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Complete Your Kitchen Remodeling Checklist in 8 Steps

by Olly Mason

While “Live, Laugh, Love” is welcoming, sometimes a kitchen needs a little more help to come to life. You’ve thought about it for a while, pinning kitchen design ideas on Pinterest, taking screenshots of trendy ideas from pro interior designers, and finally, you feel the time is ready to give your kitchen a new look.

But this isn’t another recipe out of your favorite cookbook. Kitchen renovations are a big deal, but they’re worth it, considering how often the area is used. Thankfully, all it takes is a proper kitchen remodeling checklist to help you start fulfilling your design dreams. In just eight simple steps, our how-to guide will get you on your way to confidently redesigning your kitchen space on time and budget.

woman in coral shirt holding tablet daydreams in kitche

1.  Find Your Vision

Whether there’s an avid food enthusiast in your home, or your kitchen’s current design just doesn’t inspire you anymore, undergoing a kitchen pick-me-up is not only refreshing — it’s a great way to add value to your home. In fact, the 2020 kitchen remodel return-on-investment national average sits between a considerable 60 and 73 percent, with Phoenix settling around 60.5 percent for high-end renovations.

And while not every homeowner can budget for an upscale remodel, it costs nothing to dream big. In other words, the first step to this kitchen remodel checklist is designed to encourage you to start big before scaling back.

Allowing yourself to flirt with installing a pro-style range, deluxe double wall ovens, or even splurge on a built-in refrigerator helps to understand which dream-list items aren’t so important, and which ones you simply cannot live without. There will be plenty of time to make the final decision once you finalize your budget; in the meantime, let your imagination loose.

During this phase, explore interactive online tools that let you virtually design your dream kitchen. Doing this will help you get a better picture of what works, and what should stay in the rough draft.

modern kitchen with teal cabinetry and black ge cafe appliances

2.  Establish a Budget

Note: Creating a budget for a kitchen remodel isn’t static. It should be dynamic, with flexibility for unexpected moments during the process (trust us, they will happen). That’s to say, begin by making a “soft” spending plan first, and as you continue planning, the budget will more or less highlight areas where money should be used versus areas where spending money might not be worth the effort.

According to local real estate agency, Phoenix Urban Spaces, the average price of kitchen remodel in the Valley is around $20,000, while home experts recommend not spending more than 15 percent of your home’s value. Regardless of how much you’re working with, knowing how to portion your kitchen makeover’s budget will help keep you on track and from overspending. Here are a few pointers:

  • Set aside 20 percent of the budget for unplanned repairs.
  • Budget 20 percent for appliances; for reference, for a $20,000 kitchen renovation, that would be $4,000.
  • Portion another 20 percent for cost of labor.
  • Materials should make up 65 to 70 percent of total budget.

Finally, take a moment to consider which aspects of your current kitchen can be improved with a cosmetic lift rather than fully replacing. For instance, while experts suggest prioritizing 35 percent of kitchen reno budget for cabinetry, refacing kitchen cabinets could provide a new look at a fraction of the cost.

After completing the following steps, make sure to return to this portion to finalize where and how your money should be spent.

3.  Flaws vs. Deal-Breakers

Naturally, if you’re looking to redo your kitchen, you’re bound to have strong opinions as to why. It’s all too relatable — that drawer that always gets stuck makes you dread cooking, and the small sink fills up with dishes quicker than it took the family to clear the plates. Redesigning your kitchen is the perfect opportunity to make your cooking space functional to your liking and needs.

Still, every home is different, and certain determining factors, such as a home’s architecture, can sway the final decision. When reviewing your kitchen checklist, make sure to gauge the cost of renovation versus the return. For example, you might want to relocate where a refrigerator is installed in your kitchen, but if the cost leaves your budget tight, explore alternatives.

70s style kitchen with outdated wood cabinetry

4.  Do Design Research

Once you’ve taken the time to analyze the factors above, you can transition into bigger design plans. Unlike finding your kitchen vision, this part of our kitchen makeover checklist entails understanding how your kitchen currently works compared to how you want it to function.

