A kitchen renovation can completely transform your home and make cooking, eating and entertaining more enjoyable. However, remodeling a kitchen is a major undertaking that requires careful planning, decision-making and attention to detail. Here is an extensive guide to starting a kitchen renovation to help you create your dream kitchen.

Planning Your Kitchen Remodel

Before demolition begins, investing time in the planning and design stage is essential for a successful kitchen renovation. Rushing into the project without proper planning can lead to mistakes, delays and budget overruns.

Set Your Budget

Having a realistic budget is crucial when starting any remodeling project. Kitchen renovations vary widely in cost. According to HomeAdvisor, the average national cost for a major kitchen remodel is $22,500 to $45,000, while a mid-range remodel runs $13,000 to $25,000. Factor in the size of your kitchen, the materials you want, the complexity of the job and your location. Get quotes from at least three contractors before setting your budget.

Define Your Goals

Consider how you want to improve the look, layout and functionality of your kitchen. Set clear goals such as increasing storage, improving workflow, adding an island or boosting natural light. Your goals will drive all your design decisions. Discuss your goals with family members to get their input.

Decide on a Style

Set the aesthetic tone with a kitchen style. Popular styles include contemporary, traditional, transitional, farmhouse and rustic. Choose a style you love that works with your home’s overall design. Collect inspiration photos from magazines and Pinterest to hone in on the details like color scheme, backsplash tile, countertops and cabinet style.

Hire a Contractor

An experienced general contractor or kitchen remodeling company is essential for a smooth renovation. Meet with a few contractors before deciding. Look for in-depth experience with kitchen projects and good communication skills. Check reviews and ask for referrals from past clients. Ensure they are licensed, bonded and insured. Agree on scope of work, timeline and final costs before work gets underway.

Create a Floorplan

With your contractor’s help, create a detailed kitchen floorplan showing the new layout including walls, cabinets, appliances, countertops, sinks, lighting and electrical. Experiment with different layouts to optimize workflow and fit in everything on your wish list. Look for ways to maximize storage with drawer inserts, rollout shelves, pantry cabinets and other storage solutions.

Apply for Permits

Most kitchen remodeling projects require permits, which your contractor can help acquire. Permits are required for plumbing, electrical, structural and HVAC work. Ensure all permits are in order before starting demolition. The permitting process can take 4-6 weeks.

Order Appliances

Order new appliances early so they arrive in time for installation later in the project. Shop for the same make and model of appliances to ensure a cohesive look. Include the cost of new appliances in your budget. Arrange temporary storage for your existing appliances during the renovation.

Choosing Materials and Finishes

Selecting materials and finishes is one of the most exciting parts of planning a new kitchen. From cabinetry to faucets, the possibilities are endless. Keep your overall vision in mind as you make choices.


Cabinets make up a significant portion of your budget. Choose between stock, semi-custom or fully custom. Door styles include shaker, inset, flat panel and slab. Decide on a finish like wood stain, paint or high-gloss lacquer. Include functional interior fittings like rollouts and pull-out shelves.


Kitchen countertops must be durable, easy to maintain and fit your style. Leading choices are quartz, granite, marble, butcher block and laminate. Quartz is stain-resistant, while granite adds elegance. Visit countertop suppliers to view slabs in person.


Creative backsplashes are a hallmark of contemporary kitchens. Popular options include ceramic or porcelain tile, glass tile or natural stone slab. Accent the backsplash with metal or glass tile inlays. Coordinate the backsplash color and material with the countertops.


Today’s kitchens feature durable, water-resistant flooring that is comfortable underfoot. Top choices include porcelain or ceramic tile, natural stone, luxury vinyl plank or reclaimed hardwood. Include decorative accent tiles or inlays. Ensure proper underlayment for the flooring selection.


Proper lighting transforms a kitchen. Include overhead ceiling fixtures plus task lighting and undercabinet lighting. LED offers bright, energy-efficient lighting. Use dimmers for ambiance control. Don’t overlook accent lighting such as pendant lights over islands.

Plumbing Fixtures

Plumbing fixtures have both form and function. For the sink, select stainless steel or porcelain apron-front. Pick a high-tech faucet with pull-down sprayer. For the ultimate chef’s kitchen, add a second prep sink or instant hot water tap.


Integrate top-of-the-line appliances that suit your cooking style. Include options like double ovens, induction cooktops, French door fridges, built-in microwaves and warming drawers. Select coordinating finishes. Integrate smart technology as desired.


Don’t overlook the hardware like cabinet knobs or pulls and drawer handles. Bronze, nickel, stainless steel and black hardware options infuse personality. Ensure knobs and handles work cohesively with cabinet style. Include functional hardware like soft-close hinges.

Working With Contractors on the Renovation

Clear communication and collaboration with your contractors ensure the remodel stays on track. Follow these tips for working with the kitchen pros:

  • Have regular project meetings to discuss progress and next steps. Keep the communication open about any issues.
  • Closely review invoices to ensure you are billed only for completed work. Do not pay in full upfront. Stick to the payment schedule in the contract.
  • Ask questions and be sure you understand each part of the job. Make any desired changes early before important work gets underway.
  • Discuss appliance installation needs with the contractor so electrical, gas and water lines are properly placed.
  • Inspect all work at completion before making final payment. Have the contractor remedy any defects.
  • Build in contingency funds for any unforeseen issues that pop up mid-project. Kitchen remodels often have some surprises.
  • Maintain a tidy workspace and insist workers clean up properly at the end of each day. Construction mess can damage a home.

