Ah, the joys of a kitchen renovation! The truth is, most of us plan the kitchen of our dreams for years. If you’re lucky enough to be building your dream kitchen or even if it’s not quite your dream, but pretty great anyway, you’ll want to use our handy checklist to help keep your renovation in order.

All white kitchen by Hallmark Custom Homes

All white kitchen by Wallmark Custom Homes

Breaking your planning up into two phases is not a bad idea. Phase 1 is generally the planning part of your renovation, and phase 2 is when the action begins, with demolition and the renovation.

As we all know, planning and strategy can often guarantee a positive outcome.

Pre-Renovation Planning:

Home appraisal

The purpose of a home appraisal is to help you establish an upper limit for your renovation dollars. A general rule of thumb is approximately 15% of the total value of your house can be spent on a kitchen renovation – but that doesn’t mean you have to spend that much! Call your real estate agent or a home appraiser for advice.

Homeowner enjoying her newly renovated kitchen

Homeowner enjoying her newly renovated kitchen

Home inspection

A home inspector, general contractor or renovation advisor will help you determine if there is any extra work that needs to be done to your home in order to support your kitchen renovation. For example, you want to know if you have any structural problems that need attention before going ahead with the renovation, as it will need to be accounted for in the budget.

Energy audit

There are several new incentives right now for increasing your energy efficiency, however, in order to qualify for those grants your house must have an energy audit before you start your renovation. Call an energy auditor to get the process started.

Design ideas

Before meeting with your architect, designer or contractor, check out Pinterest and create inspirational boards of kitchens and kitchen details that you love, and note what you like best about them. Being able to give your professional trades people direction will save you time and money and will help your designer have a clear understanding of how you see your new space.

Kitchen Renovation by The Home Improvement People

Kitchen Renovation by The Home Improvement People

Functional Considerations

Why are you renovating? Is it because the space isn’t ideal? The appliances are old, everything is out of date? As you dream about your new space, keep a list of what you want it to achieve. Create new boards on Pinterest for each element, e.g., floors, wine cellar, etc.

Renovation Planning:

Establish a budget

Make sure your budget is realistic in terms of your finishes (ie. countertops, flooring, backsplash, etc.) and whether new appliances are in the picture. Do some online searches at various home renovation stores or speciality shops give you an idea of the finishing costs.

Hire Professionals

Kitchen designers, architects, interior designers, interior decorators, and general contractors need direction as to what you want your new space to achieve, and whether your budget can accomodate marble countertops and high-end appliances.

The more preparation you do before you meet with them, the smoother the renovation process will go. When getting professionals to quote on a project, make sure they are all quoting on the same job. If they aren’t, ask them to break down their quotes so they are easier to compare with others.

Kitchen renovation by Newkitchentoronto.ca

Kitchen renovation by Newkitchentoronto.ca


Once you’ve hired your professionals, work with your designer or contractor to organize when the construction will take place and how long you’ll need to be out of your kitchen. It will help you make necessary arrangements during construction.


Permits are incredibly important. If you do not get the correct permits you may be in a position of having to destroy the work that you have completed, so make sure you obtain the right paperwork prior to starting your project.

You can either ask your contractor to get the permits (but make sure that you see the permits and are 100% comfortable that they cover the scope of your needs) or, if you have the time, you can save some money by getting them yourself. Ask your contractor whether getting building permits is included in his fee prior to moving ahead.

Custom kitchen cabinetry by Mooza Wood Arts.

Custom kitchen cabinetry by Mooza Wood Arts.

Temporary Kitchen

If you don’t have to move out to accomplish the renovation, establish a temporary kitchen somewhere else in the house. It could be in the garage or laundry room. In the summer a barbecue can become your stove.

Spitballing how much your kitchen renovation might cost? Check out our blog post for the 411 on six kitchen renovations and what they cost from homeowners just like you.

Best of luck with your project. When your project is done don’t forget to write a review, it helps the whole community!

Posted by Leslie Andrachuk