen is completed.
  8. Paint the walls. The optional step is completed before the kitchen cabinet carcasses are installed.
  9. Cabinets are installed. The cabinet makers will install the cabinets in place, attaching them to the wall using glue and screws.
  10. Cabinet panels are installed. These are the panels which finish the exposed sides of the kitchen including the pantry, island and wall ends.
  11. Benchtop and sink are installed. Your chosen benchtop is cut to size and installed, along with the kitchen sink.
  12. Draws, doors and kickboards are installed. The finishing touches of your kitchen are now completed.
  13. Connect the services. Once everything is installed, the electrician and plumber can connect appliances, sinks, taps and lighting.

What impacts the cost of a kitchen renovation?

In general, the factors that impact the cost of a kitchen renovation include the materials you choose to use, the appliances you select and the size of your kitchen. Labour cost and the complexity of the job can also affect the overall cost.

Here’s an idea of what the range of costs can look like:

  • Appliances. Ovens can cost between $380 for a budget model up to $2,000 for a high-end one while a dishwasher ranges in price from $400 to $1,400.
  • Materials. On the budget end of the scale, you’ve got a laminate benchtop that costs around $235 per square metre and on the higher end, a natural stone or marble benchtop can cost anywhere from $700 – $2000 per square metre.
  • Size. According to Homely, small kitchens (<8m2) have an average cost of $11,000 to $20,000, medium kitchens (8-20m2) average $15,000 to $40,000 and large ones (20m2+) cost $30,000 to $60,000 on average.

How can I finance a kitchen renovation?

  • Credit card. If the cost is small enough and you can source a card with low interest rates, you can consider using a credit card. Note that failing to pay your credit card balance off in time can add significant interest charges to your kitchen renovation costs. There could also be some other fringe benefits with this option, including earning frequent flyer points. Also note that credit card interest rates are typically higher than personal or home loan rates.
  • Personal loan. Whether secured or unsecured, personal loans can be useful for a lower budget kitchen renovation. It’s a flexible option but rates are generally higher than a home loan.
  • Home loan. For bigger jobs with a large price tag, you can consider refinancing or restructuring your home loan with a line of credit.

How long does a kitchen renovation take?

Not including time spent on the design phase, the average kitchen renovation takes between 4 and 8 weeks to complete. Smaller renovations can take as little as 2 weeks, while more complicated luxury projects can easily take months.

How to find tradesmen for kitchen renovations in Australia

Word-of-mouth is still one of the most popular options for choosing a tradesman for a kitchen renovation. If your friends are coming up short, however, then there are some online options that can help you find the right contractors for the job.

  • Hipages. Hipages has been around for over a decade and it’s all about home improvement. It has a dedicated Trust and Quality team to check the qualifications of all tradespeople.
  • ServiceSeeking. Businesses on this site have all completed an ID check and ServiceSeeking has a “two complaints and you’re out” policy to weed out poor service.
  • Oneflare. Oneflare is a platform which allows you to get free quotes for a variety of jobs. Each business gets a profile score and verified workers are highlighted. You can also read reviews from other customers.
  • Airtasker. With over a million registered workers, you’ll be hard-pressed not to find what you’re looking for here. Airtasker verifies the identity of all its workers and you pay via its inbuilt payment system for extra protection on both sides.

Questions to ask before hiring a tradesman for a kitchen renovation

  • Can I see your licence and qualifications? Make sure they’re fully qualified for the job.
  • Are you insured? Public liability insurance will cover them for mistakes or accidents.
  • Do you have references I can contact? Speak with past clients to check recent work and conduct.
  • Can I see examples of your workmanship? Make sure they can do quality work and their style fits with your own.
  • How long have you been in the business? Your job might be complex and require a tradesperson with multiple years of experience.
  • What are the terms of payment? Do you want to pay a deposit upfront or prefer to receive the total bill once the work is completed?

How to negotiate with tradesmen

Negotiating is a fine art for some and others steer well clear away from it. With the right approach, both parties can step away from a negotiation with a positive experience. Here are our top tips to get the best price for your kitchen renovation:

  • Know how much you want to spend in advance and how high you’re willing to go
  • Do your research or have a knowledgeable friend assist you
  • Be aware of the sales tactics commonly used by tradesmen
  • Try not to come across as desperate to get the job done or to work with a highly-rated tradesmen
  • Make it clear you’re looking for a quality job as well as the best price
  • Offer something in return to help bring the cost down, like paying a deposit upfront

Pros and cons: Is a kitchen renovation worth it?

Pros

  • Increase the value of your home
  • Improved look and aesthetics
  • Increase your home’s energy and water efficiency
  • Add more counter space and storage

Cons

  • Can get expensive, especially for luxury renovations
  • Downtime without a kitchen
  • You won’t necessarily make back what you’ve put in if looking to sell

Bottom line

Whether you’re keen to increase your rental return on an investment property, top up the value of your home before you sell or spruce up your forever home, a kitchen renovation is a solid choice. Check out all your options for financing a home renovation so you can start planning your kitchen makeover.

Frequently asked questions about kitchen renovations

How much extra should I set aside for unexpected expenses?

A contingency fund of 5% to 10% of your costs is usually budgeted for in kitchen renovations.

Do I need council approval for my kitchen renovation?

This isn’t usually required unless you’re undergoing major building work or demolition is required. You should still consult with your local council to make sure you’re following the right guidelines.

How can I make my kitchen more sustainable?

Pick energy and water efficient appliances that are designed to last, consider certified sustainable bamboo flooring and invest in an induction cooktop.

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