By Shelley Little
Renovating the kitchen can return huge dividends in your enjoyment of a home, and much of the project can pay for itself when you decide to sell (Remodeling Magazine estimates a 66% return on major kitchen remodels).
But a smaller investment in your kitchen could return even more. If the average home in your neighborhood sells for $250K, it may not make sense to drop $50K on a kitchen overhaul, but there’s a better chance of recouping a $10K facelift.
Here a few minor kitchen remodeling projects that focus on upgrading what is already there, providing a new look and (hopefully) a return on investment. Best of all, you don’t have to eat take-out for months while these remodels are underway:
Do you like the current layout of your kitchen? Is the overall shape and internal quality of your cabinets appealing, but they look tired and outdated? If you answered yes, then cabinet refacing is a great option for you.
With cabinet refacing, the cabinet doors and drawer fronts are replaced, while the existing cabinet boxes may be veneered. In mere days, cabinet refacing gives your kitchen a whole new look without gutting it or buying pricey new cabinets. The cost of cabinet refacing, depending on surface material (laminate, wood veneer, etc.) ranges from $1,000 to $9,000 for a 120 square foot kitchen, as opposed to $4,000 up to $20,000 for entirely new cabinets in the same space.
A brightly lit kitchen makes for a more welcoming and functional space. Consider replacing recessed lights with impactful pendant lighting. There are conversion kits that allow you to quickly and easily convert recessed lights to pendants or chandeliers in mere minutes. These offer stylish solutions for the space over kitchen islands or sink areas. If you already have pendant lighting installed, mimic some design professionals by upgrading to a large drum shade.
Painted cabinets are very on-trend at the moment, with most homeowners opting for a different color island, or lower cabinets painted in a different color than the upper ones. If your budget is very tight, painting is a great temporary kitchen remodel idea until you decide to reface or replace your cabinets.
According to CBS Money Watch, 65% of remodelers are currently incorporating stainless steel appliances into their projects. But here’s the thing with appliance upgrades—you often can’t take them with you when you move, because the new buyers want them. You have to regard these upgrades as a perk you can enjoy while living in the residence, but not one you get to keep. You do get to keep the return on investment, however, and those shiny appliances will certainly appeal to buyers.
Granite and quartz are all the rage in modern kitchens, but even a stylish new laminate design can transform a room. There is also a more recent trend to mix and match kitchen counter materials, with the island featuring more unique materials such as reclaimed wood or steel. Choose a style that you love, but always consider how long a trend will last. You don’t want to get caught in a case of stylistic depreciation and eventually detract potential homebuyers.
If you’re considering a minor kitchen remodel, be sure to do your homework first. You want to avoid spending far more money than you can recoup. Cabinet refacing is a particularly great investment because it results in what looks like a complete aesthetic makeover, without the hassle of gutting your kitchen. Along with refacing, consider other small upgrades such as replacing knobs and handles, and painting walls a welcoming, light color.
Shelley Little writes on home design and décor for Home Depot. When Shelley isn’t busy writing, you can find her designing and decorating her own home in Iowa. To see Home Depot's selection of cabinet refinishing in-home options, visit the company's website.