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No matter where you get the inspiration for your dream kitchen, the design should reflect your personal cooking and entertaining styles.

As you're flipping or clicking through images of stunning, well-appointed kitchens for ideas, make sure your plan includes your vision of how your new kitchen will look, feel, and function.

Here are some tips for working through three key phases of a kitchen remodel with a budget of $35,000 to $100,000.

Creating Your Wish List

Before you start interviewing designers or visiting showrooms, set some general goals for your new kitchen and jot down some of your must-have features.

To begin creating the list, think about how you will be using your kitchen. Maybe you see yourself entertaining large crowds for family gatherings, holiday parties, or charity fundraisers. If so, your kitchen wish list might include a butler's pantry for storing plates, serving dishes, and glassware. You might also want a large island for setting out platters and chafing dishes, along with double dishwasher drawers for heavy-duty cleanups.

Even if you don't do large-scale entertaining, you may have other special wants to fit your lifestyle. If you'd love to have double ovens in order to master Julia Child favorites — such as Boeuf Bourguignon, Cheese Soufflé, or Midsummer Fruit Tart, or if you want a warming drawer for the aroma of your home-baked bread to fill your home — put them on the wish list. If your cooking style leans more toward Italian or soups, consider a pot-filler faucet that's convenient to your stove.

Choosing a Designer

When you're ready to bring in an expert to create a detailed design plan, ask your friends and neighbors for referrals. You can check out their kitchens and get a good sense of different designers' styles and quality of work even before you start interviewing designers for yourself.

Reaching out to your social media network and contacting professional associations of designers and architects may also turn up good leads.

Websites, such as Pinterest or Houzz, are other valuable resources for getting inspired and creating mood boards you can collaborate on with other family members. When you log onto Houzz, for example, you can search for design and remodeling professionals in several categories. Besides showcasing photographs of design projects, the site also has reviews and a message board where members can pose questions about the processes and materials used to achieve the looks.

When you've narrowed your list of designers down to a few good candidates, ask for brief consultations with each of them. Find out if they'll share the phone numbers and email addresses of some of their previous kitchen design clients, especially those whose projects were similar in scope to what you have in mind. Ideally, you'll be able to talk with a couple of clients and arrange a first-hand look at the designer's work.

Selecting Materials and Design Features

You've hired a designer, know the footprint of your new space, and maybe have a couple of kitchen design plan options sketched out. Now you have some decisions to make about the materials and design details. Will you choose bamboo or hardwood flooring? Quartz or natural stone countertop? Glass mosaic or hand-painted tiles for the backsplash?

Of course, one of the biggest investments in your kitchen renovation will be the major appliances. A $35,000 to $100,000 budget puts professional-style brands like Fisher & Paykel, Viking, and Sub Zero within your reach — especially if you look for ways to save on those purchases. Compare prices at several retailers that may sell the same brands at slightly different price points. Don't be afraid to ask for a better deal. Often, appliance salespeople have some leeway to come down on the price. They may even suggest you come back for next week's big close-out sale.

The more you save on big-ticket necessities like appliances, the more you can spend on decorative flourishes like artisan knobs and drawer pulls or accent lighting to make a grand statement.

With thoughtful planning, wise shopping choices, and a designer who understands your personal vision for the project, you can bring your dream kitchen to life.

Disclosures

This information and recommendations contained herein is compiled from sources deemed reliable, but is not represented to be accurate or complete. In providing this information, neither KeyBank nor its affiliates are acting as your agent or is offering any tax, accounting, or legal advice.

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