Renovating for Resale: Kitchen Design Pro-Tips

Renovating for Resale: Kitchen Design Pro-Tips

Today’s post is by guest writer & kitchen designer Regina Bilotta – this article is featured in the Deanna Kory 2018 Spring Newsletter

Once your home passes the Curb Appeal test, what is one of the most important assets in selling your house? The kitchen! According to Remodeling Magazine’s 2017 report, the average return on investment for renovations, or ROI – that is the value you can expect to get back upon selling your home for every dollar you spend on upgrades – is 64%. Kitchen and bath renovation ranks among the highest returns. Depending on the type of kitchen renovation, your return can vary from 65% for a major remodel to 80% for a minor job. The rule of thumb offered – if you plan to live in your home for more than 5 years – go for it. Design your dream kitchen with every color, bell, and whistle you want because history proves that trends will change before you sell. If you are thinking of selling in less than five years but want to enjoy a new kitchen while you are there, keep these guidelines in mind: remodeling for resale means choosing materials that will make you happy but also appeal to potential buyers.

Whether you’re looking to sell a co-op, penthouse apartment, or brownstone, the guiding principal is “NEUTRAL” – and not in a bad way. For starters, today’s design trend is a perfect template to create what’s called a “resale-conscious aesthetic”. Even the most-high end, spectacular kitchens incorporate calm palettes and clean lines which happen to be just the ticket to appeal to general audiences and also stand the test of time.

Let’s start with the cabinetry, typically the largest surface in a kitchen. Whether you are installing new cabinetry or simply painting your existing, the safest color selection is classic white. Don’t be disappointed; today’s white can be many things. Consider white, with a cool grey or blue undertone. Or warm up your white with beige or taupe tones but be careful to stay away from pink! With the marketable permanent “color” determined, you will be able to introduce your own favorite but “temporary” color accents. Everything from wall paint to dishware should reflect your own favorites, later to be changed by the buyer. Begin to imagine how a new “marketable white” kitchen can actually satisfy your desire for “color” but also create a clean slate anyone can work with.

Next up, if you have the space, consider introducing a working island in a different material – today’s alternative to the kitchen table. This is the perfect surface to incorporate stained wood-like oak or walnut that can work seamlessly with the white painted perimeter cabinets.  Better than a table, an island can accommodate appliances, a sink, or simply give you that extra storage everyone needs. Include an overhang for comfortable stools to gather family and friends. So far, this new kitchen with its neutral palette hasn’t turned anyone away.

Color and material done, cabinetry style is next. This is where the concept of “clean lines” comes into play. Whether you select traditional framed cabinets or transitional to contemporary frameless cabinets, “less is more” for today’s buyer. The days of elaborate details like heavy complex moldings are gone. Take a cue from the style of your home. Let your cabinetry tell a story. It could reflect the style of the rest of the home as seen outside of the kitchen. Or it could successfully distinguish itself from the obvious style and present as though it were a piece of modern furniture placed in a Victorian paneled dining room. Either way, for cabinetry to appeal to a general audience and meet our “neutral” criteria, it must be clean and simple. Today’s biggest sellers range from plain framed, five-piece flat panel doors with an applied or routed molding to frameless flat panel doors. Paints are low sheen or flat and stains are matte.

Counter-tops are easy. While beautiful marbles have become most popular, they require care and maintenance not recommended for resale. Consider a manufactured stone-based material that will stand up to years of heavy use and promise to look as good as it did on the day it was installed. There are numerous patterns and colors to choose from, many of which look just like natural marble. Again, lean towards neutral colors that will compliment your cabinet color.

Appliances offer endless choices. Whether you decide to go with stainless steel or paneled fronts, a sign of a well-done kitchen is a flush refrigerator/freezer – one that does not protrude beyond the counter-top. This one element has become so important to kitchen design that numerous manufacturers have introduced models at multiple price points. While a top-of-the-line big name appliance package will certainly be attractive, it will add to the budget and could decrease you ROI. Alternatively, if you have the room, consider one luxury option, like a built-in coffee maker or a steam/convection oven. Make sure the style of the appliances work with the overall style of kitchen. Other important eye catchers are cabinet accessories. Add interior roll-outs, pull-out trash, magic corners, spice and utensil drawers, lit interiors, and must-have electronics. These are relatively inexpensive ways to make kitchens functional and exciting.

Keeping these four guidelines in mind will make it easy for a potential buyer to see themselves cooking and eating in your kitchen – with their own colors and their own style. Enhance the marketability of your entire home with these tricks of the trade!

Regina Bilotta
Leading kitchen design firm specializing in custom kitchens since 1985. Exquisite product, unrivaled service & superior craftsmanship.
A&D Building, NYC | Mamaroneck, NY | Mount Kisco, NY
212.486.6338 | 866.245.6882
Insta: @BilottaKitchens
Twitter: @BilottaKitchens
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