Renovating a kitchen is a satisfying and fun part of home remodelling. A fresh new kitchen is great to cook in, and can completely change the vibe and flow of your entire house.
But how much will it cost?
The industry average is $2500 AUD per square meter, a figure which includes both materials and labour. Let’s use that figure to estimate costs at different kitchen sizes.
|Size (SQM)||Cost (AUD)|
|Small Kitchen||< 6m²||$15,000|
|Average Kitchen||6m² - 9m²||$17,500 - $25,000|
|Large Kitchen||10m² - 39m²||$25,000 - $100,000|
|Very Large Kitchen||40m² - 70m²||$100,000 - $175,000|
Of course, the industry-standard cost per square meter is only useful for estimations.
If you use more expensive materials or make major changes, it will cost more.
Let’s quickly take a look at some factors that will influence the cost of getting your kitchen redone.
Load Bearing Walls and Layout Changes
Removing a load-bearing wall can add $5,000 - $50,000 to your renovation.
We hear you ask, "what is a load bearing wall?".
A load bearing wall is what holds the weight of elements above it. For a kitchen, this means removing such a wall could cause the ceiling to cave in.
Before you get emotionally and financially invested, work out if the wall you want to remove is load-bearing. If it is, you need to get a structural engineer in to do the calculations and work out how to re-support that weight.
This is a very common consideration in modern kitchen renovations because nearly everyone wants to live in an open-plan house. Makes sense, removing the wall that separates your kitchen and dining room is an easy way to maximise space, natural light, and fetch a pretty penny at auction.
If it is not load-bearing, you can knock it down for next to nothing.
Prefabricated Cupboards VS Custom Cupboards
You can never have too much storage space in a kitchen.
Unless you can no longer afford it. Kitchen cabinets or cupboards are usually the most expensive component in a kitchen renovation.
The type of cupboards you choose determines the cost.
You can choose prefabricated cupboards for a more cost-effective approach, or get custom-built cupboards if you have money to burn, and you’re feeling bespoke.
Prefabricated cupboards, or flat pack cupboards, are ready-made, and you can directly buy them from many retailers.
The world’s shifting towards prefab everything. We’ve got manufacturing down to a science and there’s an endless range of prefabricated cupboards to choose from.
Even though prefabs are a lot cheaper, the quality can still be very high and there are endless options. You can choose between plywood frames, maple wood drawers, mahogany door frames, corner carousels, and the list goes on.
Prefab doesn’t need to mean cheap either. High-end options with marble or granite kitchen benchtops are just as common as budget options with a basic wood laminate.
Prefabricated cupboards can cost $500 - $8,000 with the installation cost around $2,000 obviously depending on the number of cupboards and the assembly required.
If you want custom designed cupboards, it’ll cost you double or triple that amount. Custom cupboards are built from the scratch and that takes time and skill.However, custom cupboards give you the flexibility to achieve a unique look. You can choose different colours, different styles for each cupboard, different wood types, and a lot more customised features. With custom cupboards, you’ll be looking to spend around $10,000, and around $4,000 in installation costs.
If you’re looking to keep your kitchen renovation cost within that $20,000 budget, prefabricated cupboards are the best option. But if you have a bigger budget, you can get custom cupboards for a more personalised kitchen design.
Island Vs Peninsula Kitchen Bench
Another costly item on your renovation list is the kitchen bench. The layout of your kitchen bench will determine how your kitchen looks and how functional it is.
Older kitchens tend to have a lot of underutilised space owing to weird bench placement. An affordable way to tack on some extra counter space without tearing up your kitchen and starting from scratch is to go for an island bench layout.
In case you’ve been living in a cave somewhere, island kitchen benches are free-standing with space on all sides. They often sit in the middle of the kitchen and are a design centrepiece. Island benches are great for preparing Christmas dinner because everyone can choose a side and gather around to prep food and cook together.
Because of its free-standing design, an island kitchen bench layout is more expensive. It can cost you around $3,000 to $5,000 to install an island kitchen bench.
A peninsula kitchen bench however is more cost-efficient because it's not a free-standing kitchen bench.
A Peninsula bench is built attached to existing cupboards or counters. You can build a peninsula bench layout for less than $2000.
So, which one to choose?
We recommend going for a peninsula bench layout if you have a small kitchen. It adds a lot of bench space to your kitchen and makes it feel bigger. An Island bench, on the other hand, is better suited for bigger kitchens. If there’s not enough space, an island can disrupt movement through the kitchen.
Break Down Your Cost
We recommend you set aside at least 20% of your entire renovation budget for labour and installation cost.
You should also make a list of must-haves, and if you’re redoing the entire kitchen, make sure you’re not over-spending on a single item.
Here is a good cost breakdown example for a whole kitchen renovation:
|Labour and Installation||20%|
|Kitchen Bench & Splashbacks||12%|
|Painting & Drywall||5%|
Work Within Your Budget But Don’t Go Cheap
If you find yourself going over budget, you can always make some compromises on fittings or layout changes, but you should never force it.
Buying cheap items that will rust, break and deteriorate will cost more in the long run and it will annoy you because the kitchen’s a room that you’re going to use all the time.
You need your cabinets to be well built and your kitchen bench not to rot the first time it gets wet. Don’t compromise on the quality of your hinges and drawer runners.
These bits and bots determine how comfortable and attractive your kitchen is. A well-constructed kitchen is better to cook in, and it’s easy to tell when a kitchen was done on the cheap.
In Australia, you have the option of choosing between licensed builders and unlicensed builders. Unlicensed builders, like that guy you found on GumTree or Airtasker, might be able to knock a few thousand dollars off the price, but you don’t get the same assurances that you’ll get from a licensed builder.
For most indoor renovation jobs, licensed builders can charge anywhere between $45 - $70 per hour. The more experienced builders charge a higher rate per hour, but they can also get your job done within a shorter time.
So the bottom line is, don’t compromise where it counts.