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Kitchen Design Cost

The average cost of a kitchen design is $3,600 - $6,000​.

In this guide

Floor plan vs design
Planning
Styles
Layout
Open-plan vs closed floor plan
Working with the designer
Labor
Enhancement and improvement costs
Additional considerations and costs
FAQ

How much does it cost to design a kitchen?

For most people, the kitchen is the heart of the home. If you cook frequently, it’s the place where you spend a lot of your time during the day, and it may even be a place to socialize or study. There’s a lot of foot traffic in a kitchen, which is why it’s important to make the best use of your space and maximize your efficiency while still having a safe area to work and move.

Working with a trained kitchen designer can help you redesign your kitchen to match your style and your personal needs. A family that spends every day cooking and doing homework in the kitchen area may have different needs than a person who uses their kitchen mostly for coffee.

Kitchen designs vary in price, and the average cost to hire a designer will cost approximately 10-17% of the total cost of the kitchen remodel; for a 100 sq. ft. kitchen, the average price for a moderately complex kitchen design that includes changes to plumbing and appliances is $3,600.

Floor plan vs design

The first step in planning a kitchen design is deciding whether you want to completely change the floor plan or if you want to simply update the style in the form of cabinets, fixtures, or appliances. If you’re considering redesigning your floor plan, you may want to hire an architect. Architects are experienced in what it takes to make structural changes to a room and can help you plan for more extreme changes. Architects charge a percentage of the total construction costs, ranging from 10-20% of construction costs.

Planning

Kitchens are full of hazards, be it hot pans, knives, or a large amount of foot traffic. Good kitchen design means using the kitchen’s layout to steer traffic to safer and more convenient areas, such as a seating area or bar. When done well, your kitchen can become a comfortable place for cooking, eating, and socializing.

Each kitchen is different, and your design will be based on the size and shape of the room. When planning design, it’s important to keep the classic design concept of the “working triangle” in mind. Imagine being able to draw a triangle between the sink, cooktop, and refrigerator. Keeping these paths clear and accessible will promote a safe and efficient kitchen.

Another design concept to keep in mind is Blum’s Dynamic Space. Blum’s concept is the balance between workflow, space, and motion to create a room that is both beautiful and functional. Careful kitchen planning needs to consider both the practicality of using the kitchen as well as how people move around the kitchen. Ultimately, though, your current space will help guide you.

Styles

A quick look through any design magazine will give you dozens of ideas for kitchen designs; we can break down kitchen styles into several categories.

Design styleDescription
Concrete

Kitchen design focuses on concrete elements

Can have more of a modern, utilitarian look

Charcoal

Kitchen is dominated by darker colors

Lighter colors and lighting are used for accents

Rustic

Room gives a feeling of warmth

May have a combination of materials including wood and enamel

Traditional

Warm and inviting

Traditional kitchen designs use cream, green, brown, and white colors

Has elements of French and English designs

Parisian

A beautiful mix of intricate and rustic

Parisian-style kitchens may have delicate wood and iron work and earthy colors

Modern

Modern kitchens are known for sleek lines, bright whites, and stunning countertops

Materials range from wood to stainless steel

Minimalist

Minimalist kitchens are light on details

Instead place heavy emphasis on clean lines and smooth surfaces


Layout

Your kitchen’s layout is one of the most important features to consider in your kitchen design. You may be able to make some changes to the layout, but in many cases, you’ll be limited in the physical shape of your kitchen. You’ll have to make the best use of your space for your particular kitchen design.

  • Galley: a galley kitchen is ideal for smaller spaces and consists of parallel countertops with cabinets on both sides. Space is used efficiently, and there are typically no non-standard cabinets.
  • U-shape:A U-shaped kitchen typically has three walls, but in more modern kitchens, the “U” shape is sometimes achieved with an island 1. This style of layout is sometimes known as a horseshoe kitchen and can work really well in larger spaces.
  • L-shape: the L-shaped kitchen uses two adjoining walls to build the kitchen. This is a good option for small to medium sized rooms. It’s less ideal for particularly large spaces. L-shaped kitchens typically discourage more foot traffic, and can quickly feel cluttered if you have too many cooks in the kitchen.
  • Island kitchen: an island kitchen has, you guessed it, an island as part of the countertop, cabinets, or both. The island can serve as a seating area, a workspace, and could even possibly hold a sink or bar. However, it’s important to know that not every kitchen layout should have an island, many spaces just don’t have the room to accommodate an island. Islands cost an average of $4,500 to install.

If your kitchen does not have a standard shape, you’ll want to keep the working triangle concept at the front of your mind. Keep the paths clear and accessible between the refrigerator, cooktop, and sink.

