Kitchen & dining

How Much Does It Cost To Renovate A Condo Kitchen?

Take note of the elements you can improve and the budget you'll need

Photography: Jek Orila (Before) and Kurt Alvarez/ACME Visual Productions (After) - Main Photo

Most condo kitchens have one thing in common—they are tiny. These kitchens are often in standard straight lines with the occasional L- or U-shaped layouts. It's easy to spot condo kitchens online and in reading materials. The look is generic, with modular cabinets in medium to dark wood laminate doors and black granite countertops (not to mention the lack of space where you can keep your drying rack or groceries).

One of the reasons why condo owners choose to renovate the cooking area is the need for more counter space. Aside from considering this option, there are other ways you can upgrade and personalize a compact kitchen. Get started with the ideas below and make sure you take note of the estimated cost:

Minor kitchen updates

If you want to work on easy makeovers, you may opt to work on one (or all!) of the following:


Giving your kitchen walls a fresh coat of paint is one of the easiest makeovers you can do. The new paint doesn’t have to be that bold—it can be based on your liking, but a shade of blue, green, or yellow can add a pop of color to your space. For those who want to stick with neutrals, make sure that the color contrasts well with your general wall color.


Adding a kitchen backsplash

The backsplash goes in the area between the granite counter and your overhead cabinets. Incorporate some pattern and/or color in your space by using decorative ceramic or porcelain tiles for your backsplash. Visit home depots and check out the pretty tiles available with varying designs like subway tiles and hexagonal shapes, to pieces with floral and geometric prints. Veer away from the textured type materials as these can be harder to maintain in the future. 

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Installing indirect lighting

Indirect lighting under existing overhead cabinets is not as easy to install because of the electrical provisions you need to pull this off. Most overhead cabinets have a 2” fascia (at least) at the bottom of the storage space—this is standard in cabinet designs to hide the T5 light fixtures for future installation. You'll notice that one thing missing is the electrical provision for these lights. It's best to have it lined by an electrician.

Adding extra storage

For additional storage space, install wall shelves. These come in standard sizes at 450mm, 600mm, 900mm, and sometimes even at 1, 200mm.


Major kitchen upgrades

Some would prefer to have their kitchen cabinet doors refinished or the countertops changed, and there are those who want to revamp the whole kitchen. Keep in mind that these are not as easy to implement as the updates mentioned above.

Refinishing cabinets and replacing countertops

These can be done if you want to change the look of your kitchen completely. For existing finishes, make sure that you have the PVC sticker, laminates, or paint stripped before installing the new material. Choose from various countertop materials—tiles, granite, marble, quartz, and solid surface are some of the materials you can consider.

Installing built-in appliances

This can be a huge undertaking. Notice that in turned over kitchens, there is no provision for built-in cooktops or ovens? In order to install such appliances, you'd need to make provisions in the existing counter and add electrical outlets as well. The cabinet storage where the oven will go should be altered to fit the oven. There are instances when two doors are removed to accommodate the oven and a plywood border will run on the three sides of the oven to cover the inside of the storage. The frame is finished to match the kitchen's design.


Creating more counter space

Extending or adding a new kitchen counter can be a lot of work, but it's probably one of the most rewarding upgrades you can work on. The new counter can mimic the design of your turned over kitchen, or you can change it completely (but remember that you’ll have to refinish the existing cabinets and the counter as well).


You can place the new counter in front of or beside the existing one. Make sure that you have enough space to move around in between counters. Layouts you can follow include the L-shape (U-shape if the space permits) or parallel counters.

READ: 6 Basic Kitchen Layouts

Adding a bar or an island

Similar to your kitchen counter extension, the bar or island doesn’t have to be as wide as your existing kitchen. At the very least, the additional space should accommodate two people. Throw in some accent droplights above your bar to add character to your space.



This may come out a bit expensive because chances are, your kitchen shares the same flooring as your living and dining areas. Replacing your general tiles entails a lot of work, so this should probably one of the last things you can consider, unless you're planning on renovating the whole condo unit.

Ready to give your kitchen a makeover? We cannot give you a ballpark figure for the overall renovation costs as the budget will depend on the specific style you like, the quality of materials, and of course, the scope of the project. To give you an idea, here's a sample breakdown of expenses—including the cost of materials and the estimated amount you'll spend on labor:

  • ¾” thick Marine Plywood—P1, 500 per board
  • Laminate—P1 000 to P3, 000 per sheet (depending on design, texture, and brand)
  • T5 lights for under cabinets—P400 and up (depending on wattage)
  • Paint—around P1, 000 per gallon (depending on your chosen color)
  • Tiles—P200 to P400 for backsplash tiles and P250 to P500 for flooring
  • Solid surface—P12, 000 per linear meter for supply and installation
  • Granite/marble countertops—P4, 000 to P12, 000 for supply and installation (depending on the stone and design you prefer)


  • 60x120 porcelain tiles (sometimes used for countertops)—P1, 000 and up per piece
  • Sink—P5, 000 and up for single bowl >600mm sink
  • Faucet—P2, 000 and up                                                                         
  • Appliances—prices vary depending on the brand, the style, etc.
  • Floating shelves—P500 and up each
  • Labor—starts at P500/day for carpentry and painting works and P650/day for plumbing and electrical works


RL Tip: Costs may vary. It's best to visit different stores so you can compare the prices. Consult with a design professional as he or she can help you maximize your budget, avoid mistakes, and make the most of the project.

Interior designer Vera Villarosa-Orila is an alumna of the University of the Philippines and is one of the go-to designers for the Real Living Makeovers. You can get in touch with her through e-mail: vera.villarosa[at]




Do you have questions or concerns about your home's layout, furniture, and color scheme? Send your questions to reallivingonline[at] with the subject: Expert Advice. We might answer and feature your queries online.

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