9 Steps to Getting the Kitchen You Want


Remodeling your kitchen can seem like a daunting task, but with careful planning and preparation, it is possible to get the kitchen of your dreams. Whether you are looking for a simple refresh or a full renovation, following these 9 key steps will help ensure your project goes as smoothly as possible.

A well-designed kitchen remodel improves function, aesthetics, and value. It allows you to correct any existing problems, gain features and amenities to enhance how you use the space, and update the look and style. With some forethought and guidance, you can avoid common pitfalls and execute a cohesive vision for your ideal kitchen.

Step 1: Define Your Goals, Needs and Budget

Before starting any kitchen remodel, it’s important to consider what you want to achieve. Determining your goals, needs and budget will help guide decision-making throughout the process.

  • Goals: What is motivating you to remodel? More storage or counter space? Upgrade appliances and fixtures? Open up the layout? Consider what problems need solving and what elements matter most. This will keep the project focused on tangible outcomes.
  • Needs: Analyze how you currently use the kitchen. Make a list of what you like and dislike about the existing layout and features. Decide what needs fixing versus nice-to-haves. Needs might include more work triangles, extra lighting or new cabinetry.
  • Budget: If possible, get professional estimates to determine accurate costs. Create a budget breakdown for appliances, cabinetry, countertops, flooring, installation, etc. Factor in at least 15% extra for unexpected expenses. Set realistic expectations based on total budget.

Defining these key elements will provide a framework to guide your 9 steps to getting the kitchen you want.

Step 2: Form a Kitchen Design Plan

With your goals, needs and budget defined, the next step is to formulate a specific kitchen design plan. This involves addressing several key considerations:

  • Layout: Evaluate the existing kitchen layout and how it supports your lifestyle and needs. Decide what changes make sense – remove walls, add an island, relocate appliances and plumbing?
  • Cabinetry: Choose cabinet style, finish, organizational features and layout to maximize storage and functionality. Custom, semi-custom or stock cabinets?
  • Countertops: Research and select the ideal countertop material based on durability, appearance, maintenance and cost. Granite, quartz or laminate?
  • Appliances: Make a list of appliances needed and select energy-efficient models with the right size, features and finishes to meet your routine.
  • Lighting: Incorporate sufficient task lighting, ambient lighting and accent lighting. Consider pendant lights, undercabinet lights and recessed cans.
  • Flooring: Choose a flooring that’s durable, water-resistant and easy to clean. Hardwood, tile, vinyl plank?
  • Style: Decide on a style – modern, traditional, contemporary? This will inform choices like cabinetry, hardware, lighting fixtures and decor.

Thoroughly think through all elements to devise a cohesive kitchen plan tailored to your vision, needs and budget.

Step 3: Choose Professionals and Products

With a solid design plan in place, now is the time to choose the right professionals and products to execute your kitchen remodel vision.

  • General Contractor: Find a reputable general contractor experienced in kitchen remodels. Check references thoroughly. Ensure they will pull all required permits.
  • Electrician/Plumber: Hire qualified specialists to handle any necessary electrical and plumbing work, such as moving outlets or rerouting pipes.
  • Cabinetry: Select quality custom, semi-custom or stock cabinets designed for durability from a reputable dealer.
  • Countertops: Research countertop materials like quartz and granite to find the right colors, patterns and durability.
  • Appliances: Choose brands known for performance and reliability. Be sure appliances suit your layout and space.
  • Lighting: Work with an electrician or lighting expert to select fixtures that provide task, decorative and ambient lighting.
  • Flooring: Talk to flooring specialists about durable, low-maintenance options suitable for kitchens.

Conduct research, get referrals and consult professionals to secure top-notch products and services.

Step 4: Finalize Details and Timeline

With professionals and products selected, it’s time to finalize all details and create a project timeline.

