You’ve decided to renovate. Congrats! Now what? It’s okay to be a little stressed about performing major upgrades to your home, but it doesn’t have to keep you up and night. Follow – or rather don’t follow – these tips to ensure your remodel goes as smooth as that brand new hardwood flooring you’ve always wanted.

1. Don’t rush it. Take the time to think about the existing layout and design of your home, and what you’d like to change. Having a clear idea of where you want to go from the beginning prevents stress, which prevents cash from being siphoned out of your bank account. This also helps you create a budget. Generally, your budget should be 20% more than the number you come up with for all the “just in case” scenarios.

2. Don’t choose a contractor without doing your research. Do your research. You want to choose the contractor that will work for your unique requests. You don’t have to choose the first person you interview. Treat your contractor search like a job interview, only you are the one doing the hiring. Clearly express what your expectations are and listen to what the contractor has to say. Some ideas may be unrealistic even for the best contractor, so take notes and make sure you are going to be able to effectively communicate with the contractor you choose.

3. Don’t be unrealistic about your budget. Cutting every corner doesn’t work, and going over your budget range is the last thing you want. A middle ground should be established during preplanning process, with coordination from your contractor. Find out which cheaper alternatives you can live with, and which ones you can’t. For example, vinyl floors instead of ceramic tile can save money and look just as good when finished right. That rare Italian marble backsplash? You may want to pump the brakes if it’s way over your budget. Also, considering DIY projects to like building a DIY ladder shelf can help you get a more beautiful end result without adding much cost.

4. Don’t be afraid to get creative to get what you want. If your budget allows, by all means, go for that chic backsplash you’ve been dreaming of for years. A cool, creative centerpiece can turn a regular home into a place you can’t wait to show off.

5. Don’t go contemporary just because it’s contemporary. Just because a certain feature or aspect is “in” right now doesn’t mean you have to follow suit and suffer for another ten years. It’s your home; do with it what you want. You are the owner of your domain!