The advantages of a successful kitchen renovation are too many to count. For many families, the kitchen is a communal space where some of the most special memories take place. Not only will your kitchen be transformed into a cozy and intimate dining space, but a newly remodeled kitchen can increase the value of your home should you decide to sell it.

Do: Browse design magazines and Pinterest.
Since you’ll likely be spending a lot of time in your kitchen, and prospective buyers will initially be captivated by aesthetics before function, it’s a good idea to have a visual in mind ahead of time. Don’t hesitate to flip through your favourite interior design magazines, watch some old episodes of Fixer Upper or start a Pinterest board of ideas. Your contractor will thank you for being aware of what you want. This will also help you figure out ways to cut costs by deciding what you can DIY.

Don’t: Hire the first contractor you find.
While online reviews can be beneficial when choosing a contractor, you should always shop around first. Talk to your friends and neighbours, see who they’ve used and how happy they’ve been with the services provided. Appearances can be deceiving, and you’ll find fraudsters are not above using pretty visuals and snappy copy to create the illusion of professionalism. A high SEO ranking doesn’t always translate to quality services.

Do: Expect to overextend your budget.
It’s been said that you don’t fully understand finances until you own a home. Unfortunately, even the most financially-savvy homeowner should accept that they are likely to go over their budget when undertaking a massive renovation project like a kitchen remodel. As this area tends to be one of the most expensive to renovate, prepare to go over your budget by at least 10 percent.

Don’t: Undersell yourself.
If you are working within a strict budget, it can be easy to be swayed by contractors who are giving you an offer you can’t refuse. Of course, as with anything in life, you get what you pay for—and cheap work usually isn’t the best work. Ensure that your chosen contractor has good references, a solid portfolio, and several years of experience in his or her field. If they are well known specifically for their gorgeous kitchen renovations, you’ve found a keeper.