Remodeling your kitchen and baths can give you some of the best returns on your investment. In addition to increasing your home’s market value, the years of memories and pleasurable living will enrich your life.

Before you start, consult a kitchen and bath designer to help you avoid some of these common mistakes:

Unrealistic budget. There are ways to save time and money in almost every area of renovation. The wide range of choices of products makes it possible to work within even the tightest budget.

However, stone surfaces, cabinetry, appliances and lighting differ widely in costs, so every selection is important. A professional can guide you through the choices.

Remodeling in the wrong order. It’s not uncommon to want to remodel in phases – replace an appliance when it breaks down, install new countertops when the old ones are scratched and worn.

But it is always a good idea to see how each purchase will affect the future entire makeover. Approach your remodel as a total package, even if the execution is done in phases.

Placing new countertops on old cabinets. Outdated cabinetry will diminish even the most beautiful stone countertops. Consider replacing or refinishing cabinetry to reflect current styles and colors.

Ignoring traffic patterns. Be sure you study the traffic patterns in kitchen and baths throughout the day. There are usually multiple ways to organize the layout of these rooms to increase efficiency.

Neglecting to update lighting. Beautiful stone surfaces as well as task areas need proper lighting. The latest LED lighting is not only energy efficient, it makes a big difference in lighting a kitchen or bath.

Similarly, venting properly is important. Gas cook tops are problematic without overhead venting. Today, venting in some kitchens has become a creative design feature.

Proper venting in baths will preserve the beauty of the cabinetry.

Lesson learned? A design professional should be your first call for a kitchen or bath renovation.

Andrea Antunes McGilton is project manager at Distinctive Granite and Marble, with showrooms in Okatie; Lady’s Island; Pooler, Ga., and on Hilton Head Island.