Kitchen Remodel Steps

While each kitchen remodel follows its own timeline, most adhere to the following stages:


Construction begins by gutting the existing kitchen space. Walls may be knocked down, so the footprint can be expanded. Old cabinetry, countertops, sinks, flooring and lighting are removed and discarded. Plumbing and electrical lines are capped off. Take safety precautions against dust and debris.

Framing and Drywall

With the old kitchen gone, framing creates the bones of the new layout. This involves building new walls, opening up ceilings and adding supports. New drywall sheets are hung and taped to enclose the room. Insulation may be beefed up to improve energy efficiency.

Rough-in Plumbing and Electrical

Rough-in work places new plumbing lines for water supply and drainage. Electrical rough-in provides power for lighting, appliances, outlets and other features per the electrical plan. HVAC ductwork may be extended into the new space. Inspect the rough-in before insulation and drywall.

Install Cabinets and Appliances

With the kitchen fully prepped, the cabinet installation commences using the kitchen’s floorplan. Next, countertops are fabricated and installed over the cabinetry. Sinks, faucets and hardware are added. Finally, appliances are delivered, uncrated, hooked up and tested.

Flooring and Backsplash

Once appliances are secured in place, new flooring goes down. Materials like tile and wood must be carefully cut to fit the space. The backsplash follows, built around the countertops and appliances. Trim and accent tiles add detail. Grout all tile work.

Paint and Trim

With surfaces protected, it is time to paint the ceiling, walls, trim and any cabinetry getting a painted finish. Typically 3 coats are applied for full coverage. Baseboards, windowsills, crown molding and other trim elements are installed for a polished look.

Final Touches

Finally, those important finishing touches are added. Light fixtures provide illumination. Bath hardware, sinks and faucets are installed. Cabinets get knobs, pulls and adjustable shelves. Any last details are completed so the kitchen is ready for a grand reveal.

Design Tips for the Perfect Kitchen

Keep these essential design elements in mind for a high-functioning dream kitchen:

Optimize Workflow

Place appliances, the sink and prep surfaces in a convenient triangle to minimize steps between tasks. Allow ample counterspace for food prep tasks. Position the fridge near the entry for easy grocery access.

Ensure Adequate Storage

Maximize every inch to prevent a cluttered look. Use corner cabinets, islands with lower shelving, pantry pull-outs, drawer dividers and specialty storage solutions. Have a plan for where everything will go.

Include an Island

Islands expand work space and storage. Allow a minimum of 4 feet clearance on all sides so multiple cooks can work together. Include seating space for dining or chatting with the cook.

Upgrade Lighting

Layer ambient, task and accent lighting for function and style. Use dimmers to control ambiance. Add pendants or recessed cans over key work zones. Undercabinet LED strip lighting prevents shadows.

Select Durable Surfaces

Kitchen surfaces must withstand heavy daily use. Choose spill-proof countertops and backsplashes. Use porcelain tile flooring that is easy to sweep. Opt for durable cabinet finishes like thermofoil.

Incorporate Smart Technology

Today’s smart home tech can simplify kitchen tasks. Include options like WiFi-connected appliances, motion-activated lighting, voice-controlled faucets and built-in voice assistants.

Allow Natural Light

Sunlight makes kitchen tasks more pleasant. Add skylights or enlarge windows to invite in more daylight. Glass upper cabinets, mirrored backsplashes and pale paint colors amplify light.

Frequently Asked Questions About Kitchen Remodels

Get answers to some common questions about renovating your kitchen space:

How Much Does a Kitchen Remodel Cost?

According to HomeAdvisor, expect to spend $22,500 to $45,000 for a major kitchen overhaul involving cabinetry, sink, countertops, flooring, lighting and appliances. Limited remodels range from $13,000 to $25,000. High-end custom kitchens can exceed $100,000.

What is the Most Popular Kitchen Layout?

The kitchen work triangle with sink, stove and fridge placed conveniently within steps of one another is a classic. Island kitchens are now also quite popular, with an island used for extra seating, dining and food prep space.

How Do You Update a Kitchen on a Budget?

For budget-friendly updates, repaint cabinets, replace hardware, redo backsplash tile, refinish floors or upgrade lighting and faucets. Replacing outdated countertops or damaged cabinets provides an impactful but affordable change.

How Long Does a Kitchen Remodel Take?

The renovation timeline depends on the project scope. A simple facelift can be done in 1-2 weeks. Full gut renovations typically take 8-12 weeks from demoliton to finish. Order appliances and materials early to prevent delays near the end.

What Should You Not Skimp On in a Kitchen?

Invest in durable cabinets, countertops, appliances and fixtures. These bones of the kitchen get used daily and should last. Also, spend on quality installation and tradespeople. Avoid skimping on layout design, lighting or storage solutions.

How Do You Update Kitchen Cabinets Affordably?

If cabinets are structurally sound, a budget update may include sanding them, adding new hardware, installing glass door inserts, adding a fresh coat of paint or stain, replacing doors and drawers or adding interior fittings.

Should You Remodel Before Selling Your Home?

A kitchen update appeals to buyers and often provides a return on investment at sale. But limit changes to paint, lighting and minor upgrades. Avoid extensive layout changes or full gut renovations right before selling.


Remodeling a kitchen takes significant time, energy and cash. But with good planning, reasonable expectations and an experienced contractor, you can create a kitchen that truly functions well and looks amazing. Aim for a cohesive, clutter-free space tailored to your cooking and entertaining needs. With clear budgets, goals and design choices, your kitchen transformation can be smooth, successful and well worth the investment.