What Are The High-Value Kitchen Renovations?

What Are The High-Value Kitchen Renovations

Updating your kitchen is one of the best investments when it comes to home renovations. The kitchen is the heart of the home’s value, and often the first room prospective buyers look at closely. A renovated, modern kitchen can drastically increase your home’s resale value and appeal to buyers. Not all kitchen updates are created equal though when it comes to return on investment. Choosing strategic renovations that are attractive yet cost-effective is key. So, what are the high-value kitchen renovations?

Table of Contents

This guide will explore the best kitchen updates, remodels, and appliances that give homeowners the most bang for their buck. We’ll look at average costs versus resale value to help you determine which projects make the most financial sense.

Whether you’re flipping a house or just upgrading your forever home, and before you go to a cabinet store, these kitchen renovations will yield top dollar upon resale.

Why Kitchen Remodeling is a Good Investment

With the average kitchen remodel costing $25,000, it’s smart to choose updates carefully. You want to do a list of renovations that are likely to pay off in increased home value versus over-improving for the neighborhood. So what kinds of kitchen remodels offer the best return on investment?

According to the National Association of REALTORS, the average ROI for minor kitchen updates is 75%. For major kitchen overhauls, you can recoup about 65% of costs. Some renovations even go above and beyond that:

  • New midrange appliances – ROI up to 110%
  • New cabinet hardware – ROI up to 107%
  • Wood refinishing – ROI up to 105%
  • Granite counters – ROI up to 105%
  • New sink and faucets – ROI up to 102%

As you can see, certain affordable updates like installing new hardware or refinishing cabinets offer even higher payback than costly full remodels. Strategic small upgrades can make the space look fresh and updated without breaking the bank.

Kitchen renovations also appeal to the widest range of buyers. A modern, well-designed kitchen is prized by cooks and non-cooks alike.

With open floor plans popular, the kitchen is becoming the entertaining hub of current homes. A renovated kitchen checks off many buyers’ wish lists for features and functionality.

Home Improvement Projects

When it comes to home improvement projects, kitchen renovations should be high on your list. The kitchen is one of the most important rooms for home buyers. A kitchen remodel is an investment that can significantly increase your home’s resale value.

Highest Value Kitchen Renovations

Ready to start planning your kitchen facelift? Here are some of the best renovations and additions for excellent resale ROI:

Energy-Efficient Stainless Steel Appliances

Replacing old, dated appliances with new stainless steel upgrades pays off exponentially. Not only does it give the kitchen a sleek, contemporary look, but energy-efficient appliances save on utility bills. Features home buyers love include:

  • Energy Star-certified refrigerator, dishwasher, and stove
  • Side-by-side refrigerator with ice and water dispenser
  • Smooth cooktop range/oven combo
  • Quiet dishwasher with adjustable racks
  • Over-the-range microwave with exhaust fan

Choose stainless finishes for a premium look. Spending a bit more on high-end appliances yields the highest ROI versus going budget.

Quartz or Granite Countertops

Nothing updates a kitchen faster than new countertops. Quartz and granite are on-trend options that appeal to buyers with their durability, minimal maintenance, and design flexibility.

Bathroom and kitchen countertops can easily eat up to $5,000. But this relatively low-cost renovation recoups over 90% upon resale.

Stick to neutral granite patterns or versatile quartz that mimics marble. Keep counters clutter-free to maximize the expensive materials. This simple upgrade makes the whole kitchen look luxurious.

Modern Backsplash

A new backsplash offers a huge visual impact for relatively little cost. Glass, metal, and tile backsplashes range from $1,500-$5,000 installed. The slick contemporary look is a selling point for all ages of buyers.

Stick to clean lines, minimal grout, and neutral tones. Accent colors like a teal glass backsplash pop without going overboard. Just keep patterns simple. Avoid too many finishes for a showroom look.

Improved Lighting

Today’s buyers want kitchens fully illuminated for safety and function. Swapping out old fluorescent boxes for the LED puck, cabinet, and undermount lighting runs $1,500-$3,000. The bright, energy-efficient lighting highlights the whole new kitchen beautifully.

Don’t forget the task lighting too. Under-cabinet lighting ensures the countertops and workspace shine. Dimmer switches enable customizing the mood. Proper lighting illuminates the kitchen both day and night.

Reface or Replace Cabinets

A cabinet overhaul is a big investment, ranging from $6,000-$18,000. But freshening up or replacing outdated cabinets truly transforms the heart of the kitchen. Refacing with new recessed panel fronts and hardware has a fantastic ROI, recouping over 105% per average estimates.

If replaced fully, shaker-style wood cabinets in neutral stains appeal to most buyers. Include details like glass fronts, pull-out shelves front door front, and organizational inserts. Remember to focus on ergonomic functionality and an easy-to-clean, clutter-free look.

Kitchen Island Addition

Adding or enlarging a kitchen island costs an average cost of $3,500-$7,000. But it’s a smart investment that pays dividends upon resale.

Islands expand counter and storage space. They also distinguish open-concept kitchens that blend into living areas.

Make sure the island size fits the overall kitchen footprint. Include at least one bar-height counter for casual dining. Built-in electrical outlets are essential for function too.

