Give your kitchen a makeover with remodeling projects that will increase your home’s value. From cabinet upgrades to appliance swaps, we share the best ideas to revamp your kitchen while getting a solid return on investment.

Kitchen remodels can be expensive, with the average kitchen renovation costing over $20,000 according to HomeAdvisor. But certain projects give homeowners the biggest bang for their buck when selling or recouping costs down the line. We’ll explore the renovations that help a kitchen retain its function and flow while increasing its value through strategic updates. Read on for the room additions, layout changes, storage solutions, countertop swaps, backsplash refreshes, and more that will make your next kitchen remodel worth it.

Open Up the Room’s Layout

One of the best ways to modernize a kitchen is to open it up to surrounding spaces. Knocking down walls between the kitchen, dining room, and living room helps create an airy, open concept. This makes the home feel larger and facilitates conversation and connection between rooms.

Here are popular layout changes that open up closed-off kitchens:

Remove Walls

Taking down walls between the kitchen and adjacent rooms helps create an open floor plan. Focus first on load-bearing walls between the kitchen and dining/living areas. Opening the sight lines expands the room dramatically. Consulting a structural engineer ensures this can be done safely by adding necessary supports.

Expand Doorways

If removing walls isn’t possible, enlarging doorways can also connect rooms. Widening openings helps rooms feel more continuous without losing dividing walls. Wider passageways also allow more natural light into the kitchen.

Add an Island

Islands instantly make kitchens more spacious, providing additional counter space and storage. They also help define the kitchen within a large open concept. Try placing the island parallel to perimeter cabinetry to designate separate kitchen and living zones.

Install an Archway

Arched openings add architectural interest when joining rooms. Frame existing doorways or span new connections with graceful curves. This can help the kitchen feel distinct from neighboring spaces while maintaining an open flow.

Gain Storage and Counter Space

Lack of storage and prep space is one of the biggest complaints in outdated kitchens. Smart renovations tailored to your needs can maximize every inch of your kitchen.

Add Drawers

Swap out base cabinets for drawers, which utilize vertical space more efficiently. Add pulls for easy access to pots, pans and cooking tools. Consider divided cutlery and spice drawers too.

Install Pull-Out Shelving

Replace existing cabinets with models featuring pull-out shelves. These fully extend to bring items to the front for grabbing. Try tiered and corner shelf pull outs to optimize awkward spaces.

Extend Counters

Lengthen existing counters or add new peninsulas and islands to get more workspace. Extended counters can also help delineate the kitchen within a large open floor plan. Add seating to make peninsulas multifunctional.

Add Shelving

Open shelving maximizes vertical storage and eliminates the need for upper cabinets. This makes rooms feel airier and showcases decorative items. Try glass-fronted shelving to prevent grease buildup.

Install a Pantry

Dedicated pantries store bulky items and small appliances out of sight. Consider narrow pull-out pantries or walk-in closets with floor-to-ceiling shelving. This frees up existing cabinets for dishes and food.

Update Cabinets and Hardware

Your kitchen’s cabinets likely see the most wear and tear. Replacing dated or damaged cabinets makes a huge visual impact. For budget-friendly options, refacing with new doors and hardware goes a long way.

Replace Cabinet Boxes

For a total cabinet overhaul, swap out existing boxes for new recessed-panel hardwood or modern slab cabinets. This creates a custom built-in look elevating the whole room. Opt for soft-close hinges and full-extension drawers too.

Reface with New Doors

Refacing preserves cabinet boxes while replacing doors and fronts only. This cuts costs significantly compared to full cabinet replacement. Go for materials like wood, matte lacquer, glass or metal to rejuvenate the look.

Add Fresh Hardware

As a quick upgrade, install new knobs or pulls to update cabinets’ style. Black, brass and bronze finishes modernize traditional kitchens. For contemporary spaces, try sleek handle-less models.

