Step by Step for DIY (ish) Kitchen Renovation

I’m sure your first question is why this is a DIY(ish) blog post. Well my husband and I DIY’ed everything but the cabinets and the counter tops. I didn’t want to be misleading.  Unless your an excellent wood worker and have endless time it would be really hard to make your own. The previous cabinets were garbage and really poor quality so it was in the best interest to buy new for the resale value. I have been dreaming of quartz counters for a long time and… can’t make and install those DIY either, lol.  We also extended the kitchen island into the breakfast nook area and created a desk space as well.  Between the dinning room seating and the seating in the island there was no need for a third space to eat. 

  1. Create a Spread Sheet
  •  Most smart phones now have a FREE spreadsheet. The apple version is called Numbers. What’s cool about it is you can share it with anyone who also has an iPhone and they can make changes as well. Example: Spouse or Contractor
  • In this spreadsheet you create a list(I called the first column “item”) of all your wants & needs for your kitchen renovation. I also made a columns for quantity, price, quote, total, purchase from, URL, Size & completed. 
  • Once you know what you need to buy you need to research the cost of every item. I found Amazon to have the best prices. 
  • I called multiple cabinet & counter top companies (like 5) and had them come out to give estimates. The first company helped draw the layout for the cabinets. 


  • This can be the fun part.  It’s pretty self explanatory. Throw away everything you aren’t planning on keeping! 
  • If you’re tearing out your cabinets and counter tops try find someone to donate them too. Much better then throwing them in the land fill. We rented a huge dumpster we could wheelbarrow everything else into, including this hideous tile. 


  • We painted the whole house the same color to make it easier. You can always go back later if you want to add an accent color wall. 
  • We were lucky enough to borrow a paint sprayer from a friend so that saved us a lot from having to buy a high quality one. If you plan on painting your whole house you definitely need a good quality paint sprayer!
  • The paint is very toxic and makes it hard to breath so make sure everyone is wearing a mask! 

4. Flooring

  • We also used the same flooring throughout the whole house to make it easier as well. We have Driftwood laminate from Sams Club. A year later still in love!  

5.Frame Island

  • Assuming you have one or want one installed you need to frame it out with 2×4’s before the cabinets arrive. The cabinets and counter tops need support. In our case we just needed to extend the island to make it longer. Side note-we did not move any electrical or plumbing in our renovation. That’s where it gets expensive if you don’t know how to do it yourself!  
  • You can’t see in the photo but the plumbing for the kitchen sink is on the other side of the pony wall.  
  • You can kind of tell where the island stops and the new drywall begins. In my opinion there was no need to drywall the extension but hubby insisted. Silly guy. You obviously won’t see it once the cabinets are installed. We had cabinets installed in front and behind the wall. I needed to utilize every inch of this kitchen because out last kitchen had so many cabinets I wasn’t going to have enough space to store all of our things. 
  • In a future blog post I will go over how we added our one and only outlet to the island (not including power to the garbage disposal, which was already there. Its pretty cool and inexpensive, so stay tuned!
  • This is such a passionate topic but we took out our dishwasher. Yup, I said it. In our last house we never used it in the 5 years we were there. We are a family of 6 plenty of people to wash, dry and put away.  The plumbing is still there so someone in the future could easily put one in, but would have to give up 3 deep beautiful drawers. 

6.Install cabinets

  • The cabinet company you hire, does all the work so sit back with a cocktail! 

7. Install sink

  • My husband installed our farmhouse sink. Once the cabinets were installed he measured and cut a hole for the sink using a skill saw. He made some wood braces for it to sit on (not shown) then just dropped it right in. We found ours on Wayfair, linked here. It’s made out of fire clay which is a great material for a farmhouse sink. 
  • What was nice about this sink is the faucet was included! The counter installers will cut out any holes you need for your sink included in the price. We had three holes cut – faucet, soap dispenser & garbage disposal button. 

8. Install Counters

  • Another easy one. Let the professionals do their thing!

9. Backsplash

  • My husband hated this part. Mainly because of the pattern I chose. There were so many cuts it took a long time. Plus we have all the tile above the desk. Sorry hubby, it turned our Beautiful! 

10. Appliances

  • Cant DIY these either,lol. We choose Samsung appliances. Maybe partner with them one day. Hey, a girl can dream. 

11. DIY Vent Hood

  • This was my husbands favorite kitchen DIY. He loves working with wood and has mastered it pretty darn well. I wanted the hood to be the center piece of the whole kitchen. So I designed it and my hubby made my dream come true! 
  • I found a vent on amazon that he just inserted into the hood once it was in place. There was a microwave there before. 

12. Lighting

  • In our kitchen we only had recessed can lighting and I wanted pendent lighting above the island. My husband went up in the attic to pull the power from a can light and made the holes for the new lights while he was up there.  I know there is a way without going in the attic but I never had to research how.  

Jessie Thomas

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