Navigating Kitchen Renovation Costs in New York City

Starting a kitchen renovation project in New York City is an exciting journey. Your kitchen, as the heart of your home, holds endless potential for reflecting your unique style and needs. However, navigating the landscape of renovation costs can feel overwhelming. Therefore, this guide is designed to help you navigate through the complexities of planning kitchen renovations.

remodeled kitchen with green cabinets by a Los Angeles general contractor with Sweeten

Let’s delve into these factors with an illustration. For instance, considering a standard full renovation of a medium-sized kitchen in New York City, maintaining the existing layout and incorporating basic general contracting services, here’s a breakdown of the initial costs:

  • Budget kitchen renovation costs: Starts at $24,500
  • Mid-grade kitchen renovation costs: Starts at $37,500
  • High-end kitchen renovation costs: Starts at $76,000
Kitchen remodeling costs in New York City graphic

We want you to be completely prepared for the cost of your home remodeling project, so our pricing estimates are inclusive of all materials, labor, overhead, and a standard general contractor’s margin. 

When you’re ready to get the process started on your kitchen or home remodel, work with Sweeten to renovate with the best contractors in NYC.

Size: How dimensions affect your kitchen renovation costs in New York City

When it comes to kitchen size, it’s easy to assume that larger kitchens equate to higher renovation costs. While this is generally true, the equation is not as straightforward as it seems. It’s not just about the square footage; it’s about the components that fill the space as well as how different the new layout is from the original space. Think cabinetry, countertops, and appliances—the more you have, and the more you change their location, the greater the expense. Here’s a breakdown to guide you through sizing up your kitchen remodeling project in the city that never sleeps:

Extra small kitchens: In New York City, extra small kitchens, often found in studio apartments and compact urban dwellings, are ingeniously designed to maximize space efficiency. These cozy culinary corners, typically spanning less than 60 square feet, are commonly referred to as “kitchenettes.” Residents may encounter kitchenettes featuring compact appliances such as slim refrigerators, two-burner cooktops, and combination microwave-convection ovens. Clever storage solutions like pull-out pantries, fold-down tables, and vertical shelving help optimize functionality in these compact spaces. For example, in the trendy neighborhood of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, studio apartments often feature efficiently designed kitchenettes with space-saving appliances and innovative storage solutions, reflecting the city’s dynamic and creative lifestyle.

Small kitchens: New York City residents navigating small kitchens often encounter galley layouts or efficient corner configurations, prevalent in walk-up apartments and historic brownstones. Ranging from 60 to 90 square feet, these kitchens are tailored for urban professionals and couples seeking efficient yet stylish culinary spaces. Common fixtures include apartment-sized refrigerators, four-burner gas ranges, and built-in microwaves, complemented by sleek cabinetry and durable countertops. For instance, in the vibrant neighborhood of Chelsea, small kitchens are known for their modern amenities and compact designs, blending functionality with contemporary aesthetics to meet the needs of city living.

greige gray kitchen cabinets in home remodel in rosedale

Medium kitchens: In neighborhoods like Battery Park City or Greenwich Village, medium-sized kitchens offer versatility and comfort with their “L” or “U” shaped layouts and the potential for islands or breakfast bars. Spanning about 90 to 120 square feet, these kitchens cater to urban families and cooking enthusiasts alike. Residents may find essential appliances such as stainless steel refrigerators, gas ranges with convection ovens, dishwashers, and microwaves, complemented by granite or quartz countertops and stylish cabinetry. For example, in the iconic neighborhood of SoHo, medium kitchens are known for their contemporary designs and upscale amenities, reflecting the neighborhood’s artistic flair while providing functional spaces for culinary creativity.

Large kitchens: New York City homeowners in upscale neighborhoods like the Upper West Side or Tribeca enjoy the luxury of spacious kitchens ranging from 120 to 200 square feet. With ample cabinet space or walk-in pantries, these kitchens facilitate comfortable cooking and entertaining for families and guests. Residents may find a wide range of appliances including French door refrigerators, professional-grade gas ranges or cooktops, double wall ovens, dishwashers, and built-in microwaves. In the prestigious neighborhood of the Upper East Side, large kitchens are characterized by their elegant finishes and high-end appliances, offering residents the perfect blend of style and functionality for gourmet cooking and sophisticated entertaining.

Extra large kitchens: Grand kitchens in the city, spanning more than 200 square feet, offer abundant space for dining and socializing with family and friends. Equipped with spacious islands or dining areas, these expansive culinary havens are ideal for hosting lavish gatherings or indulging in culinary pursuits. Residents may find a wide range of appliances including built-in refrigerators, professional-grade ranges or cooktops with griddles and steam ovens, multiple dishwashers, and wine refrigerators. For example, in exclusive neighborhoods near Central Park, extra-large kitchens are designed for discerning homeowners who appreciate luxury living, featuring custom cabinetry, premium appliances, and luxurious finishes that elevate the culinary experience to new heights.

