Remodeling your kitchen can seem like a daunting task, but with proper planning and preparation, it can be a smooth and rewarding process. A kitchen remodel allows you to update the look and layout of one of the most-used rooms in your home to better suit your needs.

Planning Your Kitchen Remodel

Before beginning demolition, take the time to map out your goals, budget, and design for the remodel. Careful planning at this stage will ensure the project stays on time, on budget, and delivers the kitchen of your dreams.

Set Your Goals

It’s important to have a clear vision in mind for what you want to accomplish with the remodel. Consider the following:

  • Do you need more storage or counter space?
  • Is the layout inefficient?
  • Do you want to update the aesthetics with new finishes?
  • Are the appliances outdated?
  • Does the lighting need an upgrade?

Focus on the improvements that would make the most impact for how you use your kitchen.

Make a Budget

Remodeling costs can add up quickly. Experts estimate kitchen remodels range from $20,000 to $50,000 with high-end renovations over $100,000.

To make an accurate budget:

  • Research the average costs for the products and materials you want.
  • Factor in demolition, any needed structural changes, installation labor, permits, and fees.
  • Include a 10-15% contingency fund for unexpected expenses.

Set your budget and try to stick to it by making trade-offs if needed between wants and must-haves.

Hire a Contractor

Unless you plan on a DIY remodel, you will need to hire a general contractor. They will:

  • Manage the renovation, subcontractors, and timeline.
  • Obtain required permits and coordinate inspections.
  • Advise on building code and structural requirements.

Tips for hiring a qualified contractor:

  • Ask for referrals from friends and read reviews.
  • Verify they are licensed, bonded, and insured.
  • Check references for previous kitchen renovation projects.
  • Compare multiple bids.

Design Your New Kitchen

Start gathering inspiration from magazines, Pinterest, or Houzz. Identify the essential elements you want such as:

  • Layout: Consider how you use your kitchen’s workflow. Improve it by relocating appliances, sinks, and increasing counterspace.
  • Cabinets: Reface or replace old cabinets and adjust storage as needed. Custom cabinets maximize usable space.
  • Countertops: Popular options: granite, quartz, laminate, butcher block. Evaluate durability, appearance, and cost.
  • Flooring: Choices like hardwood, tile, vinyl or linoleum have style and function tradeoffs. Prioritize easy cleaning.
  • Lighting: Use different types such as recessed, pendant, or under cabinet lights for both ambiance and task lighting.
  • Hardware: Update knobs, pulls, faucets, and lighting fixtures for visual impact.
  • Appliances: Upgrade outdated or inefficient refrigerators, stoves, ovens, microwaves, dishwashers, etc. Choose energy efficient models.
  • Backsplash: Protect the walls behind counters with materials like ceramic tile, metal, or glass tile. Doubles as a design element.

Create detailed drawings of the new layout to visualize the finished product and use as a guide during renovation.

Preparing for Your Kitchen Remodel

Proper preparation before demolition day will make the process smoother. Allow plenty of time to complete the steps below:

Get Required Permits

Depending on the extent of the remodel, you may need permits for plumbing, electrical, or structural work. The contractor will determine the specific permits needed. Apply for these 2-4 weeks in advance of starting work.

Order Products and Materials

Your contractor will order most of the items, but you may need to purchase specialty appliances, lighting fixtures, hardware, or custom cabinets yourself. Expect long lead times of 4-8 weeks for custom or specialty orders. Order early!

Schedule Contractors

Line up all subcontractors the general contractor will use on the project. Try to overlap tasks like cabinet installation with countertop templating to avoid delays.

Clear the Space

Remove everything from cabinets, drawers, and countertops. Plan temporary storage for items you will need access to during construction like dishes, food, and cooking supplies.

Protect Surrounding Areas

Cover nearby floors, countertops, and appliances with plastic sheeting. Use painters tape for clean edges. Remove window treatments, art, and decor items from adjacent rooms.

Turn Off Water Supply and Power

Shut off the main water valve and turn off electrical and gas service to the kitchen area. These utilities should remain off throughout the renovation for safety.

Demolition: Tearing Out the Old Kitchen

Demolition is an exciting milestone! Have your protective gear ready because this will be noisy, messy, and dusty.

Remove Cabinets and Countertops

Taking out old cabinets and counters requires prying, unscrewing, or sawing them apart before hauling them away. Also remove associated items like sink basins, hardware and any backsplashes.

Take Down Walls and Modify Layout

If your new layout involves removing or adding walls, the demolition phase is when this structural work is completed. Consult your approved plans.

Remove Flooring and Subflooring

Take out existing flooring as needed to access and modify subflooring for the new floor plan. This may involve removing tiles, vinyl, or sections of hardwood flooring.

