a custom kitchen revealed beneath a custom kitchen design

The Cost of Custom Kitchens: What to Expect and How to Budget

As the cost of living rises and inflation impacts household budgets, homeowners are increasingly conscious of their spending. Transparency pricing and accurate budgeting are crucial for determining the cost of custom kitchens and other home renovations. You want the security of predictable expenses and the assurance that your investment will pay off. 

We’re here to guide you through the actual costs of custom kitchens, helping you make informed decisions about your dream kitchen without financial surprises. In this post, we’ll:

  • explore the various factors that influence the cost of a custom kitchen
  • provide a breakdown of typical expenses
  • offer budgeting tips and 
  • suggest cost-saving strategies to help you create the kitchen of your dreams without breaking the bank.

5 Factors Influencing the Cost of Custom Kitchens

What determines the cost of your custom kitchen? Understanding the factors that affect costs can help you better anticipate and manage your budget.

1. Size and Layout

The size and layout of your kitchen play a crucial role in determining its cost. Larger kitchens typically require more materials and work, increasing the overall cost. Additionally, complex layouts or unconventional designs may require custom solutions, bumping up expenses.

2. Materials 

The materials you choose for your custom kitchen can significantly impact the final price tag. High-end materials such as solid wood cabinets, granite countertops, and premium appliances will drive up the cost more than budget-friendly options.

3. Features and Upgrades 

Upgraded elements like special storage solutions, high-end appliances, and luxury finishes naturally come with bigger price tags.

4. Location 

Where you live can also affect the cost of your custom kitchen. Labour rates, building codes, and permit costs can vary from place to place, so keep that in mind when planning your budget.

5. Design Complexity 

The more intricate your kitchen design, the more it’s likely to cost. Custom features, unique designs, and special architectural details can increase the price as they require more time and skill.

Understanding these factors can help you make informed decisions and ensure your custom kitchen project stays within budget. 

In the next sections, we’ll discuss the typical costs of a custom kitchen renovation and share some tips on how to budget and save money.

Custom Kitchen Cost Breakdown

Understanding the breakdown of costs involved in a custom kitchen renovation can help you plan and budget effectively. Here’s a look at the typical expenses you can expect:


Cabinets typically account for a major portion of the total cost of your kitchen. Custom cabinets, made from high-quality materials like solid wood or plywood, can range from $500 to $1,200 per linear foot, including installation. Factors such as the type of wood, door style, finish, and hardware can also affect the cost. 


Countertop materials can vary widely in price. Popular options like granite, quartz, and marble, including installation, can cost between $50 to $200 per square foot. Other factors like edge profiles and finishes can also impact the cost. Find out How to Choose the Best Countertop for Your Kitchen


The cost of appliances depends on the brand, features, and size. A high-end refrigerator, for example, can cost upwards of $3,000, while a stove can range from $500 to $10,000 or more.

Budget for appliances that meet your needs and fit your kitchen’s design.


Labour costs can vary based on the project’s complexity and local labour rates. On average, labour costs for a custom kitchen renovation can range from 30% to 50% of the total project cost.

Hiring experienced professionals ensures quality workmanship but may come at a higher cost.

Fixtures and Finishes

High-quality fixtures like faucets, sinks, and lighting can range from $100 to $1,000 or more, depending on the brand and style. Remember to factor finishes such as backsplashes and flooring into your budget.

Miscellaneous Costs

Other costs to consider include: 

  • Permits
  • Design fees
  • Unforeseen expenses that may arise during the renovation process.

Setting aside a contingency fund of 10% to 20% of your total budget for unexpected costs is advisable.

By understanding the breakdown of costs involved in a custom kitchen renovation, you can plan your budget more effectively and ensure that your project stays on track.

How to Save Money on Your Bathroom Renovation

10 Budgeting Tips

Creating a realistic budget for your custom kitchen renovation is essential to avoid overspending and ensure you get the most value. Here are some tips to help you budget effectively:

1. Set Priorities 

Determine what aspects of your kitchen renovation are most important to you. Allocate a larger portion of your budget to these priorities and be prepared to compromise on less critical elements if necessary.

