Setting Up a Temporary Kitchen

There are few home remodeling projects that are more satisfying than a new kitchen. When you step into your fresh kitchen that flows nicely, has beautiful cabinets, shiny new floors, and countertops, and the luxury of appliances that actually work (so many homes I go into have at least one appliance that doesn’t function any longer), you will have a sense of satisfaction that will return day after day. Yes, it took a lot of thought, time, and energy to get to this point, but you are now ready to start making new memories with friends and family, and get to the fun work of cooking!

But before you can cook in your new kitchen, you will have to go some period of time with no stove, no kitchen sink, and no home for your most important appliance: the refrigerator. Here is a list of how my customers have lived through their kitchen renovations:

First things first, take this time to pair down your kitchen items. Maybe you don’t need that second (or third) can opener. That “egg mold” that makes sunny-side-up eggs in the shape of a cute dog (yes it’s a thing), do you really need it? The bread maker that was purchased with the best of intentions…when is the last time you woke up to the scent of fresh bread wafting into your bedroom (well, now I want a bread maker!)? You get the point. We all have items in our kitchen that we don’t use, no sense on carrying it out of your old kitchen, and finding a place for it in your new kitchen only to let it sit there in perpetuity.

Where to set up your temporary kitchen:

  • The laundry room is probably the most popular place to set up since it often has a slop sink (much easier to wash dishes in a big slop sink than in a bathroom sink), and a large flat surface can be found on the top of your washer and dryer to be used as a countertop.
  • (Now, if the work you’re performing affects your dining room, this next tip may not prove helpful. But if not….) Many people set up in their dining room as well since it often adjoins the kitchen, it’s easy to roll the refrigerator into it, and the table makes for a great prep area. People who opt for the dining room often wash dishes and get water for cooking from a nearby bathroom.
  • Purchase two inexpensive plastic washing tubs. One to keep dirty dishes in, and one to allow dishes to dry in.
  • I have had customers find success in using their garage as a temporary kitchen, as there is often a lot of elbow room, allowing you to set up folding tables, and live quite comfortably while you cook and dine.

Dinnerware and Utensils

  • I’m not a huge fan of using paper plates (stay away from plastic as it takes too long to biodegrade), but if ever there was a time to embrace them, it’s during your kitchen renovation! It will save you hours of work washing dishes, and paper is much easier to store than bulky ceramics.
  • Then there is the problem of utensils. A lot of people just pull the drawers out of the kitchen cabinets and set them on the floor or on the table. A plastic utensil holder will also work nicely.
  • Consider investing in a little rolling cart that can hold your utensils and pantry items, which also will give you extra work surface. You can readily find these at Bed Bath and Beyond or Amazon.


  • Many of my customers turn to an old stand-by: the hot plate. These can be found pretty inexpensively from many retailers.
  • Dust off your Crock-Pot. If you don’t already have one, maybe you should! We use one in our home for dinners quite often.
  • The Insta-Pot is an amazingly versatile cooking implement. It can be used as a pressure cooker, rice cooker, steamer, sterilizer, sauté pan, or slower cooker.
  • Most people heavily utilize their grill when they are forced out of their kitchen.
  • Hopefully your fridge is in good working order. Ask your contractor to move the fridge into a room where it can be easily accessed. Many people already have a second fridge which they can use in the interim. Another option is to purchase a reasonably-priced, apartment-sized fridge…which may be too small if you have more than two people in your home.

It’s not going to be the most convenient time, but if you follow the tips above, it should at least make it a little more tolerable. And of course, this is an opportunity to frequent your favorite eateries and explore new favorites-to-be! Happy remodeling!!