How to Survive a Kitchen Remodel

September 27, 2017

Planning a new kitchen remodeling project might seem just a little intimidating. Before undertaking a kitchen remodeling project, there are things that need to be done before the sledgehammers and crowbars start swinging.

It can be a lot of fun picking out samples of cabinet wood finishes, wallpaper and paint swatches as you explore all of the different kitchen design possibilities. You may have already formed an idea in your mind of what you want as far as your kitchen cabinet ideas. You may have also gathered all of the samples, product flyers, swatches and set up a Pinterest board or folder filled with all of the ideas you want for your new kitchen. Maybe you’ve even made a budget!

This is the perfect time to sit down with a kitchen cabinet designer who can help you sort all that information into a coherent vision. Some of the things you and your kitchen cabinet project manager might discuss may be

  • What features of your current kitchen do you want to keep and what do you think could be improved?
  • Going over the different designs and finishes and sending samples.
  • Giving you an estimate of what your kitchen cabinet remodel will cost.
  • Deciding if you be hiring a contractor or if you’ll do most of the work yourself?

Contractor Negotiations

Contractors have to follow safety rules for their workers and for people still living in homes under renovation, so you’ll have to adjust your life to them until the remodel is complete.

Ask about the timeline for the job as well as the daily work schedule. This should include what time of day workers typically will arrive, take lunch and what time workers will sign off for the day. It’s a good idea to discuss things such as how they will clean up after themselves and whether or not they’ll be allowed to smoke on site. Construction is very messy by nature!

If you have kids, it’s important to keep them safe during your kitchen remodel. Of course, they’re naturally curious and may want to watch, but scheduling workers to come onto the job while the kids are at school and wrap up just before they come home might be a good idea. Whether you use a contractor to do the work or are doing it yourself, having all tools and materials locked away at the end of the day can remove much of the temptation and prevent accidents.

Create a Makeshift Kitchen Space – Once the contracts are signed and you’ve got a scheduled date for the work to begin, there’s still a little bit of prep-work to do. You’ll need to create an alternate space for cooking and food storage while the remodel is going on. You can move items such as your refrigerator, a microwave, and even a hot plate into an adjoining room. A garage or basement may work out well for this, especially if there is a sink available to give access to water for preparing meals and cleanup. You can also use disposable plates and utensils if this is not possible.

Dust and Dirt Mitigation – No matter the size and scope of a construction project, dust and dirt are inevitable. This is especially true when installing new kitchen cabinets. Your contractor may do some of this, but you can do some additional things. Start by sealing off the construction area with plastic sheeting. Be sure to designate an entrance for workers so that bringing in or tracking dirt, dust and construction debris into the rest of the household is kept at a minimum.

Of course, it is next to impossible to keep all traces of dust and dirt out. Clean every few days and be aware that you may not only have to protect but also wipe things down often during the remodel.

Maintain Flexibility – Advance planning can help a job go smoother, but on almost every job there can be glitches that happen along the way. Try taking it all in stride by keeping a close eye on what’s going on. Having a household communication center for you to use for not only family members but also with workers in order to keep track of what’s going on as well as making note of things when they occur can be very helpful.

Reorganizing the Kitchen

Once the appliances are put in place, the last cabinet door is hung; it’s time to take it all in. Many of the decisions on the utilization of your kitchen space will happen during the planning and layout process and finalized with a kitchen cabinet consultant. When the work is finally complete is when the real test begins. Putting all your stuff back!

Take time and consider the work triangle in your kitchen, the items that you use regularly and where the best place to store them will end up being. It’s possible that you may move item locations a few times before you find out the right fit for you and your family. Think of it like moving back into your kitchen. It’ll take a bit to find the best rhythm.

Remodeling is hard, but it’s so worth it when all the construction is done, the mess cleaned up, and all your kitchen items are back where you want them. Now you can enjoy your kitchen for years to come. Don’t be afraid to take the leap! It’s all worth it in the end.



“Better Homes and Gardens Kitchen & Bath Renovation Guide” by Editors, 2014, Meredith Corporation, Des Moines, IA

“This Old House Easy Upgrades –Kitchens” by Editors, 2011, Time-Home Entertainment, Inc. New York, NY

“New Kitchen Ideas that Work” by Jamie Gold, 2012, The Taunton Press, Newtown, CT

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