The kitchen is one of the most important rooms in the home. A good kitchen can sell a home, which is why so many homeowners look to the kitchen to raise property value. There’s a lot of information about kitchen remodels floating around in the ether, but here are some do’s and don’ts to help get you started.

1. Do Make Plans

When it comes to your kitchen remodel, there’s no such thing as too much planning. Research all of your options, from floors to counters to ceiling. Measure your existing counters, cabinets, appliances, and other features…and then measure them again. For larger remodels, you’ll want to draw up a schedule of when each project will start and end. You’ll want to install the new cabinets before you install the counters, but you’ll also need to figure out how large the sink is before you can cut the counters to proper length.

Rushing your plans only increases your chances of messing something up along the way. Take as much time as you need to lay out of all the details, big and small.

2. Do Set a Budget

With all that planning, you probably have an idea of how much work you’ll be accomplishing as well as the materials and manpower you’ll need. Set a strict budget that includes even the smallest items. Get estimates for all your hired work. Most importantly, add a 10 percent contingency amount to your final budget. Emergencies happen, and you need to be prepared for them.

3. Do Design and Remodel for Your Own Needs

Your kitchen should be built for comfort, whether you’re enjoying a warm, home-cooked meal or doing your homework at the counter, but it’s easy to forget that when you only have property value in mind. Create a design that takes into account your specific needs, tastes, likes, and dislikes. You’ll have to live with your new kitchen for at least a few years, so make it a space that you’ll feel comfortable spending a lot of time in. If you don’t like the end-product, chances are potential buyers won’t like it either.

4. Don’t Forget About Resale Value

Of course, don’t go too far into your personal tastes and needs, especially if they are quirky or eccentric. Your kitchen should certainly express your style and personality, but if resale is your ultimate goal, avoid anything that is too drastic or extreme. Focusing too much on a trendy or cutting-edge remodeling techniques can cut out “middle of the road” buyers when it comes time to sell your home.

As a rule, your kitchen should fit the style of the rest of your home. Don’t create an ultra-modern kitchen space if you live in a country cottage. Stick with classic features and neutral colors to appeal to as many potential buyers as possible. If you really have to add that extra dash of bright pink, incorporate it into removable objects (curtains, towels, pot holders) instead of more permanent elements.

5. Don’t Expect to Do It All Yourself.

Do-it-yourself projects are a great way to save some money, learn some new skills, and add that extra personal touch to your kitchen remodel. However, more inexperienced individuals should call the professionals, especially for bigger projects that involve plumbing and wiring. The risk for injury, lost time, and expensive damages can be significantly decreased by working with a reputable design-build firm.

If you feel that you are more than capable of accomplishing a kitchen remodel on your own, at least seek an initial consultation. A professional kitchen remodel contractor can help you work out your plans and make sure you adhere to local building codes before you get started.

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