High-End Faucets and Fixtures

Replacing outdated faucets and fixtures runs just $600-$2,000. But it provides an instant kitchen facelift. Modern conveniences home buyers love include:

  • Touchless or pull-down faucets
  • Soap dispensers
  • LED task lighting -Filtered water taps -Matte black, chrome, or bronze finishes

Look for ENERGY STAR-rated plumbing fixtures to conserve water. This affordable upgrade makes the kitchen look luxuriously updated.

Smart Storage Solutions

Lacking storage space turns off potential buyers. Clever built-ins like kitchen pantries, pull-out shelving, and drawer organizers run $2,000-$8,000. But storage is in hot demand. Extra space tailored to the kitchen islands’ existing footprint makes the kitchen more livable and functional.

Focus on maximizing every inch of kitchen space, like blind corner cabinet innovations. Drawers for pots and pans or tilt-out trays for spices save buyers from Cabinet frustration. Consider an appliance garage to hide the clutter too.

Smaller Jobs for Big Impact

If your budget is limited, these smaller quick fixes provide a huge facelift:

Hardware Upgrade – New knobs, pulls and handles cost just $40-$65 per cabinet. Streamlined hardware in black, silver, or gold finishes modernize any style instantly.

Sink and Faucet – A new deep stainless or porcelain apron front sink with an updated faucet starts around $500. It makes even builders’ basic kitchens look upgraded.

Painted Cabinets – Painting worn kitchen cabinets cost $2,500-$5,000 professionally, far less than replacement. White, gray, and navy-painted cabinets look fresh and trendy.

Backsplash Accent – Just a small backsplash strip behind the stove creates a focal point for $500 or less. Use an affordable material like tile or faux tin.

Glass Cabinet Doors – Swapping out a few solid doors for glass fronts opens up a small kitchen visually. This easy update for smaller kitchens averages just $35 per door.

Highest Value Bathroom Updates

To maximize your home’s resale appeal, don’t neglect bathroom renovations either. Bathroom remodels recoup an average of 65% upon selling. Here are the top renovations buyers want:

  • New tub/shower combo – Rip out that outdated, energy-wasting tub and upgrade to a fresh new shower ensemble. Look for an on-trend frameless glass design with sleek tile walls and a built-in niche for shampoo. Ensure it’s a comfortable size and include a small bench or ledges for function.
  • Double vanity sinks – Give partners, teens, or yourself extra primping space with his-and-her square or rectangular sinks. Separate vanities maximize storage too. Floating double vanities create an airy, modern look. Opt for clean-lined frameless mirrors and trendy matte black or bronze faucets.
  • Tile floors – Durable, easy-to-clean tile flooring is one of today’s most coveted features. Extend tile into the shower and tub surrounds for a seamless look. Stick to larger format tiles with minimal grout lines. Neutral colors make the space look fresh and airy, while still hiding dirt and water. Add tile baseboards for a finished look.
  • Recessed lighting – Proper lighting is essential in bathrooms for safety and function. Swap out outdated overhead fixtures for multiple recessed lights. Place lights both vertically and horizontally based on the layout. Dimmer switches enable adjusting brightness. Recessed lighting eliminates shadows and ensures make-up and grooming tasks are well-lit.
  • Upscale fixtures – Elevate even a basic bathroom with high-end touches. Matte black or bronze faucets and showerheads feel modern and luxurious. Look for touchless faucets and smart toilets. Upgraded features like built-in nightlights, warming drawers, and eco-performance add luxury appeal. Just avoid over-improving too much based on your neighborhood.

The best ROI comes from mid-range updates versus high-end luxury options. Focus on clean, contemporary styles and neutral colors. minor updates like new vanity hardware also pack a punch.

Avoid Over-improving

It’s easy to get carried away with improving your kitchen. But take care not to over-renovate based on your tastes. Over-improving features and finishes that are too high-end for the neighborhood values can reduce ROI.

As a rule of thumb, limit upgrades to within 15% of nearby home values. For a $300,000 neighborhood, shoot for around $45,000 in kitchen renovation costs, for example. Pay attention to what sells quickly in your area too. You want updates that appeal to the widest range of buyers.

Also, it makes sense to balance renovations in both the kitchens and bathrooms. Outdated bathrooms can turn off buyers even if you update the kitchen fully. Look at your whole home holistically when planning improvements.

Final Thoughts

The average kitchen remodel may cost tens of thousands. But strategic updates can recoup over 80-100% of that investment in increased resale value. Focus on renovations that maximize function, light, and usable space without blowing your budget. Energy-efficient stainless appliances, granite counters, improved lighting, and refaced cabinets are almost guaranteed to pay off.

Use your existing footprint and make every inch shine. With smart planning, even modest home improvements such as kitchen upgrades and bathroom refreshes can drastically boost your home’s appeal and value for resale. Just stick to projects that make sense based on local home values. A renovated kitchen helps sell the whole house quickly when it’s time to list.

Bayram Gulsen

Bayram Gulsen is the owner of Cabinets City. He always had this passion to redefine cabinetry to be at its best along with his dedicated team and the author of Cabinets City blog: You can find Bayram on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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