To Upgrade or Remodel: Kitchen Edition
Wednesday Feb 17th, 2021
By: Fiona Flores-Lyons | 5-minute read
Without a doubt, the kitchen is a central part of any home. The look and functionality of a kitchen can have a huge impact on the overall feel of a home. When buyers are looking at potential homes, they pay close attention to the kitchen and it becomes a huge part of their decision-making process.
That being said, even if you are not in the market to sell anytime soon, remodelling or upgrading your kitchen is an investment worth looking into.
However, it's important to note that that there is a difference between value-being added and a monetary return on investment. By investing in a remodel or upgrades, it doesn't always translate to a total return on investment. Take the time to understand the worth of your efforts...
Whether you're looking to do a complete remodel or smaller upgrades, you will be adding value to your home. However, with any design-related decisions, there are some things to consider before making the final decision.
5 things to consider if you are thinking about a complete kitchen remodel:
1) Talk to a professional - Work with them to make it work!
Before you purchase that 3-piece stainless steel kitchen set that has been sitting in your cart for the last few months...talk to a professional! A complete kitchen remodel is not a small job. Take the time to contact some local contractors or kitchen designers. They are trained professionals who have knowledge and expertise about what works and what doesn't. They can help you create a layout that works for you. However, don't forget to ask them about how they charge. Ask them about how they bill the design, or will you be able to find some of the pieces yourself for a cheaper cost. At the end of the day, you are doing this remodel for yourself, just as much as you are doing it as an investment...make sure it works for YOU!
2) Watch out for Trends - Trends are temporary, a remodel is not!
Around this time of year, we start to see posts from HGTV and other well-known design pages talk about design trends for the upcoming year. It's important to think critically about the long-term implications of the design and whether or not it will still be functional in a few years. For instance, a few years back, chalkboard paint was 'trendy', it seemed like a practical and convenient way to add some fun into a kitchen's design. It provided a space for you to jot down grocery lists, leave messages, or let the kids draw on the wall - guilt-free! However, with chalk...comes the chalk dust. Thinking about the added dust build-up in the room that you make food...is the reason it quickly went from a 'trend' to a 'fad'. So before, you hop on the bandwagon of popular design trends, take a moment to think about its functionality. It wouldn't hurt to do some research to see if others have tried the design trend and how they feel about it.
3) Storage - Don't underestimate the importance of storage space!
Speaking of trends, the minimalist kitchen has been going strong and it may look aesthetically pleasing in pictures, but some of these designs tend to eliminate a good chunk of storage. Minimalist designs tend to feature no upper cabinets or shelving - while this presents a clean look, the lack of storage leaves you with the question of where appliances are going to be kept. Especially when it comes to selling your home, potential buyers will be left wondering how they will be able to fit all their stuff. That being said, less is more does not apply to functional storage! Take notes about how you use your appliances so that the remodel reflects a space that works best for you.
4) Surfaces - Find the best material!
From setting down a hot pot on a bare counter to oil hopping off a hot pan...Kitchens go through the most wear and tear of any room in the house. You want to make sure you are using the best materials in the kitchen. Again, this is where a professional opinion might come in handy. Take the time to understand and ask questions about the different flooring and countertop options. Ask about how they react or robustness towards common kitchen mishaps! Also, ask about what the maintenance is like - is it something manageable for you? Or will it require you to hire a professional every so often to help out?
5) Life without a kitchen - Be Prepared!
A remodel does not happen overnight. Depending on your renovation it can take anywhere between 6 to 10 weeks to be completed. Be prepared - physically and mentally - for life without a kitchen. It will be frustrating at times, but let's face it, getting a new kitchen is exciting! Talk with your contractor about moving major appliances to other rooms so that they can be accessible during the renovation. They probably have suggestions of their own on how to deal with life without a kitchen for a few weeks!
5 things to consider if you are thinking about upgrades to the kitchen:
1) Prioritize - Take care of the critical work
When looking beyond the aesthetics of updating your kitchen, make sure to prioritize any critical work that might compromise inspections or safety. If the vent system is non-functional, tile is crumbling or windows are broken, potential buyers won't swoon over the new cabinets. A common condition when selling or buying a house is a Home Inspection, so make sure the upgrades to your kitchen are not just focused on aesthetics the home inspector will look right past it if there is a larger underlying issue!
2) A Fresh Coat - Painting or Staining your existing cabinets
This is an upgrade that can be done by you for a fraction of what it would cost to get a complete remodel done. Head to your local hardware store and ask for the proper supplies to paint or stain your existing cabinets. You can drastically change the tone of your kitchen by doing so! You can make a statement by staining your cabinets darker than they were or paint them the colour of your choice. However, make sure you take the time to understand the proper procedures. The last thing you want is to use the wrong paint and have it start peeling!
3) Change the hardware - Get Creative
Just like adding a fresh coat of paint, changing the hardware on your cabinets can make a huge difference. Along with trendy kitchen designs, the style of hardware also changes. Take a chance with changing out your hardware for something different! Just be sure it still matches the design of your kitchen. Simple hardware designs match well with modern kitchens, while detailed hardware looks great in more classic-looking kitchens!
4) Lighting is key - Just not where you expect it
Lighting is not just about having a statement piece in the kitchen's design. It's also about the functionality of the lighting that you are putting in. For instance, in kitchens with cabinets that hang over the countertops - shadows tend to form, making it difficult to give the kitchen a bright feel. Installing hidden lights underneath these cabinets is a simple fix to this! You can also consider the lighting situation in terms of the types of bulbs that you use. Ask yourself what kind of lightbulbs you are using in the kitchen! (Did you know: Warm and Bright White lightbulbs are recommended for use in the kitchen)
5) Temporary Fixes - Avoid short term solutions
Do not try to cover up the long-term problems with short-term solutions! This will only come back to haunt you when you are trying to sell your home. Remember that Home Inspections can make or break a conditional sale. Take the time to assess what needs a proper renovation. If you want the challenge of a DIY project, just make sure you do your research and understand how to do the project properly and safely!
Given all this information, remodelling or upgrading your kitchen can be worth your while, if it is done properly! Remember, this investment is just as much for you as it is an investment for the future!
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