How to Handbook: How to Remodel Your Kitchen |
How to Handbook: How to Remodel Your Kitchen

How to Handbook: How to Remodel Your Kitchen

Our 12 steps to kitchen greatness

Isobel McKenzie
Written by –
Isobel McKenzie
on May 16th 2019
Originally from London, Isobel is enthralled by the curves and lines that make up a city. It's fascinating to see how modern skyscrapers and historic landmarks muddle together. Her Instagram feed @Isobel_McKenzie is usually full of spiral staircases and tall buildings. Can also be found on Twitter.. sometimes.

There are 12 steps to remodel your kitchen. We use this room every day so you want to make sure that your kitchen remodeling project starts out on the right foot, or any mistakes can be quite costly.


Scroll on to read through our guide to remodeling your kitchen. We’ve laid out the steps for you in the right order, but it’s a good idea to read over the whole list before you begin!

1. Get Inspired

The kitchen is the heart of the home, so you want to make sure it works exactly how you need it to. Make a plan, before you start!

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Collecting images for inspiration is a great first step to making a plan for your kitchen remodeling project. Take a look through our kitchen gallery for lookbook inspiration, as you never know what new ideas may strike you. Perhaps you see a style you hadn’t considered, or a nifty feature that would work perfectly in your kitchen. Visit home stores near you to get an idea of the materials and prices in your area, see what interests you and shop around to see the variety on offer.


Help from the Experts

Consider bringing in an expert to oversee the remodeling project. General contractors help to bring in trusted workers and get them done to your specifications, although it will cost more you save yourself time and hassle.


Questions to Ask Yourself

  • What do you want from the space?
  • What’s wrong with the current layout?
  • How do you want your kitchen to look?

2. Decide Budget and Timeline

When you start allocating costs, it’s good to have a breakdown on what to expect for your kitchen remodel project. On average, a kitchen remodeling project costs about $150 USD per square foot. So now’s the time to decide on your needs vs your wants.

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If you’re on a budget, consider whether you’re looking at a huge overhaul or just an aesthetic one. For example if you’re on a budget, instead of putting in new cabinets is it sufficient to repaint the ones you have? If the appliances are still in good working order, can you refinish them instead of replacing them?



Work out how much time you have available to you to complete your kitchen remodel project. If you aren’t in a rush, consider holding out for the big expenses, such as appliances, until a later date.

3. Draw Up Layout

When you know what you want to include in your new kitchen, it’s time to draw it all down. Create a layout that you can refer to throughout the remodel project. Remember that a kitchen must be practical and functional, so really consider it carefully with your budget in mind. Some of our tips in this guide will help you with planning out the spaces.


It’s at this stage that many will prefer to have contractors on board to help use their expertise with the project.

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Golden Triangle

When drawing out your layout, think about the golden triangle of the sink, refrigerator and stove. How do they work together and is it easy to reach each three? Make sure there are no obstacles between them.


Work Stations

How many people will be working in the kitchen at once? If it’s just the one, then 36 inches of counter space for food preparation should be sufficient. If there is another person working alongside in the kitchen, consider a separate preparation station such as on a kitchen island. Is a second sink a possibility? Speaking of sinks, you’ll also want to factor 24 inches of space to one side of the sink and 18 on the other for dish washing duties.

4. Demolition Day

Before you take out the sledgehammer, set up a temporary kitchen and prepare ahead for making small meals. You may consider relocating the fridge for the time being.


If you’re only doing a minor remodel and will be keeping certain elements, like the flooring, make sure to protect these areas from damage.

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Doing It In Order

  • Rent a dumpster to collect your debris and have that set up with easy access from the kitchen.
  • Turn off the electricity in the kitchen and at the breaker box. You don’t want to get electrocuted.
  • Turn off the water.
  • Turn off the gas if you have gas appliances.
  • Empty everything from the cabinets and remove the cabinet doors and drawers. If you’re only upgrading these, label them so you know where to put them back.
  • Take out appliances.
  • If taking out the sink, cut away at the grout holding it to the counter and use a pry bar and hammer to lift out.

5. Plumbing

This is the chance to update your plumbing. Be aware that older plumber could break, so you’re advised to replace any shutoff valves and keep a bucket to hand for any leaks!

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Other Factors to Consider

You’re reading this while you’re still planning your layout right? If so:

  • Consider adding a new gas line if your last stove was electric.
  • If you don’t have one, you could also think about adding a cleanout to property making it much easier to clear any clogs or debris in your pipes.
  • Where will you be spending the most time standing and looking? If you are often doing dishes, keep the sink near the window.


