How To Survive Without a Kitchen While Renovating (The Complete Guide)

A kitchen refit is a long awaited event, it’s exciting. 

But after the excitement goes, there comes a question: how on earth am I going to temporarily survive while my kitchen is being fitted?! 

It can be more worrying if you’ve got kids. However, with some good planning & a top-quality kitchen fitter, you should be fine. 

We’ll take you through the steps to prepare for temporarily living without a kitchen: 

1. Ask Your Project Manager How Long The Process Takes

Photo by Ksenia Chernaya

This first step happens before anything takes place, and it begins by getting an idea of time-scales with your project manager.

In some cases, your kitchen designer will also be the one managing your project. 

Regardless, they should still give you a decent time estimate. Based on this, you’ll know the number of days you need to survive. 

However, they might have their own workarounds for you. 

If you’re spending good money with them, they’ll most likely want you to feel at ease during the process – so ask them if they put things in place during the installation process to make your life easier, such as a temporary sink. 

Ask what happens if something goes wrong.

Don’t be afraid to ask this – a well experienced project manager will understand why you’re worried, but they should remain confident (they’ll have come across this question before).

There are many moving parts to the kitchen refit, and on the rare occasion, mishaps can happen. 

For example: what if one of the kitchen fitters calls in sick? 

Can the company find a replacement quickly? If the job requires high quality craftsmanship, can they find someone who can complete the job to the same standard?

Some kitchen fitters might not feel comfortable answering these questions – because they’re unsure of the answers or they don’t have much of a backup plan if these worst case scenarios were to happen – and of course, they’d rather you just hurry up and get on with it. 

Be careful if they try & evade your questions, especially if installing & crafting your new kitchen requires specialist support. 

With a quick search of Reddit, you can easily find angry customers leaving not-so-nice reviews about kitchen fitters who left them waiting for ages when something went wrong.

If something breaks, you’ll want to make sure you know how long it’ll take your kitchen fitter to replace it. 

Delays could last longer in rural areas, or for unique jobs.

If you’re far out in the country, it may take longer to get a replacement workman out there. 

On the other hand, if something like your worktop is rare & extremely hard to source, it may take a while to replace it should something happen during transit.

Remember however, the problems above are unlikely to happen.

But if they do, you should at least have some time scales to work with so your livelihood isn’t impacted by the suddenness of it all, or any prolonged delays.

If You’re Going DIY: Be Extra Cautious 

This is what most people think DIY is like: 

Image by Ketut Subiyanto

But (for many) this is what it’s actually like:

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

The reason you should be extra cautious is because you’re not going to have an idea of time-scale.

You’ll need to ensure your measurements are precise, that your tools are up to the job, and that your skills are up to the job also.

If something goes wrong during the process, it might be hard to find a tutorial online that relates to the specific job you’re doing.

This can take a lot of time.

Going for the DIY approach might sound fun, and if you’re dead set on it then we’re not trying to put you off, but you’ll be surprised at how many tradesmen get jobs simply because people overestimate their DIY skills.

After all, 35% of homeowners end up regretting their DIY endeavours.

2. Select What You Need (& Make Sure It’s The Bare Minimum)

Photo by Karolina Grabowska

Remodelling & renovating a kitchen can take a few weeks.

Sometimes as little as 2 weeks, or as much as 8 weeks. For complicated large-scale projects, the time could rise significantly.

The process involves multiple stages:
-Removing the current kitchen
-Marketing installation points
-Mechanical installations such as plumbing
-Doing the flooring
-Installing the cabinets
-Installing the worktops
-Resizing things (if needs be)
-Installing electrical appliances

During all of that, it won’t be as easy to pop in and out of your cupboards.

So our top tip here would be to select the bare minimum when it comes to utilities.

If you need to go through your kitchen to get to the bathroom, make sure to have a pair of slippers for you & your children that are easily accessible.

Things can get messy sometimes and you might need to tip-toe to the bathroom, but it’s not a good idea to do this barefoot or with socks when your kitchen is in pieces.

Once you’ve done this:

After you’ve got what you need, have an idea of where to put everything else

If you don’t have much in your kitchen, this won’t really be an issue.

But if you do, the question is – where to put it all?

Storage boxes such as these are useful. An alternative might be to use an old suitcase, but you might want to be careful of putting anything sharp or too heavy in there that might rip the material.

If you have a garage, this might be a good place to temporarily store your remaining utilities.

3. A Solution To Washing & Cleaning Without a Kitchen

Photo by Rachel Claire

There’s the Paper Plate Solution

If you’re environmentally conscious, there are plenty of biodegradable options to choose from on Amazon.

The amount you need depends on how long the project is expected to last.

The upside to this is there’s no washing up involved. The downside is that it’ll cost a bit extra (a lot extra if you’ve got a big family).

