Surviving a Kitchen Remodel: the Ultimate Guide

A builder making plans

Spring seems to be a busy time for a kitchen remodel or renovation. It’s no surprise really as all of us will be dusting off the cobwebs from Winter, so now seems like the perfect time to look for things that need cleaning, updating, and just general refreshing. Isn’t that why they a call it a Spring clean?

As lovely as a remodelled kitchen may look in the ‘after’ photos, the actual time between the before and after can be a stressful one. If your remodel takes weeks or months, you will be living in a house without a kitchen which is not a pretty picture. This time can be tough but it will be worth it, trust us. To help you through, here is our guide to surviving a kitchen remodel.

Step-by-step guide of survival

  1. Prepare for chaos – you will have to empty your kitchen so use this time to sort your things. Sort it into three piles: storage, things you will need to use in your temporary kitchen, and anything you want to give to charity. Make sure to make a few notes of what is in each box just in case you need them later.
  2. Set up a temporary kitchen – move your current fridge to the next room along with your oven, microwave, kettle, and toaster. This makeshift kitchen will be a lifesaver over the coming weeks. Also prepare to lower your food standards, get accustomed to take away and eat out once in a while.
  3. Decide on dishes – if you’re using your own dishes or camping gear, keep it to a minimum, or you can opt for disposable ones. For dishes and utensils, develop a dishwashing strategy. Choose a sink downstairs if you have one as going upstairs to dump remains of a cold tea or fill up your pet’s bowl can get old very quickly.
  4. Protect your valuables – remove any valuables that you don’t want to get damaged from the working area and any other areas that workers will be passing through. Cover the rest with plastic sheeting as dust will get everywhere and we mean everywhere! The workers should hang sheeting but make sure to cover anything that you don’t want to get dusty, especially temporary food prep areas, even if it is on a different floor.
  5. Designate areas for your children and pets – this remodel will be a huge stress for your children and pets too so pay special attention to them. Designate a clean and tidy space where they can play and call their own. It will help normalise the crazy and keep some resemblance of routine for them while keeping them safe. Consider asking a friend or family member to home your pet until the renovation is over if the stress is proving to be too much.(Read this guide for renovating with pets)
  6. Communicate with your neighbours – whether you’re friendly with your neighbours or not, it’s common decency to let them know about the renovation. Give them an idea of the timeline and the full extent of the work being done and ask your contractor to stick to sociable hours. You’ll minimize any issues this way.
  7. Accept help – if a family member or friend is offering their help, don’t shrug them off with a smile, take them up on it. Maybe just a night or a weekend stay at their house will give you and your children the break that you need. Anyone would need a break from the constant noise and mess so offer to buy the pizza and wine in exchange for a bed and fully functioning kitchen.
  8. Be clear about your priorities – other potential jobs may come up while doing the remodelling that could lead to a bill three times bigger than you originally budgeted for, so keep your priorities in mind. What features are ‘must haves’ and which are ‘nice to haves?’ If there are difficult decisions to make later on, revisit these priorities and it will help you make the best ones for you.
  9. Believe in the process – obstacles are going to come up, mistakes will be made and things will happen that really slow the whole process down, accept this as a fact and just concentrate on your own sanity. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, it might just be that one trade is waiting on the other. Whatever challenge you face, try your best to picture the finished kitchen and believe in your contractor’s ability to keep the process moving.
  10. Make an effort to be extra nice to each other –  a remodel is very stressful, especially as it involves both money being spent and a big mess being made, and when we’re stressed, we can snap at each other. Try to appreciate each other and make each other laugh. You’re in this together and when it’s all over, it’s the time getting through it that you’ll remember. Forgive quickly, make it fun, and make memories.
a group cheers

Bonus survival tip!

Celebrate the small successes – while the whole house may be a mess, the outline of the cabinets are assembled and it’s starting to look like a kitchen. Celebrate this! This shows that you’re on your way to seeing the finished product and it’s an excuse to pop open some bubbly!

If you plan and prepare as much as you can before your kitchen remodel, you might just be able to survive it! With this guide, make sure to organize your temporary living situation, pay extra attention to each other, and try to laugh often (rather than cry). The outcome will be even better than you can imagine!

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Create the kitchen of your dreams

As a kitchen designer, I love creating a stunning space where life is easy and memories are made! So, if your kitchen needs upgrading, modernising or a complete renovation, let’s have a conversation and see what you could do with your space.

A new kitchen with a specialist design is more cost effective than you may think – just get in touch with us today for a free in-store kitchen design consultation and we’ll show you how.

Emma Reed – Kitchen designer – 01792 712000

Looking for more kitchen advice and inspiration? Check out some of our other articles!