If watching expert home renovators reveal stunning transformations on TV inspires you to make a design change, think it through before starting your project. Whether you want to give several rooms a new look or just take on a single space, like the kitchen, Alison Victoria says doing your homework is essential.

RESEARCH, REMODEL: You're renovating your living space or hosting friends for a meal. Whichever scenario, do your research before you DIY, and ensure that every room has that wow factor. Photos: Maria Ponce

“Put in the time to research not only the types of designs you love but contractors you’re going to hire,” she advises. “Interview them, call their references, go see the work they’ve done and find out how the relationship between the homeowner and contractor was during the project.”

Start small, build confidence

If you’re taking the do-it-yourself route, Victoria says smaller projects like repainting kitchen cabinets, changing cabinet hardware or replacing your backsplash are manageable and can have a big effect. “Changing the look of your cabinets changes your whole space,” says Victoria, who believes the kitchen is the most important room to keep timely because it’s the space where everyone gathers most.

“‘You may cost yourself more money by tackling something you don’t know enough about.’”

“Make sure you pick paint colors that you love. The same goes for hardware: It’s like putting on a pair of earrings or a necklace. Cabinet hardware is the jewelry of your kitchen and a great way to bring in your style and personality.”

How to paint

The TV host recommends renting or buying a sprayer from your local hardware store for painting to get a professional look and using a mesh mount for replacing backsplash tiles, because it covers a large area and is easy to work with. She also urges everyone to incorporate an island into his or her kitchen space. “Whether it’s mobile or narrow and long, it’s extra storage space, a great place to display cookbooks, or a great seating area.

“Maybe that’s where you add color,” she suggests. “Maybe you put a butcher block on it. An island is so important in any kitchen.” Victoria also warns against doing your own electrical, plumbing or mechanical work. Aside from the obvious safety concerns, she advises, “You may cost yourself more money by tackling something you don’t know enough about.”

Alison Victoria's 5 Tips to Update Your Kitchen

DINE IN, ENTERTAIN IN: Victoria holds that, at any party, one of the main places people gather is the kitchen. Ensure yours is dressed to impress whether you're adding backsplash color or an island-table cookbook.

Need more work than an island? Thanks to her work on “Kitchen Crashers,” Victoria knows more than a thing or two when it comes to spicing up a bland kitchen.

1. Pull out drawers

Installing pull out drawers to your existing lower cabinets will forever change the way you work in your kitchen. Everyone dreams of having all drawers instead of doors for their lowers, but not all of us have the money for such a big renovation.

This solution is a win-win. Whether you choose to buy them yourself and install on your own or call a local cabinet company to come out and measure so you get a custom fit is completely up to you. You’ll never have to stress over trying to dig around to find things again. Clean out those cabinets and get ready to navigate around your kitchen freely.                               

2. Open things up

Too much of a good thing is not always best. Break up all of that cabinetry and balance it out with some open shelving. A lot of us are intimidated by glass cabinetry and believe we’d have to keep our kitchens organized all the time. For just a little bit of display space, replace a single cabinet in the corner with open shelving. White cabinets and wood shelves create a nice contrast.

A row of upper cabinets with a single shelf below will provide you with the best of both worlds. If you only want a few open shelves (to display cookbooks and a few pretty pieces), try adding open shelving just over the sink.

Another clever way to add a little open display space in a traditional kitchen is to leave doors off some cabinets and paint the insides in a bright color.

3. Cabinet creativity

Change up the look by swapping out your cabinet hardware. Think of your cabinet hardware the same way you think of your jewelry, your watch or your belt. It’s the accessory to your kitchen. It’s also a perfect way to bring in color and texture.

4. Add color

Your backsplash is the artwork of the kitchen. It’s the easiest way to bring in color and texture. Believe me, installing it on your own sounds much more difficult than it really is (If I can do it, anyone can do it— trust me.). Stick to a mesh mount tile if you’re a first timer and get yourself  some ready mix mortar, a trowel and an easy score tile cutter. If you’re feeling really confident, try installing a classic subway tile in a brick pattern for a truly timeless look.

5. Smarter lighting

Under cabinet lighting is the art light to your backsplash and a great way to provide more task lighting when you need to prep. No excuses on this one, guys. It’s incredibly easy to install by yourself with some of the great products out there.