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You have the idea to upgrade your kitchen design. You think about style, layout, or maybe adding a pantry. But the hard part is in the details. So, we put together a remodel plan that helps you through the renovation process, helping to drive down cost, manage contractors, lead time, temporary kitchen, and more.
Failing to plan is planning to fail.
A step-by-step kitchen remodel timeline
When you have made the decision to upgrade your existing kitchen you have to make a plan. In the plan, you have to make sense of the steps and your ideal kitchen remodel budget.
If you have time you can reduce your budget and can do some of the kitchen renovation tasks in your house. If you want everything done for you and fast then expect to pay a higher price for the whole renovation project.
Next, I will walk you through the details to get from your current space to your dream kitchen. You can also use our printable kitchen remodel checklist template.
Here are the key points to follow in your kitchen remodel project:
- Determine the scope of work for the kitchen remodel project.
- Create a renovation budget template to stay on track financially.
- Consider DIY options for home improvement to save money.
- Plan and budget the kitchen remodel carefully to maximize the outcome.
- Hire kitchen remodeling contractors after researching and checking references.
- Take into account all necessary elements in a kitchen remodel, such as cabinets, appliances, fixtures, windows, etc.
- Use a kitchen remodel project plan checklist to stay organized.
- Be open to making changes and adjustments during the renovation process.
- Consider the long-term functionality and style when making furniture and countertop selections.
- Take advantage of demo day by selling any unwanted items before demolition.
Why use a renovation budget template?
Sometimes homeowners think budget templates and plans limit their creativity. Well, in some way they do. If you don’t have a million dollars for your renovation project, it is a limit to your imagination. It’s a good thing.
The same is true about the step-by-step plan. A really fast kitchen remodel project could take a month, sometimes even less. But if you want to keep costs down you can spread the renovation out over a longer period. You can split that longer period into meaningful stages and have a mini celebration every time you complete a stage.
If you don’t have a budget and a plan, then everything may seem like a mess even when you are actually ahead of the schedule. So, embrace planning and use a kitchen remodel project template you can tweak to meet the needs of your house.
When you download the budget template,
we also give you a printable kitchen remodel checklist PDF.
DIY home improvement
You need to spend more time planning when you want to do everything yourself. In the case of kitchen remodels, DIY may mean a lot of things. Starting from just arranging the premade cabinets to gutting everything to the bare walls and making everything new. Maybe even changing the floorplan.
But even in the more demanding DIY projects, you may use a contractor to take care of specific things that you can’t do or require certified specialists.
What is a renovation budget template?
A renovation budget template is a file where you have every expense you might encounter in your kitchen renovation project. It contains more than you need. For example, on the template, we have a new dishwasher. But you already have a dishwasher that you bought last year. So, you delete that line.
The goal of the budget template is to ensure you don’t forget anything. If you have a $10,000 budget, you don’t want to find out in the middle of your renovation you need something that costs another $800 and you didn’t think of in the planning phase.
Get the kitchen renovation project template
Kitchen remodel project scope of work
The scope of work means all the things you intend to include in your home renovation project. The scope will help you keep your sanity. Everything that is not on the list is a “no.”
If you don’t stick to the scope bad things will happen. It’s called scope creep. The scope creep means that there will be constant changes and uncontrolled growth of the to-do list after the work begins. Sometimes people add a whole room to their home renovation project that costs as much as the original renovation budget.
If you don’t stick to the plan then the timeline and budget will start to move, hand in hand towards the horizon, unreachable by your bank account.
However, the limits of the scope do not mean you have to limit your project. If you have the means to do everything you need then go ahead and strip your kitchen to the bare walls. You can also reposition walls while you are at it.
The budget, step-by-step plan, and scope are there to protect you from unforeseen consequences, They may even save you money when workflow becomes more efficient.
What is the first thing to do when remodeling a kitchen?
You have three main parts to your kitchen remodeling project.
- Ideas and design plan,
- budget and timeline,
- Construction and project management.
Ideas and design plan
Why do you want to remodel your kitchen? You could want to bring new life to a kitchen that’s worn down and needs a facelift. Or you might want to add appliances and functionality that you don’t have.
Create a long list of items and features you would like to have in your kitchen. Browse idea boards on websites like Pinterest and collect everything that seems you would love to have in your kitchen. Colors, floorplans, materials, out-of-the-box ideas for storage space, and other functional features.
At this stage don’t let anything hold you back. It doesn’t matter what the appliances cost or if your kitchen is big enough for your ideas. Collect everything and you’ll sort it out later. This stage could take years. You can start way before you have the budget to actually take on the project.
When you feel you have enough ideas start to solidify it into a design plan.
