A major kitchen upgrade can cost as much as a year’s worth of college education these days. 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 spending a fortune. We’ve asked our agents to recommend their top suggestions for upgrades to your kitchen that will give you the most bang for your buck, without major renovations.
1. Replace hardware
New cupboard 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.
2. Paint cabinets
If new hardware isn’t giving you enough of an update, consider having your cupboards 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 – navy blues and greens are a very popular look right now.
3. 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 design - 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!
4. 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, perhaps 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.
5. Refresh your flooring
If you have gone to the effort of updating your cabinets, countertops and lighting, don’t neglect your flooring. Tired, 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. 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.
6. 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 a return on investment on 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.
7. Change your Countertops
In terms of investment, this is one of more the pricey 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, and you will need to have it professionally installed, but in terms of impact and ROI this is one of the better kitchen renos you can choose.