Considering a renovation to improve the value of your home? Two of the best and most common places to start are adding an additional bathroom (which will be the topic of my next column), and upgrading the heart of the home: the kitchen. Here’s my top tips for getting the best of your kitchen renovation in both the long term, and in your everyday enjoyment.
-Before starting any kitchen reno, it’s important to consider both the short term costs and the possible long term gains. A slick renovation can add value to your home, but if you use materials that aren’t made to last, this value will disappear over time.
-Estimate how long you will live in this space before selling, and use materials that will last at least this long. For example, spending an extra 30% on cabinets now could make the difference between recouping your renovation investment later, or having to upgrade again when buyers only see dinged doors in need of replacement. Better to spend well than spend twice!
-Ultimately, optimizing resale value comes down to good basics rather than lots of superficial details. Kitchens are always a key feature of a home, but overspending on a reno won’t make sense if it doesn’t fit the value of your home. A budget of about 10%-15% of your home’s value usually achieves the best return on investment.
-Consider this when adding luxury features, such as heated floors or high end tile. In a first home, it might make more sense to invest in basics that all homeowners crave at any price point, such as a more storage space or good lighting. Look for: tall upper cabinets, undercabinet lights, quality appliances and hardwearing floors.
Live in the Moment
-Don’t forget the other side of the investment coin, which is the value your reno will add to your every day life! Consider resale, but don’t feel pressure to play everything safe. If you love a bold or trendy look, you can balance it with more timeless fixed elements for the best of both worlds.
-For example, consider using plain white, durable cabinet bases dressed up with fun modern door fronts (such as an exotic wood, which may not still be fashionable in 5 years). Replacing just the doors before selling is a more reasonable cost than fully gutting the kitchen.
Accessorize for Success
-Once you’ve planned out your budget for the key basics, put the rest of your budget into non-committal items or pieces you can remove. After all, personalizing with accessories means you can take the look you love with you!
-This can include small items like cabinet knobs and pulls, or more substantial pieces like a great faucet or even pendant lights—this is a smart area to try trendier finishes like copper, brass, or coloured enamel. Any of these can be taken into a new home and replaced with a more plain option if your realtor suggests they don’t suit your market.
Good Basics Part 2
Here’s a few more go-tos for a designer look that stands the test of time.
-White subway tile: it makes a beautiful and classic backsplash without a huge investment, and people will be able to imagine if fitting with their own style.
-A great dining table: In an eat-in kitchen, a beautiful tabletop will feel add to the look of the finishes, but you’ll be able to take it with you when you go. (It’s a smart place to add some must-have marble.)
-Use whatever wild and wonderful shade of paint you love, and plan at the time of your renovation to set aside a little money for a repainting later. No matter what paint you choose now, there will be a more in-demand colour in the future that you can apply to inspire a sale.
- Invest in quality materials that will hold up until after you sell, or your renovation budget will be wasted in the long term.
- Budget approximately 10-15% of your home’s value for a kitchen renovation with a good return on investment.
- Focus on great basics like tall, durable upper cabinets with plenty of storage before luxury details.
- Personalize a space with moveable pieces like knobs or faucets and you’ll be able to reset the look for resale and take your favourites with you.
- Try plain white subway tile for a classic backsplash and a marble top dining table to bring in luxury you won’t have to leave behind
About the author: Yanic Simard is principal designer at Toronto Interior Design Group and TV design expert on Cityline.