The very best thing you can do is to take your time! We knew we wanted a new kitchen when we bought. It wasn't horrible, so we decided to live with it for a few years first. That was about 8 years. By the time we did it, we REALLY knew what we wanted. We were able to gut the whole thing and get exactly what we wanted, without moving walls or plumbing. We did 98% of the work ourselves (very talented husband) so that made it much less expensive than it would've been. One thing I did that was SO helpful when we got close to starting our tear down...I would prepare meals and think about where things should go...what would make life easier..I was imagining myself cooking in the new kitchen as we had it designed...then we were able to make some adjustments to the plan based on that. The more adjustments you make to the plan BEFORE you start, the less costly changes you wind up making later.