An IKEA Kitchen Remodel: How Much Will it Cost?

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(updated January 2014)

It is common for a homeowner to see the beautiful display kitchens at an IKEA store that seem to cost just a few thousand dollars, and to conceive that IKEA price tag represents something it cannot: the cost of a new kitchen.

Modern IKEA kitchen
IKEA cannot provide remodeling advice, and is in business to sell you cabinets and some other materials components of a kitchen (countertop and appliances). They display those kitchens to sell you the products in them, of course. What most people need and want to know is the actual cost of an IKEA kitchen remodel. What will it take (cost) to get the type of result you see in the store? This will include ALL materials you need (not just IKEA products) and the LABOR to get your kitchen from where it is, to one that looks like those displays. You can figure out, and it is, in fact, vital that you do.

I've written an eBook, How to Plan a Budget for an IKEA Kitchen Remodel that I am happy to email to my readers. I think you'll find that it will provide detailed help to ensure you "know before you go." It includes detailed cost data for typical kitchens and has sample estimate sheets you can use to ensure you get comprehensive labor bids.

In my experience with hundreds of IKEA kitchen projects, homeowners can have unrealistic expectation of labor costs since the prices of materials, that is to say cabinets and sinks and tile and so forth can be confirmed fairly easily, but estimates from contractors are trickier to get, and to believe.

Which budget do you feel is most like yours?

$5000 budget for the project, including labor and materials
$5000 budget and you plan to do the labor yourself
$8000 and you don't know if this is enough
$10,000 budget, and you've estimated your cabinets to cost $4000
$15,000 budget, and you want some minor wall changes (removed, opened, added)
$20,000+ you expect to change walls, windows/doors and/or your electrical panel

IKEA attracts many do-it-yourself-ers and although it is certainly possible to spend $2500 or less on cabinets and countertop, and to then complete a modest remodel for $5000, it's not that common.  The cost to have an expert install the cabinets and countertop and appliances is likely to run a minimum of $1500 in a small kitchen. And there is always some electrical and plumbing work to be done in a kitchen remodel. For those with a $5000 budget, I'd suggest about half for materials, half for labor including permits and trash removal.

In the $8000 range, especially for a condo kitchen, say 8 x 10, as long as their is no major preparation issue, such as the need for electrical work or plumbing or major wall repair before the cabinets can be installed, you can move forward conservatively. In this range you really need to get close estimates of materials and labor and stick to your budget, or below it, when buying materials. Consider laminate or wood countertop that can be replaced in a year or two when you have additional funds. Consider adding tile backsplash later, too.

With a $10,000 budget, as long as you don't want walls changed, you can often choose from the middle price range of cabinet door styles, and you can go with solid surface counters (such as Corian or Caesarstone). But get good labor estimates before you buy anything so you know what your materials budget really is. Consider waiting for an IKEA kitchen sale because a 10-20% savings can make a real difference here.

In the $15,000-$20,000 range, homeowners usually have more extensive preparation work in mind. By this I mean wall changes, moving windows, and, often, more than basic electrical work. (Tip: moving plumbing can be fairly inexpensive so don't rule out moving a sink if doing so would make a better kitchen. It is possible to run pvc pipe through or behind IKEA cabinets in many cases). When walls are being removed, the costs vary with whether or not the wall is a shear or load bearing wall. Although the labor and materials needed to remove a load bearing wall are not so great, you may need to have blueprints drawn up in order to get permits. The blueprints will specify the materials and manner in which the load will now be support. The drawings, the permits and the labor are costs to include in your planning.

One of the most commonly overlooked costs in kitchen remodeling is necessary electrical work. In a house built before 1960, unless it was replaced earlier, there is likely to be one 100 amp electrical panel for the entire house. To do a kitchen remodel you almost always have to add outlets to the kitchen (and you want to!) because codes in most places require a minimum number spaced regularly in a kitchen. If your panel is already "maxed out" such that you cannot add any more load to it, you are going to need to replace the panel before you can add the required outlets.

The labor and materials to have a licensed electrician replace a panel and run wires to the kitchen from it, have to be added to the budget, and these can be significant, perhaps $2000 as a ballpark estimate. The up side of this expense is that you'll have safer electrical, better resale value, and if you've had appliances shorting out on you, this could be handled by the upgrade. In any case, make sure any contractor bid you get includes an inspection of your electrical and the cost to bring it to code for the kitchen project.

If you'd like to discuss your project with me, I can offer you a free, 30-minute phone consultation. Here's my calendar, just pick a time that works for you.


My company, Modern Family Kitchens, offers professional IKEA kitchen design services. I am confident that you'll spend the least on beautiful best results when you base your project on expert design. Don't risk plan errors or inelegant design. Call or write me to discuss your project. 877-550-1753.