Remodeling a kitchen is one of the most cost-efficient home improvements you can make, with one of the highest returns on investment (ROIs) of any improvement effort. There are tons of advantages to going through with one—you’ll have a better-looking kitchen, you’ll have more reliable and functional appliances, and of course, when you go to sell the home, you’ll be able to ask for more money.
However, kitchen remodeling isn’t that simple, and there are definitely right and wrong ways to go about it. If you’re going to pay thousands of dollars for a new kitchen, you’ll want that money to work for you.
Maximizing Your Kitchen Investment
These are some of the strategies you’ll need to use if you want to get the most out of your kitchen remodeling investment:
- Know your budget. First, you’ll need to outline exactly how much you’re willing to spend. Home remodeling projects vary wildly in cost, depending on what options and features you pursue and who you end up working with. Having an outlined budget from the beginning will guide you in your research and set you up for more appropriate decisions when you start finalizing your plans.
- Work with a professional contractor. You could save a lot of money by doing all the work yourself, or by working with a friend of a friend who has experience in installing new appliances or other kitchen features. However, if you want your kitchen to look its best and you want to get the most value for your money, it’s better to go with a professional contractor. You’ll have everything finished faster and with greater precision, and if anything goes wrong, most contractors have some kind of guarantee on their work to protect you.
- Invest in the right appliances. Appliances are a major investment in your home remodeling project, and your choice can have a huge impact on your eventual return. For big appliances, like refrigerators, you’ll want heavy-duty choices that have the potential to last for many years without replacement. And don’t forget to upgrade your small appliances, like slow cookers; even though they might not be sold with the house, they’ll add to your kitchen’s overall aesthetic and will make cooking a more pleasant experience.
- Know where to splurge and where to save. There are many dimensions to kitchen remodeling, including flooring, countertops, sinks, faucets, cabinets, and appliances. If you want the most from your investment, you’ll need to learn the best places to splurge and the best places to save. For example, the difference between a $1,000 refrigerator and a $10,000 refrigerator may not be much—but the difference between a $500 cabinet and a $2,500 cabinet could make a huge difference in the new price of your home.
- Make the most of your current layout. Kitchen remodels are almost always expensive, but they’re even pricier when you try to change the layout of your home by adding a new wing, tearing down a wall, or making some other major change. Instead, as long as you can live with it, keep your main layout the same and work on improving easier, more cost-efficient
- Consider the lighting. It may seem like one of the smallest investments you’ll make in a kitchen remodel, but lighting is critically important. Installing strong overhead lighting can give an entirely different mood to your kitchen, adding to the aesthetics for only a few hundred extra dollars. Also, when it comes time to sell the house, you can use that lighting to highlight how beautiful the kitchen really is.
- Think long-term. The best way to maximize your investment for the future is to think long-term with all of your decisions. The oven you’re looking at may be able to do its job perfectly fine, but how long do you anticipate it lasting? It may be worth considering a compromise on the quality of your countertop, but would that mean having to go back and remodel again in the future? Opt for the decisions most likely to suit you over the course of several years.
Kitchen remodeling is a big job, and depending on who you work with and what your goals are, it could take several months—or even longer—to finish the work. It’s not a project you should rush, so be patient and do as much proactive work on the project as you can. If you’re just getting started, begin brainstorming different layout ideas, and research the basics, such as countertop materials, cabinet designs, and new appliances. Before you plan a budget or go through any steps of the formal process, you should educate yourself about what kitchen remodeling truly entails.