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Dos and don’ts of kitchen remodels

According to Remodeling magazine's "2014 Cost vs. Value Report," a major kitchen remodeling project should enable homeowners to recoup 74.2 percent of their initial investments. Kitchen renovations have long been a safe way to improve the functionality and value of a home. But not every kitchen project is a guaranteed winner. Homeowners may inadvertently make changes that end up sticking out like a sore thumb rather than improving the space. Take a look at these kitchen remodeling dos and don'ts to guide your next undertaking.

DO consider the way your kitchen will look with the rest of the home. Keep architectural integrity in mind when designing the space. A farmhouse sink and country cabinets can look out of place in an ultra-modern home.

DON'T overlook the importance of a seasoned designer or architect. These pros will know the tricks to maximizing space and achieving the ideal layout of appliances and may be able to recommend local contractors and vendors.

DO look beyond surface details to the structural integrity of the design. The kitchen should be functional, long-lasting and beautiful.

DON'T design just for today, but look to the future as well. Unless you are willing to spend $50,000 every five years, look for styles and materials that will last for the long haul. Older homeowners may want to make adjustments now that address potential mobility issues down the road.

DO work with what you have. A complete demolition and renovation is not always necessary to achieve the desired results. Only invest in major changes if something is not working (such as having to walk across the entire kitchen to access the stove) or is unsafe. Otherwise, minor upgrades may do the trick.

DON'T over-improve the space. A fully equipped commercial kitchen may be handy for a professional chef, but the average person may not need an industrial hood and indoor pizza oven. When you make excessive improvements, you may not be able to recoup as much of the money spent because your home will not be on par with the values of homes in the neighborhood.

DO make sure you can afford the project. Plan for some unexpected purchases and plan out the renovation according to your budget. Skimping on materials or design because of lack of money may leave you feeling dissatisfied afterward.