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Our DIY Kitchen Remodel Cost and Lessons Learned

Apr 20, 2020

Our DIY Kitchen Remodel Cost and Lessons Learned

Apr 20, 2020

This post contains affiliate links. I earn a tiny commission, at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Read my disclosure here.

This post contains affiliate links. I earn a tiny commission, at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Read my disclosure here.

If you’re curious to know how much our DIY kitchen remodel cost, you’re in the right place! I’m sharing the cost breakdown today, as well as details on our cabinet installation and lessons we’ve learned through this experience.

Update March 2022: It’s finished!!! Keep reading for the latest photos.

If you missed part one, read last week’s post about our DIY kitchen remodel plans and material sources. Recap: we bought everything but the paint online. Yes, even sight-unseen cabinets! Sometimes a gamble pays off… and sometimes there’s drama. We had a bit of both.

>> Read Part One Here <<

diy kitchen remodel cost
kitchen progress as of Sept 2021
Free Guide to DIY

How About Those Cabinets?

Ah… the cabinet saga. Where we left off in the previous post, we were still waiting for the new cabinets to arrive. During that delay, we finished most of the updates to the old section of the kitchen. I painted all of the new doors and drawer fronts with a paint sprayer for a super smooth finish. Read about paint sprayer tips here. Wyatt installed new drawer boxes and attached drawer fronts. We also installed soft-close hinges on the new doors, which are full overlay and look awesome, as well as a new porcelain tile floor. As a reminder, here’s our remodel plan:

our new kitchen layout

Through all of this, we were dealing with the cabinet shipments, which were a complete debacle. We received damaged products in each of three shipment attempts – the original and then two remakes. This is partly due to inadequate packing by the cabinet makers and partly due to rough handling by UPS Freight. I will say, customer service at Unfinished Kitchen Cabinets was very helpful over the four months this process took, from initial order to final delivery. I took plenty of photos and had no trouble getting remakes processed.

Aside from that… the cabinets were (mostly) made to our specifications. I’m thrilled to finally have a pantry for expanded food storage, and I can’t wait to see our new hutch in action. We designed a piece that looks like a custom built-in, with pocket doors that can stay open unobtrusively, or be closed to hide small appliances. I ran poll on Instagram to help us decide where to place the handles. 71% of folks agree with me that we should install handles in the middle of the doors, but a respectable 29% agree with Wyatt about placing them close to the bottom. That was fun!

instagram poll on handle placement - 71% agree on middle

Free Guide to DIY

Read More About Our DIY House Updates

Favorite Behr White Paint Colors
Closet Door Ideas to Update Any Room
How to Apply Gold Leaf to Glass Decor
Trends in Cabinet Hardware

Last Steps in Creating Our DIY Kitchen Remodel

Since I’ve painted all of the cabinetry, I think it ties together pretty well. The products from Unfinished Kitchen Cabinets and Cabinet Doors Depot are not an exact match, but the differences are subtle. See both new products side by side in the photo below. I’m thrilled with the layout and the new painted maple is smooth and gorgeous!

12 Tips for Using a HomeRight Paint Sprayer

diy kitchen remodel
Coordinated pantry cabinet and new doors/drawers | Dishtowel

Can you spot the contact paper countertop?? Read more: 2 Affordable Laminate Countertop Updates

As for appliances, we’ve been replacing them during appliance sales. I’m not particular about having a matching appliance suite; I’d rather buy the individual best appliances our budget allows. We have a Bosch dishwasher, GE range, and LG refrigerator (sources below). I love them all!

We have two last steps: backsplash tile and floating shelves. We are thisclose to the finish line!

Read More >> Planning Our Backsplash Design

Update March 2022: Finished!!

Here’s what our DIY kitchen remodel looks like now. I love it. Check it out:

diy kitchen remodel cost
diy kitchen remodel cost
diy kitchen remodel cost

Lessons Learned About Planning A DIY Kitchen Remodel

We started researching cabinet companies and getting bids from local contractors exactly one year ago. Here we are in April 2020, and while we’re not finished yet, we have learned a LOT about this process. These are our take-aways about planning:

diy kitchen remodel sketch

1. This process takes TIME. Our DIY kitchen remodel is taking much longer than if we had hired a contractor to do it. Partly because we are working and dealing with little kids throughout the project. The upside is that our kitchen has been usable throughout the entire process, so far. A normal kitchen remodel takes 6-8 weeks and the kitchen is unusable. We are able to finish projects on our own schedule because we still have full use of the space.

2. Line up all of your cabinet sources and map out the finishing schedule before you start. If you plan well, you might be able to finish your own DIY kitchen remodel in roughly the same time frame as professionals, or perhaps 8-12 weeks. If you can order your cabinets and have them on-site before you start, then you’ll be more likely to finish on schedule.

