Kitchen Renovation Checklist

We’ve got the ultimate guide to help you think through all the big kitchen renovation questions and avoid common pitfalls.

How to choose a general contractor for your kitchen remodel project

What to Include in Your Planning

It’s one thing to dream about remodeling your kitchen, but bringing those dreams to life requires a lot more than wishful thinking. There are budgets to set, contracts to sign and endless decisions to debate. If all that has you feeling a bit overwhelmed, here’s the good news: We’ve got the ultimate guide to help you think through all the big questions and avoid common kitchen remodeling pitfalls. We’ll walk you through an easy-to-follow checklist that breaks down the most important kitchen remodeling considerations into simple steps, so you can cross them off, one by one, and transform your dream kitchen into a design reality.

If you’ve ever caught yourself daydreaming about the perfect double oven or following #kitchendesigninspo on Instagram, that time was well spent. You were actually hard at work laying the foundation for your ultimate kitchen remodeling project. Now it’s time to organize those inspirations with your lifestyle needs to guide your kitchen upgrade. Do you tear spreads out of design catalogs? Snap pictures in showrooms? Pin every gorgeous kitchen you can find on Pinterest? Or live to discover new kitchen design trends?

Wherever you find your inspiration, once you gather it all together, you’ll start noticing common themes, colo(u)rs, styles and ideas. These are the building blocks of your own personal kitchen design style. It’s a good idea to add them to a mood board so you can quickly communicate your vision with a kitchen designer or general contractor. It will save you a lot of time if everyone can start out on the same page to understand your vision.

Identify Your Kitchen Remodel Goals

While narrowing in on a design aesthetic is important, figuring out how you want your new kitchen to function is even more critical to setting your kitchen remodeling goals. The easiest way to start is to identify what frustrates you most about your current setup:

  • Do you wish you had more space?
  • More room to entertain?
  • Updated design from this decade?
  • A better workflow?
  • Appliances that serve as smart solutions? (Like the BLANCO UNIT)

Just for a minute, forget about your budget. This is your opportunity to dream big and pinpoint every single thing you would change about your kitchen if you could -- from the petty to the preposterous. Once you’ve gotten that all out of your system, it’s time to come back down to earth a bit. Given your own specific preferences, such as how and what you like to cook, who’s typically in the kitchen with you, how much you like (or hate) to clean, start highlighting the improvements that would make those things better, easier or more enjoyable.

Bottom Line:

It may take you a few passes, but you should soon be able to distinguish between your major kitchen remodeling goals (your “must-haves”) and everything else (your “nice-to-haves”). That will come in handy for budgeting.

Set a Realistic Budget

Kitchen renovations are one of the biggest investments most homeowners ever make in their home. If you’re not careful, it can be very easy to overspend. Setting a realistic budget that will govern all your choices is key. But whether your budget is $5,000 or $50,000, your goal is the same: Make smart remodeling choices so you can get the biggest bang out of every buck you have to spend. That requires figuring out where you can save, so you’ll have more budget to splurge on the improvements that matter most to you.

Here are some easy ways to scale your expenses up or down, depending on your priorities:

  • If your cabinets are in good shape, you can save a lot by repainting or refacing them instead of replacing them. And even new cabinets are a must, you can always choose budget-friendly stock cabinets over pricier semi-custom or custom options.
  • If your kitchen functions well in its current layout or configuration, maintaining that footprint leaves more budget available for upgraded appliances, materials, and extras that make a bigger impact, like a deluxe prep station for the kitchen island.
  • Changing the layout of your kitchen will likely require expensive new plumbing and electrical work, too. If you need to free up some budget, consider re-using your existing appliances. You can always replace them down the line.

Bottom Line:

A realistic budget is crucial to any home reno. It’s scalable based on what you’re working with, like a good kitchen layout and several price point options for replacing appliances and cabinetry. For more guidance on how to set and make the most of your budget, find out what kitchen renovation experts have to say.
Kitchen Remodeling Checklist - What to Include in Your Planning

Hiring Professionals & Planning Ahead

Once you start looking at the gap between the expense of your remodeling project and your budget, you may find yourself wondering if you could do the work yourself instead of hiring expensive pros. Depending on the scale of your project and your own skill level, that could be an option. Consider the pros and cons of hiring a general contractor before you make that call.

Working with a reputable GC could end up saving you the time and expense of rework if your efforts aren’t up to code. Just be sure to ask around for strong candidates with plenty of experience and references who can answer key questions, like:

  • Did the GC stick to the project timeline, budget and scope?
  • How did the GC provide project updates? Were you kept in the loop?
  • Were there any unexpected charges on the final bill?
  • When problems arose, how did the GC resolve them?
  • Were you happy with the final results? Would you work with this GC again?

Once your renovation team is in place, it’s time to plan your kitchen renovation timeline. Remember that kitchen renovations always take longer than you’d hope. Steer clear of scheduling around major holidays or special occasions to reduce the stress level in your household.

Decide on Kitchen Appliances & Materials

For some homeowners, shopping for all the appliances, products and materials that will bring your vision to life is the fun part. For others, it may feel like torture. In either case, you’ll likely find it helpful to work with a kitchen designer.

If that sounds intimidating, remember kitchen designers come in a range of options (and price points), from members of private design or architectural firms to staff from your local building supplier. They all specialize in helping you make sure that the aesthetics and logistics of your dream kitchen actually work together in real life.

Bottom Line:

Selecting all the various new elements of your dream kitchen can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be if you do the research. Check out the “Elements” section of our Ultimate Kitchen Renovation/Remodel Guide to learn more about cabinetry, sinks and faucets, flooring and more.


For over 95 years, BLANCO has served as passionate kitchen experts delivering premium products backed by industry-leading German engineering. Our niche is transforming how you use the water zone with the BLANCO UNIT, the seamless integration of our sinks, faucets, accessories and organization systems into one smart solution. Everything you need to drink, prep and clean is all in one place.

We are utterly obsessed with improving the heart of the home and want to impart our decades of residential kitchen knowledge to those embarking on their kitchen reno journey or considering an upgrade. Discover more valuable insight in our Ultimate Kitchen Remodel Guide.