Temporary Kitchen for Kitchen Remodel Survival

Temporary Kitchen for Kitchen Remodel Survival

There’s no escaping the fact that having no kitchen while yours is under construction is exhausting and nerve-wracking. There’s dirt everywhere, workmen tramping mud though your house and making noise all day, and then there’s the dust – so much dust. Having to wash dishes in the bathtub is no fun, but eating pizza every night isn’t fun either. 

Eating out all the time gets tiresome, not to mention the strain it can put on your wallet. And no matter how much takeout you bring home, you’ll still need a dirt-free place to make school lunches, pour a bowl of cereal or brew coffee. 

A temporary kitchen away from the mayhem can help you keep your sanity while your dream kitchen is under construction.

1. Location

The only requirements for your temporary kitchen are (1) it should be as far from construction as possible, and (2) it needs to be near a source of water. 

Places that could work include a guest room with its own bathroom, the dining room, and even outdoors — if you can be under cover and you have a grill.

The refrigerator can create a problem. If you want to use your full-size fridge, make sure there’s an outlet that can handle it. Sorry, but you will have to give up your icemaker for the duration.

If you want to use the garage, check with your contractor. It’s probably not an ideal location, because this space ends up as their workshop and break room for the remodeling crew.

2. Water Source

If you don’t have a suitable alternative to a sink inside your home, and you’re remodeling during warmer months, you can set up a sink/wash area outside, which works nicely if you decide to use your grill a lot.

For less than $100, you can pick up a folding table outfitted with a faucet and sink that connects to your garden hose at Lowes or Home Depot. 

Wherever you locate your temporary dishwashing area, keep a utility bin handy, like the ones used in restaurants for bussing tables, to load up and carry dirty dishes.

A cooler with a drain plug can serve as a utility bin and wash basin; use a hose outside or place it in a tub or shower.

If you use your bathtub or shower as the water source for washing dishes, make sure to use a drain screen to catch any pieces of food that can clog pipes. Clogged pipes are a common, unfortunate mishap that occurs during kitchen remodels. 

3. Ask Your Contractor

Check with your contractor before you buy any supplies or break your back trying to move your refrigerator. Most contractors are happy to move and reconnect your fridge and may be able to hook up a temporary utility sink for you to use in another room or outside.

Some remodelers will even loan homeowners things they need, like a two-burner countertop stove. Some even include a temporary kitchen setup as part of their remodeling services. Be sure to ask what’s available to you.  

4. Temporary Countertops and Drawers

A folding table or well-protected dining table functions just fine as a countertop for prepping meals and holding small appliances that don’t generate too much heat (think blender, microwave).

Plastic storage bins or portable drawers on wheels that can be moved under the table, or a rolling cart with drawers, provide dust-free storage for dishes, cooking utensils, ready-to-eat snacks, non-perishables, and basic cooking supplies. Wheels make it easy to roll it away after a meal and return your living room or family room to what passes for normal during your kitchen remodel. 

5. Double-Duty Items

Without a full-size stove or oven, you’ll have to get creative when preparing meals. Plan meals around small appliances, such as slow cookers, microwaves, toaster ovens, electric griddles and skillets, hot plates and coffee makers. Try to think beyond your microwave because you will get tired of frozen dinners. For example:

  • An electric kettle heats water for tea, oatmeal, soups, and even coffee if you use a French press (don’t take up precious space with an over-sized coffee maker).
  • An electric pressure cooker does everything a range can — sauté, roast, simmer, and warm. It also works as a slow cooker.
  • A blender makes both smoothies and sauces.
  • An electric skillet makes everything from pancakes to pot roast.
  • Microwave-safe dishes to store, reheat, and serve.
  • A glass measuring cup can heat water in the microwave or scoop up sauces and soups.

6. Protect Furnishings

Cooking and cleanup are hard on floors and furnishings, so relocate or cover anything of value in your temporary kitchen. Cover your dining room table if it’s being used as a temporary countertop. 

Remove area rugs to keep them clean and make cleanup a little easier. Or, use an older rug that you plan to replace after the remodel. If you have carpeting, get a plastic runner to protect it. 

7. Make Cleanup Easy (Without Hurting the Earth)

Keep your supply of cooking and eating supplies to a minimum. For example, each family member gets only two plates, bowls, cups, drinking glasses, and sets of utensils. That way, doing the dishes becomes a necessity after each meal, and there’s never too many dishes to be discouraging.

Be kind to mother earth. It’s hard to get by without using disposable plates, etc. when you’re living without a dishwasher. Buy disposable plates and utensils that are biodegradable, made from sustainable materials, or even compostable.


Trying to retain a semblance of normal living during a kitchen remodel is difficult at best, and a nightmare at its worst. A temporary kitchen can help you maintain some sanity and at least help you get your family fed every day without resorting to pizza at every meal. 

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.