Open-plan vs closed floor plan

Another factor that you’ll want to consider is whether or not you want (or already have) and open floor plan or a closed floor plan. An open floor plan means that the kitchen will be open to the rest of the house. This can create the effect of a larger space, but it can also encourage more traffic in your kitchen workspace. A closed floor plan usually only has one entryway into the kitchen, and a wall blocks off the kitchen from the rest of the house.

TypeProsCons
Open floor plan

Appears larger

Allows for more walking space

May appear messier

Sounds and odors spread

Potentially higher energy costs

Closed floor plan

Cozier

Better sound control

More design options

Less accessible

Less mobility


Working with the designer

You’ll get what you really want when you work closely with a designer. Planning ahead makes everything easier down the road, and knowing what you want in a kitchen and how you use it is just as important to the designer as it is to you. You’ll want to plan a meeting with the designer ahead of time, and the designer may give you a kitchen questionnaire to fill out, make sure you answer everything thoroughly!

Your questionnaire may include the following questions:

  • How many people in your household cook?
  • What kinds of foods do you prepare (breakfast, lunch, dinner)?
  • Do you do a lot of entertaining?
  • Do you have children? How old?
  • Do you need to accommodate for any disabilities?
  • Do other activities share the space, like laundry or school/office work?

Be realistic about your kitchen budget. The designer can only work with the information you give them, which is why it’s important to be upfront about your needs and your budget.

Labor

There are several components to labor. The first is the design process. This could be as minimal as an in-store consultation, but it could also come from a professional design center or an independent design service.

Some designers will offer a free introductory consultation, but often there is a designer fee that you pay, which will cover your consultation, house visit, and introductory questionnaires. A one-time designer fee costs $150-$450 and is often a consultation, rather than a complete kitchen plan. For a complete kitchen design, designers will charge either by the hour ($100-$130 per hour for design planning) or as a percentage of the total project cost (10-17%). The designer will discuss floor plans and start brainstorming design ideas for your particular kitchen.

The second component of kitchen design labor is in the form of installation of new cabinets and countertops, which should be done by experienced experts. Installation costs will vary based on what’s being installed. Appliance installation, for example, has different fees than cabinet installation.

Enhancement and improvement costs

Plumbing

Depending on which elements you choose for your kitchen remodel, you may need to make adjustments to your plumbing. For example, if you want a double sink where you currently have a single, your pipes will need to be adjusted to accommodate for the extra drain. If you are building an island and want a sink in the island or a wet bar, you’ll definitely need to plan for changes to your plumbing system. Plumbers charge $45-$65 per hour, and changing the plumbing layout or appliance placement can take 8-16 labor hours ($360-$1,050).

Electrical work

Like plumbing, electrical work may be required, especially if you are planning on installing lighting in places where there was none before. Unplanned electrical work can be expensive and can stall your kitchen project, which is why it’s important to plan ahead and prepare for any electrical adjustments that are needed. Electricians typically charge $65-$85 per hour.

Appliances

Part of upgrading a kitchen might also mean splurging on new, more efficient appliances, and if you’re starting from scratch, this will definitely need to be part of your budget. Common appliances you might need for your kitchen include:

  • Refrigerator installation costs $116-$3,900, depending on the type of refrigerator and whether new electric or water lines need to be placed. This does not include the cost of the refrigerator.
  • Dishwasher installation can be as inexpensive as $350 if you’re simply replacing an old one. Installation can get as high as $1,000 if new plumbing or cabinetry is required. This does not include the cost of the appliance.
  • Range and oven installation costs $125-$275, not including the cost of the appliance.
  • Garbage disposal installation costs approximately $200-$1,500, not including the cost of the unit.
  • Microwave installation costs $150-$2,000, not including the cost of the microwave.
  • Range hood installation costs $400-$1,500, not including the cost of the hood.

Countertops

One easy way to change the look and feel of your kitchen is by installing a new countertop. Countertops vary dramatically in price based on the material and the complexity of your counter space. For example, a marble countertop with a double sink cutout will cost approximately $100 per square foot, while a laminate countertop with no sink cutout may cost about $20 per square foot.

Cabinets

Updating kitchen cabinets can transform a dated-looking room into a bright, modern kitchen. For cabinets, you generally have three options: prefabricated, semi-custom, and fully custom. A standard kitchen has about 30 linear feet of cabinets. Fully custom cabinets can cost around $18,600, including installation. Stock cabinets cost $85-$200 each and cost $69-$119 to install per cabinet box. For a 30 linear foot kitchen, that may cost $1,000-$2,000.

Lighting

The kitchen is one of the most functional rooms in your house, which is why it’s critical that your kitchen has adequate lighting. There are three main types of lighting that can enhance your kitchen: accent lights, ambient lights, and task lights. Lighting fixtures will vary in cost based on the size, material, and style of lighting. Recessed lighting, for example, requires more electrical work and will cost $400-$1,200. Adding lights to areas where there were none before will also add to your costs, as you will need a licensed electrician to work on rewiring. Electricians charge $65-$85 per hour.