Paint Cabinets

Painting cabinets can help brighten up the space or create a cohesive look. White, gray and navy hues work well in almost any kitchen style. Use a bonding primer and semigloss finish for durability.

Stain and Seal

Wood cabinets can be revived with new stain or clear sealer. This enhances the woodgrain and protects from moisture and grease. Matte finishes camouflage damage on existing cabinets before replacement.

Choose Impactful Countertops

Countertops see constant use in the kitchen. Investing in durable, stylish counters can help sell your home or simply refresh what you see and interact with daily.


Quartz counters are highly valued for their stylish appearances and extreme durability. Made from crushed stone and resin, these nonporous surfaces resist scratches, stains and heat. White quartz counters brighten up small kitchens.


Granite’s elegance and longevity make it a premium choice. The natural stone material needs sealing but brings unparalleled style. Pair granite with the room’s decor for cohesive elegance.


Marble looks ultra-high end but requires careful maintenance. The softer stone stains easily but adds timeless beauty with gorgeous veining. Limit marble to non-prep areas or pair with a protective sealer.


Poured concrete counters offer industrial appeal. Concrete resists heat, stains and scratches well. The material’s poured appearance brings cool, contemporary texture.


Affordable laminate replicates the look of pricier materials like natural stone. While prone to chipping and bubbling over time, laminate comes in many realistic patterns at a fraction of the cost.

Butcher Block

Butcher block stands up to heavy use while adding warmth. Wood surfaces age well but require diligent sealing to prevent moisture damage. Butcher block pairs beautifully with stainless steel appliances.

Refresh the Backsplash

The backsplash provides the perfect opportunity to incorporate color, shine and pattern. Swapping in a new backsplash typically requires minimal construction work while instantly reviving kitchen decor.


Tiles like ceramic, porcelain and glass create limitless options for stunning backsplashes. Arrange subway tiles in classic patterns or opt for bold and artistic mosaics.


Metal backsplashes make a sleek contemporary statement. Stainless steel and copper sheeting add industrial flair. Punch up a minimalist kitchen with unexpected metal backsplashes.


Marble, travertine and granite slabs bring natural texture. Stone backsplashes complement countertops crafted from the same material for a seamless look. Keep patterns and colors minimal for harmony.

Painted Drywall

Refresh a simple drywall backsplash with fresh paint for minimal cost. Try glossy coats of white or soft pastels to brighten the space. Use semi-gloss sheens for added shine and wipeability behind the range.


Peel-and-stick wallpaper allows you to cover a backsplash easily. Choose patterns like botanical prints, abstract shapes or mosaics. Avoid heavily textured and busy papers that appear too busy behind counters.

Swap Out Appliances and Fixtures

Replacing major kitchen appliances makes a big impact for resale value and usability. Similarly, new fixtures like sinks, faucets and lighting increase functionality.


A gleaming new fridge serves as the kitchen’s centerpiece. Look for energy efficient models with flexible storage options like slide out shelves and door-in-door features. Install partitions and crisper drawers to organize produce.


Splurge on pro-style ranges for luxury appeal. Go for a powerful gas stove with a professional hood vent. Add a double oven if space allows. For contemporary chic, try an induction cooktop.


Replacing an old unreliable dishwasher with a new Energy Star model adds convenience. Look for adjustable racks, soil sensors and quiet operation when comparing options.

Sink and Faucet

Swapping in a fresh sink and faucet updates the kitchen’s focal point. For classic charm, opt for a farmhouse apron-front sink. For modern flair, try an industrial metal sink.


Proper lighting transforms any kitchen. Add recessed cans for ambient glow and pendant lights over islands. Under-cabinet LED strip lighting illuminates counters and accentuates details.

Add Special Finishes

Unique finishing touches lend personalized style and luxury. Specialty accents demonstrate attention to detail for interested buyers or your own enjoyment.

Built-In Coffee Station

Designate space for a built-in coffee bar to indulge daily routines. Include hooks for mugs, counters for machines and outlets for plugging in appliances. Open shelving stores beans and supplies.

