Kitchen Remodel Checklist: 7 Steps for Success

If you’re remodeling a kitchen for the first, or even third time, it can be overwhelming. From setting a timeline to pulling building permits, a remodeling project requires you to do things that you may not even know about.  After completing more than 30,000 projects, we recommend following this checklist of 7 steps for success.

1. Create a Plan

A successful kitchen renovation is the result of creating a plan. Hiring contractors, deciding on designs, and ordering materials takes time, so planning ahead is the best way to keep your project on track.

Our kitchen remodel timeline breaks down each step of the process and helps you estimate how long your project may take. Due to order lead times and contractor schedules, even the most decisive homeowner needs several months to plan a kitchen renovation.

2. Identify What Needs to be Updated

Identifying what needs to be updated is the first step to determining the size of your project.

  • Do you want to move appliances?
  • Would you like to add an island?
  • Do you plan to remove walls to open up the room? Are they load bearing?
  • Are your electrical systems, plumbing, and HVAC in good shape?

If your space is in good condition, remodeling may be a matter of replacing outdated cosmetic materials to create a fresh look. If this is the case, you may even choose to take on a DIY kitchen remodel.

Other kitchen projects will require moving walls and completely updating electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems. Establishing how much work your project requires will also help you decide if you need to hire any professionals. Which brings us to step three.

Outdated kitchen with half-wall facing living space


In order to open up this kitchen, the refrigerator needed to move.

Open kitchen with sink in the island


Replacing the wall with an island opens the space and adds more storage and seating.

3. Hire Pros Early

We have seen more than a few kitchen remodels postponed due to a lack of contractors and skilled laborers to hire. If you intend to hire a general contractor, put that task at the top of your to-do list. Trustworthy and experienced contractors are often booked four to eight months in advance and hiring the first available person you find may not product the results you want.

4. Set a Realistic Budget

Setting a realistic budget may not be the most exciting part of remodeling your kitchen, but it is critical for success. A great starting point is learning what a typical kitchen remodel costs. Kitchen renovation costs are currently averaging $30,000; however, kitchen remodels happen at all price points.

Whether your spending goal is $5,000 or $50,000, a budget will help you set realistic expectations for your project. Regardless of overall spend, every homeowner has to make choices about what to buy and what to skip. A general rule for remodeling is to set aside 10 to 20 percent of your overall budget for unplanned expenses that may arise.

5. Choose Your Remodeling Season

A kitchen remodel means a temporarily disrupted home. Choose your remodeling season carefully to avoid undue stress during busier times of year.

In addition to examining your family’s schedule, consider weather seasons. Many homeowners choose to remodel during the spring or summer months because grilling out is an enjoyable option while their oven is unavailable.

Instagram post of homeowners in the middle of a kitchen remodel grilling outside

6. Create a Layout You Love

As you’re dreaming about designs for your new kitchen, it’s also important to create a kitchen layout you truly love. If you’ve always dreamed of an island or tall pantry cabinets, consider adding them to your kitchen. To help you learn what is possible for your space, you can talk with a kitchen designer. Many times simply rearranging cabinets and appliances can completely transform a kitchen.

On the other hand, keeping the same footprint and appliance placement is often the most economical choice. With the help of a designer, you can maximize the layout you have, which often saves time and money.



Although this kitchen was dated, it had plentiful storage and a peninsula.

A black and white kitchen remodel.


The footprint of the space is the same, but moving the appliances open up the space.

7. Finalize Your Plans

This may sound familiar from step one, but finalizing your plans is all about the details. Make sure all contacts are signed and each person knows what their responsibility is for the project. Pack your kitchen and set up a temporary cooking area. If you have pets or children, create a safe space for them away from the construction zone.

Last, but not least, do your best to stick with your plan and budget. You created a plan that makes you happy, so resist the urge to change what you like to fit with newly appearing trends. In a world with endless options, you could find something better every day, but changes cost time and money. Committing to what works for you and your household will result in a kitchen you love.

a cliqstudios 3d rendering of a kitchen with dayton white cabinets green tea leaf kitchen island with seating and glass doors

Ready to start your free design?

Take the fist step toward your dream kitchen today! A kitchen designer will work with you to transform your space into more than you every thought possible. 

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