DIY Network

Six Months to a New Kitchen

Thinking about remodeling your kitchen? Remember the golden rule of any home improvement project: The more planning you do up front, the happier you'll be with the result. Use this checklist to get started and keep on track.

More in Kitchen

Written by Bernadette Baczynski
Photographed by Aristokraft

Three to Six Months Ahead

  • Set up a file to keep track of ideas, products, names and business cards. Look through books and magazines for ideas and products that appeal to you. Make careful notes of manufacturers, product ID numbers and where you saw the product.
  • Make lists of must-haves and wishes, so you’ll know clearly where you will and won’t compromise. Keep in mind what’s working and not working in your present kitchen, including storage, counter space, window placement and traffic patterns.
  • Begin researching contractors. Check with local professional associations, ask friends for referrals, note yard signs of remodeling work in progress. Many home-improvement stores also offer full-service design and remodeling help.
  • Go with a pro: If your project involves major structural changes, it’s important to have an architect or professional designer involved. Even a straightforward face-lift can benefit from professional design input.
  • Visit your banker or mortgage lender to discuss financing options and how much you can afford, and your financial planner to discuss tax advantages. Whatever your upper range, figure on spending 10 percent more.

One to Three Months Ahead

  • Set up a file to keep track of ideas, products, names and business cards. Look through books and magazines for ideas and products that appeal to you. Make careful notes of manufacturers, product ID numbers and where you saw the product.
  • Make lists of must-haves and wishes, so you’ll know clearly where you will and won’t compromise. Keep in mind what’s working and not working in your present kitchen, including storage, counter space, window placement and traffic patterns.

Weeks Before and During

  • Let the neighbors in on your plans, such as daily construction schedules and major deliveries. Your courtesy will likely make them more willing to endure any temporary inconveniences.
  • Talk with the contractor about day-to-day routines, where deliveries will be stored, where work areas will be set up and which bathroom workers will use. Keep pets away from the site.
  • Clear out the kitchen, weeding as you go and setting aside small appliances you use every day. Pack things in clearly labeled boxes so restocking cabinets will be easier.
  • Set up a temporary kitchen, incorporating a microwave, coffee maker and your old refrigerator; try to have a water source nearby. Stock up on disposable dishware and utensils. If you’re remodeling during the summer, plan to cook outdoors a lot.
  • Keep communication open so everyone knows what to expect and what is expected of them. Be available for questions, either on-site or by phone. Often, contractors will run into snags that require homeowner input or approval; if they are unable to reach you, it can cause expensive delays.

Final Days

  • Note items to be completed; you and the contractor will have a final walk-through, making a punch list of to-dos before you sign off.

Help Desk

  • National Kitchen & Bath Association, nkba.org
  • National Association of the Remodeling Industry, nari.org
  • National Association of Home Builders, nahb.org
  • Smart Consumer Services, smartconsumerservices.org

See how to do a bathroom remodel in just six months here

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