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Simple Kitchen Updates with the Best Return On Investment

A major kitchen upgrade is one of the more expensive home improvements - costs vary, but can run into the tens of thousands of dollars for a full kitchen renovation.  If you are planning to be in your current home for many more years, then spending the money to create the kitchen of your dreams is well worth it.  But if you are thinking of making a move, a minor kitchen reno can pay dividends in terms of saleability without you having to spending a fortune.  We’ve asked our agents to share their recommendations for upgrades to your kitchen that will give you the biggest impact without major renovations.

Picture courtesy of owners of 7 Ravine Road, Winchester

Replace Hardware

Simple but effective, new handles and drawer pulls can subtly update a kitchen and add a modern take to your space.  If your cabinets are basically sound, this is a simple inexpensive way to bring an older kitchen up to date.  A new faucet can also dramatically alter the look of your sink.  Take a look at current trends, such as gold and copper-toned hardware, along with classics such as brushed nickel, to decide what will look best.  “This is an easy update that can make a huge difference in the space,” says Katie Tully “The trends that we are seeing in gold now make a really striking impact -  like in this recent kitchen renovation in Winchester."

Paint Cabinets

If new hardware isn’t giving you enough of an update, consider having your cabinets repainted.  “It’s a cost-effective way of giving you a fresh new look, especially if your cabinets are made of a good quality, solid wood that will last a few more years” advises Lesley Smith.  This is a job best left to the professionals to give you a smooth, hard-wearing finish.  Many paint firms will offer this service, or there are companies that specialize in cabinet refinishing.  Typically they will spray your doors and carcasses to ensure a streak-free finish.  You can choose a classic white for your refresh, or go for a pop of color - a very popular look right now.  Check out our recent article on Colorful Kitchen Cabinetry for inspiration.  

Light It Up

New lighting can really change the look of a space.  Under-cabinet lighting can brighten up your work area and give an updated look to your kitchen.  Pendant lighting is also popular in new kitchen designs - over an island or a dining area for example - as an inexpensive way to introduce some modern glamor. You can buy kits that will enable you to easily replace recessed lighting with pendants or other fixtures - no electrician required!

Update Backsplash

Your backsplash is another area of the kitchen where a small change can make a big impact.  If your backsplash is currently painted, you can add interest with a new accent color, or add a patterned tile to create a focal point.  Bold patterns are popular, especially in an all-white kitchen.  Another trend is for large panel-like backsplash using marble or granite, which can give an impression of space in a smaller kitchen.  Subway tile is an ever-popular, inexpensive choice, but arranging it in a brick pattern, or vertically rather than horizontally, can create a very different look.  If you already have tile and don’t want the bother of removing and replacing it, you can paint it to update the look with minimal hassle.  Stenciling can give you the look of patterned tile at a fraction of the cost, time and effort.

Change Up Your Countertops

In terms of investment, this is one of the pricier changes, but the rewards are also bigger.  New countertops will take your mini kitchen reno to a whole new level and dramatically update the look. Quartz has become a popular option in recent years over and the reasons are clear - it’s durable, comes in a variety of shades, does not require sealing, and is moderately priced compared to other options such as granite and marble.  It’s still not a cheap fix, notes Erica Carson, and you will need to have it professionally installed, but "in terms of impact and ROI  potential this is one of the better kitchen upgrades you can choose".

New Appliances

A sure-fire way to bring a kitchen bang up to date is to install shiny new appliances.  However, if you are planning to sell your home, think carefully about your choices and the market you are appealing to. While a brand new stainless steel range will increase your appeal over an older white model, you might not get the return on your investment putting top-of-the-range appliances in a mid-priced home.  Similarly, a buyer might question why a high-end home has only a basic refrigerator.  Choose your finish wisely - white is still considered a no-no for most people, while black is making a comeback.  Stainless steel is generally a safe choice.  

Refreshed Flooring 

If you have gone to the effort of updating your cabinets, countertops and lighting, don’t neglect your flooring.  Broken, dirty tile or scuffed and faded wood floors are an instant turn-off in a kitchen. “Hardwood floors in good condition can be refinished to complete your kitchen reno,” says Naomi DeLairre.  If only one or two tiles are broken or chipped, consider replacing those if possible.  If not, retiling or even painting your floors are both options worthwhile pursuing to give a finished look that will appeal to buyers.  

If you are considering putting your home on the market, consult with one of our full-time, experienced agents.  They can advise you on the kind of small upgrades you can do to make sure your home achieves its true value.  Get in touch today for a complimentary market analysis.

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