How Much of My Kitchen Renovation Can I Do Myself?

You’ve heard that you can save money on an expensive kitchen renovation by doing part of it yourself. But what are you really qualified to do? Let’s find out!

Depending on the size of your kitchen and the materials used, a full renovation could wind up costing anywhere from $5000-$75,000 and beyond. Even on the low end of that spectrum, we’re not talking pocket change here. One of the easiest ways to help mitigate the huge expense of kitchen renovations is by handling some of the work yourself. But what are you really qualified to do?

Kitchen Renovation Ideas

Kitchen Renovation Ideas

Consider this blog as your personal gut check. Go through the questions listed below, and be as honest as you can when answering. Remember that kitchen renovations are huge undertakings. This guide will help give you an idea of where you can expect to jump in, and where you should probably let the pros handle it.




Before You Begin, Have You Selected All of Your Materials?

If you have a wishy-washy idea for how your new kitchen is going to look, stop and come up with a plan before doing another thing. Nothing adds expense to a project faster than selecting features or items once the project is already underway. Ask anyone who ever tried to “throw in” a few custom kitchen cabinets. This is a rookie mistake, but it can be easily avoided. Put your enthusiasm on hold, come up with a solid plan, and gather all your materials before you begin.

Custom Kitchen Cabinets

Custom Kitchen Cabinets

What Kind of Tools Do You Have on Hand?

Nearly every homeowner has a stash of tools out in their shed. However, there no guarantees that they will be up to a job this large. For instance, you can find one or two hammers in every household, but only the occasional house will have a solid steel framing hammer with a ripping claw, which is what you are going to need when you redo your kitchen.




Also a reciprocating saw, a miter saw, a heavy-duty electric drill, a wet dry vac, a nail gun, eye protection, ear protection, lung protection, painting supplies… You get the idea.

The bottom line is this: if you do not have these tools on hand (or if you do not have neighbors willing to part with them for the duration of your DIY renovation) you have to factor their purchase into your overall expense. Decide which is worth more to you; buying all of the tools you need and learning as you go, or paying professionals for both their expertise, and their access to the right tools for the job.

DIY Kitchen Renovation

DIY Kitchen Renovation

Are You Qualified to Handle Highly Specialized Jobs?

If you’re talking about painting, swapping out existing lighting fixtures, or trading up to newer appliances, chances are you can handle this job perfectly fine on your own.

The potential danger comes in when amateurs attempt to take on highly specialized jobs such as running new wiring, plumbing, or even demolition. Making a mistake in one of these areas can be dangerous to you and your family, not to mention the fact that paying a professional to fix your mistakes is going to wind up costing you more, rather than saving you money.




Know your limits. Stick to the DIY tasks that you have done before. A full kitchen renovation is neither the time nor place to try to pick up new skills on the fly.

Kitchen Renovation

Kitchen Renovation

Can You Live with Your Current Layout?

You may have hundreds of ideas for how you want your new kitchen to look and feel, but the job will be much cheaper and much easier if you can mostly maintain your current layout. Moving plumbing, changing the wiring, or knocking down walls adds both difficulty and expense to your renovation. You will be able to do more if you change less.

Homeowners can and do complete portions of the kitchen renovation all the time. Not only is it a cost-saving measure, but it can add an important feeling of pride in one’s home. However, one of the smartest things any homeowner can do is recognize a situation where it is best to call in a professional. After all, it’s always cheaper to do it right the first time.

Niv Orlian is an online marketer and the Co-Founder of DO Online Marketing, a Chicago based company that helps local businesses such as Planet Cabinets, acquire, manage, and retain local customers online.