Charging Station

Never hunt for your phone again with a dedicated charging station. Built-ins hide wires and ensure devices get juice. Include outlets, USB ports, trays and storage for maximum convenience.

Desk Nook

Carve out workspace for paying bills or glanced-over mail. A small desk area utilizes empty corners productively. Add a chair, organizational accessories and task lighting.

Beverage Center

Entertain in style with a beverage station for wine, barware or coffee service. Incorporate open shelving, stemware storage, a wine fridge, mini-bar sink and ice maker.

Recycling Center

Keep recycling tidy and make it easy with a dedicated sorting station. Use labeled bins and baskets to separate paper, plastic, metal, glass and food waste. Conceal bins in cupboards or leave open.

Create an Inviting Dining Space

The way your kitchen flows into dining areas also affects appeal and usability. A well-connected eating space adds valued multipurpose room.

Built-In Banquette

Built-in banquettes infuse cozy diner style. Tucked-away benches maximize seating in small footprints. Pair banquettes with storage cubbies and lift-top tables.

Breakfast Bar

Extended counters transition to useful bar seating. Visitors can gather around for casual dining and conversation. Anchor stools with overhangs for footrests.

Bistro Table

Small two-top tables nestle perfectly in kitchen nooks. Bistro tables cater to quick weeknight meals without occupying excessive space. Try fold-down or movable versions.


The savviest kitchen remodels balance elegance, functionality and value. Focus on layout changes that improve flow between rooms and storage solutions tailored to your needs. Splurge on long-lasting countertops, cabinets and appliances that boost enjoyment and resale potential. Elevate the room’s style with backsplashes, fixtures and specialty built-ins that showcase your personality. With strategic renovations that maximize what matters most, you can refresh your kitchen in ways that truly pay off.

Questions Homeowners Frequently Ask About Kitchen Remodels That Pay Off

Kitchen remodels require significant investments of time, effort and money. To ensure your project stays on budget and improves functionality, it helps to understand which renovations offer the biggest bang for your buck. Here are answers to the questions we hear most often from homeowners planning for a kitchen overhaul.

What kitchen remodels increase a home’s resale value the most?

Certain high-impact renovations recoup the greatest percentage of costs when selling your home. According to the Remodeling 2022 Cost vs. Value Report, the following projects boost resale value significantly:

  • Minor kitchen remodel: 68% average return on investment
  • Major kitchen remodel: 67% average ROI
  • Luxury kitchen remodel: 62% average ROI

Projects like replacing cabinets, countertops and new higher-end appliances increase property value. Open layout changes also rank high for ROI.

What renovations make a kitchen more functional?

Improving functionality centers on maximizing storage, counter space, seating and flow. Smart solutions include:

  • Turning unused corners into pull-out pantries
  • Swapping upper cabinets for open shelving
  • Adding islands, banquettes or bar seating
  • Widening doorways and removing walls
  • Installing drawer inserts, rollout shelves and other storage optimizations

How much does an average kitchen remodel cost?

According to HomeAdvisor, expect to pay the following average prices:

  • Minor remodel: $24,400
  • Major remodel: $70,500
  • Luxury remodel: $131,500

Exact costs depend on factors like location, size, materials and refinishing needs. Quality materials like granite countertops and cherry cabinets drive up costs significantly.

What kitchen remodels are worth it?

The best renovations balance increased enjoyment, functionality and resale value. Projects like open layout changes, storage solutions, cabinet refacing, quartz counters and new stainless appliances are all solid long-term investments.

How can I update my kitchen on a budget?

For budget-friendly kitchen updates, consider the following:

  • Paint or re-stain cabinets instead of replacing
  • Replace hardware like knobs, pulls and sinks
  • Refresh walls with paint or peel-and-stick wallpaper
  • Update lighting fixtures and under-cabinet lighting
  • Replace your backsplash with tile or metal sheets

Focus on visible surfaces like cabinets and backsplashes over foundational changes to maximize visual impact.

