Last week, I wrote about getting the most bang for your buck when renovating your home, either for personal enjoyment or to spruce it up to get it market ready. I focused on the whole house, advocating making wasted space functional, refinishing hardwood floors and replacing outdated lighting. No doubt, all of those ideas will increase the value of your home, but if you want to focus on just one room and see a huge return for your renovation dollars, look no further than your kitchen.
Today’s busy homebuyers want a kitchen that multitasks… they want a space that is functional, yet fashionable, streamlined, yet spacious. They want a room that will serve as the heart of a home, where loved ones gather at the end of a crazy day to share stories, bond over yummy meals and generally unwind. Pay attention to how you spend time in your home. Chances are you spend the majority of your “at home and awake” time in the kitchen, so it only makes sense that this room should be the first stop on your renovation plan.
Step 1: Upgrade your kitchen cabinets. Durable granite is still the most sought-after upgrade and the most requested material for countertops. Granite can be pricey, but if you can splurge now, you’ll see that money come back to you when you sell your house. If granite is absolutely outside of your price range, consider laminate countertops with beveled edges that offer the look of natural stone.
Step 2: Add an island. Remember that second paragraph? You’ll likely spend much of your waking hours in your kitchen. Make it more inviting and comfortable by adding a space for food prep AND visiting. Raised bar seating and a couple bar height chairs create a welcoming space. One word of caution: make sure that you have at least 39 inches of space all the way around your island. You want this room to feel cozy, not constrained. If you’re operating on a budget, consider a raised butcher block table and top it with tile or stone that matches the rest of your cabinetry.
Step 3: Replace old appliances. I know this one makes you gulp, but before you become anxious about the outlay of cash, consider how much you’ll actually save by replacing old appliances with energy efficient ones. Energy Star appliances cost a bit more up-front, but more than pay for themselves in the form of lower energy bills. They’re also a really nice thing to do for our environment and today’s discriminating home buyers are paying more and more attention to these “green” details.
Step 4: Change your backsplash. If you’re taking the plunge with new countertops, you might as well go ahead and splurge on a new backsplash, too. Today’s backsplash choices are endless, from glass tiles with an iridescent sparkle to bright, white subway tiles. If you’re renovating to get ready to sell, choose a neutral backsplash that adds flair, but doesn’t dictate a decorating style.
Happy homeownership, friends! Remember this is the most important investment you’ll ever make… Ensure good returns by maintaining and updating your beautiful home!