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The kitchen is the heart of the home. It’s the space where families gather to cook up dinner recipes passed down through generations, bake those festive holiday cookies year after year, and bond while carving a pumpkin or squeezing fresh lemonade. It’s a space where timeless memories are made. This special room also happens to be one of the top two that will help sell your home, along with the master bedroom and bathroom. The kitchen is worth investing in, whether for your own enjoyment with family and friends or for significantly increasing the value of your home.   

The changes made to the kitchen don’t have to be dramatic – even minor switches can make a meaningful difference. On the other hand, if you have an outdated kitchen and a total makeover is in the budget, it’s worth the splurge.

Backsplash

There are near-endless options for backsplashes out there, and it can be a fun process to choose which works best with your kitchen design. While the most popular choices are tile and natural stone, there are many other backsplashes to choose from. Rustic reclaimed wood, brick, subway tiles, marble slab, stainless steel, ceramic with glass tiles and copper tile are also popular choices.  For something different, check out a chalkboard, backlit, river pebble, bold pattern or mirror backsplash. Budget friendly options include coffee bean cast in epoxy or tin sheets. Though the backsplash is an area where you can express yourself, it’s important to ensure that it does not clash or take away from other elements in the kitchen.

Floors

Changing up the floors can make the whole kitchen feel new, clean and fresh. For durability, hardwoods such as oak and cherry work beautifully in open-concept floor plans. Vinyl flooring is great for those who cook a lot, are on a budget and need an easy-to-maintain floor. Porcelain is a known for its durability and beautiful stone-finish, while cork is a wonderful eco-friendly option. Other popular styles include engineered wood, travertine, slate, bamboo, brick and concrete. If you already have wood floors, you can refinish them for a cost-effective update.

Countertops

The almighty kitchen countertops. If there is only one area you update in your kitchen, let it be the countertops! Not only will you enjoy a beautiful space to work on, you will impress prospective buyers. HGTV’s favorite countertops include quartz, polished granite, laminate, wood, marble, honed granite, stainless steel, glass, recycled materials, concrete, soapstone, travertine and tile. Make sure your countertops compliment the rest of your kitchen for maximum appeal. 

Appliances

Kitchen appliances can last 10-15 years. If your appliances exceed this age, they are probably not running as efficiently as they can; and may have issues that are getting in the way of a seamless cooking experience. Every year, appliances are becoming more and more efficient. In fact, refrigerators made before the year 2000 are 40-60 percent less energy-efficient than they are now. As far as dishwashers – older models use 10 gallons of water per cycle, while newer models use 5.8 gallons. Upgrading to new, Energy Star appliances is a smart choice. Stainless steel appliances are always in, and some of the top affordable luxury brands for stainless steel appliances are Frigidaire, KitchenAid, Electrolux, Bosch and Jenn-Air. Sub-Zero and Wolf appliances are top luxury picks if budget is not an issue.

Cabinets

Round off your kitchen makeover with new cabinets. The right cabinets in the kitchen can help maximize your space and provide much-needed storage. With cabinets, hardwoods are popular and oftentimes people will paint their cabinets white as it’s a classic, clean look for kitchens. Other times, homeowners will opt for bold tones that can provide a pop of color to the design, like reds, blues, greens and even yellows. Built-in appliances are also increasingly trendy, so that the refrigerator and dishwasher do not stand out from the other cabinetry.

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