DIY Kitchen Remodel Checklist: 9 Things You Need to Know

August 29, 2023

Hi! I'm Nicole

Fearless DIY. Sharing building project tutorials and interior design tips. Let’s build something beautiful together. For more projects, design tips and behind the scenes, follow me @designtobuild.nicole

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Last year I took on my most extensive DIY project yet, I remodeled my kitchen. Having heard so many horror stories of what all can go wrong when tackling this giant task, I finally decided to just go for it. All said and done, I absolutely love it! And am so happy I stepped out of my comfort zone and did it!

But, I would be lying if I told you it was a breeze and everything went as planned. Hahaha! Does that ever happen in real life? I know by experience, it doesn’t happen in a kitchen remodel. So many obstacles along the way.

All the more reason, it’s important to have a plan before tackling any project…but especially a kitchen makeover. Having just recently walked through the entire process myself, I learned a lot.

Header Image

But the biggest thing I learned is the importance of patience. Which can not really be taught. So, instead I’m sharing my DIY kitchen remodel checklist with you today. Hopefully, this guide will give you an easy plan to follow and help you with that virtue called, patience.

Essential Steps for a Successful Kitchen Renovation

Set an overall budget

The very first step when planning your DIY kitchen remodel checklist is to make a kitchen budget. Determine your financial capabilities and budget constraints. Along with the types of changes that are most important to you.

Whether you desire an entire makeover or a simple change, proper planning is essential for constructing your dream kitchen.

Start by considering the most critical elements of your kitchen. These include:

  • appliances
  • cabinets
  • countertops
  • flooring
  • light fixtures
  • kitchen’s layout

Next, research materials and pricing. Talk with general contractors about the best options for your budget. Then decide where you want to spend the most money.

Large kitchen with 2 black pendant lights and a huge kitchen island

Source: ME Design Group

What’s most important to you?

  • new kitchen cabinets?
  • black stainless steel appliances?
  • a brand new kitchen layout?
  • have you always wanted a kitchen island?
  • new flooring?
  • a designer gas range? I have my eyes on this one. Someday!

Be open to creative solutions that may save you money while still achieving your goals.

One of those creative solutions, might just be to DIY some, most or all of the project. It’s a great way to get the kitchen of your dreams for a fraction of the cost.

I have several blog posts sharing each step along the way of my kitchen remodel. One of my most favorite changes was adding a center island. A super easy build! Here’s the link, if you want to check it out!

​I’ve linked a few more of my kitchen DIY tutorials at the bottom of this post. As always, let me know if you have any questions.

Amazon Affiliate Links Included

DIY Kitchen Remodel Checklist: Plan your layout

The second important step towards an efficient kitchen remodel is to plan your layout. This is critical and cannot be ignored. As it sets the foundation for how your kitchen will look and function.

Creating a thorough kitchen renovation checklist is necessary for this step. So you can ensure you’re covering all aspects of your best layout plan and not missing any important details.

Large kitchen with kitchen island and a beam

Source: Living Stone Design + Build

Professional advice from an interior designer or kitchen designer can be helpful here. They can assist you in creating an efficient layout that maximizes your space while also matching your design preferences.

Considerations to make while you plan your layout include:

  • the positioning of kitchen appliances
  • countertop space,
  • storage,
  • and lighting placement

All of these contribute to the overall functionality of your new kitchen. By properly planning your layout, you’ll save time and money. And most importantly, you’ll avoid potential problems that may arise during the renovation process.

Shop my Kitchen Storefront Here

Choose your materials

This stage has the potential to affect the entire project. Therefore, it is crucial to take your time.

Choose materials that satisfy both your aesthetic and practical objectives. From countertops to cabinets and flooring to fixtures, there are numerous materials on the market.

It can be overwhelming to know which ones to choose. What to match together.

Pinterest is a great resource tool to gather visual ideas. Create a Pinterest board. Pick and choose from different pins what you like and want to implement in your own kitchen remodel. Add these ideas to your DIY kitchen remodel checklist.

Dark cabinets with wood cabinets in a large kitchen for the Kitchen Remodel Checklist post

Source: Tamara Rene Designs

Remember to select materials that fit the budget you set in Step 1. Make sure the materials you select are durable, easy to maintain, and fit with the style of the overall design.

Consider how much traffic your kitchen receives and choose materials accordingly. Such as durable stone worktops for a busy kitchen.

DIY Kitchen Remodel Checklist: Obtain necessary permits

Depending on the extent of your project, obtaining the necessary permits is a crucial step in ensuring a successful kitchen renovation.

When planning a kitchen renovation project, it is important to secure construction permits from the appropriate authorities to ensure that all safety laws and building rules are met.

These rules vary depending upon where you live.

The process of obtaining building permits involves filling out an application, submitting architectural plans, and paying the required fees.

large kitchen with big windows and a center island

Source: Studio Dearborn

The best way to go about this process, is to reach out to a general contractor. Failure to get the required permissions might result in penalties, legal issues, or even the need to undo existing work, which can considerably delay the project.

Demolition and preparation

Demolition is a critical step towards achieving the kitchen of your dreams. I always say, it has to look bad before it looks good. This stage involves the removal of old cabinets, appliances, flooring, and countertops.

This part of the DIY kitchen remodel checklist may be the most fun! 🙂 There’s really not much you can mess up.

