You don’t need a big budget to cook up the kitchen of your dreams.
It’s likely you spend much of your time at home in your kitchen, cooking, entertaining friends over a glass (or two) of wine, or talking through your day with family. But there may come a day when you look around and notice that —gasp! — this well-loved space is starting to look a bit worn. Suddenly, your favorite gathering spot has become a place you rush guests through, and you’re concerned that potential future buyers will be turned off by its outdated appearance — especially if you’re in an expensive (read: high end) market, like Westport, CT.
There’s no need to shy away from kitchen upgrades, though. Make a game of it by hunting for appliances and lighting on sale or clearance; oftentimes, they are discounted for indiscernible scratches and the like. Here are the seven upgrades suggested by design experts and real estate agents for the ultimate advice on how to rehab your kitchen (and increase your home’s value!) at a cost of less than $5,000.
1. Repaint your cabinets and change out hardware
Estimated cost: $250 for hardware, $300 for paint
It sounds simple, but painting cabinets in a semigloss finish and adding new hardware are quick ways to give your kitchen a snappy face-lift without spending a mint. “One of our favorite tips for updating a kitchen is to swap out standard hardware,” says Marika Meyer of Marika Meyer Interiors LLC. “Hardware can change the feel of the space, making an out-of-date kitchen feel more modern, or noncustom cabinetry feel like an upgrade.” Try options like a recessed ring pull and traditional bin pull for stylish hardware that’s simultaneously timeless and trendy.
2. Replace or add a backsplash
Estimated cost: $2,000
Tired of doing dishes and looking at a sad, tired backsplash with yellowed grout? Give it an update! Kathleen Hay, principal at Kathleen Hay Designs, suggests changing out what you have for new tile. “Consider changing a tile backsplash to a modern glass, mosaic tile, or a classic white subway tile, which never goes out of style,” says Hay. “It now comes in many sizes/shapes and can be laid in a herringbone or soldiered pattern for an updated and fresh look.” White or neutral tones will make the kitchen feel bigger and brighter to you — and to potential buyers.
3. Paint the hardwood floors
Estimated cost: Varies depending on the size of your space; painting or restaining floors typically costs between $400 and $650 plus labor; ceramic tile starts around $900 plus installation costs
You might think about the kitchen floor mainly when you’re mopping up a spill, but painting it is a quick way to give this key surface new life. “Flooring is a very important part of a kitchen remodel, and there is a dizzying array of options available to the homeowner,” says Jane Toland, principal at Tolhouse Design. “A simple floor color change is all that is needed, in say, a rich brown shade or a trendy gray stain.” Opt for enamel paint like Benjamin Moore’s Floor and Patio Latex enamel. If you’re wary of making such a permanent commitment, many retailers sell pint-sized paint samples so you can test out a color before you decide. If you want to heighten the look of the kitchen even more, consider adding ceramic tile (which is less expensive than stone or porcelain tile, easy to clean, and can be laid on your own with a little patience).