How To Create A Temporary Kitchen Setup During A Renovation
Having a new kitchen designed and installed can be very exciting. However, the thought of living without a kitchen for any amount of time can be a difficult thing to get your head around. A temporary kitchen setup could be what you need to survive a renovation, especially if it’s a longer-term project.
Eating out or having takeaways every night may sound like a dream, but it can soon wear thin. Not only is it not good for your health, but it can also start to make quite a dent in your wallet. This is something I’m sure you’ll want to avoid, as you’ll be forking out plenty on the new kitchen itself. 😂
In this post, I’ll give my advice on things to prepare and set up to create a temporary kitchen and help survive your renovation project.
Let’s get into it!
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How To Prepare & Create A Temporary Kitchen Setup
Having a temporary kitchen setup can be a great way to not only save money but also try and maintain a sense of normality in your home life during the renovation period.
It can be quite fun (in the short term) creating this mini kitchen to be as small and effective as possible.
How you set up your temporary kitchen, and what you need, will be different for everyone.
Re-purposing and making the best use of what you already have is great, but investing in a couple of low-priced items to help you get through this time can be very worthwhile.
Below are a couple of tasks to help you think about and set up a temporary kitchen.
Before your old kitchen gets removed, consider cooking and freezing some meals in bulk. Chilli, bolognese, lasagna, anything like this that you can cook up ahead of time and freeze for future dinners.
There’ll come a day when the thought of cooking a meal from scratch in your temporary kitchen is too much to bear. Having a supply of ready-made meals in the freezer can be a lifesaver.
You’ll be very glad you did! 😃
Grab yourself some Tupperware containers like these from Amazon that are both microwave and freezer-safe and start cooking up some meals.
Pack Up Your Old Kitchen
Before work can begin on your new kitchen, you’ll have to first empty and pack up your old kitchen.
This can be a great opportunity to take stock of everything you have and decide if it’s worth keeping hold of or if it’s time to let go and de-clutter your kitchen life.
If it’s too difficult to let go of things completely, you’ll still need to be firm with yourself on what you pack away for the long haul, and what you keep out to be used in your temporary kitchen.
Have a separate box of the things you are going to still need to use daily. This includes a small number of plates, bowls, mugs, cutlery, pots and pans.
Try to keep these to a minimum as you won’t have much space in a temporary kitchen and you don’t want to have loads of items to wash up by hand.
Embrace your inner minimalist. Keep out only the absolute essentials and pack away everything else for the duration of the renovation.
Using storages boxes such as these from Amazon can be a great way to pack everything up and stay organized. They are handy storage or moving boxes for everything else in life, even once the kitchen renovation is over.
Set Up A Prep Space
Once everything is packed away, you can start to get to work on creating your temporary kitchen.
Decide where this is going to be. Preferably this is out of the way of any building work and dust, but with enough space to prepare food and cook.
The first thing you’ll need to create is a worktop/meal prep space. You’ll need to have some clear working space to prepare meals as well as space for small cooking appliances.
A fantastic way to create this is to reuse your old kitchen cabinets and a section of the worktop.
If your cabinets are in good enough working order and survive being ripped out okay, you can use these to make a small temporary kitchen space.
Just use a few base cabinets and a section of the worktop.
If for whatever reason you can’t re-use your old cabinets and worktop, then investing in a folding table (or two) from Amazon can be a quick and inexpensive way to create a prep space area.
Adding a heavy-duty wash-proof tablecloth can make the area much easier to wipe down and keep clean.
Once the renovation is over, these items can be stored away and reused for picnics or events. They also make great emergency tables for Christmas when the whole family turns up.
Set Up A New Storage Area
Even though this is a temporary kitchen setup, you’ll still need storage for those everyday items.
You won’t have a lot of storage, so this is where it is important that you have been firm and only kept the absolute minimum to hand. It’s not only your crockery that you’ll need to store; it’s all your food as well.
If you’ve re-used your cabinets, then you already have built-in storage. Use these to put away your items and organize your space as best you can.
If you don’t have cabinets and have gone for the folding table setup, utilize the space underneath to store and organize all your items.
This is where those see-through storage boxes come in handy.
Not only can you see what’s inside each box to help find what you’re looking for, but they are also stackable, meaning you can maximize the storage space underneath the table.
Fridge Freezer Storage
You’ll also need to think about how you’re going to store your cold food.
If possible, it’s a great idea to keep your old fridge and/or freezer running and just move it out of the way of the renovation.
Even if you are getting a new one with a new kitchen, consider keeping hold of it as a temporary measure to help see you through.
If for some reason you can’t keep hold of your old fridge then consider buying a small freestanding fridge freezer to get you through.
