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REAL ADVICE: It’s all about sprucing up the kitchen

The most expensive part of a kitchen renovation is usually the cabinetry. If your cabinets are in good condition, consider keeping them and giving them a fresh, new look with a coat of paint.
The most expensive part of a kitchen renovation is usually the cabinetry. If your cabinets are in good condition, consider keeping them and giving them a fresh, new look with a coat of paint. - 123RF Stock Photo

Over-renovating can be as costly as under-renovating, so choose wisely

There are many cost effective ways to spruce up your kitchen without doing a complete renovation. In many cases, the kitchen is the most important room in the house and thus, can have a major impact on the appeal and functionality of your home. If your kitchen is looking a bit tired and worn and you don’t have the time or money to do a complete renovation, fear not. You don’t always have to spend a lot of money to create a fresh, new space. Here are some helpful tips to consider when upgrading your kitchen and adding value to your home.

Painting the cabinets

The most expensive part of a kitchen renovation is usually the cabinetry. If your cabinets are in good condition, consider keeping them and giving them a fresh, new look with a coat of paint. A simple coat of white paint can add instant impact to dark or dated cabinets.

White is a popular and timeless colour choice and has a wide appeal to more homebuyers. It will also brighten your kitchen and make it appear larger.

Tip: If this job sounds too advanced for your skill level, consider hiring a professional. It will still be far less expensive then replacing your cabinets and a professional painter will have all the tools necessary to do a proper job.

Adding an island

If your kitchen has the space, consider adding an island or workstation for extra food prep area and a casual dining spot. Ensure the area around the island allows for appliance doors to open fully and for good traffic flow. You should have at least 36 inches, ideally 40 inches, all around if the space allows.

Consider the height that would work best for your island. Standard kitchen cabinet height is 36 inches. The height of a breakfast bar is typically 42 to 46 inches. Ensure the countertop has enough overhang to accommodate seating and still be able to neatly tuck stools underneath.

Tip: Use masking tape to measure on the floor to determine the ideal size of your kitchen island before purchasing.

Replacing countertops and backsplashes

There is an endless variety of countertops to choose from, ranging from economical laminate to high-end marble. Contrary to popular belief, the most expensive countertop is not always the best choice. Consider the price range of your home and what buyers’ expectations will be. A butcher-block or concrete countertop may be perfectly suitable and much less expensive than something like marble or granite.

Over-renovating can be as costly as under-renovating, so it’s important to choose wisely. The same rules apply when selecting an appropriate backsplash.

Upgrading the sink, faucet and cabinet hardware

The sink, faucet and cabinet hardware add sparkle to your kitchen, so why not invest in something that is functional and looks great. Replacing a standard faucet with a high-tech faucet with a sprayer, or a restaurant style, pull-down spray faucet, can make a big impact. Pairing this with an apron-style farmhouse sink or a large industrial sink can achieve a dramatic transformation.

Upgrading cabinet hardware with sleek, modern pulls is also a quick and easy DIY project that any homeowner can do and can give your cabinets a completely new look and feel.

Tip: To keep the project simple, remember to measure the distance between the pull’s screw holes (if there are more than one per pull) to ensure the new pull’s screw holes match up with existing ones for easy installation.

Replacing light fixtures

Lighting is key when creating a bright, welcoming space that will appeal to today’s buyers. Replace dated light fixtures with modern ones that maximize your overhead and task lighting. A track light is a good option to add light where necessary. A statement fixture over a table or an island can become the focal point of the room. Also, the addition of under-cabinet lighting is functional and can create an instant high-end look. Tip: For consistency, always try to use similar colour bulbs when possible.

Upgrading your appliances

Old or mismatched appliances can make the most beautiful kitchen look uninspiring. Albeit, this can be one of the pricier upgrades, it is worth the investment. Stainless steel still appeals to most buyers. Take advantage of seasonal sales or negotiate a discount when purchasing in bulk. Consider selling your old appliances if they are still in good working order.

Also, some companies will come and remove your old appliances for free.

Tip: Efficiency Nova Scotia will pick up your old, working fridge or freezer for free to ensure they are property recycled and the CFCs are properly removed. For details, go to: www.efficiencyns.ca/service/appliance-retirement.

Patti Ross is a full-time professional Realtor® and home improvement expert helping people buy, sell and improve their homes in HRM for more than 10 years.

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