7 Kitchen Upgrades Worth the InvestmentLynda Cosentino
There are no hard and fast rules about what makes a good kitchen, so how you choose to upgrade your kitchen will ultimately reflect what’s most important to you and how you want to spend your time in the space. If you’re a gourmet cook, it will seem like a no-brainer to spend your budget on high-quality appliances. For those who spend a lot of time entertaining, a wine cooler or a warming shelf will prove to be extremely useful. And if you’re a busy parent always on the go, having lots of cabinet and storage space is probably a good investment. So, how do you prioritize which upgrades are most important? Here are seven kitchen upgrades worth the cost—it’s up to you to decide which ones will best fit your lifestyle.
Investing in cabinets that provide ample amounts of storage space and correlate with the rest of the room will save you time and effort every time you cook. Go for rustic, farmhouse-style cabinets or sleek, modern design. Regarding material, choose veneer over real wood or plywood instead of particle board to save on costs. When thinking about the functionality of cabinets, a waste recycling unit can be beneficial if you’re always cooking and soft-close drawers are great if you’re living with younger children or seniors.
2. A granite countertop
Many of us love the granite countertops we see on home improvement shows, but almost any kind of stone costs much more than a laminate blend. If you want the countertop to be a focal point in the kitchen, it may be worth the cost to spend more on a luxury material like granite or marble. If you’re not willing to spend the cash on these materials, there are many types of laminate that provide a similar look. While laminate won’t stand up to the same degree of heat as real granite (you won’t be able to put a hot pan on the surface, for example), you’ll still get a similar feel for much less.
Whether it’s cabinet pulls, drawer knobs, or handles, updated hardware is a simple way to upgrade your kitchen for a very affordable price. For a modern finish, you can update the look of your kitchen by trading brushed stainless steel hardware for more trendy pieces, such as oil-rubbed bronze, pewter, or copper.
A new or updated tile floor is a bigger undertaking but can be worth the investment, especially if you’re looking to sell your home in the future. The most modern style right now is to go for large-sized tiles, which create a streamlined look and cut down on the amount of exposed grout (this makes cleaning a breeze). You could also use ceramic tile for a backsplash behind the sink or a patterned accent wall.
When considering tile, know that porcelain stands up better to constant use and is much more cost effective than ceramic. When picking a pattern for ceramic tile, keep in mind that the more intricate it is, the more you’ll end up paying out of pocket. According to Reader’s Digest, “If your kitchen has decades-old linoleum, it’s time for a redo. Explore vinyl tile styles and colors to find something you like. Today’s vinyl tiles are affordable, very easy to install, and can even mimic the properties of other more expensive surfaces for a high-end look.”
5. Energy efficient appliances
For the sake of practicality, you’ll want kitchen appliances that will stand the test of time and save you energy on monthly utility bills. If you have traditional appliances that are faulty or starting to break down, consider upgrading them. Before spending a ton of money on a replacement, check to see if your home warranty will cover a replacement for free. When you’re ready to install the new appliance, make sure you consider the plumbing in your kitchen to decide where the appliances should go.
Note: If you’re planning on selling your home, be aware that buyers usually gravitate toward stainless steel appliances because of how modern they look and how easy they are to clean.
6. Sinks and faucets
In addition to updating appliances, you may want to focus on one area where you spend a lot of time in the kitchen. The sink is a pinnacle point in most kitchens, from cleaning your dishes to washing your kid’s muddy hands. Updating a worn-out sink with a farmhouse- or galley-style design can make a big impact when it comes to kitchen renovations. Consider these additional sink design ideas: paint the sink a vibrant or unexpected color, replace your dull sink with a hammered stainless steel or copper sink, go for a rimless design that encompasses superb functionality, or opt for a multi-purpose sink if you’re trying to be the next Top Chef.
One of the most important upgrades you can make to your kitchen or any room in your house is the lighting. More than just for the purpose of functionality, beautiful and flattering lighting can make a huge impact in not only how the room looks, but how much time you want to spend in it. Replace old fluorescent lamps with stunning pendant lamps, under cabinet lighting, or modern track lighting. Achieve a modern finish with retro or steampunk-style pendant lamps. If you don’t have the budget to get new lighting fixtures, simply swap out traditional incandescent lights with LEDs—these stay brighter for longer and will help you save money on monthly utility costs.
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