The holidays are a time for gathering with family and friends, cooking festive meals, and creating lasting memories. The kitchen is at the heart of any home during the holidays, and this can highlight if your kitchen needs some updating. Holiday gatherings provide the perfect inspiration for that long-overdue kitchen remodel you’ve been dreaming about.

Assess How Your Kitchen Functions During Holidays

The holidays put your kitchen to the test with all the prep work, cooking, baking, and clean up required for holiday meals and parties. Take note of any pain points or inadequate features your kitchen has that make holiday cooking more challenging or less enjoyable.

  • Is your kitchen too small to comfortably accommodate multiple cooks?
  • Do you lack enough counter space and storage for all the extra ingredients and dishes?
  • Are appliances and tools outdated or insufficient for holiday-sized meals?
  • Do you need more seating for guests who gather in the kitchen?
  • Do your finishes show a lot of wear and tear?
  • Is the layout inefficient?
  • Is the lighting poor?
  • Is ventilation inadequate when the oven and stovetop are going?

Really scrutinize how your current kitchen functions during crunch times like holidays when you are cooking large meals. Identify ways it falls short so you know what needs to change in your remodel.

Envision Your Dream Kitchen

The holidays can help inspire your ideal kitchen by highlighting what’s most important to your family gatherings and celebrations. Think through your dream kitchen.

More Space

Maybe you dream of more space and flexibility to accommodate multiple cooks, bake holiday goodies, stage complex dishes, and allow guests to gather comfortably. Key features that maximize usable space include:

  • Island with seating
  • Wide walkways and work aisles
  • Multi-level counters
  • Shelving to the ceiling
  • Display nooks/shelves for decorative items
  • Pantry fororganization
  • Breakfast nook or casual dining area

Entertaining Features

If holidays are centered around entertaining in your home, a kitchen designed for hosting is essential. Consider a kitchen layout with:

  • Open concept plan connected to living areas
  • Bar or buffet countertop area
  • Wine fridge or beverage center
  • Extra seating at an island, breakfast nook, or bar area
  • Smart storage for glassware/dishes
  • Charging station for devices
  • Music system

High-Performance Appliances/Cookware

Be sure your appliances and tools can keep up with holiday meal prep. Look for:

  • Double oven with convection cooking
  • Gas cooktop with enough burners
  • Pot filler faucet
  • Quiet dishwasher with adjustable racks
  • Full-size refrigerator with bottom freezer
  • Cabinet inserts and organizers
  • High quality pots, pans, utensils

Stylish & Durable Finishes

Holiday cooking is messy and high traffic. Choose surfaces that are family-friendly, easy to clean, and look great. Consider:

  • Quartz or granite countertops
  • Stainless steel appliances
  • Tile backsplash
  • Water-resistant engineered hardwood flooring
  • Matte cabinet finishes like thermofoil

Adequate Lighting

Proper lighting keeps the kitchen bright for meal prep and safe for multi-cook operation. Include:

  • Pendant lights over islands & counters
  • Undercabinet lighting
  • Recessed ceiling lights
  • Natural light from windows

Efficient Layout

An efficient layout allows multiple holiday tasks to happen smoothly. Strategies include:

  • Work triangles between sink, stove, fridge
  • Separate zones for prep, cooking, clean up
  • Lazy susan corner storage
  • Roll-out shelves/drawers
  • Recycling center

Style & Personality

While function is important, don’t forget form! Holiday kitchens should reflect personality with:

  • Warm, welcoming colors like reds, greens, and gold
  • Natural materials like stone and wood
  • Metal accents in finishes like nickel or bronze
  • Decorative tile, glass inserts, or mosaics as accents
  • Personal collections displayed

Plan Your Remodel Budget

With your dream kitchen vision in mind, it’s time to talk budgets. Kitchen remodels run the gamut from simple upgrades to complete overhauls. Consider the scope of changes needed to create your perfect holiday kitchen.

