We are going to remodel our kitchen and I want it to really feel like home. What are some of the things I need to consider to achieve this?

It is important to select materials and appliances that will enhance the look and feeling you are trying to achieve. There are so many great kitchen appliances to select from that I recommend spending some time getting familiar with what is out there.

The cabinets are probably the largest single element in the kitchen so select the wood and cabinet style that appeals to you - possibly one with a raised panel door. There are many stain colors to choose from or you can also opt for a painted finish for a fresh look.

For the countertops, there are many great choices in granites and stones in either a polished or honed finish. It is important to select a countertop that will stand up to use and it is equally important to see that the surface is well sealed. Periodic resealing is important and different stones top have different requirements.

Interest can be added in the backsplash detail by creating a design using decorative tiles and possibly a tumbled stone in either the same material as the countertop or a complimentary stone. The possibilities are unlimited.

Lighting is very important in the kitchen: look for warmth and control of the light level to create a variety of moods. Bring color in to the kitchen with brightly painted walls and colorful dishes. Select a color that works well with the things you want to display. Choose a warm color for walls. Add some of your favorite personal possessions — things you have collected and that have character and meaning: a wonderful old wall clock, interesting framed art, a collection of colorful Fiesta Ware, a wall of cookbooks.

Try to create a seating space within the kitchen that encourages you to use it as a gathering space as well as an eating space. This is the area where family and friends gather, where everyone feels the most relaxed and comfortable. An old farmhouse table and chairs with soft cushions create an inviting, lived-in feeling. A pair of candle sticks with large beeswax candles provide a soft light for an intimate dinner.

Have an arrangement of fresh flowers on the table and a special, hand-made pottery bowl with fresh fruit on the counter. You might like to have herbs and paper whites growing in colorful containers by the windows.

The kitchen is the heart of the home, so fill it with all the things you love.