Here’s an estimated breakdown of the costs:

As an example, a pack of 50 biodegradable plates costs £7.99.

That’s about 16p a plate.

(Quick side note: that price might be different when you click on the link).

So 3 meals a day equates to 48p worth of plates.

For a family of 3, that’s £1.44 worth of plates daily.

For a family of 4, that’s £1.92 worth of plates daily. And so on.

So every week, a family of 4 will use about £13.44 worth of paper plates, assuming each member uses 3 plates a day.

It’ll be less if the kids are at school. And even less with non-biodegradable plates, since they’re typically half the price, but then again, they’re no good for the environment.

There’s the Temporary Sink Solution

This’ll be a makeshift sink that can be set up in a corner of the kitchen, but this of course depends on many factors:

Is your kitchen fitter able to set this up for you?
Do you have space for one?
(in small spaces, this might not make sense)
Does it make practical sense to do so? (there might not be any pipes in the designated location).
Do you have a garage you can use instead?

Using a garage to set up a temporary sink might only make sense if you’ve got a door leading into it from the inside of your house. If there isn’t, then you’ll end up getting more than just your hands washed on a rainy day.

There’s the Alternative Sink Solution

This can be something like the bathroom sink.

If you have both a shower and a bathtub installed in your bathroom, the bath can also be used as a temporary space to wash hands.

Be careful however, these alternatives don’t necessarily have the right plumbing in place that’s suitable for cleaning dining plates.

Food can clog up the pipes, so make sure to remove as much food off these plates beforehand.

4. Find a Solution To Cooking Without Your Kitchen

Photo by Daria Obymaha

No doubt, cooking will be more of a challenge.

And it certainly won’t look as cosy as the stock photo above. (It’s not easy to find a photo of people cooking in a makeshift, temporary kitchen).

Living without a sink, or a temporary makeshift sink will make it very tempting to arrange or buy pre-made meals.

How you deal with the situation though will come down to planning – and as long as you’ve gathered all the information you need from point 1, you should have all this under control.

There are plenty of examples online of how others have handled it, like this blog from The Gold Hive, and this forum from Mums Net.

But to give you an idea of what can be done, here are some solutions & things to consider:

Plan Your Meals Ahead of Time

Photo by Ella Olsson

This is quite important. You’re not going to have your fridge and microwave where you’d normally have them. Your plates won’t be where you’ll normally have them and neither will your utilities.

Planning your meals ahead of time will give you an idea of what utilities you’ll need and how often you’ll need them (plus an idea of how much washing up is involved.

Can You Create a Temporary Cooking & Dining space?

It might be tricky to move the oven, especially if it’s a gas one, but a portable electric hob might come in handy.

If you are going for this approach, you’ll need to be careful to avoid fire hazards.

Make sure there’s nothing that can easily catch fire near your make-shift cooking space and that your kids know to be careful.

They might be used to being careful around the kitchen, but not so much if the makeshift location is somewhere they typically hang around.

Consider Where The Kid Will Eat.

For younger kids, a little makeshift table might do the trick (something that can be folded easily).

If the only suitable place to eat is on the sofa, you’ll want to make sure to avoid mess.

It could make sense to invest in some waterproof sofa covers, or food lap trays.

We’d like to think we’re doing this for the kids, but let’s be honest – even us adults have mishaps sometimes.

Where Will The Fridge & Microwave Go?

The microwave is small, but will probably be used a lot more frequently. Because of its size, it’s not that difficult to figure out a temporary place for this.

But fridges are usually large and bulky. You’ll need to think about where this can go ahead of time.


So to summarise, let’s go through the key points to have in mind:

Ask your project manager how long the process will take
-Ask what’ll happen if things go wrong or if there are delays
-Find out how quickly things can be resolved should there be delays or mishaps
Make a list of what you need (the bare minimum)
-Where are you going to put everything you don’t need?
Find a solution to washing and cleaning
-Will you use paper plates?
-Can you or your kitchen fitter set up a temporary sink?
-Can you use an alternative sink?
Find a solution to cooking
-Does it make more sense to meal prep?
-How much would buying ready-made meals cost?
-Can you create a temporary cooking space?
-Are there any fire, electrical or other hazards in your temporary cooking space?
-Where will the kids eat?
-Do you need to cover up sofas if they’re going to be the new eating location?
-Where will large items like the fridge & microwave go?

Is there anything else on your mind?

If you’re thinking to have your kitchen remodelled in London, and you’re perhaps slightly worried about how you’ll temporarily cope without a kitchen – you can talk to one of our expert kitchen designers & project managers by contacting our showroom.

Just let them know about your concerns and they’ll use their experience to give you some tips.

Just click here to go to our contact page.

Or call us on 0208 332 9166

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