NYC Renovation Q's

How much does it cost to renovate a kitchen in NYC?

Share this Article

Q: How much can I typically expect to spend on a kitchen renovation?

A:  $20,000 is a solid starting point for the cost of a basic kitchen renovation in New York City. Plenty depends on how high-end and customized you want to go, but there are some easy rules of thumb to keep in mind when estimating your costs.

Start by dividing your spending into two categories--the cost of materials and the cost of the actual work.


These are the costs you can control a bit more and adjust depending on your budget and taste. Keep in mind that if you're doing a higher-end renovation, the added value is just as much in the infrastructure and precise, custom design as it is in the quality (and price!) of the appliances themselves. Here are the big expenses:

  • Appliances: For the stove, fridge, and dishwasher, expect to spend anywhere from  $400 to $3,000 on each. Sinks tend to run between $100 and $2,500, and faucet fixtures between $40 and $1,200.
  • Backsplash: You can spend anywhere from $3 per square foot for cheaper options like subway or penny backsplash tile, and up to $35 per square foot (or more) for higher-end options like stone or marble finish.

For this Brooklyn kitchen makeover,  the Sweeten team incorporated painted gray Shaker-style cabinets, granite countertops, and stainless steel tile backsplash to give the place a more modern feel. 

  • Countertops: Here, prices can go from below $10 per square foot for laminate counters, to between $50 and $125 per square foot for certain tile, wood, and recycled glass options, to between $100 to $300 per square foot (or more!) for materials like acrylic, stone, granite, and marble.
  • Hardware & lighting: Details like drawer and cabinet pulls can be had for a few dollars apiece, whereas lighting can get pricey if you want it to, with fixture options ranging from $25 for something simple like a basic flush mount, or thousands of dollars if you're going for a high-design statement piece.
  • Cabinets: There's a similarly wide range of options in the world of cabinets, where you can expect to spend $600 to $2,000 per linear square foot for stock and made-to-order cabinets like those from Ikea, Lowe's, and Home Depot. Custom cabinetry runs $1,000-$2,000 per linear square foot and is usually the most expensive element of a high-end kitchen renovation, lending a tailored look and the opportunity to maximize every square inch of storage space. Material also affects price: MDF cabinets are the least costly, while veneer cabinets and wood veneer cabinets are next in line.  Cabinets will be cheaper if you opt for melamine interiors, though plywood tends to be more durable in the long run. As for finishes, you'll pay $6 per square foot for cabinets that are brush painted, and $15 per square foot if they're spray-painted.

 This Chelsea kitchen is virtually unrecognizable after the Sweeten team swapped dark old tiles and wooden cabinets for custom white oak cabinetry, simple Nemo Tile backsplash, and Pentalquartz counters.


This is where things get a little more complex. Regardless of your taste and style, the plumbing, electrical, and cabinetry work that go into even the most basic kitchen renovations necessitate some less-visible steps that are costly but important. Your co-op or condo building's requirements and the current state of your kitchen will also factor into the cost of the design and prep work. Consider your renovation as having three distinct phases, each with its own accompanying costs:

  • Design: This is the planning phase, where you, your contractor and your architect (if you are working with one) decide on layout, plumbing, cabinetry and counter specs, lighting, and appliances, and you make a final call on your materials for backsplash, flooring, sink, and hardware. Your building probably also requires your contractor to carry a certain amount of insurance coverage; as a rule, the more intense the requirements, the pricier the contractor.
  • Prep: A significant amount of work will be necessary to make sure your kitchen is ready for all of its new upgrades. First and foremost, you'll need to strip the walls and flooring to level the floor and frame the walls before starting a cabinet, tile, and counter installation. This process can often average $4,000, though if your place is brand new or your sub-floor is concrete, it'll likely cost a bit less. Your contractor may find that plumbing and electrical systems behind the walls are old or sub-par; updates here run $2,000 to $3,500, for plumbing, on top of city permits (think $2,000 for plumbing and $900 for electrical). 
  • Installation: Appliances are often installed as part of the purchase price or with an added delivery and installation fee. As for the rest of the labor involved in your new cabinets, countertop, backsplash, and floors, you'll negotiate directly with your contractor to determine the team needed to manage your kitchen's size and the amount of custom work involved.
Bottom line? You may have neighbors who DIY’ed their way to new cabinets for less, but the typical starting point for a full kitchen renovation in NYC is $20,000, all in. Less than that and you may be looking at handyman-quality work, setting yourself up for cost over-runs, or dealing with unlicensed and uninsured teams.


Before & After: Two Manhattan kitchens, two glossy (and budget-friendly) renovations

Renovating can be a lot of work—Sweeten makes it easier by matching you with the best design and construction experts in New York City. Follow the Sweeten blog for fun stories from real New Yorkers about creating spaces they love—and when you’re ready to renovate, start your project with Sweeten.

Also Around the Web