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Catch a Buyer's Eye With These Kitchen Upgrades

When you're prepping to sell your home, step back and take a look at it with an objective eye. You may love its color palette, fixtures, and other decor elements, but your taste no longer matters. Will your home's appearance appeal to prospective buyers?

Before you start tearing everything down to start from scratch, consider some strategic upgrades. For example, minor kitchen renovations can result in a 20 percent higher return on investment (ROI) than a full-scale remodel. Selling your home can be quicker and more profitable with these smart kitchen improvements.

  • Refresh Cabinets Cabinetry takes up a lot of real estate in most kitchens, so giving them a facelift makes a significant impact on the room's overall look. If the cabinets are still in good shape but the design is dated, save time and money by merely repainting or refinishing the doors. According to a survey by the home decor website Houzz, white is by far the most popular color choice. Complete the transformation by switching out knobs, hinges, and drawer pulls with hardware in a more contemporary design.

  • Update Appliances As the Internet of Things (IoT) becomes more integrated into our everyday lives, nowhere is that more evident than in-home management. "Smart" WiFi-enabled refrigerators and dishwashers let you control them from an app on your phone or tablet, allowing you to adjust the temperature or start wash cycles remotely. If you haven't already done so, selling your home is an excellent time to install eco-friendly appliances. 

  • Install New Flooring Even though the floor is below eye level, its appearance is a critical element in optimizing the kitchen's visual balance. Choose a color or finish that's opposite the degree of light or dark provided by the rest of the room's decor. Hardwood flooring has enjoyed a long reign as the number one choice. Still, engineered materials such as vinyl and laminate have improved dramatically in quality, making them popular options when selling your home.

  • Replace Countertops As the primary workspace in the kitchen, countertops serve both aesthetic and practical purposes as features for selling your home. Real Simple cites surveys indicating that engineered quartz is today's top choice of material, based on its superior strength and non-porous surface. Design experts suggest sticking with neutral colors that won't clash with or detract from cabinets.

  • Install an Island How essential are kitchen islands when selling your home? Nearly 80 percent of kitchens built or remodeled since 2009 include at least one island. With kitchens acting as gathering spots for family and guests, an island increases useable space while providing additional seating options. When designing the island, be sure to pay attention to the proportions. A kitchen island that's too big ends up as a liability, not an asset.

  • Repaint Adding a coat of paint before selling your home is still the go-to method for creating a whole new look in any room without much expense or effort. As with countertops, neutral colors such as taupe, gray, and sage are the best choices for kitchen walls. If you want to add a splash of color or integrate a pattern, limit it to one wall.

  • Add Light Fixtures A well-lit kitchen maintains a cheerful atmosphere, which is an excellent hook for selling your home. Traditional overhead fluorescent lighting on its own isn't always up to the job. Use options such as track lighting, pendant lights, puck lights, and recessed lighting to create an optimum mix of accent, task, and ambient lighting. 

Want a winning recipe for selling your home? Use these "ingredients" to whip up a kitchen that will satisfy any buyer's taste.

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