Top Tips for Setting Up a Temporary Kitchen During a Home Remodel

"You're moving out right?" That's the question we got more than once when we talked about the scope of our home remodel. We are several weeks into a full kitchen remodel and not only are we still living in our home, but I'm also working at home in an active construction zone. In addition to a full kitchen remodel we are replacing all of the floors in our whole house as well as remodeling a half bath. Before the contractor even stepped foot in the door, we planned out how we were going to make a temporary kitchen work in our home for our family. We don't eat out a lot, and so far, we have yet to grab take-out, so I'd say these tips for setting up a temporary kitchen during a home remodel are working for us, and I think they'd work for you too!


Top Tips for Setting Up a Temporary Kitchen During a Home Remodel


Our kitchen is fully gutted. As in, there is no ceiling and the walls are down to the studs. That means, there's no water. Setting up a temporary kitchen took up a lot of headspace for me months before the remodel even got started. I'm sharing the tips that have helped us be successful while we live without a kitchen.

Plan Ahead

A few months before:

Sell anything you aren't going to be keeping

We moved our temporary kitchen into our dining room. Since we are replacing our flooring, I knew the new flooring wouldn't match our current dining room table and hutch. I sold both on Facebook Marketplace.

Here are 10 Expert Tips to Selling Used Stuff Online

Order any supplies you might need to set up your temporary space


Supplies You Can't Live Without During a Kitchen Remodel

1. Heavy Duty Plastic Shelves

We have two of these and they are a great catch-all for small appliances, dinner wear, and pantry items

2. Storage Bins

We had a plethora of storage bins we were using in our pantry, so I cleaned those out and used them for storage items. Small shipping boxes work great for this too. 

I'm always a fan of using what you have, but if you have to buy, buy something like this with a lid because the dust is no joke!

In an effort to be earth-friendly, we haven't used any plastic or paper plates. We have a bin for dirty dishes that gets brought upstairs to our laundry sink to be washed. Some people wash dishes in their bathtubs.  

3. Storage Cart with Drawers

We had four of these my daughter had used in her freshman dorm. I'm so glad I didn't get rid of them! I store everything from extension cords to daily vitamins and napkins.

4. Folding Table

I bought a really heavy-duty folding table for $3 at a garage sale this past summer. You can borrow one. It holds our microwave, knives, and cooking stove.

The real kicker here {and yes, I fully made fun of my husband for wasting his time on this "upgrade"}, is to have a table that is counter height. I'm not tall, but if I was bending over constantly for food prep and cooking, I'd not be really happy. 

So if you have the option, a counter height table is your best bet. Raising the table is also helpful because you can push your storage cart drawers underneath to make for easier, out-of-the way storage.

5. Kill a Watt

If you are setting up a temporary kitchen space in an area that's not made as a kitchen, you need this. It has saved me so many times from blowing a fuse! I have it plugged into our central outlet and it starts to beep at me when it gets close to blowing a fuse. Then I know to turn off one of the appliances I'm using or move an appliance to another room to finish cooking. 

6. Power Strip

Having a power strip with a surge protector is a good thing to keep all the various appliances on your table plugged into. You won't have to snake them down a wall or bend over to plug them in if you are able to keep the power strip at counter height.

7. Water Filter or Delivery Service

We drink a lot of water and eat a lot of ice. I had a Brita water filter that somehow made its way to college with a kid. I haven't replaced it, but instead, I've been refilling gallon jugs each week when I go to the grocery store. Figure this part out before you cut the water in your kitchen or you'll be refilling water bottles in the bathroom sink!

Meal Prep

I anticipated not having a stove and tried to meal plan as much home-cooked food for freezer meals as I could. 

A few days before:

Since we knew the flooring needed to be removed in our new kitchen area, we removed the carpeting and took it down to the subflooring. You can ask your contractor to help you do this as you prep. And if you have any appliances you can use during your remodel, this is a good time to move them into their temporary space.

