Home Improvement: Does Your Kitchen Work for You?

Home Improvement: Does Your Kitchen Work for You?


Do you have visions of a dream kitchen where you can both cook and entertain? Kitchens have been the gathering spot in the home for many years, but over the last decade or so, kitchens have become a critical item in the buying and selling decision process.


Depending on your particular situation, you have a variety of options when it comes to creating your dream kitchen while still being fiscally responsible. Let’s focus this week on the small, fairly inexpensive things you can do to step it up a notch on a tight budget – and possibly recoup your investment if you sell in the near future.


Many older homes just have painted drywall or possibly a basic, four-square-inch ceramic tile. You can make a significant change in the look of your kitchen with some of the newer tile options. Glass tiles or combination glass, metal and ceramic tiles typically come in mesh sheets and are fairly easy for the amateur Do-It-Yourself person to install with a minimal investment in tools.


This is probably the easiest change to make. Get rid of the plain chrome or brass knobs and drawer pulls for something more stylish like brushed nickel. If you are not replacing cabinet fronts, it is best if your replacement hardware utilizes the same holes or covers the old holes. Also, consider replacing your faucet with something matching your new hardware.


Replace that old fluorescent ceiling fixture with can lights or some new pendants. Another great addition is under-cabinet lighting. This may be a little beyond the scope of the average homeowner from a safety perspective. It is also best to do before you install that new tile backsplash, as you will need to locate existing wiring or run new wires in the walls.


There are many options for countertops these days, but in staying with the theme of controlling expenses, consumers have a couple choices. The least costly is to paint your old laminate counters. Kits are available for this purpose. I have not personally used them and would consider the wear and tear put on your counters to decide how long it may hold up. As with any painted surface, it requires maintenance.


The other option is new laminate. The color choices are endless with many of the new options replicating granite at a fraction of the cost. You could always of course go with real granite.


Vinyl flooring used to date a kitchen, but not any longer. Vinyl tiles are available that replicate ceramic, hardwood, stone and other types of tiles. They are easy to install and fairly inexpensive compared to hardwood or ceramic tile, and they’re much easier to maintain.


Beyond this, you could consider painting your cabinets or even have them re-faced. You are stepping up the cost quite a bit with re-facing, but this may be your only option. Another item, which is usually more expensive, is replacement appliances. The important thing to remember if you are doing this to sell your home is whether you will get your money out of the investment. You also need to consider if the improvements will make your overall house more appealing and thus sell quicker in today’s market. Home Services Link is available to assist you with finding trustworthy people to handle your project needs.


Check back in next week when we address D-I-Y or D-I-R projects. You can also visit our website for more information, request help or access special offers and discounts.