Remodeling a kitchen is no easy task, but with a bit of designer expertise, homeowners can transform their kitchen into the kitchen of their dreams. According to MaryJo Camp, a designer certified by the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), homeowners can successfully revamp their space with these tips.

1. Require References from Your Contractor (and Call Them)

As you begin to look for kitchen designers and contractors, ask for references from their last few jobs and call those references to ask about the experience. Ask specific questions like, How did they leave the jobsite? Are they loud? Did they show up too early? If sticking to a budget is critical, yet a reference says, "Well, he came in way over budget, but he did such an amazing job," this isn't the professional for you.

2. Remember: A Little Space Can Add A Lot

Remodeling because you're tight on space? You're not alone. "The top complaints I hear–no room for seating, too little counter area–all go back to a lack of space," says Camp. Referencing her own remodel, she says, "We borrowed space from a closet in our entryway, which only added about 20 square feet, but it made a big difference."

When working with a smaller kitchen, resist the urge to put cabinets everywhere. Less common design options, like running cabinets along only one wall, selecting mid-high cabinets, or implementing an art wall, can do wonders to break up the space.

3. Select Materials and Finishes That Work for You 

When you're ready to choose materials and finishes, it's easy to get overwhelmed. Keep in mind that practicality is key, especially when it comes to countertops. Softer stones like marble are beautiful, but also very delicate and require special care. If you're looking for a material that gives the look of a natural stone, but can stand up to anything, consider an all-natural sintered compact surface.

4. Don't Forget about What You Love

"Everyone always wants to talk about what they hate about their kitchen, but people rarely consider what they love about the existing space," says Camp. "If it's liking how the light comes in or your kids' favorite homework spot, you don't want to take that away."





Reprinted with permission from RIS Media. (c)2015. All rights reserved.