2. Research Costs

Research the costs of materials, fixtures, appliances, and labour in your area. Get multiple quotes from contractors and suppliers to ensure you’re getting a fair price.

3. Create a Detailed Breakdown

Break down your budget into categories such as cabinets, countertops, appliances, labour, and contingency fund. Allocate a specific amount to each category based on your research and priorities.

4. Plan for Contingencies

Set aside a contingency fund of 10% to 20% of your total budget to cover unexpected expenses that may arise during the renovation process and prevent budget overruns and delays.

5. Consider Long-Term Costs

While cutting costs in the short term may be tempting, investing in high-quality materials and appliances can save you money in the long run. Quality materials are more durable and require less maintenance, reducing the likelihood of costly repairs or replacements in the future.

6. Be Flexible

Be prepared to adjust your budget as needed during the renovation process. Unexpected issues or changes to your original plan may require additional spending, so it’s essential to have some flexibility in your budget.

7. Avoid Scope Creep

Stick to your original plan and avoid making last-minute changes unless absolutely necessary. Changes to the scope of work can significantly impact your budget and timeline.

8. DIY Wisely

While DIY projects can help save money, be realistic about your skills and the complexity of the task. Attempting a project beyond your abilities could cost you more in the long run if mistakes need to be corrected. Find out if your kitchen is an option for DIY or hiring a professional

9. Get Professional Advice

Consult with a professional designer or contractor early in the planning process. They can provide valuable insights and help you make informed decisions that align with your budget and vision.

10. Track Your Spending

Keep track of all expenses related to your renovation, including materials, labour, and permits, to help you stay on budget and identify any areas where you may be overspending.

Cost-Saving Strategies for Your Custom Kitchen

Renovating your kitchen on a budget doesn’t mean compromising on quality. Consider these strategies to achieve a beautiful custom kitchen without overspending:

Choose Quality Materials Wisely

While opting for the cheapest materials is tempting, investing in high-quality materials can save you money in the long run. Durable materials like solid wood cabinets and quartz countertops may cost more upfront but require less maintenance and replacement over time.

Focus on Essential Upgrades

Prioritize upgrades that are essential to your kitchen’s functionality and aesthetics. Avoid unnecessary additions that can inflate your budget without adding significant value to your kitchen.

Plan Your Layout Carefully

A well-thought-out kitchen layout can minimize material wastage and labour costs. Consider working with a professional designer to optimize your kitchen’s layout for efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

Explore Alternative Countertop Materials

Granite and quartz countertops are popular but expensive options. Consider alternative materials like laminate or solid surface countertops, which offer durability and aesthetic appeal at a lower cost.

Consider Standard Sizes and Designs

Customization can drive up costs. Opt for standard cabinet sizes and designs to avoid additional charges associated with custom orders. Standard sizes are often more cost-effective and readily available.

By implementing these cost-saving strategies, you can achieve a custom kitchen that meets your needs and reflects your style while staying within your budget.

blueprint for a kitchen renovation in okotoks with a calculator and pen

Return on Investment

When planning your custom kitchen renovation, consider the immediate costs, long-term benefits, and ROI. A well-designed and high-quality kitchen can be a valuable asset that enhances your home’s value and quality of life.

Increased Home Value

A custom kitchen renovation can substantially increase the overall value of your home. Potential buyers are often willing to pay more for a house with a modern, well-equipped kitchen, making it a valuable selling point. Of buyers who bought homes without certain features, 69% said they would have paid more for new appliances, and 55% would have paid more for granite countertops.

Enhanced Lifestyle

Beyond the financial benefits, a custom kitchen can enhance your quality of life. A third of homeowners report enjoying healthier lifestyles after their kitchen renovation. A well-designed kitchen can improve functionality, increase storage space, and create a more enjoyable cooking and dining experience for you and your family.

Long-Term Savings

While a custom kitchen renovation may seem like a significant upfront investment, it can result in long-term savings. Energy-efficient appliances, improved insulation, and other upgrades can lower utility bills and reduce maintenance costs.

What will my custom kitchen cost?

Are you planning a new custom kitchen? An expert designer at Riverstone Kitchens & Renovations can help you determine a realistic budget and recommend design options that meet your needs, fit your style, and provide the most value. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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