Corin Brucker

Corin Brucker

Question: We want to update our home before we put it on the market, but the cost of renovations is so high. What’s the best way for us to get a return on our investment?

Answer: The fact is, even a minor remodel can give you a great return for money spent. If there is one room in a home that matters more than any other, it’s the kitchen. Kitchens grab a lot of attention to a potential buyer. It has become the central space for gathering and entertaining and is often one of the first rooms a prospective buyer will see. It sets a tone and expectation for the rest of the house.

Believe it or not, you can update and upgrade your kitchen without breaking the bank. Start with the necessary upgrades first. Cabinets are the focal point of any kitchen and even a minor change, such as painting or refacing cabinets and switching out pulls can make a significant difference in terms of presenting a kitchen that feels updated. This is a relatively simple and inexpensive way to change the overall aesthetic in a way that can still be impactful.

When repainting or resurfacing cabinets, consider cabinet colors that are on trend and feel modern. White kitchens are still in style and have broader appeal, but make sure to use a cream white and avoid anything too stark. When refacing cabinets, look at dark woods and organic natural woods. Two- toned cabinetry is still popular and a great way to add depth and interest without going overboard. If replacing cabinets, a slimmer and sleeker take on the Shaker-style cabinets will remain a top kitchen design trend. These clean lines are so versatile, and they work with various design styles, from traditional to modern, so they appeal to a wider range of buyers. Before you start tearing cabinets out, know that open shelving is phasing out simply because storage is so important for a functional kitchen.

Replacing sinks and fixtures is another seemingly small detail most people don’t think about, but it can make a difference in making a kitchen feel updated and new. If your sinks and fixtures are dinged, scratched and just plain worn out, this is also an easy and inexpensive way to make a huge improvement. A simple trip to Lowe’s will do. Mixed metals in fixtures and lighting are popular now. Brass, stainless and bronze, it’s all in style!

If your countertops are outdated, replacing them will present a cost up front but will make a difference in the long run when it comes to pricing your home. Quartz countertops are the current favorite because they now come in many colors, patterns and finishing techniques that mimic the look of natural stone and wear well. Also, we are seeing a lot of butcher block mixed in, which is great news because this is one of the least expensive countertop materials on the market as well as functional. A new backsplash can create a great focal point — it’s all about slabs right now, no more subway tile.

Another good investment is to upgrade your appliances. Look for modern and energy-efficient appliances to give your kitchen a sleek and updated look. Energy-efficient appliances will cut down on your energy bills.

Lighting is another detail people often won’t even notice but can have a huge impact on the overall feeling of a room. Consider a mix of practical spotlights and wall lights with more decorative pendants such as asymmetric or unique finishes.

Open concept kitchens are still very popular, so if that’s possible and within your budget, consider it. Designated bar areas are very attractive, as are larger islands to accommodate dining and entertaining.

In terms of color, organic and saturated colors are trending. Bold colors also are popular but best to bring in as accents as to not make it difficult for new owners to change. Colorful counter stools, rugs, cushions and countertop appliances are a great way to bring in a pop of color without turning off future buyers.

Just be warned: You may end up loving your new kitchen so much, you won’t want to move.

Corin Brucker is a broker associate for Slifer, Smith & Frampton and can be reached at 970-618-6695 or