The first priority is safety. It’s critical to turn off the electricity or gas before starting any demolition work in these areas.

Next, clear out the space by removing all items that could hinder the renovation process. Deconstruct the cabinets by removing doors, hardware, and interior fittings to make it easier to remove them from the walls.

Carefully uninstall the appliances and disconnect the water supply lines.

All white kitchen with black accents and large kitchen island for the Kitchen Remodel Checklist post

Source: Transitional

In preparing for your new kitchen, ensure that the walls are clear of any debris, screws, or holes. Also, now is the time to make any plans necessary for improvements in the plumbing or electrical systems.

Install new cabinets and countertops

The two most noticeable features in your kitchen are your cabinets and countertops. Therefore, it’s important to choose cabinets and countertops that are timeless and ones you’ll love for a very long time.

Before making any purchases in this area, the first thing you’ll want to do is measure and then measure again. 🙂 It is so so very important that you get these measurements correct. Accuracy is crucial.

Large kitchen with wooden cabinets and a center island

Source: Centre Sky Architecture Ltd.

When I feel uncertain and a bit overwhelmed in a project, YouTube is my go-to. It’s a good idea to search YouTube to determine: “How to measure for new kitchen countertops” and “how to measure for new cabinets.”

After you get the cabinets and new countertops installed, now is the time for a fresh coat of paint on all of the walls. If you want the kitchen to feel cohesive, choose a color that complements your new cabinets and countertops.

However, if you want your cabinets and countertops to pop, choose a contrasting color.

DIY Kitchen Remodel Checklist: Install new appliances

The kitchen appliances serve as the heart of the kitchen. Updating them can offer a significant change to the overall look and feel of the space. Updating appliances can quickly transform a kitchen from dated to modern.

Of course, you’ll want to install new appliances that meet the demands of your home. What’s important to you? Have you always dreamt of a designer range? (I have!) Now might be the time to take that plunge.

Are smart appliances something you’ve been wanting? Be sure to add your appliance wish list to your DIY kitchen remodel checklist.

Kitchen designer range with a hood and copper pots hanging

Source: Bilotta Kitchen and Home

When determining your appliance needs and wants, be sure to consider the new layout of your kitchen. This will help to enhance functionality, accessibility, and safety in the kitchen.

When installing new appliances, it is essential to choose products that are durable, energy-efficient, and complement the aesthetic of the kitchen.

In addition to the appliances themselves, it is critical to ensure that they are placed appropriately. Both for safety and to guarantee that they perform properly.

Install flooring and backsplash

Time for the finishing touch. The backsplash and flooring will be the last thing you finish. Before completing these two steps, your kitchen is still very much a construction zone. Wrap up these two projects and your kitchen will now look complete.

The flooring should be durable and practical. Able to withstand heavy foot traffic and spills. Many homeowners opt for ceramic tile, hardwood, or vinyl flooring, as they are easy to clean and maintain. I love the flooring I chose for my kitchen remodel.

The quality of this luxury vinyl plank flooring is unlike any other. You can literally feel the distinction in this flooring, when walking in your bare feet. It’s so good. I wrote an article all about the features of the flooring we chose. Here’s the link.

Green cabinets with Zellige tile in a kitchen for the Kitchen Remodel Checklist post

Source: WINN Design + Build

The backsplash is also an important feature in your kitchen. Protecting the walls from water damage and adding an attractive design element. It’s a chance to add color or texture to your space and make a statement.

Homeowners may choose anything from classic subway tile to more intricate mosaic designs. When selecting materials, it’s important to consider factors like durability, ease of maintenance, and price.

If I were to redo our backsplash, I would install Zellige tile. The beauty of zellige tile is it’s imperfection. Each individual tile has a look of its own.

Once again, it’s important to choose flooring and tile that will last for years. Both in quality and aesthetics. Timelessness is key in every aspect of a kitchen remodel.

Add your own finishing touch

The kitchen remodel is done and it’s now time to add your own finishing touch. Maybe the most fun part of any room remodel. Will you choose an organic modern style or maybe a farmhouse style?

With so many styles to choose from this can be an overwhelming feat in itself. Unsure of what your style is? Here’s a great post to find the style that best fits you.

When it comes to transforming a kitchen, there’s an undeniable secret to success: timelessness. It’s the magic ingredient that makes all the difference. Ensuring your remodel stands the test of time in both style and functionality.

Kitchen all white with wood beams and hanging pendant lights for the Kitchen Remodel Checklist post

Source: Pure Salt Interiors

From the choice of materials to the carefully thought-out design, embracing a timeless canvas guarantees a kitchen that remains captivating for years to come.

A DIY kitchen remodeling checklist is the greatest approach to ensure the success of your kitchen restoration project. Whether you’re looking to finally have the kitchen of your dreams or just want to update your current space, careful planning is key.

Using our kitchen renovation checklist, you’ll be well on your way to having the kitchen you’ve always wanted! One that will even increase the value of your home.

Want to shop all of my favorite Kitchen finds? Here’s the link to my Kitchen Storefront.

Let’s go beyond the design to build something beautiful together!

Be sure to Pin This Post to your Pinterest Board for later…

Pinterest Pin

More Design Posts to Check Out:

Dark Kitchen Cabinet Ideas to Elevate Your Space’s Style

Exploring Different Kitchen Styles to Find the Right One

7 Top Kitchen Design Trends for 2023


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