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The bare bones of a kitchen remodel

Your Guide to Preparing For a Kitchen Remodel 

Looking to renovate your kitchen? From setting a budget to choosing a contractor, this guide has everything you need to know about preparing for a kitchen remodel. (Plus some extra tips for packing up your kitchen and buying appliances!)

The bare bones of a kitchen remodel

Planning for any big renovation project in your home can be overwhelming. In addition to deciding on a timeline and budget, there are many other aspects you must consider. This is especially true when preparing for a kitchen remodel.

The kitchen is the primary room of your house; it’s where all of your food and cooking/serving materials are stored, which means all of these items will need to find a temporary home during the renovation process.

From information on how to pack up your kitchen to general tips about living through a kitchen remodel, this guide is here to help!

1. List Your Wants vs. Needs

When you decide to take the leap and remodel your kitchen, give yourself the freedom to dream. Gather inspiration from photos online and research design trends to decide what elements you want for your space. 

Once you’ve gathered some inspiration, ask yourself these 2 questions: What do I want to replace? And what do I need to replace? With these lists, you can plan your kitchen remodel based on priority. 

This is especially helpful if you’re trying to stick to a strict budget. The items that need to be replaced should be taken care of first. After these costs are taken care of, the rest of the money in your budget can be used to tackle some of those wants you outlined earlier.

2. Determine Your Budget 

Setting a budget is one of the most important steps in remodeling your kitchen. But how much should you budget for a kitchen remodel? 

The typical cost of a kitchen renovation is $12,500 to $33,000. However, a kitchen remodel can cost anywhere from $5,000 on the lower end to $50,000 on the higher end. This number is going to fluctuate for everyone since it relies heavily on your project’s needs. 

The current industry standard suggests that your kitchen remodel should cost 10% of your home’s value; so if your home costs $500,000, you should be prepared to spend $50,000 on your kitchen renovation. 

If you’re wondering where that money goes, Forbes Advisor has a great breakdown of the average costs of items (cabinetry, plumbing, appliances, etc) in your kitchen. It could be useful to reference as you create a realistic budget for your project. 

After you’ve decided on a budget that feels comfortable, consider setting aside an additional 10-20% for unplanned expenses. This step is not necessary, but it certainly could be practical if your renovation exceeds your budget. 

With the additional money set aside, you can be prepared for any unforeseen costs — and if there are none, you can save it or use the money to chip away at some of the things on your “wants” list! 

3. Hire a Contractor

There are tons of professionals in the industry, but it’s important to choose a kitchen remodeling contractor who is right for you and your needs. Hiring the right people can make all the difference in your renovation experience.

Internet resources and referrals from family and friends are great starting points, but you should consider visiting showrooms if possible. This will help you get an idea of the quality and the kind of work that the contractors, cabinet builders, and designers specialize in. (Online galleries can work great for this too.)

After you’ve done your research, it’s time to get estimates. A good rule of thumb is to get three. This will allow some flexibility when picking a contractor that you can get along with and manage within your budget.

Narrow your list to your top three contractors and schedule three separate in-home estimates. During these visits, take notes on the following:

  • Projected Timelines: A kitchen remodel is a lengthy process, and quality work takes quality time. Don’t settle for a half-decent job just to complete the project faster. 
  • Prices: Just as quality work takes time, it also costs money. The quality of your products will depend on how much you’re willing to pay. (This does not mean you have to choose the most expensive contractor to get a quality remodel, but you should be wary of going with the cheapest option simply because they’re the least expensive.)
  • Customer Service: You’re going to be working with a team of professionals for several weeks or months. Make sure that they are someone you feel comfortable communicating with openly and honestly. Also, take note of how they answer your questions – are they respectful and knowledgeable or do they seem to dance around the answer? 

The bottom line when selecting a contractor is to make sure that they are credible, qualified, and capable of taking on your unique project. 

4. Set a Timeline

After choosing a contractor, it’s time to set a timeline. On average, a kitchen remodel takes 6-12 weeks after your designs are approved. The number of weeks that your project will take will depend on its complexity and size. 

You’ll work with your contractor during this stage to come up with a realistic timeline. Together, you’ll determine a sequential renovation schedule to complete your kitchen remodel. 

Be prepared to be flexible, as supply chain delays may impact product availability

Typically, the kitchen remodel timeline is as follows:

  • Planning and design
  • Demolition
  • Structural changes (moving walls, pipes, and electrical wiring)
    • Typically, this is followed by a professional inspection
  • Installation of
    • Floors, walls, windows, doors, and backsplash
    • Cabinets and countertops
    • Light fixtures and other hardware
    • Appliances

Using these kitchen remodel steps in order can help give you an idea of how long your project should take. 

5. Pack Up Your Kitchen Belongings

Packing up your kitchen for a renovation can seem daunting. Aside from the dishes and utensils, you also have to consider where to store the food currently in your cabinets.

Creating a plan before moving everything out is the best way to pack up your kitchen to ensure your items don’t get lost or damaged during the process. Make sure to pack things according to category: spices/canned goods, dishware, boxed or bagged items, utensils, pots and pans; etc.

Even if you’re organizing by category, label the boxes as you go. We cannot stress this enough. Labeling is going to save you so much time when unpacking your items into your new kitchen, and you will know where everything is if you need to use it during the renovation process.

When you have your plan, start by clearing everything off the countertops – sort through these items and decide what you still want and what you no longer need. Then sort through your cabinets and drawers of utensils, dishes, and even food/spices. Ask yourself these same questions – What do I want? What can be trashed?

Get rid of any foods or spices that are expired. If any kitchenware is in good shape but you no longer want them, consider donating them. Canned items or unopened bags of food can also be donated. 

There are some essential packing materials that you’ll need when moving out of your kitchen – the most obvious being boxes. Heavy-duty boxes work best to carry your heavy items. You should also consider buying packing paper to protect your delicate glassware. 

If you don’t want to purchase packing paper, consider using dishtowels or washcloths instead. If they are currently held in one of your kitchen drawers, you’re knocking two cabinets out at once! (A couple of layers of newspaper could also work if you have some old copies lying around.)

How to Protect Your Belongings

The following list outlines the best ways to wrap and store your plates and utensils to protect them from getting damaged during the moving process.

  • Glasses and stemware: Individually wrap each glass in packing paper before being boxed to avoid knicks or cracks as they are transported.
  • Plates and bowls: Stack plates and bowls with or without a layer of packing paper between each item. *Wrap the stacked plates tightly with plastic wrap to prevent them from sliding around.
  • Pots and Pans: Stack with a single layer of packing paper separating each item.
  • Serving utensils: Wrap in plastic wrap and then in a dishtowel for extra protection.
  • Knives: Lay flat out on a dishtowel and gently roll them into each other. Wrap the dishtowel with packing paper for extra protection. 

*This step is not necessary but could be helpful.

When To Purchase Appliances For Your New Kitchen

If you’re looking to purchase new appliances, don’t wait until the last minute. Give yourself time to research and find the best appliances for your new space. Start your research as soon as possible! Due to supply chain issues, some brands are back-ordered as far out as a year.

Make sure to keep your contractor in the loop if you’re planning to upgrade your appliances. The worst possible thing that you could do is purchase an appliance that doesn’t fit your new kitchen space.

Communicate with your contractor to determine the proper measurements that each appliance should be. 

At this point, you’re ready to move your items back into your new kitchen! We hope this guide helped make your kitchen remodel feel like a more manageable task.  

Your dream kitchen is just a consultation away. Contact our team of experts for a schedule one for free!