Follow your instincts on what you like, don't necessarily follow the latest trends.
A color scheme following a light, medium & dark rule, tends to stay timeless.
Start clipping, printing and taking photo's of inspiration. Put those together in a 3 ring binder with page protectors or in a file folder, something that's easy for you to add to. After awhile, you will start to recognize a style, and it will be easier for you to accomplish an end result when shopping.
Look to your closet for color that you like to live with.
Don't be afraid to mix textures, patterns, woods & metals. It can look very distinguished when it is balanced.
Rule of thumb, pick your paint color last. It is easier to select paint colors from a fabric on your chair, the rug on the floor, or your favorite linens.
Plan walkways accordingly for traffic, appliance clearance and those days for entertaining in the kitchen: 36" minimum for a one cook kitchen. 42" Preferred for 1-2 cooks and 48" most desirable for walkways.
Shopping for appliances first is helpful with the kitchen design. Cabinetry is easier to fit around the appliances compared to making the appliances fit later in the process.
Recycle, it feels really good. When planning a new kitchen or laundry space, plan ahead for where you want to keep your recycling station. Some recycling companies do not have you separate anymore, which means less space is needed to keep the same amount of recyclable's.