Note, estimates don’t typically include appliances because appliance costs vary from budget to mid-grade to high-end/luxury. Most general contractors are happy to provide an allowance or cost for a specific model upon request. 

kitchen remodel size graphic

Finish level: How kitchen design affects renovation costs in NYC

Finish level refers to the overall quality and pricing of fixtures, materials, and finishes utilized in your kitchen renovation project. These encompass a range of elements, including countertop materials, cabinetry construction, flooring options, and the selection of sinks, faucets, and appliances. It’s crucial to consider the finish level as it significantly impacts the total cost of your project.

Budget finish: Opting for budget materials can be a practical choice, especially for those aiming to keep costs down. In New York City, where space utilization is key, budget-friendly options are often found in off-the-shelf selections from major retailers or Scandinavian-inspired designs. This includes Ikea cabinets, Wilsonart solid surface countertops, Pergo laminate floors, various tiles under $10 per square foot, fixtures by Delta and American Standard.

Mid-grade finish: In areas like Park Slope or Clinton Hill, mid-grade finishes strike a balance between affordability and quality, appealing to homeowners who value durability and aesthetics. Cabinets from brands like KraftMaid or Fabuwood offer superior craftsmanship compared to budget options. Quartz or granite countertops add a touch of elegance, while hardwood or engineered wood flooring enhances the warmth of the space. Tiles from reputable brands like Daltile or Ann Sacks provide visual interest and durability. Fixtures from respected brands such as Moen, Kohler, or Delta offer reliable performance and style.

connecticut kitchen remodeling project with island

High-end finish: In posh neighborhoods like Brooklyn Heights and Nolita, high-end finishes reflect the luxurious lifestyles of residents who spare no expense in creating their dream kitchens. Customization and attention to detail are hallmarks of high-end renovations. Custom cabinets crafted from premium materials, paired with luxurious countertops like marble or quartzite, create a sense of opulence. Hardwood flooring or imported tiles from brands like Porcelanosa or Ann Sacks add sophistication and refinement. Fixtures from prestigious brands such as GROHE, Waterworks, or Kohler elevate the overall aesthetic and functionality of the space.

Luxury finish: In exclusive enclaves such as the Gramercy Park, luxury finishes set the standard for sophistication and extravagance. Here, homeowners invest in top-of-the-line materials and appliances to create kitchens that are truly works of art. Brands like Sub-Zero, Wolf, or La Cornue are synonymous with luxury and exclusivity, offering custom solutions tailored to the homeowner’s desires. From handcrafted cabinetry to cutting-edge technology, every detail exudes unparalleled elegance and refinement. In these luxurious kitchens, the sky’s the limit, and customization knows no bounds, creating spaces that are as functional as they are breathtaking.

kitchen

In New York City, where trends are often set and followed with fervor, incorporating elements such as sleek minimalist designs, industrial-chic accents, and seamless integration of smart technology into the kitchen space can elevate your renovation project to match the city’s dynamic vibe. Paying homage to the city’s rich architectural heritage while embracing contemporary innovations ensures your kitchen remains both timeless and trendsetting in the bustling metropolis.

kitchen remodel finish level graphic

Scope: Rip-and-replace vs. gut kitchen renovation

Understanding what your project involves is like having a map to guide you through all the decisions. Here’s a breakdown of common types of renovations that fit the busy lives of New Yorkers:

Full renovation (also called “rip-and-replace”)  

Imagine refreshing your kitchen like a top chef preparing a signature dish—starting with a clean slate. A full renovation, or “rip-and-replace,” involves completely overhauling your kitchen without changing its fundamental layout. It’s similar to reinventing a classic recipe with fresh ingredients. Picture replacing outdated cabinets with sleek, modern designs, swapping worn countertops for luxurious marble or quartz, and updating appliances to state-of-the-art models. This approach offers a streamlined way to transform your culinary space, perfect for those seeking a fresh start without the complexity of rearranging the kitchen’s blueprint. This is the more straightforward way to reimagine your space, and can often be done with just a licensed general contractor partner. 

Gut renovation (or a “reimagine” project as we like to call it at Sweeten)

For those craving a culinary revolution, a gut renovation is the ultimate feast for the senses. It’s like embarking on a gastronomic adventure, starting from scratch to create a culinary haven tailored to your tastes. With a gut renovation, walls may come down to open up the space, plumbing and electrical systems are reconfigured to optimize functionality, and every detail is customized to your vision. Redesigning your dream kitchen layout from the ground up, incorporating new appliances, premium materials, and innovative features. This transformative process requires the expertise of seasoned professionals—designers, architects, and licensed contractors.

