10 Tips for Living Through a Kitchen Renovation

A new kitchen sounds like a dream come true.  

Living through the renovation itself can sound like a nightmare. But it doesn’t have to be!

With some planning and preparation, you can survive (and even thrive!) while your kitchen is getting a face lift. There is no need to spend months living outside your home. Read my top tips for staying put while your kitchen is being renovated. 

1 Hire a design and renovation team you trust.

This team is going to be responsible not only for the final look of your new kitchen, but also for how smoothly the process itself goes. Ask your friends and family for referrals, read reviews, and “interview” the pros yourself. Don’t be shy about asking them how they plan to support you through the renovation – what will communication look like? How will they deal with unexpected issues?

2 Mentally prepare.

There will be people in your space, new noises, your stuff won’t be where it usually is, and your routines aren’t going to work the same way. Work with your team to determine what you might not have thought about – for example, for one of my clients, the plastic barrier around the staircase to protect the upstairs from dust was an obstacle for her kids to navigate. Knowing what to expect in terms of who (and what!) will be in your home, and when, will help you to prepare. 

Talk through with your family how you will all make this work ahead of time. 

3 Clear out the space.

You have more stuff than you think you do! This is the perfect opportunity to donate items to your local Buy Nothing group or organizations like Helping with Furniture. Sort through all the stuff that has gotten lost in the back of cupboards and drawers, and make intentional decisions about what to keep.

As you pack things up, think about this: do you want this item to have a dedicated space in your brand new kitchen? 

Before you pack things up, make sure they are well cleaned so that unpacking things in your new space feels fresh. Pack items in small, well-labeled boxes so unpacking again does not seem so overwhelming. 

4 Plan for simpler meals and take out.

Meals will take a bit more planning without a full kitchen to use. Consider buying or borrowing items like a toaster oven, small air fryer, or convection hot plate. These items won’t take up too much space in your other living areas, but will allow you to still “cook” simple meals. You can cook a whole meal in an instant pot, for example! 

Keep snack baskets and drinks easily accessible in kids’ rooms, so they don’t have to traipse through the construction zone. 

5 Take advantage of the kindness of friends and family for meals.

When someone offers to have you over for dinner – accept! There will be plenty of time to host when your kitchen is done.

6 Get away for a weekend or two.

Living through the noise and chaos of construction can take a mental toll. Use this as an excuse to get away for a weekend or two – escape to a hotel or Air BnB, and suddenly an ordinary weekend becomes a vacation! 

7 Communicate with the renovation team and your designer throughout the process to address concerns as they come up.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to your designer if you need help with a decision. If the contractor is asking about vent covers, for example, and you hadn’t even thought about that, don’t stress! That is what your designer is for. 

If you see something you aren’t sure about, or change your mind about a choice – say something! Saying something right away will alleviate stress on your end, and help make sure the end result is everything you dreamt about. 

8 Celebrate the milestones!

New floor installed? Celebrate! Counters went in? Celebrate! 

Celebrations shouldn’t just be for when everything is done. You will enjoy the process much more if you celebrate along the way. 

9 Document the transformation.

When you see something every day, sometimes the WOW factor of the transformation doesn’t seem as drastic and exciting. Take lots of photos and videos of how things progress will give you the dramatic before and after experience. 


10 Enjoy all the things you can do in your new space! 

All those people who invited you over for meals during the renovation? Now it’s your turn! Invite some people over who did not see things while they were in progress – they’ll think they are in a whole new house and you’ll get those WOW reactions your new space deserves. 

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