Published: 09:00, 06 October 2017
| Updated: 09:08, 06 October 2017
Graeme Wilson, Houzz Contributor
Ahead of putting a property on the market, there are lots of things we can do to our homes that may increase their market price, and it’s widely recognised that the room most likely to add value is the kitchen. So if you’re planning any major renovation work, this is the room in which to do it.
The kitchen is a space not just for cooking, but for dining, socialising, working, helping with homework and more, and buyers recognise this. But it’s not just any new kitchen that will increase market price, so if appreciation is your goal, you need to plan your renovation carefully. Here are 10 design and planning tips to help increase the value of your home.
Aim for a look that suits the space
You should always use a professional kitchen designer who can make best use of the space to create an appealing look. Good designers know what works and what doesn’t, and should recognise when it’s better to continue a home’s existing theme.
For example, an ultra-contemporary kitchen won’t always work for a traditional or period home with original features, such as the beams in this rustic cookspace. Equally, a traditional country kitchen might not look right in a warehouse flat setting.
Designers also know what needs to be included in a design, and how to achieve this while still bringing balance to the look – you don’t want to overfill your kitchen so it appears cluttered, but neither should you under-fill a larger space so it feels bare and unfinished.
Designers also know the kitchen layouts, styles and features that hold most appeal with homeowners, and also understand the reasons why they appeal. Taking on board such insight can only help when it comes to designing a kitchen intended to add value to a home.
Browse more photos of country kitchens
Design a functional layout
Along with an appealing look, equally important for a kitchen is a functional layout. A designer can advise on the best choice for making effective use of the space and creating a smooth workflow. Potential buyers will probably note the feasibility of the layout, particularly as they imagine themselves cooking and working in the kitchen.
Creating sufficient storage space is also crucial. Clutter-free surfaces create instant visual appeal, and again will also help potential buyers to picture themselves using the kitchen.
When planning your layout, you should also consider whether there’s room for extending. In smaller spaces, perhaps you could take a wall down to open up the space, or maybe a basement, side or rear extension (as pictured) is a possibility? Remember that an extension would not only improve your kitchen by opening it up, it would also increase your home’s square footage, which in turn should increase its value.
Choose neutral colours
When planning a new kitchen, it may be that your dream look is bold red doors or bright blue cabinetry; but while this may be perfect for you, lively colours or highly personalised décor won’t necessarily appeal to the wider population. So when planning a colour scheme for a kitchen that you hope will add value, it’s best to opt for neutral colours.
These are safe options, as they have broad appeal. Light greys and creams are popular, and white is a fail-safe choice that will brighten a kitchen, too. Neutral shades also help to create a blank canvas, allowing potential buyers the space and imagination to reflect on how they might put their own stamp on the place.
Plan an appropriate spend
When planning any renovation project, it’s important to calculate a budget and stick to it. But it’s equally important to ensure your planned spend on a new kitchen is in proportion with the price bracket of your home.
For example, if your home’s asking price is likely to be around £200,000, then spending £25,000 on a kitchen would be too much, as you’d be unlikely to get a return on this spend. Similarly, if your house’s asking price was upwards of £500,000, it would be unwise to install a budget kitchen. This could prove off-putting to potential buyers and may even reduce rather than increase your home’s value, as the valuation might need to factor in the cost of a replacement.
Browse 10 small but perfectly formed kitchens
Include recognisable appliance brands
Familiarity can be reassuring for people and it breeds confidence. So when choosing appliances for a home set for resale, it’s best to opt for well-known, good-quality brands.
However, you don’t need to overspend. For example, consider choosing a mid-range, recommended appliance model with good reviews, rather than a top-of-the-range model from a relatively unknown brand. The former will prove more encouraging for potential buyers, especially if the estate agent includes it in the details for the house.
Having the relevant appliance manuals and warranties to hand can also be a reassuring selling point for potential buyers.
Consider energy-efficient options
Another consideration when choosing appliances is energy-efficiency. Homeowners are becoming more aware of eco-friendly features and are increasingly keen to include them in their houses.
Energy-efficient appliances are the way to go whether you’re selling or not. They’re better for the environment and will also save money in the long term, because they require less energy to operate. For example, an A+ electric oven will consume approximately 40% less energy than a B-rated oven.
Homeowners value features that will bring down the cost of their utility bills, so if you’re designing a kitchen with resale in mind, then choose energy-rated appliances; these are a big plus for your potential buyers.
Ensure sufficient lighting
Lighting is really important in any new kitchen and the difference between a bright, well-lit space versus a dingy room could make or break a buyer’s decision.
When planning a new kitchen, the ideal is to flood the intended space with as much natural light as possible, where you are able to. This will make the kitchen feel bigger and more appealing.
Open floor plans are always a winner so, as already mentioned, consider whether it’s possible to open up the space (as pictured here) to make it bigger and allow in more natural light.
If natural light is restricted (and even where it’s not), be sure to include enough artificial lights and plan the best location for them. This should include suitable task, ambient and accent lighting.
Where natural light is limited, a white kitchen door in a gloss finish will reflect light around the room to make the kitchen feel larger and brighter.
Get tips from a specialist on planning your kitchen lighting
Avoid unnecessary or 'invisible' features…
A new kitchen needs a working layout, it needs to be functional, and it needs to hold aesthetic appeal. But aside from these essentials, there are lots of added luxuries you could include to further enhance a new kitchen. These can be very worthwhile if designing a kitchen for 'yourself', but they won’t necessarily add value to a kitchen in a home heading for resale. In fact, you could easily wind up spending more money than needed for features on which you simply won’t see a return.
Hand-finished cabinetry, top-of-the-range doors and integrated fish tanks, beautiful as this one looks, are all examples of this. Furthermore, many luxurious extras – such as soft-close hinges, underfloor heating or in-built sound systems – may also prove somewhat invisible to potential buyers.
Essentially, nobody would miss these features or consider your property less valuable if they weren’t present. So, unless you’re planning to live there and benefit from dream kitchen touches, it’s probably advisable not to over-personalise a new kitchen design.
…but make a couple of clever luxury choices
While there may be little point splashing out of luxury extras if you’ll be selling your house before too long, there are a few clever ways to add value without blowing the budget.
For example, think about how you could add a hint of luxury: instead of a glass splashback that stretches the width of your kitchen, consider just a panel behind the hob or sink, and possibly a smaller upstand if you’d still like something along the rest of your worktop.
The same goes for luxurious materials – rather than using them all over the kitchen, you could instead make a feature of them. For example, try covering the end of an island, rather than all sides of it, with a piece of quartz or marble.
You could also ask at your local granite company whether there are any worktop lengths left over from previous jobs; pieces like this will typically be sold at a reduced price, and perhaps one will be the perfect size for your needs.
With appliances, splash out on the ones on show, but go for more affordable brands or models for your integrated ones. However, don’t cut corners! And always keep in mind the earlier point about your kitchen needing to reflect the price bracket of your home.
Show your new kitchen at its best
Finally, if you’ve gone to the effort and expense of redesigning a kitchen ahead of selling your home, then ensure all works are done and dusted, so it looks its best when you put it on the market.
All plastering, paintwork and fittings should be complete, and this applies to the rest of the space, too, if it’s part of an open-plan room. The kitchen itself must be clean and tidy, and it’s always good to ‘dress’ the space, doing things like neatly filling your cupboards, displaying flowers or pot plants, filling your fruit bowl and hanging up a picture or two. You could even lay the table to create a really warm and welcoming setting.
When it comes to viewings, this will make your home feel more inviting and help potential buyers to visualise themselves living in the house and enjoying the kitchen as their own.
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