HomeDIY CraftSeven Kitchen Upgrades Worth the Expense

Seven Kitchen Upgrades Worth the Expense

Today I’m in Las Vegas at the International Kitchen & Bath Show, the annual event where brands from around the world gather to showcase the latest in renovations and design. I haven’t been since before the pandemic so it’s exciting to be here.

Statistics repeatedly reflect that kitchens and bathrooms are what sell a home the fastest or in a competitive market. Year after year, kitchen facelifts rank high as one of the best returns on investment Annual survey Real estate brokers and appraisers.

In my personal experience with the homes I’ve renovated and helped clients with over the past six years, it was the remodeled kitchen and bathroom that added the most value to the home and got the property “For Sale” under contract in less than two weeks. If you’re careful with your budget and don’t over-improve the space, you’ll get your money back dollar for dollar, and more. My husband Matt has been a Realtor and Appraiser for over 30 years and he will tell you the same!

In honor of today’s trade show kitchen and bath design hot topic, I’ve written these tips for homeowners who are considering reselling in a few years (not living in their “forever” home) and want to get the most return on their investment. And Get competitive listings when they go to sell their home. All these updates will give your kitchen an instant makeover and make it feel fresh.

1. New/renovated cabinets and backsplash

As one of the most used community spaces in the home, the kitchen space needs to be functional and neutral to attract the most buyers. You don’t have to choose a white kitchen with subway tile (although the look is still classic), you can choose the color as long as it’s neutral, think white, taupe, or a soft blue or green gray. Wood has made a comeback in modern style shaker and slab front cabinets. It’s best to avoid wood stains that have red or yellow undertones, which come across as dated choices and don’t always coordinate with the tone of your floor or backsplash.

Cabinets do not need to be replaced if they are in good condition and you do not need to change the layout. You can also choose to replace the cabinet doors and drawer fronts (as we did in this client’s kitchen) and the fresh look is just as good as new cabinets.

2. Flooring

The best kitchen flooring is luxury vinyl plank, stone or tile. The only time I would ever use hardwood in a kitchen is if it is original to the house. I find real wood impractical in the kitchen. Thankfully the waterproof options for wood are incredible thanks to modern advancements, so a vinyl plank or wood look tile will give the look of tile without the risk of water damage. Classic terra cotta, natural stone or large format neutral tiles are also good choices in the kitchen.

3. Apparatus

Old or poorly functioning appliances can be an eyesore and an added expense on monthly energy bills. Choosing a more efficient, high-performing appliance will give future buyers peace of mind. There is a range of price points for appliances, so install new appliances that are comparable to neighboring homes. High end appliances in modest homes will not always give you a great return on investment.

Stainless steel is still a classic choice, but I chose slate appliances to pair with dark wood and white appliances for a light and bright look.

4. Countertops

Quartz is the new standard for renovated kitchens, I can’t imagine choosing anything other than this surface designed for beauty and practicality built to resist heat, moisture and chipping. Beautiful stones are always a beautiful choice but more of a personal one. Marble is also classic, but tends to be more porous and chipped, so I always recommend a fine marble look or pure white quartz for any client, and I choose them whenever I remodel a kitchen. However, while I’m always keeping my eye out for other options in neutral tones, I still love the pale olive quartz used in my brother Nate’s kitchen renovation a few years ago.

5. Call

How many times a day do we use our kitchen faucet? innumerable A beautiful call will catch the eye of a potential buyer. There are many great faucets to choose from now, including attractive shapes and functional sprayers It’s best to choose one that matches the style of your kitchen space, and you can always mix metallic finishes (chrome and black, brass and nickel, etc.) because all metals are timeless.

6. Hardware

Hardware is functional but also kitchen jewelry. Modern shapes give a kitchen a new look, and the same style used in all the cabinetry makes a space cohesive. Brass is still the hottest in the kitchen and has been for years, but nickel or black are also classic choices.

7. Light

Often overlooked, but one of the most important elements to consider is kitchen lighting. Over the years I’ve removed fluorescent boxes and replaced them with a combination of recessed and task lighting for function. Above the sink and island or peninsula you can add decorative drop down fixtures that add both ambiance and style. I’m a firm believer that every kitchen light should have a dimming option for the evening as the space is often adjacent to a family or living room.

Pendants that compliment the style of the kitchen but are an opportunity to add a bit of flair. I chose weathered wood and glass pendants in this kitchen remodel years ago to complement the coastal style of the space.

All images shown courtesy Good house and garden

There are a few “don’ts” I keep in mind when renovating a kitchen. I never overspend for the neighborhood since local comps are what will be used to appraise the home when it’s on the market. I don’t add unnecessary upgrades or unnecessary luxury items such as coffee makers, icemakers or built in warming drawers, these options are for the homeowner’s personal or more luxury market where these amenities are expected.

I avoid anything too personalized like a bold wallpaper or busy backsplash and I rarely remove storage, in fact I try to add more. There have been times in the past when I’ve removed large cabinets that make a kitchen feel cramped and replaced them with open shelving. As much as I love the minimalist look of kitchens without upper cabinets, they are less appealing to potential buyers looking for all the space to store their food and kitchen supplies.

That’s what I’ve learned over the years whenever I’ve done a kitchen renovation to sell a house. Those are seven updates that I believe are worth the cost.

what is your news What has been your experience with kitchen remodeling choices good or bad?


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