Checklist for planning a kitchen renovation or remodel

woman in new kitchen


Posted March 22, 2024

Take the stress out of renovating a kitchen, with our ultimate guide to every step of the process, from developing a plan to finding the right professionals to help you.

Renovating your kitchen can be an exciting yet challenging endeavour that promises to enhance not only the aesthetics, but also the functionality and value of your home. 

Much like planning a bathroom renovation, a successful kitchen transformation requires careful consideration, thoughtful planning, and collaboration with skilled and qualified professionals.

It's important to make sure your kitchen renovation is done to the best standard possible, or it could end up costing you more money.


Transform your kitchen into a stylish and functional space | RACV Trades

Planning a new kitchen: A step-by-step guide

To remodel or renovate your kitchen?

Are you wanting to update your kitchen with a few cosmetic changes like new cupboards and tiling, or are you looking at a larger renovation?

A kitchen remodel is usually a smaller and less expensive job, with no changes to the location of the wiring, plumbing or general layout. In this case, you may be able to make it a DIY project.

But a kitchen renovation is another matter altogether, especially if it involves demolition of the existing kitchen. This may require changing doors, rewiring and plumbing, and new appliances. This will require the work of qualified professionals.

It's also important to understand that there are issues around safety, compliance with the building code and Australian standards, and that's why it pays to get expert advice.

Do your research

Start your kitchen remodel or renovation journey by clearly defining your vision and needs. Whether you're dreaming of a minor facelift or a complete upgrade, make sure you consider functionality as well as style. Lighting, ventilation, storage and having enough room to move around are all important considerations.

The fun part, of course, is deciding on the kitchen layout, design features, and colour schemes. You can get inspiration from magazines, home renovation shows, and other people's kitchens.

Assemble a mood board or save images of kitchens you love. This will help communicate your vision to designers and tradespeople. Be prepared for your vision to change along the way as practical decisions are made. A marble benchtop that stains easily may not work if you have young children or it might be too expensive.

Establish your renovation budget

The kitchen is usually the most expensive room in the home to renovate, and the cost can vary dramatically depending on the size of the space, whether the kitchen layout is altered and what materials are used. 

Setting a realistic budget is a critical aspect of any kitchen remodel or renovation project. Research the prices of cabinets, countertops, appliances, and lighting fixtures. Factor in labour, and potential extra costs. It’s important to allocate a buffer for unexpected expenses that may arise during the renovation process. 

 Tradie in the kitchen

Any renovation requiring plumbing or electrical work needs a skilled and qualified professional.

Fine tune your kitchen layout and design

Begin by evaluating the space available in your kitchen and making sure your design is functional. Accurate measurements are crucial during this phase to ensure functionality and flow.

Consider the work triangle, which involves positioning the sink, stove, and refrigerator in a triangular formation to promote efficiency. While layouts such as U-shaped, L-shaped and galley kitchens are popular, think about how you'll use your kitchen every day, and what features are important to you, such as an island bench or pantry.

Innovative cabinetry

Cabinetry significantly contributes to the overall style and functionality of your kitchen. Regardless of whether you prefer a traditional, modern, or transitional look, remember to consider aspects such as storage needs, durability, and maintenance requirements.

Smart devices

Smart home devices can enhance the functionality, convenience, and value of your kitchen. Consider incorporating smart appliances, touchless faucets, or smart LED lightbulbs. These modern touches can help make everyday tasks more efficient.

Maximising the space

Consider ways to maximise the space, with storage solutions such as pull-out drawers, the use of vertical space for shelving, mounted racks and an organised pantry.


Get quotes from qualified tradespeople

The scope of your kitchen renovation will determine the expertise required, ranging from carpenters and electricians to plumbers and painters.

Qualified tradespeople will be able to advise on whether your kitchen design is feasible and also give you quotes to help you determine the costs involved.

When comparing quotes, consider not only price, but the reputation, qualification, and licensing of the professionals that you consult.

Design a space with your family in mind. Image: RACV

You can get quotes from trade professionals to help you determine your budget.

Safety first for DIY home improvements

When undertaking any renovation or maintenance jobs in the home, remember to priortise safety for activities such as working on a ladder. There are some jobs you should always call a tradesperson for. You need a fully accredited, licensed and insured tradesperson for plumbing, gas and electricity jobs. Services such as RACV Emergency Home Assist can also give you peace of mind.

Following upgrades to the home, it is important to check your home insurance policy is up to date to help cover the cost of rebuilding and replacing your home and possessions to the same standard if a listed event occurs and causes damage.

Planning on updating your kitchen?
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RACV Emergency Home Assist is an emergency home service product, separate to insurance, that is provided by Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV) Ltd and not RACV Insurance Services Pty Ltd. It is a fast response service for common plumbing, electrical and locksmith emergencies, all for one annual fee. Up to 1 hour of labour, including minor parts and materials, is used to repair or make your home safe. Emergency Home Assist does not insure you against the costs of a home emergency and is not a home insurance product. Call outs are unlimited, subject to the fair use policy. Refer to the RACV Emergency Home Assist Terms and Conditions for more details.

The information provided is general advice only. Before making any decisions please consider your own circumstances and the Product Disclosure Statement and Target Market Determinations. For copies, visit As distributor, RACV Insurance Services Pty Ltd AFS Licence No. 230039 receives commission for each policy sold or renewed. Product(s) issued by Insurance Manufacturers of Australia Pty Ltd ABN 93 004 208 084 AFS Licence No. 227678.