A kitchen remodel can completely transform your home and make it more enjoyable to cook and entertain in. However, remodeling a kitchen is also a major undertaking that requires extensive planning and decision making. By asking yourself the right questions upfront, you can set your kitchen remodel up for success.

What is your budget?

The very first thing you need to establish is how much you can realistically spend on your kitchen remodel. Kitchen remodels range greatly in cost, from modest updates for a few thousand dollars to complete overhauls for $50,000 or more.

Sit down and determine how much you can contribute from savings. Research the average costs in your area for the scope of remodel you want so you can determine if you need to take out a home equity loan to cover costs. Going over budget mid-project can throw the entire remodel off track.

What is your timeline?

Another key consideration is the timeline for your remodel. How long can you manage with a non-functioning kitchen? Do you need the project completed by a certain date, or can it drag on for months?

Be realistic about timeframes. Even modest kitchen remodels usually take 4-8 weeks from start to finish. Larger overhauls can take 2-3 months. If you need a new kitchen ASAP due to an impending event or sale of your home, then you need to build a timeline accordingly.

Factor in contingency days to account for backordered materials, contractor scheduling issues, and other delays. You don’t want your timeline so tight that even a small hiccup throws off the entire project.

What is your existing layout and will you make changes?

Evaluate how you currently use your kitchen. Make notes of what you like about the existing layout and what you would change. Pay attention to workflow, storage, appliance placement, and seating.

If the layout no longer suits your needs, then look at remodeling to better accommodate how you cook, clean, and interact in the space. Common layout changes include widening doorways, relocating appliances and plumbing fixtures, removing walls, and adding an island or peninsula.

Any layout changes will bump up the cost of your remodel significantly compared to keeping things in their existing locations. Make sure the layout changes are worth the additional investment.

What is your style?

Nail down the overall style and aesthetic you want for your new kitchen. Is there a particular style you are drawn to such as modern, traditional, transitional, or farmhouse? Gather inspiration from magazines, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Being able to articulate the look and feel you want will make it much easier to select materials and finishes that bring that style to life. If you struggle to define your ideal style, a kitchen designer can walk you through different options to narrow it down.

Match your cabinets, countertops, tile, paint colors, lighting, and decor to your style for a cohesive and harmonious look. Mixing and matching elements willy nilly can leave you with a disjointed finished kitchen.

Which materials and finishes will you use?

With your style in mind, outline the materials and finishes you envision using. Research various countertop materials like quartz, granite, butcher block, and solid surface to pick what works best for your lifestyle.

Think about cabinet door styles and which materials have the look you want – wood, painted, laminate, or thermofoil. Select flooring that is durable, easy to clean, and suited for a kitchen.

Create a finishes checklist with notes on cabinetry, countertops, flooring, backsplash, sinks, faucets, lighting, and hardware. This will help you convey exactly what you want to contractors and designers.


Remodeling your kitchen is an exciting opportunity to transform one of the most important rooms in your home. Following this checklist will help you think through all aspects of your remodel before calling in the contractors. Defining your budget, timeline, layout plans, style, and finishes upfront will set your project off on the right foot.

With answers to these key questions in hand, you can confidently start bringing your dream kitchen to life. Careful planning will help turn what could be a stressful and chaotic remodel into an enjoyable project with a beautiful outcome.

Frequently Asked Questions About Planning a Kitchen Remodel

What should I plan first for my kitchen remodel?

The very first thing you need to plan is your budget. Determine how much you can realistically spend on your kitchen remodel before designing your plans. Your budget will dictate the scope of what you can take on.

What timeline can I expect for a kitchen remodel?

Most minor kitchen remodels take 4-8 weeks from start to finish. More extensive overhauls can take up to 2-3 months to complete. Build in some contingency days in case of delays or backordered materials.

Should I change my kitchen layout?

Evaluate how you currently use your kitchen and what works or doesn’t work about the existing layout. If the current layout causes frustrations, look at how you can reconfigure the space to better suit your needs and lifestyle.

How do I pick materials and finishes?

After defining the overall style you want, research options for cabinets, countertops, flooring, and hardware that support that look. Create a finishes checklist to help convey your vision to contractors.

When should I purchase appliances for my remodeled kitchen?

Wait until your cabinets and layout are finalized to purchase new appliances so you can get the proper sizing. Lead times for many appliances are 6-8 weeks. Factor appliance delivery into your timeline.

How can I save money on my kitchen remodel?

To save on a tight budget, keep your existing kitchen footprint and limit changes to surface upgrades like paint, cabinet fronts, and countertops. Comparison shop suppliers to find deals on materials.

What should I know before hiring a contractor?

Check reviews, verify licensing, and ask for references to ensure a professional contractor. Clearly convey your budget and timeline and get regular project updates. A contract protects both parties.

Should I go contemporary or traditional with my kitchen remodel?

The style you choose depends on your personal taste and the look you want. Contemporary styles feature clean lines and a sleek look while traditional kitchens have more ornate details and classic elements.

How do I add more storage to my kitchen?

Opt for cabinets that go to the ceiling, add pull-out shelves, include a pantry, use every corner, and consider additional storage furniture like a hutch or kitchen cart.

What are some small kitchen remodel ideas?

For a small kitchen, small changes can make a big difference. Paint the cabinets, update lighting fixtures, replace the faucet, change out the backsplash, and add shelves for storage. Remove non-essential items.