Kitchen renovations: If you’re anything like us, you could talk about them, read about them and otherwise fantasize about them all day long. But when it comes time to do your own, it’s tough to think with your head and not just your wild, Pinterest-obsessed heart. Here, seven “rules” to take into account when starting a redesign—and what you can do to best achieve them.

open shelving
GE Appliances

Rule 1: Use Open Shelving in Moderation

When planning your kitchen, think about all the items you’d be proud to display—and that you can realistically keep organized. Put these things (say, your white wedding china or that funky bowl you got in Guatemala) front and center in an open or glass-front shelving unit. Then hide the rest of your stuff behind more traditional closed-door cabinetry. (No one really needs to see your veggie spiralizer.)

Rule 2: Measure Twice

If you have two cabinets that can’t both be open at the same time, you’ve made a horrible mistake. Same goes for a fridge that opens away from the heart of the kitchen (or into a wall)and a dishwasher that prevents you from being able to stand at the sink when its door is open. When designing your kitchen, imagine opening every single door at the same time. Is there anything that might come into contact? If you’re not sure, break out the measuring tape and double check you have room enough for everything.

Sponsored consistent stainless steel appliances
GE Appliances

Rule 3: Keep Your Appliances Consistent

Want to increase your overall aesthetic and your ROI? Ditch the mismatched look and upgrade your dishwasher, oven and refrigerator so they’re all part of the same family. Look to GE Appliances for four of the top finishes: stainless steel, slate, black slate and black stainless. Stainless steel remains the most popular and timeless, but if you’re looking for a more modern appeal, try black slate or sleek black stainless. All of these three finishes are fingerprint-resistant, too.

Rule 4: Load Up on Outlet Sockets

Hey, guess what? Everything you love in life—from your KitchenAid mixer to your iPhone—plugs into the wall. You’re going to need more than two outlets, lady. We especially love a sneaky drawer or island outlet.

kitchen lighting
YinYang/Getty Images

Rule 5: Vary Your Lighting 

Did you know you’re technically supposed to have three types of lighting in your kitchen? Those are overhead (for general illumination), spot (for lighting up specific tasks) and accent (for drawing attention to your most gorgeous design elements). If you’re missing the latter two, chances are your kitchen looks sterile and overly fluorescent. In addition to an overhead fixture or recessed lighting, illuminate prep areas with pendant or track lighting. And can we talk about under-cabinet lighting for a minute? Yeah, you’re gonna want that to show off your sexy backsplash. (Final plea: Go for LED bulbs. They last 15 years!)

Rule 6: Install a Hood or Ceiling Fan

You smell that? That’s the bacon you cooked two days ago. Oven hoods don’t just look pretty (although…swoon), they also work crazy well to vent smoke, heat and smells to the outside where they belong. Don’t have the space or budget for a hood? Even a ceiling fan or a ventedover-the-range microwave can help with your smoke show.

Rule 7: Don’t Forget the Trash

Compared with backsplashes and countertops, trash is so not sexy. But make sure you carefully consider its placement—or risk being the woman with a big, ugly recycling bin throwing off the whole vibe of her French farmhouse kitchen. Treat yourself to separate bins for regular trash, paper and plastic. Spring for soft-close cabinetry to tuck them all away while you’re at it.