Have you ever counted how many times you walk into your kitchen on a typical day? It’s probably a lot. You just can’t avoid that area!
In most homes, the kitchen is the center of all activity. It is the “launch pad” where the family disperses for their day. It is also the gathering point where they all return. This is why the kitchen is so important in terms of your home’s value. You might have inherited a kitchen that was more functional than inviting, but that just means there’s some room for improvement.
Even if you aren’t planning on selling your home in the near future, the features you add into your kitchen today can make a huge difference down the line. And maybe even save you some dinner time aggravation (which is worth its weight in gold). This is especially true when it comes time to refinance. Here’s what to consider when giving your kitchen a makeover:
Kitchen countertops are among the first things that get noticed. The most desirable countertops are durable stone types, like granite.
However, before you go pick your slab of stone, there are various grades of granite to consider. Unique colors and ways the stone is treated can make certain variations more expensive. If you want granite but don’t want to spend a fortune, you can investigate alternatives to the granite slab, like granite overlays or tile.
In terms of color, you want to stick with neutral tones. It will probably help with your overall design scheme if you pick your countertop first and let that inspire your colors for the rest of the kitchen.
If your cabinets are in good shape and will blend in with your new countertop, then you might be able to avoid replacing them all together. An easy update is to swap out the knobs and handles. Or even consider open shelving or hooks if you have lightweight pots and pans.
If you are replacing the cabinets, though, then soft-close drawers and doors are “in.” You can also opt for veneer material as opposed to solid wood for the cabinet construction — it’s very hard to tell the difference between the two.
On the inside of the cabinets, go for the plywood shelves instead of the particleboard. Plywood is much more durable.
Also, when you’re thinking cabinets, think pantry. If your kitchen doesn’t have a separate pantry room, then you can utilize a cabinet pull out for the same function. A designated pantry area is one of those amenities prospective buyers look for.
Once you’ve figured out your cabinet and countertop spacing, then it’s time to think about appliances. Stainless steel remains a popular pick for stoves, refrigerators and dishwashers. Keep in mind that whatever fridge you invest in will probably be replaced after 10 to 15 years. However, your cooktop will last a lot longer. This is where you might want to spend a bit more. There’s nothing wrong with going all Top Chef with your burners and side grill.
Another must-have is a dishwasher. If you don’t have one in your kitchen, then it should definitely be on the list to add. It can change your life!
The Open Concept Floor Plan
Watch any home remodeling television show and you’ll learn all about the open concept floor plan. This is what everyone wants in their home. Older homes tend to feel very closed-in, so this is where the big ole’ 20,000 bulldozer comes in. If you have a wall between your kitchen and the rest of the house, then you might want to knock it down with whatever method works best for your budget. Depending on your budget, you may not have the wiggle room for a full-on contracting service, but if you are touching wires, I would highly recommend it.
However, this is where you’ll find some serious expenses. You might have to reroute electric wiring or bring in additional structural support. The good news is adding the open concept floor plan is also where you’ll find the most return on your investment.
If you’re still wondering about specific features for your kitchen improvement project, ask a real estate agent or construction professional. They can take one look at your current situation and make some terrific recommendations for enhancing your kitchen. The most important aspects of a kitchen renovation are knowing what you want, and finding a way to stay within your budget for the project.
Megan Wild is a fan of all things home improvement (even the show!) and helping homeowners see the value in their worse-for-the-wear homes. You can find more of her ideas and tips on her blog, Your Wild Home.