Kitchens are the heart of a home. Ours started off pretty dated and lacked storage. It was on the top of the list for the remodel before we moved in. Here are some of the top things we chose to make this kitchen function best for us. I’ll show you our plan for how to remodel a kitchen step by step with plenty of before and after pics.
We could continue living in our last house while this one was being remodeled. Since the house needed extensive renovations, we hired a contractor for most of the work. Normally we DIY most of our projects, but this was too much for us in the time frame allowed.
We had about six weeks to work with and the contractors were doing something to nearly every room in the house as well as the exterior and roof.
The kitchen was ok to start with. The cabinets were in great shape and the appliances didn’t need to be replaced. But cosmetically, it wasn’t working and it lacked storage.
How to Remodel a Kitchen Step by Step
Make Your Wish List
Every kitchen remodel is different so there’s not a one size fits all plan. Start off by writing your most important wants and needs for your remodel.
Our first step was making the list. And the list is dependent on the budget. Of course, I would’ve loved all new appliances and high-end fixtures, but we were working with a budget.
To start with, here’s a list of things we wanted from this remodel:
- Replace sink
- Have new cabinet doors made
- Relocate the refrigerator to the other side of the room
- Build a peninsula with drawers for storage on one side and a cabinet and barstools on the other
- Paint all walls and cabinets
- New hardware
- New faucet
- Add a backsplash
- A new pendant light above the sink
- New pantry door
- New countertops
- Add trim to the tops of the cabinets to meet the ceiling
It was a huge project. Relocating the refrigerator was a big deal because it meant that the pantry was going to be half the size. However, this was something I was willing to sacrifice to be able to add the peninsula.
The kitchen is also where a large portion of our money was allocated for the entire house remodel. But, I knew I wouldn’t be changing it anytime soon. After this house remodel, we aren’t in a hurry to do any new projects.
Make Your Budget for the Remodel
The total spent for our kitchen remodel was around $12,000 USD. You can see the full kitchen remodel cost breakdown here.
Decide ahead of time if there are any big-budget items that can stay. Cabinets, appliances, and countertops can be some of the more expensive items.
Since we could use the existing cabinets, this saved a huge amount of money. We chose to have new doors remade instead of replacing them with all-new cabinets.
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Figure out what you want to splurge on and what to save on. We chose very inexpensive cabinet hardware from Amazon. Hardware can get crazy expensive and you need a large quantity. I am super happy with our choice – they look good and didn’t break our budget.
We also chose an inexpensive subway tile for the backsplash. It’s a classic white tile that is widely available.
We chose to splurge on our countertops for upgraded quartz which was above our initial budget for that item. But, I’m glad we did it. It takes up a lot of space in the kitchen and it’s exactly what I want. I decided to spend more here because this is an item that won’t change for years and years if ever.
DIY or Hire a Contractor
We did not DIY any of the kitchens remodel because of time restraints. And since we were doing a whole house update, it made more sense for us to hire a contractor.
If you hire a contractor, make sure to interview several to see which is the best for your budget and time limits. Check reviews online and see if you can contact people that have used them before.
This step takes quite a while. Luckily we were able to interview several prior to closing on the house which saved time. But just know that sometimes it takes several days for someone to come out and you may be with them for a few hours. Then it often takes several more days for the quote to come back. Multiply this times a handful of contractors and it can take weeks.
And if you are choosing the DIY route, give yourself ample time. There will be many trips to the hardware store and materials are not as abundant as in previous years.
Get a Timeline
If you are going the DIY route, try and realistically plan out how long each step will take. If using a contractor, ask them what order they will go in and know how long your kitchen will be out of commission.
Remember that contractors often use subcontractors for different jobs. There will likely be someone different installing or constructing each area.
You may need to set up a temporary eating station somewhere else in your house or plan on a lot of take-out food.
Our contractors used the full six weeks for our kitchen remodel. And it was a complete disaster in the kitchen for the entire time. It would have been impossible to use any part of it if we had been living here already.
Choose Materials Early in the Process
There have been ongoing issues with supplies of lumber, appliances, etc. Choose your materials as early in the process as possible and get them ordered.
It’s better to have them sitting around waiting to be installed than waiting weeks for them to be delivered.
Some of the items you might need to order that could take some time include cabinets, appliances, countertops, and tile.
Make sure you check the return policies also. You could have an item sitting around for weeks before it gets installed and if something changes, you want to be sure you can return the item.
Smaller items are typically available quicker like hardware, sinks, and faucets. Unless of course, you are choosing custom items for these as well, then you need to plan ahead for delivery.
If you are choosing items for your contractor to order, make sure to take pictures of everything. Document the style number, item number, color choice, price, etc to make sure they have the correct one. Send them actual links to the product if possible.
Invest in a Planner
Find some way to keep track of everything. Organization is crazy important when it comes to planning a kitchen remodel step by step.
Something like a folder or binder will work. You need room to keep estimates, product information, sketches, receipts, phone numbers, and planners from your contractor. One idea is a planner like this to keep it all together.
Also, create a separate folder in your email for communications regarding the remodel so it’s easy to find. I just named a new folder “house” to keep up with all the back and forth.
This sounds silly, but you need to prepare yourself mentally. It can get hectic and overwhelming. Things will go wrong and the stress of a remodel can wear on you and your family.
Think about the time of year you’re doing this if possible. If it works out during a less busy season of life, that will be helpful especially if you are going the DIY route. You’ll spend many long hours investing in your remodel.
The end result will be so worth it and it’s hard to remember that during the process.
Before and After
And the After!
It will be frustrating and it will feel like it’ll never be completed, but have patience and know that it will be amazing!