Free Guide to DIY

Read More About Our DIY House Updates

Favorite Behr White Paint Colors
Closet Door Ideas to Update Any Room
How to Apply Gold Leaf to Glass Decor
Trends in Cabinet Hardware

Specific Notes About Cabinetry

1. To measure for a full-height pantry, imagine you’re drawing a diagonal line across the side of the box, from the front bottom corner to the back top corner. Otherwise, you won’t be able to install it. (Ask us how we know.) Once it’s in place, shim from underneath to raise it up.

2. Also, plan for filler between your last cabinet and the wall. You’ll need that space to open the cabinet door without banging the handle into the wall.

filler next to cabinet close up

3. If you’re starting from scratch, you might consider buying kitchen cabinets from Ikea. The in-store designers will help you plan the layout and order the right supplies. This is the middle-road option in between our DIY kitchen remodel and hiring a contractor for a complete remodel. Just a thought.

Lessons We’ve Learned While Actually Installing Our Kitchen

1. Have all possible supplies and tools on-site before you begin. Meaning, buy the new sink, faucet, plumbing supplies, pulls and knobs, paint (if painting), backsplash material, tools, etc. Without the cabinet drama, we could have busted this project out before the Coronovirus stalled it.

> 6 Modern Black Cabinet Pulls <

black hardware pulls and knobs
>> short pulls | long pull | knobs <<

2. Expect some drama. There will be headaches. There will be delays and unforeseen issues. That’s the nature of the beast, and even if you hire a contractor, you’ll probably still run into issues. I now feel like a GC for a kitchen contractor – I’ve dealt with mistakes, missing shipments, damaged products, over-orders, and remakes.

3. Benjamin Moore Advance is a phenomenal cabinet paint. If you’re handy, apply it with a paint sprayer for a “factory finish.” This is the affordable sprayer I use and like. I also like General Finishes and they offer high-quality lines of milk paint and stains. You can’t really go wrong if you learn to master either of these paints.

> The Best Paint for Kitchen Cabinets <

ben moore advance and general finishes milk paint

4. If you need more specifics on how to install cabinets, check out these posts from Family Handyman or DIY Network. I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel here; I’m just sharing our tips about combining products from different sources, if you’re planning a similar remodel.

How Much Did This DIY Kitchen Remodel Cost?

Remember when I got quotes – which would be at least $30k for this remodel in 2024 dollars? We saved some serious cash by doing so much ourselves!

At the time of this post, we’ve spent about $7,600 on our remodel. We still need to buy the countertop and backsplash tile, which will add about $3000-$3500.

DIY Kitchen Remodel Cost:
New cabinets – $5,000
Replacement doors, drawer fronts, and hardware – $1,200
Drawer boxes and hardware – $700
New pulls and knobs – $400
Primer + Paint – $150
Paint Sprayer, sandpaper, etc. – $150

Total spent to date = $7,600

+ Countertop and backsplash – additional $3,500?

TOTAL Cost = Approximately $11,100

I will update these numbers when we get the whole thing finished. For now, $11,000 seems like a pretty strong estimate for our total DIY kitchen remodel cost. Thinking back to the quotes we got (read part one here) I feel pretty confident that we made the best choice, for us. Of course, we’ve done the labor ourselves, but we still would have done most of that in any scenario.

Easy Meals During a Kitchen Remodel

diy kitchen remodel cost
kitchen in progress in 2020
>> short pulls | long pulls | knobs | dishtowel | floor tile <<

Questions? I’m sure you have some. Fire away in the comments below! If you’re embarking on your own DIY kitchen remodel, I wish you the best of luck! Reach out if you ever have any questions along the way.


New cabinets
Doors and drawer fronts | hinges
Drawer boxes | slides
Square bar pulls – 5-1/16 (most doors) | 8-13/16″ (hutch) | 12″ (pantry)
Round knobs
Porcelain floor tile
Cabinet paint (satin finish – custom color)
Dishwasher (similar)

Read More About Related Projects

1 – Kitchen Trends in 2021 to Consider
2 – Yes, A DIY Kitchen Remodel is Possible – Part One
3 – The Best Paint for Kitchen Cabinets
4 – Choosing a Kitchen Backsplash Tile Layouts


Hi! I’m Erin, a Colorado-based home improvement blogger and lover of all things DIY. I aim to inspire creative folks to tackle home improvement with confidence and style. READ MORE

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3 years ago

What is the quality of the new cabinets from unfinished kitchen We are planning our kitchen remodel and don’t want to install junk that will fall apart in a few years, but also don’t want to spend $80k. 🙂

4 years ago

Oh Erin, what a wonderful job! Your blog is SO HELPFUL!

4 years ago

Your Kitchen looks Beautiful! I recently did my kitchen i went with natural pine cabinets after seeing your cabinets i wish i would have went with the white, Really Nice! Thanks for all your insight. I would also go with the handles in the middle.

4 years ago

Where are the pocket doors that you mention? I thought they’d be on the hutch, but if they are there, doesn’t the hardware get in the way when they’re open?

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