Kitchen Reno: Prep + Tips for a 30 Day Kitchen Reno

by: Calley Kohlhagen

Although my goal this month is to do 30 Days of Kitchen Renovations, I have done a bunch of things before this endeavor to ensure that I will be successful and of course - STAY ON BUDGET! First things first - my home is something I love and have slowly been making mine throughout the 2-ish years (almost 3 years in a few months) that I've been living here. When I first purchased this, I knew that the kitchen, a place where I spend a lot of my time, wasn't a great layout, colors, etc. for me and my ideal kitchen. So where do you go from wanting to gut the entire kitchen? Easy, you plan! Here's my plan and what I'm hoping to accomplish in 30 days.

  • Knock down wall dividing kitchen + dining room
  • Install new cabinets
  • Move stove to exterior wall
  • Move diswasher since stove will be there now
  • Close window
  • Install new window (with existing window that I closed up)
  • Install new patio door
  • New countertops
  • New sink/faucet

So there is a lot on this list for me to accomplish in 30 days. Can I do it? Maybe. Here's the steps I've taken to help me with my challenge and things I've learned that Pinterest won't tell you!

Use friends/family to talk about your reno

I'm beyond thankful to have the support from my parents, friends and boyfriend - and honestly they gave me so much inspiration and were a great sounding board. Yes, you might have a strong opinion on your house - but I've learned that sometimes an 'idea' isn't always the best or most practical. By talking to the people close to me about my plans, I learned that my original plan would be too costly or there was an alternative that I didn't even think about. Talking to everyone also gave me perspective on who I can use as a future resource. So talk to the people close to you, coworkers, etc. - you never know where their knowledge will help you!


Figure out your budget & try to stick to it

As I was planning for this kitchen reno months and months prior, I found a chart to follow for saving $5k in a year (see it here). I didn't have a year so shortened up my savings to save roughly $2.5k in 3 months. This was a good cushion for me to start buying things like kitchen cabinets - that need to be purchased prior to renovations. Establishing my budget was a key to this all because not exceeding 5-10% of my home's value will I'm ensuring that I will get a return on my investment. And that's the only reason why you'd want to live through a kitchen renovation :)  

Use Menards kitchen design tool

Menards has a FREE design tool that you can get your kitchen laid out by a designer. Oh, did I mention it's free? Yeah pretty awesome for when you want to stick to a budget. Since my plan is to spend $4,000-5,000, this put a lot in to perspective for me. My first quote for kitchen cabinets came to $7,000! Gah! That was way beyond my budget so I needed to revisit Menards and get a quote that fit into my budget. Unfinished cabinets are much cheaper (approximately $1,200) for my kitchen versus the $7k estimate from before. Add $100 in paint / tool and boom! $1.3k is now more achievable.  

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Declutter & Organize before any renovations start

This is your time - to clean out EVERYTHING in your kitchen, pantry, etc. To start clean, you need to remove everything from the cabinets. So throw away any expired food or better yet - donate any non-perishable foods to your local food shelter. Not only do you have to consider removing everything, also consider how you want to store the plates, utensils, etc. that you will be using throughout your reno. For me, it was creating a shelf in my dining room that held my plates, glasses, and other day-to-day things that I would use. 

As I am so anxious to complete this massive project and share my journey - it always doesn't hurt to let the meat marinate or to preheat your oven (notice all of these cooking/kitchen metaphors!). What kind of home projects are you doing or want to attempt that haven't tried yet? And most importantly, would you ever attempt a kitchen reno in 30 days? Comment below!

30 day gals