Update Plumbing and Electrical

Plumbing lines for sinks or appliances may need to be removed or rerouted. Electrical updates like new outlet locations also happen now before walls get closed up.

Prepare the Space

Once stripped down to the stud walls and subfloor, do finishing demolition steps:

  • Remove any leftover debris and sweep the floor.
  • Patch or cover exposed wall insulation.
  • Vacuum dust and adhesive residue from all surfaces.
  • Seal off open doorways with plastic sheeting to prevent dust spreading.

The kitchen is now ready for rebuilding!

Reconstruction: Installing the New Kitchen Design

The reconstruction phase brings the kitchen design to life as the work progresses from structural elements to finishes.

Update Flooring

Installation of new flooring, whether hardwood, tile, vinyl or another material is often an early step. This allows other jobs to be completed on top of the new floor.

Add Walls and Modify Layout

If the layout changed, new walls will go up as soon as possible once framing is complete. Any relocated windows and doors also get installed now.

Install New Cabinets

With fresh paint or drywall up, cabinet installation is next. Ensure all cabinets are level and plumb. Allow time for any customizations like added trim molding.


Measure for any granite, quartz, or other custom countertops once cabinets are in. Templating may take 1-2 weeks before fabricated tops are installed.

Add Sink(s) and Plumbing Fixtures

With counters in place, sinks and faucets can be installed and reconnected to plumbing lines in the walls and floor. Test for leaks.

Paint and Install Backsplashes

Paint any drywall and trim before adding backsplash tile, panels or other up-wall protection in your design.

Install Lighting Fixtures

Pot lights, pendant lights, under cabinet lighting and any fancy light fixtures specified in the plans can now be added.

Add Finishing Touches

Finally, the details come together:

  • Install appliances, test and connect them
  • Hang window treatments
  • Add accessories like soap dispensers and towel racks
  • Replace decor items, art and plants

Completing the Kitchen Remodel

You’re nearing the finish line! Double check that all items on your checklist are complete before using the brand new kitchen.

Inspect and Test All Features

Verify your contractor tests every component like plumbing, gas, lighting, electricity, appliances, cabinet functionality and HVAC systems. Check for leaks, odd noises, or malfunctions and have the contractor address any outstanding issues.

Complete a Thorough Cleaning

Although the contractor should clean the site when done, you will want to do a deeper clean of every surface, cabinet, and appliance. Remove any leftover construction dust and debris.

Seal the Floors

Add protective sealants to any exposed natural stone, grout, or concrete floors to prevent stains and damage over time.

Celebrate Your New Space!

Once fully functional with the inspector’s approval, it’s time to enjoy cooking and making memories in your beautiful new kitchen!

Have fun decorating, organizing, and showing it off. You tackled a major renovation – now reap the rewards!

Frequently Asked Questions About Kitchen Remodels

How long does a kitchen remodel take?

Kitchen remodels usually take 4-8 weeks from start to finish. Small cosmetic makeovers can be 2-3 week projects while extensive overhauls with structural changes may take up to 2 months.

What is the most popular kitchen layout?

The L-shaped galley style kitchen layout is the most popular. It offers efficiency through the triangular workflow between the sink, fridge, and stove while maximizing available space.

What increases resale value more – kitchen or bathroom remodel?

Overall, a major kitchen remodel provides a better return on investment at about 70-80% ROI. Bathroom remodels return 50-70% on average. The kitchen is considered more valuable by home buyers.

How do I choose cabinets?

When selecting cabinets, consider your budget, aesthetic, organizational needs, ease of cleaning, durability and functionality. Stock, semi-custom or full custom cabinets offer increasing customization ability.

What is the most durable material for countertops?

Granite, quartz, ceramic, concrete, and stainless steel are among the most durable and scratch-resistant countertop materials. Laminate is inexpensive but prone to heat and scratch damage.

What size should kitchen backsplash tiles be?

4-6 inch backsplash tiles are ideal. Smaller tiles mean more grout lines to clean. Larger tiles don’t provide enough detail and can look bland. Mosaic tiles offer visual interest.

Should I remodel the kitchen before selling my house?

Kitchen updates are smart if due for a refresh. Minor changes like new hardware and light fixtures are inexpensive ways to modernize. But avoid extensive remodels exceeding 5-10% of your home’s value.


The kitchen is the heart of the home. By remodeling your kitchen you can gain beautiful new features and a refreshed space your whole family will enjoy for years to come. With good planning, clear communication, hiring qualified pros, and adhering to your budget, you can have an organized, on-time, successful kitchen remodeling project. Before you know it, you’ll be cooking in a kitchen that meets your needs and style perfectly.