While it is true updating a kitchen can greatly improve a home’s resale value, this isn’t the place to make a mistake. Kitchens are full of design choices, an investment which requires careful consideration. After years of helping customers with their homes we created the following do’s and don’ts guide for making good kitchen design choices to help you avoid costly mistakes which can destroy your home’s resale value.
Kitchen Design Do’s
- Choose an independent designer who us up to date on kitchen design and serves the client first, not a brand. Be wary of “in house designers” pushing only the products they sell or represent.
- Research the latests products, appliances, materials and kitchen design ideas. Look at magazines, blogs and visit showrooms. Talk to uninterested people (not your mom) about their experience with appliances.
- Match the kitchen design to the overall architectural aesthetics of the home with appropriate materials, finishes and appliances.
- Make appliance choices which work for your needs. Better quality appliances can enhance the value of a home, however if you won’t enjoy a gourmet stove or other fancy features on pricier appliances, you don’t need them.
- User friendly design ideas tend to stay in style. Plain front cabinetry, useful pullouts or a kitchen where lower cabinets are all drawers are modern but timeless.
- When renovating, update anything which already looks stale or inappropriate for the type of home and neighborhood.
- Choose materials and finishes which are durable and simple. Simple, uncomplicated designs have staying power.
Kitchen Design Don’ts
- Don’t make design decisions based on what was hot yesterday. Never ever fall for the trap of using a design idea based on “what I’ve always wanted.” Too often design element wants were formed ten or more years ago, things have changed. A kitchen has to keep up.
- Don’t over personalize a space with expensive-to-change items like strange patterns or colors, unusual height cabinets, odd multiples of appliances, bizarre decorative tile or countertops. This doesn’t mean don’t use color or decorative tile or two dishwashers, just make design decisions which have appeal beyond you and are not a date stamp.
- Don’t assume dollars spent are equal to dollars of added value, the value decreases the day it is installed.
- High tech doesn’t not always add value if the technology becomes obsolete. Simpler is often better for resale. Avoid anything too high-tech unless it has been on the market a few years or you are prepared to change it.
- Avoid trendy design ideas, colors or patterns if resale is an option in less than seven years. Trendy items can be a date stamp, meaning it has to be changed to sell.
- Kitchens should be the least “decorated” rooms in a home. The bones (materials and cabinetry) of a well designed kitchen will transcend any specified “look.”
- Don’t make silly design choices. Design decisions have to make sense. What were they thinking in million dollar home with large kitchen and fabulous chef’s stove, and someone put the microwave on a cart? It defies logic.
Now for the tough talk. Nobody wants to pay for old design. It doesn’t matter how much was spent on custom designer cabinets if the look and/or design is outdated when it comes time to sell your home (scroll to last photo as a reminder). Oddball color choices aren’t going to cut it either. If you want purple cabinets, expect to change them before the house goes on the market. Patterned wallpaper can be like the kiss of death for salability, especially if it was installed more than ten years earlier. Super trendy anything, if dated are the first things which get replaced. Smart buyers will attach a replacement value to these and lower their asking price accordingly.
General Design Tip: Seven years is a good benchmark for when paint, colors, patterns, and trendy items can begin to look dingy or dated. This is a good time to check if some items need a refresh.
Of course you can have anything you want, it’s your money, until it is time to sell then someone else may not want to pay for your wants. Don’t take it personally, its a home. Once its up for sale its no longer your home, its a asset you want to sell for as much as you can, so design it accordingly.