Budget your kitchen remodel
Now you would have to fit everything you designed into the confines of your budget. A kitchen that looks exactly the same could cost three times more depending on the materials and brands you use. For example, install countertops based on your budget as countertop material can vary 10 times in price per square foot. Marble or laminate countertops?
It’s pretty obvious that different materials can have wildly different prices. More expensive doesn’t always mean better. I would go with Quartz over marble every time. But that’s not all.
The price of the same item can vary 10 times. The number one way to get things cheaper is not to hurry and look for deals and clearance sales for everything you need in your kitchen remodeling.
Then there’s second-hand. It doesn’t mean you have to buy junk other people want to throw away. After the Covid- and war-induced supply chain crisis the price for my integrated microwave oven went up to $450. I really didn’t want to pay that much. Enter the Facebook Marketplace. Long story short, I got my microwave for $100, cheaper than the original budget. Never used, the original buyer had made a miscalculation and couldn’t use it.
Planning will save you money
Take time to plan everything and save big. Never feel pressured to make a decision. There will be plenty of opportunities around.
Finally, who will do the actual work? You can opt for doing all the work yourself. At the other extreme, there’s the option where everything is done for you. But it’s not A or B. You can decide what types of work you can do yourself and where you need certified professionals to help you out.
There are two factors that speak for doing some of the work yourself. The first, and the more important one, is a sense of accomplishment. You can involve your whole family. In the end, you can say we did it!
The second reason is to lower your budget. All the work you do yourself is “free.” Time is never “free” but it can help you get a higher-value kitchen at the cost of your time.
The backbone of your project consists of a step-by-step plan and budget. Get our kitchen remodel budget template right into your inbox:
Start your kitchen remodeling
After you have sorted out all the ideas and designed your kitchen. You have also figured out and budgeted what the whole project will cost you. Now is the time to start the work.
What is included in a kitchen remodel?
Ultimately it’s up to you what you want to do with your kitchen remodel. You can do a total makeover or you could just replace the most important items. Painting kitchen cabinets and walls can give your kitchen remodel a completely new look. Or you may want to upgrade the materials in your kitchen. For example, install granite countertops, add soft-close hinges, and more.
The whole new kitchen includes everything from brand new flooring to kitchen cabinets to lighting. You have to have a clear idea of what you want in your kitchen design. Here’s all the information in a compact format
What will you do with your cabinets? You could paint the cabinets and replace cabinet hardware. you could resurface them, or get completely new ones. When you plan for completely new cabinetry then you should budget about 35% for this. Just painting and adding new cabinet hardware can give you a kitchen that looks new. Custom cabinets can add a lot to this.
Labor will most likely take about 20% of your total budget. Maybe there’s a task you can do yourself? Make sure you discuss it with your contractor so the workflow steps take this into account. You could save a bit but make sure you really are up to it and won’t become the bottleneck in the process.
New stoves, ovens, and other technical details can be about 20-30% of your budget. Number one question is do you need new ones? In many cases, the appliances can last for several decades. You would want to replace them not because they don’t do what you need them to do, but you are just tired of them. Another reason for replacement is new functionality, style, energy efficiency, and network connectivity.
Mostly faucets and sinks last forever. Again you might want to change them purely for cosmetic reasons. It’s OK if you want to feel good in your brand new kitchen. Or you might want to live sustainably and use everything for as long as they stay in one piece. You could expect the budget for fixtures to be around 5%.
Fittings and other
All the small things you need to put everything together. Usually, contractors get what they need as they need it. Your contractor will also get other items they need from drop sheets to paint rollers. You don’t need to worry about putting all the details together if you plan to spend 10% of the budget on the fittings.
This may not be the most obvious part of the complete kitchen remodel. But your kitchen designer could suggest adding new windows or enlarging existing windows to get a more open feel to your brand new kitchen. The additional costs could be in the range of 10% of the total budget.
Other specific parts of the process
You may need to install new plumbing. This is something you plan with a specialist contractor evaluating your existing plumbing.
The same thing applies to tasks related to electrical lines and rewiring the kitchen. If your kitchen layout changes and the appliances will be in new locations then the wiring needs changing.
When working with electricity you also need to update or add new lighting. A new location for your stove means a new location for your ceiling and spotlights.
Hiring kitchen remodeling contractors
When hiring contractors make sure you get at least three offers. The offers should be comparable and this means you must give each contractor specific guidelines. All the offers you receive need to be comparable or won’t be able to make a good choice.
Is the price high or low?
When you get an offer that is too cheap find out why. Maybe they forgot something? Maybe they are specialists in an area specific to your case and use methods that help them get some part of the work done much faster? When It’s cheap find out why!
Don’t assume that high price means high quality. Often when are not knowledgeable about the area they focus on price. If the price is higher then it should be better, right? Not so! Always ask about the price when it’s much higher than other contractors. In some cases, it may turn out that the other prices are too cheap.
