Remodeling your kitchen isn’t as easy as it sounds. Even if everyone had an unlimited budget, the process would still be riddled with vexing questions and tough decisions. Inevitably, you’ll probably end up having to compromise on some things. It’s ok; it’s all part of the process.

In order to make those difficult choices and truly get clarity on what matters most to you, you need to ask yourself these five big-picture questions.

1. How will you use your kitchen?

Consider how you live and how you spend time in the kitchen. Do you cook daily — for how many people? How often do you host parties or special events? From your refrigerator size to storage to seats at the dining table, how you use your kitchen will affect your design choices.

2. Is the cost worth the value?

Everything from cabinets to sinks to large or small appliances comes at a large range of price points. Consider whether or not splurging on a high-quality item is worth the value to you. Will it improve your everyday life? Will it age well? Will it increase your home’s value? These are important things to consider when weighing cost vs. value, and only you can answer them.

3. Is function or aesthetic more important to you?

Ideally, your new kitchen will marry beauty and functionality, but sometimes you’ll have to compromise on ideas and choose one or the other. This is a deeply personal choice and not one your home designer can answer for you. Gorgeous finishes and customized detailing are what make your remodel worth it, but not at the cost of function. Consider lifestyle needs like how many people you typically cook for, how often you entertain (and what kind of entertaining), and your personal cooking style.

4. How long do you plan to live in your home?

Kitchen remodels take time, and sometimes you just don’t have the time to spare. But you need to be careful not to just say yes to anything in order to get the job done quicker. Go slow and take the time to find the right people to help — unless, of course, you have a time restraint (i.e. remodeling for an event, selling). Think about how long you plan on living in your home and this will help you choose the speed of your remodel. If you’ll be living there forever, you’ll want to spend the necessary amount of time considering each and every factor.

5. Reality check: is each choice for the real you or an ‘ideal’ you?

We know you have your “dream kitchen” in mind, but does the idea actually suit you, your personality, and your lifestyle needs? Or does it suit some ideal version of you? In reality, a brand new kitchen isn’t going to magically turn you into a different person. Choose your kitchen design based on how you actually live, not how you wish you lived. You’ll be much happier with the outcome.

Overall, your kitchen remodel should serve one main purpose: improving your quality of life. Before making any decision, ask yourself if it will do just that. If the answer is no, shift your focus to something else.