Small Updates Under $5,000

Minor changes make a big difference on a small budget:

  • New cabinet hardware/pulls
  • Paint or re-stain cabinets
  • Lighting fixtures
  • Sink and faucet
  • Backsplash tile
  • Entryway flooring

Partial Remodels $10,000-$30,000

More extensive upgrades like:

  • Cabinet resurfacing/refacing
  • Countertop replacement
  • New mid-range appliances
  • Island or peninsula addition
  • Flooring replacement
  • Wall paint/accent wallpaper

Full Remodels $30,000-$75,000

Includes all or most of the following:

  • New custom cabinetry
  • Luxury countertops like marble or quartz
  • High-end, full-size appliances
  • New layout with relocated plumbing/electric
  • Addition of pantry, island, etc.
  • Hardwood flooring
  • Recessed and decorative lighting
  • High-end fixtures and finishes

Luxury Remodels $75,000+

Spares no expense on:

  • Professional-grade appliances like Wolf range, Sub-Zero fridge
  • Custom built-ins and cabinetry
  • Natural stone surfaces like granite and marble
  • Heated floors
  • Smart home technology like home automation
  • Architect/designer fees

Your budget depends on current kitchen condition, the scope of changes, and material selections. Get contractor quotes on the full project and estimated timelines. Be prepared for some cost overruns too.

Choose Materials That Stand the Test of Time

Holiday gatherings mean lots of hands using your kitchen year after year. Choose durable surfaces and materials made to last.


Popular options ranked by durability include:

  1. Quartz: Non-porous, scratch/stain-resistant, abundant colors/patterns
  2. Granite: Heat/scratch-resistant, expensive, some sealing required
  3. Marble: Elegant but softer, stains easily, sealing required
  4. Tile: Durable with proper grout sealing, prone to cracking/chipping
  5. Laminate: Budget-friendly, scuffs/scratches easily, avoid cutting on


Great kitchen flooring options are:

  • Porcelain tile: Durable, easy maintenance, resistant to spills/stains
  • Luxury vinyl planks (LVP): Waterproof, scratch-resistant, comfortable underfoot
  • Engineered hardwood: Warm look of wood but dent/scratch-resistant
  • Natural stone: Requires sealing but classic and elegant


Look for cabinetry with:

  • Plywood or solid hardwood frames
  • Dovetail joinery
  • Quality hardware (soft-close hinges, full-extension slides)
  • Durable finishes like thermofoil or polyurethane


Choose appliances from reputable brands known for:

  • Reliability and performance
  • Long lifespans (10+ years)
  • Good warranties
  • Availability of replacement parts


Opt for metal finishes and styles that won’t fade or tarnish like:

  • Stainless steel
  • Matte black
  • Oil rubbed bronze
  • Brushed nickel

Stage Your Remodel Thoughtfully

Remodels mean disrupted routines. Think through how to stage the remodel process so holiday gatherings can still happen comfortably.

  • Schedule the remodel during slow seasons like summer to minimize impact.
  • Keep refrigeration and cooking capacity by retaining existing fridge/stove as long as possible. Bring in compact appliances as needed.
  • Set up a temporary kitchen in another area like the garage, basement, or bar space using cabinets and appliances you plan to replace. This allows basic function while the main kitchen is torn up.
  • Stock up on paper plates/cups and use disposable serveware to reduce need for sink access or dishwasher.
  • Create better lighting in interim cooking/dining areas since lighting is usually compromised.
  • Add floor protection like old sheets in temporary walkways to control dust and damage.
  • Pack up seldom used items like fancy dishes and small appliances so they’re out of the way.
  • Communicate timeline expectations with family so they know the kitchen won’t be fully operational for the holidays.
  • Do the demo a few weeks prior to allow for deep cleaning before guests arrive. The fewer construction elements remaining, the better.

With smart staging, your kitchen remodel doesn’t have to mean skipping favorite holiday traditions. A little pre-planning, patience, and compromise keeps the celebrations going amid the work.