Ask to see samples of previous work
Check if the contractor has done similar work to yours. Is it something they do often? Ask them for pictures and videos of the projects they have completed. Get the before and after pictures.
When they give you the pictures, tell you the stories of how great they are, and why you should hire them, ask for references. Ask for names and phone numbers. Ask for references on the work they have just completed. Ask for projects that they finished five or six years ago. They should also have kitchen remodel checklist for contractors that you can examine to make sure they include everything you need.
Get on the phone and talk to their previous clients. Would they hire the same contractor for their next project? From the people who have just completed their remodel ask about project management. Were they always on time? Did everything go smoothly? From the references that were completed years ago ask how have things worked out in the long run.
You are going to spend a lot of money on your kitchen remodel project, the right time to save money is before you start.
Don’t demolish when it’s demo day. Sell everything!
You can reclaim some value of your existing kitchen by selling everything you can on Craigslist, eBay, or Facebook Marketplace.
Find space in your garage or other rooms in your house to temporarily store everything you remove from your current kitchen. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Even if you think that your cabinets may need an emergency replacement, another homeowner might find that a new coat of paint will make them as good as new.
Depending on the condition of your current kitchen, you could make hundreds if not thousands of dollars just selling your junk. Also, keep in mind that if you can sell more stuff then you need a smaller dumpster truck, saving you money. In some cases, you can sell with the condition that they come and remove the item themselves. You save on dumping the trash and demolition.
However, when you try to sell everything you have but don’t have a place to store then items then it may take some time to empty your kitchen.
Temporary kitchen and how long does a kitchen remodel take?
Home improvement on the scope of kitchen remodel can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to several months. In our kitchen remodel project template, we have laid out a plan for gutting everything and starting from scratch.
You need a space to create your temporary kitchen to use for cooking. How much room you need will depend on the scope of the remodel. Of course, you can eat out more, but you still need room for the fridge and some other appliances for the duration of the renovation. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your temporary kitchen setup:
Location: Consider setting up your temporary kitchen in an adjacent room or area that is close to your main kitchen. This will make it easier to access the space and to transport items back and forth.
Keep it simple: You won’t have access to all of your usual appliances and equipment during the remodel, so it’s important to keep things simple. Consider using a microwave, hot plate, or portable stovetop for cooking, and invest in some basic kitchen tools, such as a slow cooker, pressure cooker, or toaster oven.
Stock up on non-perishable food items: Having a well-stocked pantry can make meal preparation much easier during a kitchen remodel. Stock up on non-perishable items like canned goods, dry pasta, rice, and other staples that can be easily prepared in a temporary kitchen.
Make use of outdoor spaces: If you have access to a backyard or patio, consider setting up a grill or using a portable fire pit for cooking. This can be a fun way to change up your meal routine and can be a good option when you’re without a functioning stove.
Don’t forget the essentials: There are a few essential items that you’ll want to have on hand in your temporary kitchen: pots, pans, utensils, dishes, and cups. You’ll also want to make sure you have basic pantry staples like salt, pepper, sugar, and cooking oil.
Kitchen remodel project plan checklist
Always use a checklist! Construction projects are some of the most complex things we do in our lives. You have to manage logistics, budget, timeline, and many more details. Will you have to pay for workers to wait when the materials arrive? You don’t have to do it in your head. You shouldn’t do it all in your head.
We have put together a printable kitchen remodel checklist PDF for each step of your kitchen remodel project.
What is the most expensive part of a kitchen remodel?
Usually, the most expensive item in your remodel project is cabinetry. It is followed by appliances, but these are not a single item, next come the countertops depending on the material you choose.
If your scope includes upgrading the floors then the budget can vary a lot. It’s relatively cheap if the task only includes new surface material or you might want to gut it and create something completely new. Printable kitchen remodel checklist template helps you figure out where you can cut cost.
This Post Has 4 Comments
Thanks for the template, you added things I never thought about! Our reno starts mid-September so we have enough time to draft our moodboard and see exactly what we both want.
Glad to hear that the template was helpful! It’s great that you’re starting early and taking the time to create a mood board – this will really help you both solidify your vision for the space. One tip that I’d like to add is to be open to unexpected changes during the renovation process. Sometimes, things that seem perfect on paper may not work out in reality, so try to be flexible and be willing to make adjustments as needed.
Ours is quite a small project, we just want to change the furniture and the countertops but we’re planning a major overhaul in two or three years so this helped a lot.
Thank you for your comment! Great to hear the article was helpful even for a smaller project! Changing the furniture and countertops can make a big impact and it’s great that you’re planning ahead for a major overhaul in the future. One more idea is to consider the long-term functionality and style when making your selections for the furniture and countertops. This way, they’ll still look great and fit well into your future renovation plans.