Image graphic of a kitchen during renovation

Services: Kitchen renovation services and their impact on costs

The two main services to consider for your kitchen renovation are build service and design service. Depending on your needs, you have some options for what types of firms to hire. 

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Build service with a general contractor 

Consider this the backbone of your renovation plan. We’re talking about seasoned general contractors who excel at managing the intricate process of demolition and construction. You’ll encounter contractors who specialize as build-only firms, concentrating solely on executing construction plans without venturing into the realm of professional design. However, within this realm, there’s a spectrum of offerings. Some contractors strictly adhere to finalized designs crafted by professional designers, while others are more hands-on, collaborating with you to bring your vision to life. Additionally, certain contractors offer valuable insights on material choices, fixture options, and rough spatial visualizations. Pricing for these services varies, influenced by factors such as service quality, experience, and overhead costs. It’s prudent to consult with several firms to find the best fit for your renovation goals.

Image graphic of a kitchen with gray marble counters

Design service with an architect or interior designer

Kitchen renovation journey often entails enlisting the prowess of architects or interior designers to orchestrate the creative symphony of transformation. This design service unfolds in two distinct movements: creative design and technical design, each playing a pivotal role in shaping the design of the kitchen. Creative design serves as the conduit for reimagining your kitchen space, fostering collaborative dialogue between you and your chosen architect or interior designer to craft a bespoke aesthetic that mirrors your unique sensibilities. While this service typically remains optional, its inclusion in your renovation plan may incur costs ranging from 10-20% of the overall construction budget. It’s noteworthy that not all firms tether their fees to construction costs; some opt for flat fees dictated by project scope and duration. Conversely, technical design expertise assumes center stage for intricate projects like gut renovations, mandating permits, ensuring seamless adherence to safety protocols and building codes. Architects or structural engineers assume the mantle of guardianship, overseeing these critical facets to ensure that your renovation journey unfolds seamlessly and in alignment with regulatory standards.

What is a full-service, design-build firm? 

Instead of hiring separate professionals for design and construction, you can opt for a design-build firm. This type of company combines the expertise of both a general contractor and professional designers or architects under one roof. By choosing this approach, you collaborate with the same team throughout the entire project, from initial planning and design to the construction phase. This continuity not only streamlines the process, potentially saving time, but also fosters better coordination, often resulting in a more efficient use of resources and adherence to your budget.

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FAQs about kitchen renovation costs in New York City

The process of remodeling brings up endless questions, so we’re answering some of your most common curiosities about the costs of renovation here. Have more questions? Leave them in the comments section below! 

The final cost of a kitchen remodel will depend on the size of your kitchen, the type of cabinets, appliance budget, and if any electrical or plumbing will be moving. For a typical, medium-sized kitchen, a full, rip-and-replace remodel in New York City will range from $24,500 to $107,000 and up, depending on finishes. This estimate includes all materials, labor, overhead, and a standard general contractor margin. 

 

For the same sized kitchen, a major gut-remodel would add an additional 15-25% to the total cost of materials and labor.

Demolition signifies the start of a renovation and is one of the quickest parts of the process to complete. Typically, demolition costs are tied to the square footage of what is being removed. Generally, demolition costs start at $28 per square foot in New York City, but can be more depending on what needs to be removed.

The cost of labor goes towards the renovation crew, behind-the-scenes administrative employees, and subcontractors. Generally, the cost of labor is dependent on a project’s complexity, size, and location. In New York City, the labor portion of a remodeling project usually adds up to around 25-35% of the total project cost, give or take. 

Generally, labor will make up a larger portion of total cost for a project with budget-grade materials, and a lower portion of the total for high-end materials, however, the addition of any highly specialized labor (beyond standard) will cost more.

Before starting any renovation project in New York City, it’s essential to obtain the necessary permits from the Department of Buildings (DOB). The process involves submitting detailed plans and documentation outlining the scope of work to ensure compliance with local building codes and regulations. Failure to obtain proper permits can result in fines and delays. Working with a licensed contractor familiar with the DOB requirements can streamline the permit application process.

Cabinet costs will vary widely depending on the cabinet type, material type, and the linear square footage that will be installed. The price range can be wide on cabinets, ranging from $187 per linear foot for stock cabinetry going up to $606 per linear foot for custom cabinetry with decorative elements, such as designer glass fronts. Double those figures per linear foot if you’re planning for both upper and lower cabinets, though lower cabinets are deeper and usually slightly more expensive than uppers. These quotes include installation costs for New York City.  

