It’s safe to say that every homeowner dreams of a kitchen renovation. But do you actually know what that entails? (Hint: It’s more than just picking out backsplashes.) Before you send yourself into a tizzy, read our checklist.

1. Determine an actual budget. Before you begin, figure out a) your desired budget and b) how much wiggle room you have to go over. Communicate this to your contractor so everybody is clear--right off the bat--about what will happen if, say, he discovers a faulty beam that needs to be replaced (to the tune of $3,000).

2. And an actual timeframe. Does the whole thing need to be completed in six weeks or are you OK if it drags onto nine? Think about what you're really comfortable with, then tell your contractor you need it to take half that amount of time. (Trust us, it always takes twice as long.)

3. Consider if any plumbing will need to be moved. We know you’re jazzed to install that farmhouse sink under the window, but before you go too far down that road, talk with your contractor about the feasibility--and expenses--of moving any pipes.

4. And what types of permits you'll need. Certain types of upgrades require city government permits to be legal. This is especially important when you try to sell or refinance your home, since buyers and lenders will want to make sure that your remodels comply with building codes and regulations.

5. Figure out how much storage you want. Be sure to think through all the stuff in your kitchen. Where will you put your spatulas? Where will you put your giant Crock-Pot? If you don't have a spot for it, you need to noodle more on your design plan.

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6. And any venting requirements. Depending on your window situation, you'll probably want some way to vent any cooking smells and smoke. Consider your options and talk to your contractor about how you’ll vent that bacon stench to the outside.

7. Choose appliances with resale in mind. Sure, you want a dishwasher that can clean a casserole pan in minutes, but you also need to pick appliances that'll up your resale value down the road. (That hot pink fridge you've been coveting might not charm future buyers.)

8. And think about the functionality of the layout. What will it be like if all of your drawers and appliances are in use at the same time? If the dishwasher is open, will you be able to get to the trashcan? When your fridge door is ajar, will it bump against the oven? Make sure to thoroughly think it through before you approve the floor plan.

9. Finally, are there any non-negotiables? Cerused wood a must? Get it. If you can't live without that Bertazzoni oven range, then it qualifies as a non-negotiable. One that you, your contractor and your dearly beloved need to work into the plan--come hell or high water.

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