Improving Your Kitchen’s Design for a Great ROI (Return on Investment)


© Kitchen Views | Kitchen designed by Ed Nunes, Chestnut Hill, MA

by Steve Constable, Chicago Home Remodeling

When it comes to home renovations the best return on investment of any part of the home is found in the kitchen. Improving your kitchen can return 75% to 100% or more of your initial investment. But before you dig into your toolbox or head to the home improvement store it is helpful to know what design choices offer the best value for your investment. Implementing the right elements is often the difference between getting the price you want when you hit the market and having to slowly lower your asking price.

A common mistake people make when looking to revise their kitchen is focusing too much on the money spent. Having a budget is very important, but you want your money to be spent productively. Installing expensive Lazy Susans or wine racks are not smart monetary moves if your cabinets are falling apart. The first step is to evaluate the status of your space. Focus on aspects that draw the most attention: counters, cabinets, appliances and wall color.

Counters and cabinets take up the most space in your kitchen (typically 60% to 70%) and get the most use. Reach for a plate or glass, chop food or rest a dish—it’s critical your counters and cabinets are up-to-date in form and function. Homeowners typically view appliances for function first, but a strong aesthetic appeal will help your space stand out to buyers. Kitchens are the first thing realtors show prospective buyers. This is your first impression.

Are your cabinets in dire need of an update? Before you grab your sledgehammer, consider refacing the cabinets. With this the existing frame or skeleton and layout stays intact. Everything else (75% of what people see) is replaced. Adding new doors, drawers, and hardware will only run you between $2,000 and $6,000. A full tear down can cost double or even triple that amount. Of course, a new fresh coat of paint and new cabinet jewelry might be all you need to breathe new life into your cabinets. Creativity is key when you are remodeling on a tight budget. A popular, cost efficient, option is wood refinishing. You cabinets stay the same, but the urethane and stain or paint is stripped away and sanded clean. Then new layers are added. You can expect to pay between $3.30 and $3.70 per square foot on a wood refinishing job, and it’s a project for even the most novice DIYer!


© Kitchen Views | Kitchen designed by Ed Nunes, Chestnut Hill, MA

A project you might want to leave to the experts is replacing your countertop. And you’ll be glad you left this to the pros because a new countertop offers 70% ROI or more. But it needs to be granite. People love granite for its durability and aesthetic look. Not only can you slice food right on its surface (if you do not mind scratching the polish), but you can also choose from a plethora of colors and patterns when picking it out. Be sure to have your kitchen colors locked down before picking your countertop color. You can pick a darker granite color and let it pair with lightly colored walls to be a focal point of contrast. Light colors like whites and yellows are quite in vogue these days. They are inviting, reflect plenty of natural light, and make spaces look bigger. The same cannot be said of dark or “strong” colors like deep blue or green. Use these colors as accents, but make sure they match your countertop.

Don’t worry about matching your walls with your appliances. When buying new appliances, there is one aesthetic that reigns supreme: stainless steel. Nothing is sleeker or cleaner than this metal sheathing, making it the most desirable material among homeowners. Buyers too! People want to know you home is up-to-date. Stainless steel embodies contemporary aesthetic and reliability.


© Kitchen Views | Kitchen designed by Ed Nunes, Chestnut Hill, MA

Real estate experts agree that a kitchen remodel should cost between 5% to 10% of your home’s estimated resale value. In an average US city like Chicago this is anywhere from $12,000 to $24,000 as homes in 2016 are now selling for an average of $240,000. By applying this formula to your kitchen remodeling budget and also incorporating the right design elements into your kitchen remodel you can ensure that your house sells above the fair market value of other homes in the area.

About the Author: Steve Constable is a design and build specialist who lives in Chicago, IL. You can learn more about his company Chicago Kitchen Remodeling Inc. by visiting:

9 Responses to “Improving Your Kitchen’s Design for a Great ROI (Return on Investment)”

  1. 1 Brooke McAvoy July 29, 2016 at 10:59 am

    I like what you said about not focusing too much on the cost in this case. This is something that I need to keep in mind, because I spend more time in my kitchen than any other room in my home. As far as cabinets go, I think I really do want to replace them. In fact, I’d like to get custom cabinets installed, do you have any tips for how I might do this? Thank you for all of the applicable advice!

  2. 2 Laurie August 1, 2016 at 10:31 am

    There is so much you can do when remodeling a kitchen. If you decide to sell your home it can really help the sale as the kitchen is one of the most important rooms to a buyer. Great information, thanks for sharing!

  3. 3 Lillian Schaeffer August 4, 2016 at 2:09 pm

    This is some great information, and I appreciate your suggestion to spend your money productively when doing a kitchen remodel. My husband and I have decided to renovate our kitchen, and our next step is to set a budget. We’ll definitely try to use our money productively so we can make our kitchen functional and beautiful while staying under that budget. Thanks for the great post!

  4. 5 Jacob Martin December 7, 2016 at 3:23 am

    Thanks for sharing your valuable knowledge for small kitchen design. The points you have shared is very informative and knowledgeable. But I would like to add one more small kitchen design idea that is Single-Line Layout. It is very effective kitchen design ideas for small house. With this type of layout, you have all your kitchen equipment and appliances lined at one side of the room.

  5. 7 Johnny McCarron December 28, 2016 at 7:39 pm

    I don’t think that a lot of people realize the kind of difference it makes to do updates on your home. However, as you said, you can really get a good return on investment if you remodel something as simple as a kitchen. Do you have any tips about hiring someone to remodel your kitchen? I would remodel it myself, but I don’t know a lot about that process and I don’t trust myself with DIY projects.

    • 8 National Lumber January 11, 2017 at 2:52 pm

      You asked for tips about hiring someone to remodel your kitchen – first we recommend our 10 Tips for a Smoother Design Journey. This is available on our website in the Getting Started section.

      If you mean how to find a reliable home improvement contractor, and you don’t have a friend to recommend someone they know and trust, we suggest checking for licensed contractors in your area. You could look on association websites like EM-NARI in Massachusetts, or ask the kitchen designer you are working with. You can check on your local BBB, too. It is the responsibility of the homeowner to research the contractor, including checking their license/registration, insurance and references, and then to select three companies for comparison.

  6. 9 hnamydesign March 13, 2017 at 2:26 pm

    Thanks for sharing such nice article. These tips can be very effective

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