Increase the value of your home by upgrading your kitchen

Want to improve the value of your home? One of the best ways, according to interior designers, is by renovating the kitchen.

Kitchens are important on many levels, both practical and emotional. They are the center of the home, the command center, a gathering place and a place to create memories. We spend more time there than ever, particularly now, as many of us are still working or schooling from home. If we strictly did not cook before, many of us are now attempting to learn, or at least becoming experts at smoothies or a mean salad. Home baking has been running at a fever pitch.

Upgrading the appliances, improving lighting and adding a workstation are all paths to upping the resale price of your home through work in the kitchen.

We reached out to Heather Hilliard of Heather Hilliard Design for insight on kitchen improvement.

“Life is too short not to love your kitchen,” Hillard said. “And a few upgrades means new buyers will love it too.”

Here are Hillard’s top tips for a better kitchen:

A good kitchen layout improves efficiency, puts all the right tools in the right places, and makes the space feel intuitive

Outfitting your kitchen with what you need, be it a coffee bar or a second sink, will bring daily joy

Easy upgrades without doing a full renovation do exist!

Easy upgrade 1: Better lighting for a more beautiful and functional space.

Easy upgrade 2: Plumbing fixtures. Ditch that old faucet for a shiny (or matte) new model.

Easy upgrade 3: Materials. Paint, new cabinet doors, backsplash, even new stone. Pick one or even two and go for it.

Easiest upgrade of all: New cabinet hardware and new pendant lights equal a lot of look for less

Hire a designer to remove the guesswork, bring valuable knowledge to the table, and ensure that the process is smooth and enjoyable for the client. A focus on lighting is critical in a kitchen. Like other rooms, layers of light generally make the space more successful on the market.

Typically, clients like having recessed lights for general illumination, under cabinet lights for task lighting, and pendant lights for sparkle. Switching to LED recessed lights and undercabinet lights will yield great benefits over your existing incandescent and fluorescents options. They are far more energy efficient than incandescents (by about 80%) and are even more efficient than compact fluorescents. They are cooler to the touch than incandescents or halogens, and they have better color rendering index (CRI) than fluorescents, meaning they make colors look more vibrant and truer to life, versus washed out or drab. Look for LED’s with a CRI in the 90s — incandescents are 95, for comparison.

Color temperature is a different but related idea — it means the warmth or coolness. Look for 2700k or even 2500k LED lights now, which are warmer-looking than the whiter 3000k option, incandescent is roughly 2550k. LED lights also contain no environmentally damaging heavy metals like mercury and are available in dimmable options.

Updating your ceiling lights will require patching and repainting, but the payoff is great. All these factors will contribute to a more beautiful, functional, and energy-efficient kitchen.

Plumbing fixtures are a relatively easy upgrade. Your designer can help you find faucet and accessory options that fit into the existing holes drilled through your countertops, and it may prompt an exploration of some of the interesting new finishes available — prepare to be surprised if you thought chrome or nickel were your only options.

There are also touchless fixtures on the market that clients love for their convenience factor, while limiting germ spread. Some can even be set to remember temperatures to avoid scalding and can be voice-activated.

While we are under your sink, why not consider a water filter system to ensure that you are drinking the best water available?

Materials are another great way to update your kitchen and increase value.

We have all heard that a coat of paint can do wonders for a room and the same is true for your kitchen.

Update your existing, functional cabinets with a great paint color, and the transition can be completed in just a few days of work. For cabinets that are very outdated, consider swapping out just the doors and hardware, while leaving the “boxes” of the cabinets in place.

There are numerous cabinet door styles and profiles available today, and your designer will help you navigate the right design. Updating a backsplash can also be done with relatively low cost and low disruption, but a significant increase in attractiveness.

Finally, clients are always surprised by how relatively simple it is to swap out old countertops for new ones. Stone slabs are selected ahead of time, and the actual installation work can take place over a client’s vacation.

New and exciting sealants are making light or colored marbles even more practical, if that is your dream, and naturally-harder-than-granite quartzites with beautiful figuring are available in an increasing array of options —not to be confused with man-made quartz surfaces.

Don’t have enough time for all these updates? Hillard said a fresh-looking kitchen can be boiled down into two simple tasks if necessary.

“When clients ask us the absolute simplest way to spruce up their kitchen, we always tell them new hardware and replacing old pendant lights,” Hillard said.

“Something as simple as swapping out your pulls and knobs can give you a lift and make your kitchen look fresh. Fit the new pulls to match the drilled holes of the old for a quick transition. An electrician can swap in new pendant lights in an hour or so of work, for a near-instant update.”

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