Three financial approaches to a kitchen remodel.

Usually only two of the three financial approaches to a kitchen remodel make sense.

Spending the least amount of money to simply spruce up a kitchen can be money well spent. Or doing as much construction work as needed to create the best kitchen design and to replace all the cabinetry, countertops, flooring, and often the appliances can make a home more valuable than the money spent. Unfortunately, many homeowners instinctively believe that a middle approach makes sense, but they are almost always mistaken. As an investment this middle approach rarely gets back even a small fraction of the money spent when the home is eventually sold.

Let’s look at these three approaches and compare the kitchen remodel costs and benefits.

First remodel. When you have an outdated kitchen such as one with oak cabinets, granite countertops you don’t like, and older appliances, doing something simple can make a big difference. Painting the cabinets with special cabinet paint and painting the room a light color can transform the kitchen while costing very little. Especially, if you do the work yourself which is easy with proper instructions. A kitchen remodel like this even if you replace an appliance or two or possibly the backsplash, could cost under $5000 and make your home more presentable, more valuable, and would be a good financial investment.

Guy touching up kitchen cabinets
Painting old cabinets with new hardware can make a big difference!

Too often homeowners can’t stop here.

Second remodel. In the drive to get what they want homeowners will replace the granite countertop with engineered quartz. Replace the flooring and backsplash with more modern choices. And replace their appliances with expensive high-end models. These types of projects usually splurge their way into adding new lighting. Sometimes cabinets are refaced instead of painted, and flooring might be continued into other rooms. A medium sized kitchen might have a budget like this:

Refacing cabinets 10K. New Quartz countertops 5K, Appliances 10K, Flooring materials 5K, Backsplash, sink, faucet, handles, and light fixtures 2K, Contractor costs 12K or more. Total cost of the project about 45K.

people installing a countertop onto an island
New quartz countertops on an outdated kitchen design.

Unfortunately, this $45,000 project leaves the outdated kitchen design as it was. It often leave soffits over the wall cabinets, and it keeps the old, possibly cheap, cabinet boxes and old-fashioned drawers and drawer tracks.

To the homeowner this transformation might seem like it makes sense.

But kitchen design professionals know this project almost has no value at all beyond the $5000 costs in the first scenario. This kitchen to a new home buyer might only be a stop gap. This is because at its core this is still an outdated kitchen design. It is not the kitchen new home buyers want.

Main Line Kitchen Design routinely rips out these newly renovated kitchens. Home sellers do the remodel thinking it would help sell their homes. The home buyers instead want to take out a wall and create a more modern space. At best the only thing being reused are the new appliances. Quite often old-fashioned double ovens are sold on Craigs List. So even some of the new appliances are not reused in the kitchen being redone by the new buyers.

open kitchen concept kitchen and dining table are in the same room
Kitchen and dining room combined. All appliances and sink moved to create a better space. See Video.

Invest in the kitchen design itself. It is what gives real value to your home.

Third Remodel. Now let’s price out the project that gives this medium sized kitchen the most value. In this renovation much more construction will probably need to be done. Removing a wall between a dining room and a kitchen is common. Removing soffits and running wall cabinets and moldings to the ceiling. Moving sink or appliance locations is always needed to bring a space up to date. Old fashioned desk areas are repurposed.

Doing this project on a budget might price out this way. Cabinets 15K, Quartz countertops 5K, appliances 5K, Flooring materials 5K, Backsplash, sink, faucet, handles, and light fixtures 2K, Contractor costs 20K or more. Total cost of the project about 52K done without splurges. However, this project IS the kitchen of a new home buyers’ dreams. The kitchen now becomes the selling point for the home and the transformed larger kitchen space changes the feel of the entire first floor. A renovation like this can make the value of a home increase far above the cost of the renovation. This is because it’s not just a new kitchen it is a very different home.

professional kitchen designer helping a client
Letting professional kitchen designers help you just makes sense!

Letting experienced professional kitchen designers help you make sensible design, style, and budget decisions is what gives kitchen renovation projects value. Usually, the financially unadvisable remodel, the one that does the kitchen halfway, is done without the help of professionals. Because these projects are envisioned and executed by the homeowner, they have no clue as to what could have been.

Let Main Line Kitchen Design show you what could be before you spend money on a project with little financial reward.

and of course . . .

Bon Appetit!

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