It can be challenging to live without a kitchen during a renovation, but the payoff can be worthwhile, since a new kitchen can dramatically improve ease of use while also providing the biggest return on investment when it’s time to sell. After all, there are two main spaces — kitchens and bathrooms — that are often a huge selling point in for-sale homes since they get such frequent use. Taking your renovation project a few steps further and opting for a luxuryrenovation in the heart of your home can boost your own enjoyment of the space, as well as your home’s value, even more.
If you’re considering a luxe kitchen remodel, follow these four guidelines for renovation.
1. Consider function
Any successful luxury kitchen renovation requires some essentials, and one of the most important considerations is functionality of the kitchen. Luxury kitchens today predominantly have open floor plans, and buyers often prefer brightly lit, oversized center islands, or even two islands in some cases, to maximize usable workspace while also creating a gathering space. Kathryn Fagin, a Boston, MA–based interior designer, says her clients often request a butler’s pantry for additional storage, prep space for kitchen staff, and a second dishwasher and refrigerator if they enjoy entertaining.
2. Mix trendy and timeless
When it comes to kitchen design, make sure the main elements are timeless, including the cabinets, appliances, and countertops. Designer Brianna Woodhouse, principal of Weymouth I+D in Austin, TX, says she has seen trends come and go: from country-themed kitchens to modern and sleek ones to kitchens with an industrial flair, and back again. What remains constant, and what potential homebuyers will immediately notice, are the beauty and quality of the cabinetry and the appliances — the hallmarks of a true luxury kitchen remodel. “If you skimp [on those], everyone can tell,” says Woodhouse. “You end up costing yourself more money down the line when having to replace them in a few years because they don’t hold up.”
For cabinets, rich woods in neutral tones or white provide a classic backdrop for adding in other textures, unique art pieces, or pops of color that can be changed later along with the trends or homeowner’s taste. With countertops, natural stone, granite, and marble provide a beautiful focal point on a center island and can be customized to look even more luxe when wrapped over the countertop edges for a “waterfall” effect. Finally, for appliances, stainless steel remains the classic choice for professional-looking kitchens, while integrated appliances installed flush with panels that match the cabinetry and millwork are also a popular option as they can disappear into the design of the space.
In many luxe kitchens, appliances are functional showpieces. Long Island, NY, real estate agent April Hughes Kaufman points out that of all the newer “extras” she’s seeing in luxury kitchens, the addition of specific-use refrigerators impresses the widest pool of buyers. For example, under-counter refrigeration drawers allow for convenient beverage storage and easy access for children, while glass-front refrigerators display their contents beautifully. For some, a separate wine storage unit in the kitchen or butler’s pantry introduces an element of both luxury and convenience.
3. Luxury doesn’t have to be large
While an open floor plan will probably expand your kitchen’s footprint, it’s important to consult a professional: A good designer can create a luxury kitchen in any shape or size that will best suit the lifestyle of the homeowner. “The feel of luxury is provided by many design elements: the inviting lighting, the glistening appliances, as well as warm and cold textures breaking up the room,” says Woodhouse. What small kitchens lack in square footage they often make up for in thoughtful details and functionality — so don’t assume a luxury kitchen isn’t for you simply because yours is modestly sized. Many appliances can be customized to fit in smaller spaces, and cutting back on the number of range burners or opting for smaller versions of traditional appliances can help free up space. With less surface area to cover, upgrading to higher-end marble countertops or adding a luxurious tile backsplash becomes more feasible too.
4. Your kitchen’s ROI
When it comes to remodeling a kitchen, it’s wise to keep the costs within a reasonable proportion of the home’s total value — and keep the style harmonious with the rest of the house. Does your home have a traditional exterior? If so, an ultracontemporary kitchen might feel awkward and out of place.
After basics like a sound roof and HVAC system, real estate agents and designers agree that the space that matters most is the kitchen; it’s the heart of the home and a general gathering spot. It’s also the space in which homeowners spend most of their time. Considering the commitment required to undergo a renovation, Kathryn Fagin also says buyers recognize that getting a home with a well-designed kitchen is an effort they won’t have to make and are generally willing to pay more for the privilege. But you don’t have to sell right away to capitalize on your renovation investment; a luxury kitchen is always a plus, so give yourself a few years to enjoy it before you sell!