Let Holidays Give Your Kitchen a Facelift

Beyond inspirational design ideas, the holidays can provide real motivation for finally remodeling your worn out or ill-functioning kitchen. There’s nothing like the pressure of knowing housefuls of family are coming to light a fire under you to fix an outdated kitchen once and for all.

Fix Safety Concerns

It may be easy to live with minor inconveniences day-to-day. But the flurry of holiday cooking makes safety concerns impossible to ignore. If bad electrical, leaky plumbing, or slip hazards concern you, use the holidays as the impetus to address them.

Upgrade for Energy Efficiency

With oven and stovetop going for hours during holidays, an inefficient kitchen really shows its flaws. Use the motivation of cost savings from Energy Star appliances and LED lighting to greenlight upgrades.

Repair Damage

Holidays are hard on kitchens. Maybe it’s time to replace water damaged lower cabinets from appliance leaks or burns in the laminate countertop from hot pans. Let the holidays offer a fresh start.

Clear Out Clutter

Holiday hors d’oeuvres mean extra dishes, glassware, and serving pieces. If your cupboards are already bursting, envision how nice a kitchen designed for more storage would be.

Modernize Outdated Spaces

Walking into your outdated, harvest gold 1970s kitchen with granite laminate counters for big holiday gatherings can be cringe-worthy. Use the holidays as a catalyst for finally bringing your kitchen up to date.

Improve Entertaining Capabilities

Certain kitchen layouts and amenities can make hosting much more enjoyable, like open layouts, islands, and bar areas. If your current kitchen makes hosting a headache, commit to an upgrade.

Accommodate Changing Lifestyles

Maybe new additions to the family or an expanding Thanksgiving guest list have made small kitchens untenable. Look at the holidays as the final proof it’s time to remodel and expand.

Increase Enjoyment

Dated, cramped, or dark kitchens zap the joy of holiday food and fellowship. Make a kitchen you truly relish time in so you can create happier holiday memories.

The deadline of holiday events can be the push you need to finally tackle the kitchen project you’ve put off. Let the spirit of the season inspire you.

Time Your Remodel to Be Complete for the Holidays

To make the most of your gorgeous new kitchen for holiday hosting, backward plan your remodel schedule. Mark your calendar with target dates and work backwards:

  • Finalize plans: Have layout, finishes, and materials selected by January so long lead-time items can be ordered.
  • Permits filed: Submit permits and approvals 60-90 days prior to work starting.
  • Contractor booked: Line up contractor availability at least 4-5 months pre-remodel. Lock in schedule.
  • Demo phase: Allow 2-3 weeks for appliance removal, floor/wall tear out in May-June.
  • Construction: Schedule the bulk of intensive construction during summer months if possible. This takes 8-12 weeks.
  • Inspections: Book county/city inspectors to sign off on work the first week of September.
  • Trims: Install new flooring, hardware, light fixtures through September.
  • Clean/organize: Take 2-3 weeks in October to load new cabinets, detail, and get settled.
  • Holiday ready: Cook your first holiday meals and host in style by November!

Build out a detailed calendar and discuss timing with contractors to identify any schedule risks. Leave wiggle room for potential delays too. With foresight, your kitchen remodel can wrap up perfectly in time for seasonal celebrating.

Enhance Holiday Meal Prep

A kitchen designed just for your unique holiday traditions and needs will make food prep more joyful. Consider elements that specifically improve holiday cooking and baking.

Extra Oven Capacity

With multiple dishes competing for oven space, double wall ovens truly earn their keep at the holidays. Extra capacity speeds the mealtime dance.

Gas Cooktop

Precise temperature control and rapid boiling makes gas ideal for holiday dishes and coordinating multiple elements at once.

Pot Filler Faucet

Filling large pots is easier on your back, arms, and hands when the water source is right at the stove.

