One of the most fun parts of the job, is selecting products. Materials, finishes, fixtures, and furnishings, oh my! So many options, and even the options have options!
FIRST AND FOREMOST, WHETHER YOU ARE WORKING WITH A DESIGNER OR GOING IT ON YOUR OWN, LET THE PROFESSIONALS BE PROFESSIONALS.
It's okay to get an idea of what you want and what you like, but let them guide you! Even if you're popping into Home Depot to work with what they have, they can do their job best and guide your decisions if you inform them fully about what you like, why you like it, and how you intend to use it. Designers do this too! We use specialists in the field to make sure that we are providing the best options and are informed for your project.
PRIORITIZE YOUR PURCHASES
Make a list of what you'll need. Next to each item, list your dream product (if you have one). Then note why you want these things. It's easy to forget items when we don't do this every day. So, take a look at pictures of similar spaces (save the ones you like for your designer or for your design inspiration) and note each item you see. Your list may look something like this:
Counters- granite: aesthetics
Sink- Stainless steel, undermount: Aesthetics, easy to clean, durable
Faucet-???: I'm open and have no real opinion
Refrigerator- A lot of freezer space: We store a lot of leftovers and prepare bulk meals
Dishwasher- QUIET: Personal preference. Noisy dishwashers make me cranky
Stove/Oven- Gas, 6 burners, single oven: I like the look of professional stoves, but I don't do a lot of baking.
Microwave- Built-in: More counter space
Floors- Wood: Aesthetics
Tile- Recycled Glass: Easy to clean, aesthetics, environmentally considerate
Bring this list with you to your designer or to the store where you are selecting your products. A good professional may question your selections and dig further into the "whys". Our example wants 6 burners, but doesn't do a lot of cooking... so why 6? Is it really necessary? If they do not ask questions or talk about it before purchasing the products, shop around a bit. Let them be the pros!
KNOW THE LOOK YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE
This is easier said than done, and if you're struggling with it, talk to a designer even about just establishing a concept- trust me, it's worth your dime! Use magazine clippings, Pinterest, or whatever guides you best. But, whatever resource you use, make it something you can bring with you when you shop. Look at the images you've selected. Does the product fit in those spaces, or would it stand out? Follow this rule for EVERY selection. I find mood boards or an image of one inspirational space to be the most helpful tool when shopping.