  • Design Plan: Review kitchen drawings and plans with your contractor and make any final adjustments.
  • Contract: Ensure contract details scope of work, timeline, contingencies for delays/change orders and payment schedule. Get lien releases.
  • Permits: Verify your contractor secures all required permits for plumbing, electrical, structural work.
  • Schedule: Ask contractor to provide a project schedule from demolition to completion. Understand lead times for ordering products.
  • Loan: If using financing, get loan details finalized now.
  • Purchase: Order all cabinets, countertops, lighting, flooring, appliances according to timeline.
  • Prep: Plan where you’ll eat and store kitchen items during the remodel by setting up a temporary kitchen area.

Addressing these key details now prevents surprises later in the process.

Step 5: Demolition and Remodel Preparation

Demolition day marks the start of the physical remodel work. Proper prep makes this phase go smoothly:

  • Protect Floors: Cover floors with cardboard, construction paper or plastic sheeting during demolition.
  • Salvage Items: Decide which existing materials, like cabinets, you may want to salvage, relocate or sell.
  • Shut Off Water/Electricity: Shut off water lines to dishwasher, sinks, etc. Turn off electricity to affected areas.
  • Remove Sink/Appliances: Detach the sink, range hood and appliances being replaced but keep those being reused or relocated.
  • Demo Walls/Cabinets: Carefully demolish existing walls, cabinets, flooring marked for removal according to plan.
  • Dumpster: Secure a dumpster for removal of large debris. Recycle materials when possible.
  • Temporary Utilities: The contractor should set up temp plumbing and electrical sources where needed.
  • Protection: Have contractor take measures to protect remaining portions of home from dust and damage.

Proper demolition makes way for the new kitchen.

Step 6: Install Cabinets, Countertops and Backsplash

With demolition complete, the reconstruction process begins. Installing cabinets, countertops and backsplash is one of the biggest steps:

  • Cabinets: Quality cabinet installation is key for optimal function and aesthetics. Ensure they are leveled properly.
  • Countertops: Hire experienced professionals for custom countertop templating and fabrication if needed. Verify measurements.
  • Backsplash: Choose tiles or panels that complement your countertops and cabinetry. Use waterproof grout.
  • Modify Cabinets: Make any final cabinet modifications like adding drawers or adjusting shelving.
  • Toekicks: Measure and cut toekicks to attach beneath cabinet bases for a finished look.
  • Knobs/Pulls: Install knobs and pulls on doors and drawers based on your selection.
  • Trim: Add trim molding to transition areas and conceal gaps for a seamless finish.
  • Sinks/Faucets: Install kitchen sinks and any speciality faucets according to manufacturer instructions.
  • Appliances: Place reunstalled appliances like dishwashers into cabinet spaces if possible.

Get ready to see your new kitchen take shape!

Step 7: Flooring and Final Touches

Once the cabinetry, countertops and major elements are installed, it’s time for flooring and finishing touches:

  • Flooring: Follow best practices for your flooring type, such as allowing proper expansion gaps for wood.
  • Paint: Paint walls, trim, doors and any other areas getting new paint colors.
  • Molding: Add any extra trim, crown molding or panels to complement cabinetry.
  • Hardware: Add pulls, knobs and handles to drawers, doors and appliances.
  • Lighting: Install light fixtures and test for proper function. Dimmer switches add convenience.
  • Plumbing: Complete any plumbing including sink hookups, supply lines and drain connections.
  • Electrical: Confirm outlets and switches are functioning properly. Install pendant lights, undercabinet lighting.
  • Accessories: Incorporate functional items like drawer organizers, kitchen mats, soap dispensers.
  • Touch-up: Do final touch-up on any drywall repairs needed, caulking around sinks/backsplash.

Taking time with these subtle elements creates a polished, complete space.

