Return on Investment
As Remodeling magazine’s annual Cost vs. Value Report continues to show, most home improvements don’t pay back in increased resale value what you put into them. So don’t pour buckets of money into top-of-the-line upgrades if you’re getting ready to sell your house. On the other hand, well-thought-out improvements really can make your life in the kitchen less stressful and more enjoyable over the long haul.
As you think about a kitchen remodel, be honest about your real needs. Just because a “gourmet kitchen” sounds impressive, putting out the money for commercial-grade equipment isn’t worth it if you’re not spending significant time cooking, you have a small family, and if you don’t entertain much. Even if you really would make use of high-end appliances, keep in mind that there is a point of diminishing return. Certain top-of-the-line gadgets and tools can be way more expensive than the choices one step down that are still of very high quality.
Homebuyers often look for a roomy kitchen, so you can make yours more appealing for when you eventually sell, and more useful right now, if you spend the money to enlarge it. Open floor plans continue to be popular, and you can gain space by removing walls between your kitchen and other rooms without having to add onto your house. A good designer or architect can help you figure out how to improve the flow of your kitchen and expand its usable space to fit your lifestyle.
Upgrade for Beauty, Utility
Whether it’s made of granite, marble, or the increasingly popular engineered quartz, a stone countertop still says “classy.” The benefits are numerous, including ease of care, long life, and choice of aesthetics, and most homeowners who can afford it are happy they upgraded to stone. Another obvious upgrade is the floor: A tired-looking or damaged floor will diminish the value of your kitchen and detract from your enjoyment of the space. Again, the upgrade choices are numerous and include solid or engineered hardwood, luxury vinyl tile, stone, and ceramic tile.
Twice as Nice
If one sink, dishwasher, or oven is good, two is better, right? A secondary sink will allow one person to rinse dishes or produce while another handles heavier chores at the main sink. Installing two drawer-style dishwashers, while easing the amount of bending over you’ll have to do, also gives you the option of loading dirty dishes in one while the other one is washing. And two wall ovens will allow you to bake different dishes at different temperatures or broil in one while baking in the other.
Lots of Light
An important factor in any kitchen remodel is the lighting. Flood your kitchen with daylight if you can, using windows, skylights, and solar tubes. And install enough lights to give you full illumination at night, plus task lighting in every area where work will be done. Under-cabinet lights make a big difference when working at a countertop, and lights inside the cabinets give a classy look and help you find what you’re looking for. Finally, pendant lights and unique chandeliers and fixtures can add beauty and visual interest in the kitchen.
Your Own Café
Coffee bars are showing up more and more in new and remodeled kitchens, matching people’s insatiable desire for a caffeinated cup. Having a separate niche outside the main kitchen area allows you to keep all the paraphernalia in one place and keeps caffeine seekers out of the way.
Put in a Pantry
Who doesn’t want more storage that’s easy to access? Whether it’s a separate room or a cabinet with all the revolving and sliding bells and whistles, you can’t go wrong with a pantry upgrade.
With recycling now ubiquitous, it makes sense to have a place to separate your discards as soon as you can. A three-compartment recycling and trash center that’s hidden but easy to open—and to clean—is invaluable in a remodeled kitchen.
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