Remodeling a current home instead of buying a new one is a popular decision among homeowners in today’s economy and housing market. It’s also a wise choice, for when the time comes to sell, the return on investment for many remodeling projects is significant, especially in the kitchen. According to the 2008-2009 Cost vs. Value Report from Remodeling Magazine, the national average cost recouped from a major, mid-range kitchen remodel is 76 percent. And until you’re ready to resell, you’ll have a beautiful kitchen designed for your lifestyle. For many people, the kitchen is the most important, and busiest room in the house. Whether you’re remodeling to create the kitchen of your dreams, or to simply increase the value of your home, keep in mind that you, or the next family, will spend a lot of time in this room. You’ll want to make it as comfortable, beautiful and functional as possible without breaking the bank. Before you take that first step and begin demolition, here are a few vital tips to help create your dream kitchen, save precious time and increase your home’s value. Plan, Plan, Plan -- Good design begins with a great plan. It takes thoughtful preparation and while a bit complex, it’s also exciting. A kitchen remodel is a big investment, so know how much you are willing to spend and plan ahead on the layout and design features. If you do, it will be easier to manage your budget and completion date. Keep in mind that hardware, paint and wall coverings can easily be updated to reflect the latest trends, but make sure your big purchases like cabinetry, countertops and appliances are something you can live with for years. Think About the Way You Live -- Your new kitchen design should be based on the way your family lives. How many people will be in the kitchen at one time? In addition to cooking, will you use your kitchen for dining, entertaining or homework? Does anyone in your family have special needs? Do you need a lot of storage? Prepare an inspiration folder of ideas you’ve seen in magazines or digital pictures you’ve taken of elements you like. The more you share with your kitchen design specialist, the easier it will be for them to get that sense of your family’s lifestyle. Your Personal Style -- When selecting your kitchen cabinets, are you traditional, contemporary or somewhere in between? Before you head to your local Home Hardware, it’s important to know your style so your designer can help create a unique, customized look. Think about what appeals to you -- styles, finishes, colours, etc. From a practical standpoint, review your priorities -- your “must haves” -- against your target budget. Pay Attention to Detail -- It’s the little things that make a big difference. Beautiful details allow you to really personalize your new kitchen. To give your kitchen a custom-like look, consider adding decorative accents such as molding build-ups, ornaments and corbels. Including decorative accessories such as hardware, glass door inserts and under cabinet lighting can also make the room sparkle. Visit a kitchen design specialist at your local home center to discover even more ways you can add the perfect touch. Use Space Efficiently -- No matter the size of your kitchen, it’s important to maximize space and keep things organized. Accessories such as the Base Pot & Pan Organizer, Roll Out Tray Divider and Spice Door Cabinet from Shenandoah’s Organization Options help create a kitchen that is as hardworking as it is beautiful. Take Measurements -- Be prepared with accurate measurements of your current space and double check your work. Have your installer validate the dimensions or obtain professional measurements. Your kitchen design specialist will appreciate your detailed information. This will also help avoid measurement errors that can lead to costly delays and incorrect product orders. For most people, the kitchen is the heart of their home. It’s where families and friends congregate and busy lives intersect. It’s where we prepare meals, eat, share, learn and celebrate.