A Versatile Sink

  • Make sure you choose your sink before installing cabinets. You want to ensure plumbing is at the right height and you’ll save money by having the right size for cabinets!
  • A wide basin is great but don’t get one too deep or you’ll be up to your elbows in suds.
  • There are advantages to having a double bowl sink if you have the countertop room. You can separate tasks between soaking and rinsing, allocate one for garbage disposal, or multitasking in a busy kitchen.

6. Electrical and Lighting

Make sure you’re mapping out where the lighting and electrical points will go, as it’s less costly to prepare for this now than once all your hardware and cabinets are installed.

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Points to Remember

  • Check your local city code for any permit or requirements for big changes.
  • Consider where you will include under cabinet lighting, which is great for keeping you on task with food preparation.
  • Where wiring will go for the dishwasher or garbage disposal and any other appliances including the stove, fridge, range good, microwave, countertop outlets and dimmer switches.

7. Walls

At this stage it’s best to hang your drywall and paint the walls. Get them prepped and ready before the cabinets are installed.

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Choosing Paint

To choose the right paint for your kitchen, opt for a semi gloss as they’re much easier to wipe down. There are many shades of white so make sure you know what kind you’re looking for.


Mind the Floors

If you’re going to keep the same floors, this isn’t so important. But if you’re doing this remodel project on a budget and the same floors are staying in, make sure you keep these clean and covered so you don’t get paint on them!

8. Flooring

There are many choices for flooring all with their own pros and cons, but what works best for you will come down to your style preferences and budget.


Make sure flooring is installed under where appliances like the dishwasher may be, in case you choose to change or upgrade this item later.

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Expensive but long lasting, and absolutely beautiful to feel underfoot. A properly laid hardwood floor will be great for where the kitchen extends into an open plan area, and the material is highly durable.


Sheet Vinyl and Lino

The beauty of sheet vinyl and linoleum as flooring is that it is waterproof and stain proof. Sheet vinyl in particular is resilient flooring, making it pretty forgiving when it comes to dropping a plate onto it. There are a range of colors and styles available, but the most common complaint is that it looks as cheap as it costs.


Waterproof and resilient, cork comes in square tiles usually that you can varnish to your own choosing. They’re generally slip resistant and considered a sustainable material given how easily cork is made.  However there is the possibility that you will need to reseal the cork every few years for upkeep.



Whether opting for porcelain or ceramic tiles, they’re a good option for the kitchen as they don’t absorb spills and have a range of gorgeous colors.



Increasingly, modern kitchens are adopting concrete as a flooring option but consider that it’s heavy underfoot which can be uncomfortable for those standing there for a long time. Your wine glasses are also much more at danger of shattering should they fall!

9. Cabinets and Drawers

Opt for quality construction especially on hinges and glides for the drawers! These parts of the cupboards will withstand some heavy duty treatment so save yourself a lot of bother and ensure they’re up to the task.

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Points to Consider

  • Open shelving is best for oversize items, cookbooks and things you will need at hand.
  • Will you need a wine rack, and how will you store this?
  • Kitchen storage solutions are so varied these days. While typical older drawers are known as ‘pull outs’, for ease in the kitchen make sure your drawers have glides on (known as ‘roll outs’). The roll outs will sometimes come out in staggered levels to act like closed storage shelving. These are great for items that might be harder to access in a cupboard.

10. Countertops

Once again you’ll find that countertops vary by material and so does their price. You might want to think about adding a kitchen island to your space if you find you don’t have enough area for food preparation.

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Kitchen Island

A simple way to add more countertop space is with a kitchen island, sometimes a homeowner will opt for one with over hang so that it doubles as a breakfast bar.

11. Appliances

If you’re on a small budget, these could wait to be built up or replaced over time. Make sure you think about how your extractor fan will fit in with the room.

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Hardware and Appliances to Consider:

  • What do you require from your burners and cooktops?
  • Do you want to face a wall or an open space (i.e. a kitchen island) while you’re cooking?
  • Where is the space for the extractor fan and can electricity be wired there?
  • What do you need in a fridge? Would you consider a drawer fridge?
  • Are you able to place the dishwasher near the sink so it’s easy to rinse dishes?
  • Will there be enough space to walk around these appliances if the doors are open? This is particularly important to consider for an oven.

12. Finishing Up

With your plan ahead of you and your budget in order, good luck with your kitchen remodel! It’s time to get shopping and demolition underway.


For the finishing touches you’ll want to keep an eye out for kitchen door handles, the decor you use or the plants you place by the windowsill. What stools and accessories can you hold onto and what needs to be replaced? By thinking yourself through your daily routine and what you’d like the routine to be, you can envisage which items you need to complete your perfect kitchen.

With all the steps laid out to remodel your kitchen, now it’s time to get started! Take a look through our kitchen gallery and begin planning.


You can always pin your favorite of our images on Pinterest or keep an eye on our Instagram to see our daily feed of home design beauty.


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