Extra Dishwasher Space

Running the dishwasher 1-3 times on holiday gatherings is standard. Models with adjustable tines, flatware slots, and great cleaning power are must-haves.

Food Processor/Stand Mixer

Holiday baking is easier with heavy duty stand mixers to thoroughly cream butter and cookie dough without wearing out your arm. Food processors make quick work of chopping and mixing stuffing ingredients.

Quality Bakeware

Nonstick surfaces that distribute heat evenly are essential for perfect holiday cakes and batches of cookies.

Spice Drawer

A dedicated drawer for spices keeps all the holiday recipe flavors organized.

Double Trash/Recycling Pull-Outs

Separate bins just for food prep scraps and holiday packaging rubbish simplify cleanup.

Extra Storage

Cabinets for extra platters, baking equipment, and pantry overflow means messy counters get cleared for meal assembly.

When designing your ultimate holiday kitchen, think through the tasks unique to your seasonal cooking and celebrations. Add purposeful features to make those memories even more special.


What are good ways to finance a kitchen remodel?

  • Cash or personal savings
  • Home equity line of credit (HELOC)
  • Cash-out refinance and withdraw home equity
  • Personal bank loan
  • Credit cards (for smaller projects)
  • Asking for cash gifts toward remodel for special occasions
  • 0% promotional financing from retailers like Home Depot

Should I remodel the kitchen or buy a new house?

Remodel pros:

  • Usually cheaper than buying a new similar home
  • Make the current home layout suit you better
  • Customize for personal tastes
  • Modify without the hassle of moving
  • Improve value of existing home investment

Buy new pros:

  • Entirely new system/appliances without inheriting issues
  • Layouts designed today reflect modern lifestyles
  • Eliminate all old/outdated components for uniform feel
  • Opportunity to move to new neighborhood

What is the maximum amount I should spend on a kitchen remodel relative to home value?

As a rule of thumb, limit kitchen remodel spending to:

  • 10% or less of home value for minor upgrades
  • 15% of home value for mid-range remodels
  • 20% of home value for high-end luxury kitchens

Kitchen upgrades costing more than 20% of your home’s value often won’t recoup full return on investment.

Should I remodel the kitchen myself or hire a contractor?

The DIY route can save on labor costs but has many drawbacks:

  • Lack of expertise for complex construction, plumbing, and electrical work
  • Project takes vastly longer without pros
  • Mistakes can be costly to fix
  • May void home insurance or warranties

Hiring a general contractor is advisable for most kitchen overhauls beyond very minor ones. Their expertise gets the job done faster and correctly.

How disruptive is it to live through a kitchen remodel?

  • Expect 2-4 weeks of demo/tear out where the kitchen is fully inoperable.
  • Count on a total timeline of 8-12 weeks of intensive renovation work.
  • Dust, noise, utility interruptions, and uncertain access are common.
  • Plan for makeshift cooking with compact appliances and paper plates.
  • Relocating to maintain normal routines is ideal if possible.

Kitchen remodels are very disruptive. Thorough pre-planning and staging can minimize headaches. Absence from the home during work is best if feasible.

What design changes add the most value in a kitchen remodel?

Top value-boosting updates are:

  • Additional square footage and expanded layout
  • New cabinets (accounts for 40% of project budget on average)
  • Updated, neutral paint colors
  • New counters and backsplash
  • New quality flooring
  • Contemporary cabinet hardware
  • Stainless steel appliances

Focus spending on elements homebuyers notice and appreciate most in a great kitchen.


Let the holidays showcase your home and kitchen at their finest by inspiring a functional, beautiful remodel. Analyze how your current kitchen performs during holiday meal prep and parties. Make a wish list of dream upgrades to turn family food and fellowship into less stressful, more meaningful memories. Create a budget and timeline that lets you complete the remodel just in time to celebrate in your stunning new space. Keep your vision firmly on how much brighter and warmer your holidays will be in a kitchen tailor-made to accommodate your favorite traditions. The time and investment will reward your family for many festive seasons to come.