Move Out or Stay During Kitchen Remodel

Stress is inevitable during a kitchen remodel whether you stay or move out

Move Out or Stay During Kitchen Remodel

When your kitchen remodel project is about to begin, you must decide whether to stay in your home during the renovation or move out for a while. Homeowners who have lived through a kitchen renovation project shared their experiences for the Houzz Kitchen Trends Study. 

The 2019 US Houzz Kitchen Trends Study found that 66% of homeowners chose to stay in their homes during their kitchen renovation; the others partially moved out (26%) or completely moved out (8%). Among those who moved out completely, 55% stayed in a friend or family member’s home, 37% went on a vacation or trip and 12% stayed in a hotel or motel.

Kitchen Remodel Project is Stressful

Homeowners who stay in their homes during a kitchen remodel are less likely to experience extreme stress than those who move out. Interesting, right? 

Staying in your home and trying to live “normally” while workmen are in and out all day and blocking your driveway and making tons of noise and dirt seems like it would most certainly cause high blood pressure, but the Houzz study respondents reported differently.

Evidently being away from the remodel site where you can’t watch progress causes more stress than being in the midst of it. 

Whether You Move or Stay, a Kitchen Renovation Project Involves Stress

Of course, stress is pretty much guaranteed when renovating, and nearly everyone — regardless of whether they moved out or stayed in their house — reported at least some stress. If you can get through a renovation without too much stress, count yourself among the lucky few.

Stress is guaranteed when remodeling your kitchen, whether you move out or stay in your home.

Despite the inevitable stress, the good news about a kitchen renovation project is that it is possible to live through one . You can stay in your home, with only some changes to your daily routine.

People who stayed in their homes during the reno made two big changes:

(1) They set up a temporary alternative “kitchen” inside the home (62%), and

(2) They sett up a dining area elsewhere in their home (43%). 

The Dust Factor

A project manager on a kitchen remodel project reported that he has a goal for his clients: keep their day-to-day living “as normal as possible on the other side of the dust wall.” The dust wall separates the work area from the living area.

To control dust and seal off the kitchen construction zone, most remodelers enclose the kitchen area with stud-framed plastic walls and cover the floors with a heavy-duty cover. A vinyl zipper door makes it possible to go in and out. Some contractors may use air scrubber equipment to clean and recirculate the air.

Furniture on the first floor should be covered as some dust is unavoidable.

Living in the “Bubble” During Kitchen Renovation

The remodeler may create a “bubble” during the kitchen renovation project. This bubble separates the construction zone from the living area. However, moving into the space that is not sealed off is not exactly comfortable.

Makeshift Kitchen

This reduced-space area is where people will try to squeeze in a makeshift kitchen.

Often the dining room turns into the “kitchen”. 

Sometimes the temporary kitchen goes into an enclosed porch or covered patio, where homeowners can use the backyard grill and hose attachment as a water source.

A laundry room area close to the laundry sink will also work. 

Tired of Take-Out

Kitchen designers who have seen homeowners get tired of take-out during a kitchen remodel project suggest buying a countertop oven for their temporary kitchen. These types of ovens are very versatile,  they use less energy than a standard oven, and they can even be used in the new kitchen when construction is complete.

A microwave and coffee pot on a folding table complete the set-up. 

Paper and Plastic

Some kitchen designers advise homeowners to stock up on paper plates and plasticware. Although it’s good to be mindful of the waste created by using paper and plastic products, you may be forgiven during your kitchen remodel . 

While preparing to be kitchen-less, the refrigerator and freezer need to cleaned out — eat what you can. Once the job starts, dinner most nights will be cooked on the grill or food will be delivered. Homeowners admit that it’s hard to eat healthy when relying on carryout, frozen dinners and convenience food. But it’s only temporary! 

The kitchen cabinets have to be emptied before any renovation work can begin. Clear everything out, packing and wrapping breakables in bubble wrap and newspaper and placing them all into labeled, sealed boxes. During the remodel, the pile of boxes can sit far away from the construction zone, under a big “Do Not Touch” sign.

Some homeowners use the kitchen remodel as an opportunity to get rid of items discovered during the cabinet clean out — things that were forgotten, shoved to the back of cabinets or drawers and forgotten. Usable but unwanted items can be donated; anything worn out or not working should be tossed. 

It’s possible to donate used appliances and the cabinets scheduled for removal. The contractor and kitchen designer will have contacts for these donations. Renovation Angel is one example of a non-profit company that will accept everything that’s scheduled to be replaced in a kitchen (or bath) during a remodel. Their people will even do the demolition, and you’ll get a tax deduction in the process. 


Of course, the final decision is yours to make, but it’s always helpful to know in advance what to expect. If staying in your home and “roughing it” during the renovation isn’t for you, you can check out extended stay hotels or Airbnb properties. 

No matter how you get through your remodel experience, the stress and inconvenience will all be forgotten when you’re in your beautiful newly remodeled kitchen. More than one person who has survived a remodel project has compared it to childbirth. You need a few years to forget the pain, but it’s worth it. 

The Houzz Kitchen Trends Study gathered information from more than 1,300 Houzz users who had completed a kitchen remodel project in the previous 12 months, were currently working on one or were planning to start one in the next three months. The study was fielded between Sept. 18 and Oct. 19, 2018. 

Sources Used in This Article

KDP exists to offer insight and advice about all things related to kitchen remodeling. Our goal is to connect homeowners with talented, experienced kitchen designers who live and work in their communities. We are a serious resource for anyone preparing to remodel their kitchen so they can make the best possible choices about designers, contractors and products.