Additional considerations and costs

  • Depending on where you live and the nature of your kitchen remodel, you may be required to get a building permit. Building permits vary by municipality but average around $200-$400.
  • Don’t go into a relationship with a kitchen designer blind, you’ll need to ask your potential designer several questions, including how many designs the designer has completed and a portfolio of finished kitchens. Ask if they have done layouts or designs similar to what you are looking for. You’ll also want to learn which manufacturers or installers they work with. Has the designer been certified by the National Kitchen and Bath Association?
  • If you’re only making small changes, local home improvement stores have design staff that can help you choose styles and colors either for free or for a minor fee. However, making bigger changes such as to the layout, appliances, or cabinets or countertops will require more in-depth work. You may need to consider additional features such as backsplashes and fixtures. Ceramic tile backsplashes cost $300-$1,000, depending on the size and materials.
  • Don’t just go with the lowest estimate, and avoid going with the very first designer you meet with. Get 3-5 estimates from designers and compare plans to choose the one that works best for your style, budget, and kitchen needs.
  • While you can look for ideas and choose your favorite styles, actually designing a kitchen takes more of a practiced hand. A designer is more experienced at looking at the “big picture” and also can put you in touch with different manufacturers. Essentially, kitchen design can be partially done on your own, but it’s best to leave the heavy planning work to the pros.

FAQ

  • How much does it cost to get a kitchen design?

A kitchen designer usually charges as a percentage of the total project cost, ranging from 10-20%. Average kitchen designs cost $3,600-$6,000.

  • What is a 10x10 kitchen layout?

While there are a lot of variables in kitchen layouts, the 10x10 layout is a universal standard for a simple kitchen where you can compare different cabinet styles, colors, and countertops.

  • What do I need to know about kitchen design?

The most important part of kitchen design is making it look great without compromising on functionality. Keeping the paths clear from the sink to the cooktop to the refrigerator (also called the working triangle) will help keep your kitchen at its most functional.

  • Which kitchen layout is the most functional?

The L-shaped layout works well for both small and medium-sized kitchens, and the U-shaped layout is the most functional for larger kitchens.

  • What is the average cost for a kitchen designer?

Kitchen designers will typically charge around 10-20% of the total cost of the project.

  • How much should a kitchen cost?

The cost of the kitchen includes any design fees, cabinets, appliances, and countertops, and may also include the cost of backsplashes, flooring, and lighting. Kitchens will vary in cost based on size, complexity, and materials and can range from $4,100 to $44,000, and the designer will charge a percentage of that fee.

  • How much should I budget for a kitchen remodel?

It depends on how many add-ons you want to include in your remodel. Cabinets, countertops, and appliances all add to the cost significantly. Kitchen remodels can range anywhere from $4,100 to $44,000.

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Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
glossary term picture Island 1 Island: A kitchen counter that is not attached to walls or other surfaces, and that can be accessed from all sides

Cost to design a kitchen varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

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Labor cost by city and zip code

Compared to national average
Alloway, NJ
+28%
Alpharetta, GA
+9%
Anchorage, AK
+35%
Ashland, MA
+38%
Athens, GA
-9%
Atlanta, GA
+24%
Baltimore, MD
+12%
Boston, MA
+40%
Cambridge, MA
+40%
Chandler, AZ
-2%
Chicago, IL
+40%
Cincinnati, OH
+6%
Clarksville, TN
-13%
Cleveland, OH
+7%
Columbus, GA
-20%
Cypress, TX
+8%
Dallas, TX
+10%
Denver, CO
+1%
Desoto, TX
+7%
Detroit, MI
+16%
Fort Lauderdale, FL
+2%
Fort Worth, TX
+6%
Grand Rapids, MI
+7%
Henderson, NV
+10%
Houston, TX
+24%
Indianapolis, IN
+6%
Jacksonville, FL
-1%
Long Beach, CA
+16%
Los Angeles, CA
+11%
Miami, FL
+1%
Milwaukee, WI
+12%
Nashville, TN
+21%
New York, NY
+77%
Oklahoma City, OK
-12%
Omaha, NE
-10%
Osseo, MN
+18%
Philadelphia, PA
+40%
Phoenix, AZ
0%
Ravenel, SC
-6%
Riverside, CA
+13%
Sacramento, CA
+8%
Saint Louis, MO
+16%
Saint Petersburg, FL
-11%
San Diego, CA
+11%
San Jose, CA
+33%
Santa Ana, CA
+20%
Schaumburg, IL
+42%
Seattle, WA
+9%
Smyrna, GA
+10%
Springfield, MA
+21%
Labor cost in your zip code
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