The cost of a countertop will depend on the square footage needed, the cost to install, and the type of material chosen. On the lower end, counters can start at $39 per square foot for laminate, formica, or tile, to as high as $557+ per square foot for high-end continuous, natural stone. These quotes include installation costs for New York City.

The cost considerations for a kitchen island or peninsula include the type of cabinetry, countertop material, and any amenities to be installed, such as a sink or appliance. In total, adding a new island in New York City, using budget-grade materials will start at about $7,500. This figure includes installation labor for New York City. 

Appliances can make up a substantial part of the renovation budget, if you are planning to replace them. “To maximize a limited budget, consider an appliance package,” explains Albert Fouerti, founder and CEO of Appliances Connection. “Sticking to a single brand might net you the most savings based on manufacturers’ rebates.”

Typically, appliance packages align into three levels – budget appliance packages which cost $5,000 and under, mid-grade packages range between $5,000-$10,000, and high-end/luxury packages that can cost $10,000 and up. An appliance package typically includes a refrigerator, range, microwave oven, and dishwasher, but could include more appliances depending on your specific renovation. Costs can be controlled by choosing finishes and features within your budget and typical use case.

The cost of a backsplash will depend on the square footage needed, the type of material chosen, and the prep and installation labor. Kitchen backsplash costs range from about $39 per square foot for a budget tile option, up to $557 per square foot for a high-end slab option, such as marble. These figures include installation labor costs for New York City.

When renovating your kitchen, you’ll also need to choose hardware like cabinet pulls that can run as low as a few dollars a piece (though, you can also spend a lot more on higher-end items), and lighting fixtures that can be had for $78 for basic flush mounts (with installation labor), or run up to hundreds or thousands of dollars for decorative chandeliers or multiple statement pendants and under-cabinet lighting.

In New York City, the cost for a full, rip-and-replace remodel of a small kitchen can range from $21,000-$71,500 and up, depending on finish level of the materials used. A major gut renovation for a kitchen of the same size would add an additional 15-25% to the total cost of materials and labor.

Your general contractor can give you an idea of possible issues that may arise during a renovation in New York City, based on the age and type of home they’re working on. However, a contractor cannot price out every possible issue, especially after walls are broken into. Plumbing and electrical may need to be updated, or lead/asbestos may need to be removed. Major projects often involve permit costs. Change orders after a contract has been signed can also add to the overall cost. 

To protect yourself from unseen costs, set aside a 10-15% contingency budget for a non-gut renovation. If you are planning a gut remodel, set aside 15-20% for issues that come up along the way. Having a monetary cushion will keep your remodeling project on track. If you don’t end up needing it, you can use the extra funds to pay down loans or furnish your beautiful new space.

Common kitchen layouts in New York City include galley, L-shaped, U-shaped, island, and peninsula kitchens. Galley kitchens are highly-efficient layouts and usually on the smaller end for kitchen size because there is limited floor space; that said, they focus their efficiency on cabinets and countertop space, which are bigger ticket items for pricing. In the medium to large size range, you might have an L-shaped kitchen or a U-shaped kitchen. Many open layout kitchens feature an island or peninsula. 

In all of these cases, your big-ticket items like cabinets, countertops and appliances will swing your overall costs higher or lower depending on the overall size or volume and finish level. If you don’t need a lot of cabinet space, consider limiting upper cabinets or incorporating some open-shelving in your kitchen design to reduce costs.

Renovating condos or apartments in New York City comes with unique challenges and considerations. Since these properties often share common spaces and structural elements with other units, renovations may require approval from the building management or condo board. Additionally, restrictions on construction hours, noise levels, and access routes may apply, necessitating careful planning and coordination with neighbors and building management to minimize disruptions.

The structural condition of a property plays a significant role in determining renovation costs in New York City. Renovations involving structural repairs or modifications, such as load-bearing wall removal or foundation reinforcement, can significantly increase project expenses. Assessing the structural integrity of the property through inspections and consultations with qualified professionals is crucial for accurately estimating renovation costs and avoiding unforeseen expenses.

Renovation costs can vary depending on the location within New York City, with factors such as demand, labor rates, and accessibility influencing pricing. While Manhattan tends to have higher renovation costs due to its premium real estate market, neighborhoods in Queens or Long Island may offer more competitive pricing. However, renovation costs in these areas can still be significant, especially for projects requiring skilled labor and quality materials. You can obtain multiple quotes from reputable contractors and factor in location-specific considerations after posting your project on Sweeten.

Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, scope, and style. Follow the blog, Sweeten Stories, for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation with Sweeten.

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