Should I remodel the kitchen or buy a new house?

Remodel if you love the location, layout and footprint but want style and functionality upgrades. Buy if you need more space or different room configurations, or want updates without the hassle of remodeling. Buyers may also hesitate to take on your outdated kitchen.

How do I design a kitchen remodel?

Start by assessing how you use the existing space and determining needed improvements. Evaluate workflow, storage, counters, appliances, sinks and lighting. Next, set a budget and style direction. Spend the most on permanent elements like cabinetry, countertops and flooring. Consult magazines and websites for inspiration. Consider consulting a kitchen designer if making structural changes. Use their plans to get quotes from contractors.

How long do kitchen remodels take?

According to HomeAdvisor, the length of kitchen remodels follows:

  • Minor remodel: 2-3 weeks
  • Major remodel: 4-8 weeks
  • Luxury remodel: 8 or more weeks

Work with contractors to establish a realistic timeline accounting for permitting, certifications, appliance delivery times and potential delays. Ask if temporary cooking arrangements should be made.

What should I update first in my kitchen?

Focus first on foundational changes like layout, lighting placement and cabinetry. Next move to surface upgrades like countertops, backsplashes and art. Finish with cosmetic updates like paint, fixtures and hardware. This allows you to match later finishes to early choices. Make appliance swaps last to avoid damage during construction.

What renovations add the most value to a small kitchen?

In a small kitchen, stick to changes that maximize function in limited space. Ideas include:

  • Knocking down walls for open layouts
  • Adding stacked cabinets for vertical storage
  • Installing pull-outs like pantries and spice racks
  • Opting for drawer microwaves or slide-in ranges
  • Adding a table bar combination
  • Utilizing pendant or recessed lighting

Focus on opening the space and improving organization over adding significant square footage.

Kitchen Remodeling Tips and Ideas

Remodeling your kitchen is an exciting project, but proper planning helps ensure you get the most out of your investment. Use these tips and ideas when tackling your kitchen overhaul.

Plan Around How You Cook and Entertain

Analyze how your current kitchen falls short for preparing meals and hosting guests. Decide if you need more prep space, seating, storage or appliances that reflect your cooking style.

Incorporate Architectural Interest

Create visual appeal with details like arches, glass cabinets, built-ins or accent lighting. This adds style without going overboard on expensive finishes.

Establish a Focal Point

Draw the eye to an eye-catching feature like a large island, statement vent hood or stand-out backsplash tile design. Repeat its finish throughout for a cohesive look.

Allow Room for Multiple Cooks

Avoid collisions with enough room for helpers by incorporating multiple prep zones and sinks. Extra space between islands and counters also allows multiple people.

Optimize Lighting

Thoroughly illuminate key areas like islands, sinks and counters. Use recessed cans for overall light, pendants for style and task lighting where extra visibility is needed.

Harmonize Finishes

Tie the space together with cohesive countertop, cabinetry, hardware and lighting finishes. Contrasting metals and stone patterns look disjointed.

Incorporate Classic Details

Balance trendy touches with timeless features like farmhouse sinks, coffered ceilings, built-in chopping blocks and paneled appliances for an instantly elevated look.

Choose Durable Surfaces

Opt for resilient, low-maintenance materials in high-traffic spots like quartz counters and porcelain tile backsplashes that withstand messes and wear.

Zone Areas by Function

Keep major appliances together while designating separate spaces for prep, cleaning and dining. This intuitive layout gets cooks moving efficiently.

Allow Room to Browse and Gather

Leave walking space between islands, counters and open shelving for shoppers and helpers to pass through without bottlenecking.

Accommodate Your Appliances

Ensure cabinet and island dimensions work for planned appliances like wide fridge-freezers. This avoids surprises or last-minute changes down the line.

Embrace Multipurpose Pieces

Choose islands that offer storage and seating, hutches that double as buffets, and banquettes with secret hideaways to get more function