If you’re contemplating a kitchen remodel, there’s a good chance you’ve been drooling over photos of Carrara marble countertops and commercial-grade ranges on websites like Houzz, Pinterest, and Remodelista. But for all of the inspiration those sites provide, they tend to be short of a couple of crucial details: the price of all that beauty and, just as important, how the pretty products perform.

Consumer Reports will tell you that those marble countertops are stain-prone, that many pro-style ranges don’t work as well as models costing much less, and that the cost of both would devour much of the $28,000 that the average American spends on a professionally installed kitchen. Our remodeling guide will also tell you how to create a beautiful and functional new kitchen filled with solid materials and reliable appliances at any price—all of it backed up by our rigorous testing.

We turned to designers and contractors for ways to stretch the budget and avoid common pitfalls of kitchen makeovers. Then we filled in the details with the best kitchen appliances and countertops from our tests, and even a splurge in case you’re feeling flush. You’ll find products that deliver a luxury look for less, such as slide-in ranges and porcelain-tile floors, and even discover a way to get a six-figure kitchen for a fraction of the cost.

Three Kitchen Makeovers, Three Budgets

Experts say a kitchen redo should cost 5 to 15 percent of a home’s total value, a helpful guideline that will keep you from over-improving your property. In this package, we offer three common budget ranges for kitchen makeovers based on industry data:

Follow our advice and your dream kitchen can be a reality—without all those numbers to keep you up at night.

Editor's Note: This article also appeared in the August 2016 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.