For example, your current range — which uses a cooktop above and an oven below — might save space, but bending over to use the oven isn’t the most comfortable for you. Instead, you’ve always dreamed of wall ovens, but aren’t sure the benefits of a wall oven compared to a range.

Start by adding these to your kitchen renovation checklist:

✓ Explore built-in, counter-depth , and slide-in appliances.

✓ Research different kitchen configurations, like L-shaped, U-shaped, galley style.

✓ Experiment with workspace ideas, like a kitchen island or open cabinetry.

✓ Consider the area: A water treatment system is a great, affordable inclusion in your remodel.

Additionally, make sure to research appliance brands. Kitchen appliances will use up a large chunk of your budget, so you want to be positive the ones you choose meet your expectations. We have our list, from favorite brands and popular luxury appliance names, plus others including:

  • The high-end and look and performance of Monogram.
  • Samsung’s fusion of digital, style, practicality.
  • The European influence of Beko appliances.

5.  Shop for Appliances Early

No kitchen renovation checklist is complete without going through how to shop for appliances. After a shaky year leading to delays in appliance shipments, we cannot stress how important it is to order your appliances early to avoid prolonging the installation phase of the remodel.

While shopping for appliances individually is fine, there’s no way to guarantee every piece will arrive together. While that doesn’t prevent your contractors from installing appliances as they come, there are reasons why it’s better to buy kitchen appliance packages versus buying a refrigerator, dishwasher, range, and microwave separately.

  1. For starters, you save more when you buy an appliance package.
  2. Secondly, the ability to see every piece installed as a set gives you the best visualization of your vision.
  3. If you don’t happen to like the results, it’s easier and more affordable to return all your appliances at once rather than individually.

graphic of stainless steel appliances on dolly carts in warehouse

6.  Anticipate Life Without a Kitchen

Once you agree to a kitchen makeover, you agree to living without a fully functioning kitchen, often months at a time. While not the most practical, it’s also not impossible. All it takes is a little know-how to hack how to live without a kitchen.

Here are some tips:

  • A garage, empty bedroom, or enclosed porch make a great area for a temporary kitchen.
  • Portable sinks are affordable and can easily be found at hardware stores.
  • Repurpose a dresser, chest, or credenza to store dishes, utensils, and small appliances, plus space above to eat.
  • Explore cooking alternatives, such as small appliances or an outdoor grill.
  • Cut down on cleaning with disposal dinnerware.

7.  Hire a Reputable Team

Your vision is almost coming to life! But first, you need a reliable team you can count on to do the job. Before hiring a team of contractors and designers, do extensive investigation. First, ensure your workers are legally able to work in your area. Secondly, read up on reviews both good and bad, recommendations from friends and family, and make sure your contractor has several visual of previous work.

Next, find out if there is any DIY work that you and helpers can do beforehand to help cut down the cost and speed up the remodel. Anything helps, and your workers will appreciate you meeting them halfway.

Finally, create a pleasant working environment, starting with proper communication. Exchange contacts (including emergency numbers), and create easy systems to convey messages, such as email, sticky notes, or a message board accessible to everyone.

Be clear about which areas of your home are open versus other which are off limits. This also applies to the parking situation; the last thing you want is an angry neighbor, establishing an understanding that works for everyone is a recommended plan of action.

hand checking off boxes against a yellow background

8.  Recap Your Plan

You’ve reached the final step of the kitchen makeover! Can you picture it? Before we lose you to daydreams, let’s make sure you’re well aware of what to expect during your kitchen revamp.

  1. Build a plan.
  2. Create a budget.
  3. Scope out your kitchen.
  4. Research kitchen renovation ideas.
  5. Purchase materials and appliances on time.
  6. Prepare a makeshift kitchen area.
  7. Hire the right contractors.

We’ll Take it From Here

At Spencer’s TV & Appliance, we specialize in designing the kitchen of your dreams. What’s more, with the best prices and largest selection of appliances in the Phoenix area, you can count on creating that dream on a dime. Shop online or in-store from 10 locations across the Valley to find new kitchen appliances for your remodel today!