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 <<
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:
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!
Read More About Our DIY House Updates
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!
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:
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:
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.
Read More About Our DIY House Updates
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.
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.
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.
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?
So far, 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.
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.
Doors and drawer fronts | hinges
Drawer boxes | slides
Square bar pulls – 5-1/16 (most doors) | 8-13/16″ (hutch) | 12″ (pantry)
Porcelain floor tile
Cabinet paint (satin finish – custom color)