Rather than purchase a new home in today’s hot real estate market, why not opt to upgrade your home and your lifestyle?

Whether you want to increase the value for a future sale – or want to increase your own enjoyment – remodeling can be fun, functional and lucrative.

New kitchens and baths are the biggest selling points in a home, and an upgrade here will make a huge impact on your daily living.

Today’s homeowners are moving away from the kitchen’s traditional triangle and establishing several work stations so that multiple people can work in the kitchen at the same time.

Wall ovens, microwaves and warming drawers can be consolidated into a single unit. New lighting increases illumination and highlights cabinets, counters and designer backsplashes. This can also create light, openness and visual interest.

Kitchen countertop materials have never been so varied. By far, the most popular is still granite with its timeless beauty, durability and low maintenance. Granite backsplashes are used for a contemporary look, while travertine or slate tiles can form decorative patterns that create beautiful focal points.

A custom vent hood above a cooktop is an attractive and popular addition. Even if it doesn’t function, it can house dramatic lighting and, again, be a dramatic focal point.

Consider building the hood from materials like stone, brick or stucco to bring the outside in or use the hood to show off a decorative mosaic or medallion above the cook top.

Today’s baths include multiple shower heads, body sprays, jetting tubs, heated floors and defogging mirrors to create a spa-like sanctuary. Large showers with benches and grand soaking tubs are desirable.

In the bath, granite and marble are the most popular materials for countertops. Lighting can also make a world of difference with the creative use of recessed cans, decorative sconces and fixtures.

The most important decision in remodeling? Selecting a designer who can help you realize your dream, guide you through the endless choices and stay within your budget.

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.