Step 8: Install Appliances and Final Walkthrough

You’re nearing the finish line! Just a few more steps will get your kitchen fully functioning:

  • Appliances: Install any remaining appliances including refrigerator, range, oven, etc. Verify proper operation.
  • Ventilation: For vented range hoods, inspect ductwork connection to exterior venting. Test fans.
  • Plumbing: Make sure plumbing fixtures function properly and check for any leaks.
  • Electrical: Test outlets, switches, and lights. Activate breakers if turned off during remodel.
  • HVAC: Inspect HVAC vents for obstruction. Ensure unrestricted air flow.
  • Doors/Drawers: Confirm doors, drawers and cabinets open, close and align properly. Adjust as needed.
  • Cleaning: Remove construction dust, vacuum, mop, wipe down all surfaces, cabinets, floors.
  • Inspection: Walk through the finished kitchen with your contractor and create a punch list for any final repairs needed.

Taking the time to thoroughly inspect and test all elements results in a fully-functional dream kitchen!

Step 9: Enjoy Your New Kitchen!

After following these 9 key steps, it’s time to enjoy your beautifully updated kitchen! Here are a few final tips to help you get settled in:

  • Put Items Away: Organize dishes, utensils and pantry items into new cabinets and drawers.
  • Clean Surfaces: Give the new countertops, backsplash and floors a thorough cleaning before using.
  • Read Manuals: Review manuals and warranty info for new appliances and features.
  • Break In Appliances: Use appliances like the oven and cooktop gradually at first. This helps extend their life.
  • Create Recipe List: Browse recipes and make a list of new meals you want to cook in your improved kitchen!
  • Host Gathering: Show off your new space by hosting a dinner party or family gathering.
  • Adjust Storage: After using the kitchen, evaluate if you need more or different storage modifications.

With some simple finishing steps, you can start appreciating your beautifully updated, functional dream kitchen!

Frequently Asked Questions About 9 Steps to Getting the Kitchen You Want

Planning a kitchen remodel comes with many questions. Here are some helpful answers to common FAQ’s about the process:

How long does a kitchen remodel take?

A kitchen remodel can take anywhere from 2 weeks for a minor refresh to 8 weeks or longer for a major overhaul. Timelines depend on the scope of work.

What is the cost to remodel a kitchen?

According to the National Kitchen and Bath Association, the average minor kitchen remodel costs around $22,000. Larger remodels average $66,000. Many factors affect cost.

Should I DIY my kitchen remodel?

Attempting a major kitchen overhaul as a DIY project is not advisable for most homeowners due to plumbing, electrical, cabinetry work involved. Professional help is best.

What increases kitchen remodel value?

Upgrading features like cabinetry, countertops, appliances and flooring yields the most ROI. Other smart investments are good lighting and functional, well-planned layouts.

When should I remodel my kitchen?

It’s smart to remodel your kitchen when components become outdated, worn or no longer function properly. Remodeling when you plan to sell also adds value.

What should I splurge on for my kitchen remodel?

Focus splurges on elements you interact with daily, like cabinetry, appliances, sinks and faucets. Also splurge on durable countertop materials.

What should I avoid during a kitchen remodel?

Avoid trends unlikely to withstand time, like bold colors. Focus on versatile classic styles for cabinetry and counters for longevity.

How do I choose a contractor for my kitchen remodel?

Vet several licensed, insured contractors with kitchen remodel experience. Check references thoroughly and ensure they guarantee workmanship.

How can I stay within my kitchen remodel budget?

Track all costs closely. Get contractor quotes for every choice to avoid surprise expenses. Have a 10-15% buffer for incidentals. Save on finishes, splurge on bones.


With careful planning and execution, the dream of getting the perfect kitchen can become reality. Following these 9 key steps will help you bring your ideal vision to life while avoiding common pitfalls. Define goals, create a design plan, choose quality products and professionals, and invest time into the detail work. Completing your kitchen remodel successfully requires diligently working through each phase from start to finish. Just remember, the end result will be well worth the journey for many years of enjoying your beautiful new space. With a strategic approach and commitment to the process, you can gain the high-functioning, gorgeous kitchen you’ve always wanted.