Is A Kitchen Remodel A Good Investment?

Decora Cabinetry optionsKitchen Remodel

It’s one of the biggest questions homeowners have: is a kitchen remodel a good investment? The short answer is yes, but it’s not quite that simple. There’s a lot to consider, and decisions can make it a good or bad investment depending on the situation. Below, I’ll explain the complexities involved in answering this question fairly to help you decide if it’s a good investment for you.
You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again: the kitchen is the heart of the home. This is undeniable. Decades of research back this up. The pandemic has only reinforced this truth. With families spending more time at home, often working remotely, kitchens have seen even higher traffic and wear and tear. This, coupled with the pandemic’s influence on the housing market, has led to a surge in kitchen renovations. Many families are either completing, planning, or saving up for a kitchen renovation.
Simply put, being forced to spend so much time in our homes has driven people to focus on improving their home’s function. This focus on functionality applies to both those who are staying in their current homes and those who have moved to new homes requiring updates. With this in mind, let’s explore the three basic approaches to updating a kitchen.
For this discussion, let’s say the kitchen to be remodeled is a 12 x14 L shape with a small island. The cabinets are a stained oak. They’ve been maintained well, but are showing their age. The counters are an out-of-date granite and the appliances are out of date, but still function.
The first approach could be a simple refresh. This can make a tremendous difference to the look and feel of the room. Painting the cabinets a light color can transform the kitchen and cost very little, especially if you do the project yourself. There are tons of instructional videos and tutorials available. You may decide to replace an appliance or two, put new hardware on the cabinet doors, and maybe add a new backsplash. This sort of project could cost less than $5000, if you do the work yourself. It will make your home more presentable, more valuable, and be a great investment. This is a perfect approach whether it’s all you can afford now or a stepping stone to a complete remodel in the future. Either way, it’s a wise financial decision.
In the second approach, which sometimes happens over a longer period of time, the cabinets will be refaced to save money and the countertops will be replaced with engineered quartz. The sink and faucet will also need to be purchased now that the counter is being updated. The appliances will then look out of place and the entire suite of them will need to be bought. The old flooring and/or the backsplash will look unsightly and need to be updated with a more modern choice. Lighting and new hardware may complete the entire renovation. The initial goal of this type of renovation is to save money while making the kitchen look as new as possible. Unfortunately, in the long run it does not usually save money or time, and the increase in value of the home is negligible.
At first, this approach seems to make a lot of sense, and it does have some merits. But I can honestly tell you that we design kitchens for people who have previously chosen this second approach all the time. Let’s detail the budget for this sort of refacing project for this kitchen size: Refacing $10K, Quartz counters $5K, Flooring $5K, Appliances $10K, Backsplash $2K, Lighting-Sink-Faucet $2K, Labor $12K. Whether they did this project over time or all at once, it will end up costing in the range of $46K. For this price tag, there are no improvements made to the layout, often leaving soffits and cabinets with poor functionality or little maximization of storage. The kitchen will look fantastic at first, but the refacing paint won’t wear like a factory finish, and that’s when remorse can set in. If the house is listed for sale, instead of recouping 35K or more, the value added is quite a bit less because buyers know they need to rip out these cabinets, which renders much of this remodel unusable. This is a large price tag for a short lifespan! If however, you are very happy with the layout and your cabinets have decent functionality then this may be the best option, keeping in mind that the finish typically wears much quicker than the finish on factory made cabinets. 
The third and final approach is to work with a reputable kitchen and bath professional who can help you manage and make selections to do this project on a budget. Here’s a possible breakdown of the costs for this kitchen size: Cabinets $15K, Quartz counters $5K, Flooring $5K, Appliances $8K, Backsplash $2K, Lighting-Sink-Faucet $2K, Labor $20K. For a total investment of $57,000, this approach offers a kitchen with a lifespan of 15-20 years and a potential increase in home value of close to 75% of what you spend.
Ultimately, deciding on the best approach depends on your unique priorities and circumstances. Consider your budget, desired lifespan for the kitchen, how long you plan to stay in the home, and the functionality you crave. Consulting with a professional kitchen and bath designer can help you weigh these factors and create a personalized plan that achieves your vision within your budget.
Here’s the average Return on Investment Kitchen remodeling items;
– Updating Knobs, Pulls, Hinges – Expected ROI: 85% – 100%
– Updating Cabinetry – Expected ROI: 80% – 100%
– Adding a Kitchen Island – Expected ROI: 60% – 80%
– Purchasing New Appliances – Expected ROI: 60% – 80%
– Updating Lighting – Expected ROI: 65%
– Installing Stone counters – Expected ROI: 55% – 75%
– Refreshing your Backsplash – Expected ROI: 60%
– Knocking Down Walls – Expected ROI: 40% – 60%
– Replacing Flooring – Expected ROI: 45% – 50%
– Upgrading Plumbing – Expected ROI: 50%
– Refinished Cabinetry – Expected ROI: 7% – 15%
By Gina Richard