We are using our full-size refrigerator {there's no water or ice} and we had the built-in microwave removed from the wall and it's sitting on our folding table.

Clean out and pack up any items from your kitchen you won't need.

This is a good time to purge items from your kitchen {ask yourself if you see using it in your brand new kitchen?} and pack up anything extra. I'm guessing I'll probably purge items again once I unpack everything in a few months and realize I didn't miss it!


Narrow Down Your Kitchen Items for Use in a Temporary Kitchen

There are only three of us living at home full time right now, so I set aside six plates, six bowls, and six place settings. We also each have a refillable water bottle and a glass. 

I have a few spatulas, rubber scrapers, and serving spoons. I also kept out our knife block. Don't forget to keep a few plastic storage items for leftovers as well as Ziploc bags, saran wrap and foil.

I also set aside a large frying pan and a pot with a lid.

I tend to stockpile food, so I had pantry items I needed to pack away. I also made the decision to donate some to our community but I kept a few spices and oils I use regularly as well as canned items I use often in recipes.


Appliances for Use in a Temporary Kitchen

I packed away my waffle maker and fondue pot but saved a few appliances I've been using since I no longer have a stove for cooking. 

Here are the appliances I've found helpful:

Instant Pot
Air Fryer
Duel Burner Hot Plate
Toaster Oven
George Foreman Grill
Coffee maker/milk frother

Here are the appliances I haven't found helpful:

Crock pot

Setting Up a Temporary Kitchen

Prepare a space that is as far away from dust and demo as you can. Our contractor has plastic sheeting hung, but the dust still finds its way. The further you can get away from it, the better.

Don't forget to find a space for trash and recycling. If you have small children or pets, this might be interesting. 

counter height folding table for temporary kitchen

In case you missed this detail, one of the things that has made a MAJOR difference in food prep has been that my husband made our folding table counter height. It's nothing fancy. Literally, just some blocks that the legs sit inside.

We moved our kitchen table into our temporary kitchen space and that's helped feel more like an eating area. Eating dinner together has always been an important part of our family, and just because we are walking around plastic walls, and wiping away dust on all our surfaces, doesn't mean we can't make the space to eat together, so keep things as normal as possible when you can.

Clean Up!

Have a plan for clean up. We keep a plastic bin near our prep space and once a day, bring that bin upstairs to our laundry room sink for cleaning.


I try to keep the dishes I use to a minimum. Some of the appliances I am using can be messy. I'm looking at you George Foreman grill...and while it would be really helpful to have a dishwasher, we do not. Knowing that everything has to be hand-washed has me really thinking before I use something.

*I was anticipating that we would use Chinete compostable paper plates and I'm honestly surprised, that using real plates and silverware and dishes hasn't been as bad as I thought it would be.

We do have a laundry room sink for doing dishes and one of the first things my husband did was change the slow flow cheap laundry room faucet for our old prep sink faucet to make washing dishes easier. 

Our sink isn't divided, so a tip would be to use a large pot for helping to separate clean and dirty dishware in your sink. 

Some people use a large cooler for dishwashing. This might not be a bad idea in the summer when you can easier unload the water in the grass, but it's not so easy in the winter. Some people have washed dishes in the bathtub. This could be back-breaking, so I can see why many people opt for using disposable plates and silverware.

temporary kitchen during reno

Give Yourself Grace

The biggest tip I can give you is to give yourself grace and remember that this is temporary!

You might be buying more prepared foods to make your life easier, and that's totally fine! I booked a weekend away from the construction zone that I'm very much looking forward to. I might make some cookies since I have really been missing my oven.

A kitchen remodel can be very expensive. You can save money by eating at home and have one less thing to stress out about by being fully prepared in your temporary kitchen.

What else am I missing? Stay tuned...I'll be sharing some of my favorite recipes you can make in your temporary kitchen!

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