After the renovation, you could always use this in a utility room or garage for overflow fridge storage, or even try and sell it on.
Sort The Sink Situation
Probably the hardest part about not having a kitchen is not having a sink.
Not only is it the place to do the washing up, but it’s also your source of water for cooking and making drinks. Not having a sink to hand can make things very difficult.
Having a plumber install a temporary sink can be a costly exercise and will depend on the length of your renovation project. Most of the time this can be a bit too much as it’s not just the cost of setting up but taking down as well.
A popular option for a solution to your sink problem is to use your bathroom sink. It’s not glamorous, I know, but needs must and all.
If you’ve got some countertop space nearby, set up a draining rack on a tea towel or tray to catch the water and use your bathroom sink to do the dishes.
If you’ve not got the space in the bathroom sink, getting a good sturdy washing-up bowl to fill and use in your temporary kitchen can be a good alternative.
This washing up bowl from Joseph Joseph is perfect. (I love anything by Joseph Joseph, Yes, I’m that sad 😂 )
Fill it up with water from your bathroom sink, and then top it up with boiling water from the kettle so you can clean your dishes properly.
Not only will it get you through this time, but you can also use it in your new kitchen sink to help protect it from scratches.
If your renovation project is scheduled to last a long time, you may want to consider buying a camping sink.
It can be easily connected to your water supply and waste pipe and is perfect if you have some outside space like a patio nearby.
Once you’ve got your temporary kitchen space set up, you’re going to want some equipment to still be able to cook. Even if it’s only very basic.
Hopefully, you may already have some of these items, but if not, depending on how long your project is going to take, you should think about investing in some.
You can always sell them, or use them for other activities.
Microwaves can be the answer for so many of your meals during a renovation.
If you only get one thing, I’d say it should be a microwave. You can cook ready meals, defrost and heat your frozen prepped meals and even cook up a jacket potato.
If you don’t have one already, consider a small budget microwave to get you through this time.
If microwaves aren’t for you, or you’re going to miss having that stir-fry too much, then you might want to buy a portable hob.
A portable hob (or cooktop) is also great to take when camping and can be used as an emergency cooktop during Christmas dinner when you don’t have enough burners.
I know clients who have bought a temporary hob and then lent them out to their friends who are having their kitchens done. You could become a very popular friend.
If you want something safe and easy to use then an induction hob is the way to go. Just make sure your pans work with induction hobs.
This Andrew James single induction hob is a great space-saving option to get you cooking.
If you need more burners then the Twin induction hob is the answer. Both are compact, portable, safe and easy to use.
If induction isn’t your thing and you prefer cooking on gas, then this portable gas cooker is a great temporary option.
Perfect to keep and use again for any camping or caravan trips. You could always donate it to your local scouts/guides club too.
The last item you may want to dig out or purchase is the wonderful slow cooker or crockpot.
Throw everything in first thing in the morning, and then leave it all day to slowly cook your dinner and simply serve when you get home.
Learn to love your slow cooker again or for the first time with some simple but tasty slow cooker recipes I’ve linked below.
Top Tip: Ask around and see if friends, family, coworkers or even neighbours have these items already. You may be able to get them at a reduced price or even borrow them for free.
At the same time, consider doing this for your friends, family, coworkers and neighbours when you are finished with your temporary kitchen. Sharing is caring!
Set Up A Seating Area
It’s not just the kitchen that can disappear during a renovation. If you’re used to having a seating area in your kitchen space, then this too can be out of action for a while (if you don’t have a separate dining area).
Move your table out of the way and try to create a new seating area elsewhere in your house.
It helps to keep some form of normality to your dinnertime and family or social life. It also acts as an additional prep area if needed.
Temporary Kitchen Recipes
Plan simple meals during your renovation. Now’s not the time to go five-star gourmet.
Here are some links to a few simple recipes, perfect for a temporary kitchen environment. They require minimum effort and cooking facilities.
- 65 Super Easy Slow Cooker Recipes for Your Busiest Weeknights
- 38 One-Dish Meals for the Easiest Dinners Ever
- 10 Dishes You Can Cook in a Microwave in Minutes
- Best Ever One Pot Recipes
It can be
Having a temporary kitchen setup can make all the difference and help to bring some form of normality back to your daily routine, especially if you are undergoing a longer-term renovation project.
The best advice I hear is to keep the end in mind. Remember it’s a TEMPORARY kitchen and it will all be worth it in the end.
Good luck! 🤞
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Michael is a kitchen designer from the UK. He's been designing and project managing new kitchen installations for over 10 years. Before that, he was an electrician and part of a team that fitted kitchens. He created Kitchinsider in early 2019 to help give people advice when it comes to getting a new kitchen.