When starting a kitchen renovation, the key is to think function first. Before you make a single purchase, put a precise plan in place.

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When it comes to investing renovation dollars, updating the kitchen remains at the top of the list.

Kitchen renovations can be large or small, and can set you back a little or a lot. The good news is you don’t necessarily have to spend a lot of money in order to have a large impact.

When starting a kitchen renovation, the key is to think function first. Start by asking yourself a few questions.

• What features do I need in my kitchen?

• What do I like/don’t like about my current kitchen?

• What is my budget?

• If I had a dream kitchen, what would it look like?

You may be eager to start buying items for your new kitchen. But before you make a single purchase, put a precise plan in place.

Planning out your kitchen project on your own or with the help of a designer will help to prevent a number of mistakes. Professional designers will likely charge by the hour and are typically a costlier option than using an in-house designer at a kitchen showroom.

During the planning phase, also take the opportunity to shop. Shopping is not only the fun part, it can also be an opportunity for you to learn about — not to mention touch and feel — the latest products on the market.

After you’ve planned and shopped, you will need to find a contractor to help you with the renovation. An affordable option may also be to use a contractor recommended by a kitchen showroom or a big box store.

When making your selection, obtain bids from at least three contractors. Don’t necessarily take the lowest bid; the lowest price doesn’t automatically make it the best choice. Pay close attention to the services the contractor is providing, as well as how the project will be managed along the various phases of your renovation.