How To Remodel Your Kitchen for Less than $25K

January 13, 2020 min read

Do those mid-80s beige cabinets with wood trim need to go? Perhaps your countertops are stained and burned from the previous owner. Or possibly, toes are stepped on when the whole family tries to cook together. Sounds like it’s time for a kitchen remodel. But is an affordable kitchen remodel really possible?

After all, most of us don’t have $25,000 sitting around, or even an extra $10k . But with modest kitchen changes using responsible financial choices, you’ll invest in your future by increasing your home’s value and functionality.

How Much Will it Cost to Remodel a Kitchen?

To estimate the cost of your kitchen renovation, and how it impacts your home’s value, visit remodeling magazine’s Cost vs. Value report for your local region or city. That’s the suggestion from licensed architect Jim Molinelli, also known as “The Remodeling Professor.” He’s authored the book “Remodel Without Going Bonkers or Broke,” and also offers the online class “Remodeling Success Blueprint,” which helps homeowners plan renovation efforts.

Interestingly, a mid-range, minor kitchen remodel ($22,507) tends to recoup more than significant kitchen remodels (which can be up to $130,000), according to the Remodeling 2019 Cost vs. Value Report. A “midrange, minor” kitchen remodel involves cosmetic and energy-efficient changes, including:

  • Replacing cabinet fronts (leaving the boxes in place)
  • Updating with a new sink and faucet, resilient flooring and countertops
  • Adding an energy-efficient range and fridge

Kitchen remodel levels are related to quality, but also return on your investment. Owners of a “forever” house might want a grander solution that pays back over time. “Those planning to move soon, or on a tight budget may want their kitchen remodel to be more modest and cost effective,” says Molinelli.

When reviewing the report, keep in mind that some listed details will change based on the size of your kitchen remodel, which will also affect your bottom line. For example, you know that you’ll spend less on cabinetry or appliances, if your kitchen is smaller than one in the report.

How Can I Find Money for Kitchen Remodeling?

Before starting any new projects, figure out how much you have to work with, and how you’ll pay for an upcoming kitchen remodel. Here are three options to consider:

  1. Spread out renovation work over time. Budget money for small monthly renovation spends, or take out a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) that you can tap into anytime. HELOCs usually have much lower interest rates than a standard credit card.
  2. Find significant cash flow. Sure, you might come into an inheritance or other windfall. But if that’s unlikely, consider a cash-out refinance, where you draw on your home’s existing equity in exchange for a large lump sum of cash.*
  3. Create a savings plan. Figure out how much you’ll need, then saving money in a high-yield savings account throughout the year, or years. After you’ve hit your savings goal, start your kitchen remodeling.

When used wisely on home improvements, HELOCs, cash-out refinancing and saving money are all financially responsible methods that can help build additional equity in your home.

Affordable Home Kitchen Remodeling

Typically, the most expensive aspects of any kitchen remodel are the cabinetry, appliances, and countertops. You still have choices that can help reduce costs:

Pick Mid-range Cabinets.

Where cabinets are concerned, the quality level impacts both your bottom line and durability. Although they’re less expensive, Molinelli suggests avoiding builder-grade kitchen cabinets. They look okay, he says, but have a relatively short lifespan. On the high end, custom cabinets are rarely necessary, he notes.

“Cabinet functionality is more important than looks,” he says. Roll-out trays can easily reveal what’s behind your cabinet doors. Cabinet hinges and glides should be durable, and still work well after 5 years. Spend your pennies widely on a high-quality stock line or semi-custom line of cabinets, giving you the best features at a manageable price point.

Seek Sale Appliances.

Dishwashers, fridges and ranges go on sale throughout the year. The trick? Coordinate your upcoming kitchen renovation with store sales. Wait for discounts before purchasing, Molinelli suggests. Many appliance retailers will hold the items until you’re ready for delivery, or will place appliances in your garage to await installation.

When you do buy appliances, go with a local vendor. “Don’t buy online from a distant state,” Molinelli says. When your fridge’s icemaker stops working while under warranty, it’s easiest to call up the local store, who can send out a representative. With Internet purchases, appliance returns or repairs can be an expensive headache.

Choose cost-conscious materials.

Material selection can reduce the cost of any project, Molinelli says. Sheet vinyl, tile and hardwoods have very different prices, where flooring is concerned. Countertops can be laminate, butcher-block wood, Corian, quartz or other materials.

Quick Tips: Renovating on a Tight Budget

If your kitchen is downright ugly, spend a minimal amount on a few DIY projects that make your kitchen cosmetically bearable — at least right now. “Spend as little money as possible on anything that is likely to be torn out and thrown away in the future remodel,” Molinelli says. A few low-cost ideas:

  • Make your current shelving more useful. Check out, he suggests, which offers products that increase accessibility and functionality: roll-out drawers, under-sink pullouts, tray dividers and more.
  • With a few hundred dollars, you might focus on resurfacing, or priming and painting your cabinets, and adding new hardware.
  • Change out the countertop, sink or faucet to sustain you another few years.
  • Buying appliances that you’ll incorporate into your long-term future kitchen layout are another smart purchase, such as a range or fridge that you’ll hold onto for years.
  • For other short-term projects, plan a renovation staycation: peel-and-stick wallpaper, hanging art, painting walls or installing a backsplash.

Paying for a Home Kitchen Renovation

Making small but high-ROI changes may improve your home’s value, and increase your long-term ability to create the kitchen of your dreams with a large-scale renovation. If you’re thinking of renovating but need to “find more money,” compare your refinancing options. When you’re ready, get started online or call a licensed Pennymac Loan Officer.

The views, information, or opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent those of PennyMac Loan Services, LLC and its employees. The inclusion of links to third party sites is not intended to assign importance to those sites or to the information contained therein, nor is it intended to endorse, recommend, or favor any views expressed, or commercial products or services offered on these third party sites, or the vendors sponsoring the sites.



home improvement renovations selling a home fundamentals

Want to stay in the know about today's interest rates?
Sign up for emails and get updates directly in your inbox!

Your info has been received!

Thanks for signing up for Pennymac updates! If you have any questions about
our rates, mortgages, etc., you can always call us at 866.549.3583.

Sorry, but something went wrong

Please refresh the page and try again. Or if you have any questions about
our rates, mortgages, etc., you can always call us at 866.549.3583.