How to Set Up a Temporary Kitchen During Kitchen Remodel

Get valuable tips and ideas on how to set up a temporary kitchen during your kitchen remodel to keep some order and your sanity.

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If you have been following me on social media, you might know that we have embarked on a major kitchen renovation.

This is my second kitchen remodel and I’d like to give you some tips and ideas so that you, too, can sail as smoothly as possible during your kitchen renovation.

We live in a 1910 Victorian shingle-style home. Our kitchen was added onto the side of the house sometime in the 30s or 40s.

I like to say that we are doing the work ourselves but at this point “we” mostly means my husband. He has taken all the old cabinetry out, taken out the sheetrock, and the concrete slab.

In the meantime, we had to set up a temporary kitchen.

gutted kitchen
our gutted kitchen before the concrete came out

Where to set up your temporary kitchen?

In our home, setting up the temporary kitchen in the dining room was the most practical and logical choice. While the dining room is a good size, it has an adjoining bathroom. There we can get water and do our dishes. Also, our dining room is big enough to accommodate the refrigerator.

Fortunately, we have an antique buffet with a marble top that we’re using as our cooking station.

You might also have (or get) a large folding table where you could set up your cooking station.

However, for some people, it might be more convenient to set up the temporary kitchen in a garage. Especially, if the garage is right next to the home (ours isn’t). Other people have a motor home or travel trailer that they could cook and do dishes in.

If you have reliably good weather, even an outdoor kitchen or just using your barbecue might be an option.

What do you need in your temporary kitchen?

Every family and every situation is different.

Start by thinking about how long you anticipate your remodel to take. And yes, add some extra time as most of these types of work tend to take longer.

Next, think about your family’s needs. Do you have small children? Is your family mostly adults? What kinds of meals would you like to prepare?

Obvious and easy meal choices are pasta dishes and soups. Quick stir-fries might work. Maybe you have an instant pot which might be a lifesaver. Salmon cakes are also quick and easy to make.

We have a two-burner camping stove that we are using in our temporary kitchen. If you do cook in your home, please have a fire extinguisher close by!!

If you have been using a microwave, you might like to have that in your temporary kitchen as well.

In another corner in our dining room, we have our refrigerator. That works for our space. Another option would be a smaller office refrigerator such as this one. You can often find these used on or in a neighborhood network.

Once you have determined your meal choices, think about what items and/or appliances you need for those.

In our temporary kitchen, we have a coffee grinder, our high-speed blender, and a toaster.

Again, think about what works best for your situation and your family.

temporary kitchen
ancestor supervising kitchen remodel
ancestors supervising the kitchen remodel

Smaller items

Even though we anticipate this remodel to take about two months, we will try to keep our meals fairly simple. Regardless, we have 4 of each: plates, cups, bowls, glasses, forks, knives, spoons, etc. Make sure you have enough for each family member.

Furthermore, I know we’ll need basic items such as a spatula, wooden spoon, kitchen scissors, a small grater, vegetable peeler, steamer basket, and so on.

We have our water kettle, a skillet, 2 different sizes of pots, and my husband’s espresso maker.

dishes and high speed blender
temporary set-up: dishes, glassware, and a high-speed blender

How to do dishes

Interestingly enough, we have a bathroom that is right next to our dining room. Most of the time, I find that placement odd – but that is how the house came. During our kitchen renovation, that works really well for us. We can easily get our water from there and do our dishes in there.

Think about your setup and where a dishwashing station might be feasible and convenient. If you just need a temporary setup for a few weeks and you have a small family, you could even use a big pail for water.

If on the other hand, you have a bigger family and/or if you’re looking at a longer remodel, you might want to find another solution. Recreational vehicles come with stoves, sinks, and often ovens. If you’re doing your cooking somewhere in your yard, you could use a garden hose for your dishes.

Since we only have a very limited number of plates and such, we are washing them right after each use.

temporary kitchen - doing dishes in the bathroom
doing dishes in the bathroom

What meals to cook in your temporary kitchen?

Naturally, you want to keep things simple. I love cooking and spending time in the kitchen. However, I know that during our complete kitchen remodel, there won’t be any fancy meals.

Various types of pasta are always easy. Soups and stews can be made in one pot. You can always fry up some eggs.

If you have an instant pot, you can create so many different dishes in there.

And who knows? You might even become creative and “invent” skillet meals or completely new dishes.

As a last resort, you can order pizza or eat out.

For us, those options are always there and convenient (we have great restaurants in our area) but I’d much rather prefer home-cooked meals.

Thus, we have been extremely lucky to have good friends who invite us over for dinner.

How to keep your sanity during a kitchen remodel?

A kitchen renovation is considered the most disruptive but also the most rewarding home project. And just about two weeks into it, I definitely agree. Things are not in their place. Our dining room is as unorganized and messy as ever before. There is dust and dirt. You get the drift.

However, I keep telling myself that this is only temporary. Once the kitchen is done, I will put everything back in its place and clean up.

I just take deep breaths. Try to have a sense of humor. Consider myself lucky to have a roof over my head, food in our refrigerator, and a -normally- beautiful home. I wanted this kitchen remodel badly and keep my eyes on the target.

kitchen plan
preview of our kitchen

Check out our new farmhouse kitchen here!

I would love to hear your comments and questions below!

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  1. Well you certainly planned that well! Our kitchen remodel was not as extensive as yours. A 1950’s home had Sheetrock. We planned our project over the summer and set up a kitchen on the back deck. We mostly used the grill, next to which we set up the old section of the counter top with sink. This was fitted to a hose for water and the drain was piped into the gray water tank. We did have to set up a tarp roof when rain was expected.
    Being cabinet makers and installers certainly helped!

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