You may be considering an entire kitchen overhaul, or perhaps you’re looking to make a few key switches that have been on your mind for a while. No matter what your flavor of remodel happens to be, there’s something majorly exciting about making your home a little bit more you. From the layout to the finishing touches, you can make your kitchen exactly how you want it to be.

As you embark on your renovation journey, there are all kinds of details that will pop up in the process. If this is your first time tackling a DIY home renovation — or even if it’s your tenth — you might want to stop and consider a few key factors that can make the process smoother and much more enjoyable for everyone involved. You don’t have to be a professional to get it right. You know your home and your family best, and you can use this project to put all the pieces together.

1. Considering Your Head Count

This one might seem like a given until you give it a bit of extra thought. Does the layout you currently have — or are looking to build — work with the flow of your family and social life? If you tend to pack people in for the weekly dinner party, or you’d like to start doing that, making a bit more space for a larger table and lots of chairs is probably a good idea. If your kids tend to pile in at the same time every morning for breakfast or stand around snacking, some bar stools and an island may be in order. Be realistic with the count of people usually vying for space, and you’ll be much more comfortable.

2. Logistics Need Your Attention

We all wish that kitchen remodels could be all color swatches and backsplashes, but reality bites sometimes. The truth is, your kitchen needs to be up to code and functioning properly in order for you to enjoy your aesthetic creations. Don’t skimp on the electrical work or piping. You can call in a professional for these things, or do them yourself with a bit of research. Making sure your outlets are placed accordingly and going for proper ventilation is key. You don’t want a short circuit or a smoky kitchen.

3. Your Cabinets Can Work for You

Cabinets can make or break a kitchen, both from an aesthetic and a functional standpoint. There are so many ways to remodel your cabinets that you can find an option for almost any niche preference. If you like the function of your current cabinets in their shape and storage potential, you can give them a bit of a facelift by refinishing them or refacing them, which puts a new look on existing cabinets for a bit less effort and money.

If you’d rather change the whole structure of your cabinet situation, you may want to look into getting all new cabinets. There are a few ways you could go with it — stock cabinets are already made and ready to go, semi-custom cabinets allow you to tailor certain elements to your needs, and custom cabinets are built especially for you. Really, the best option for you will depend on your needs in the kitchen and your budget. Specific needs will call for more custom designs, but you could always find stock cabinets that totally strike your fancy.

4. How You Do Your Dishes

Believe it or not, the way you tend to do your dishes should probably play into your kitchen design plan. If you tend to do your dishes by hand or wash large pots and pans on the regular, a double wide sink or a double bowl sink could make your life easier. There’s hardly such a thing as too much space when it comes to your dishwashing priorities. If there tends to be two hands on deck in the dishwashing game, plan for that in your sink size and elbow room.

Dishwasher placement will largely depend on your needs as a unit in the kitchen, but keeping it out of the walking path is always a good bet. If you tend to keep it open to pile things inside throughout the day, it may be worth it to consider that when placing it in your layout.

5. Make Your Countertops Versatile

Your countertops might be eye candy, but they should also be sturdy and sustaining. Going for a stone or slab of some kind is always the best bet, especially if you do a lot of cooking and chopping. Granite tends to be the standard, but options like marble, limestone and soapstone are alternatives worth looking into. While some of them are a bit softer and need a bit more care, they may also be easier on the budget.

Making Your Kitchen Your Own

A kitchen remodel is a big step for your home, but the changes you’ll see are undeniable. When you turn your kitchen into the space you want it to be, you’ll love your home more and more every day.