10 worst kitchen upgrades you can make
Maryalene LaPonsie | Improvement Center Columnist | July 3, 2015
There's a reason they say the kitchen is the heart of your home. Even if you don't cook, it's likely the room where you gather with family and friends. It might also serve as your home office and having a kitchen that is both functional and appealing is probably high on your priority list.
If you plan to sell your home in the near future, having a great kitchen is even more important. HGTV says the kitchen can be the deciding factor in many home sales and for those who will be remodeling prior to putting a property on the market, the network recommends aiming for a 70 percent return on your renovation investment.
While a creative kitchen remodel can let you dream you big, be aware that not everything sold as an upgrade is necessarily an improvement. In fact, here are ten kitchen remodel ideas from which you may want to steer clear.
1. Ceramic flooring
It looks great, and it's oh so durable but your legs will be aching by dinnertime. Hard ceramic is not the type of flooring you want to stand on for long periods. Plus, any dropped dishware is more likely to shatter on ceramic than on softer flooring options like cork or hardwood.
2. Inconvenient islands
Adding an island is a great idea. A 2013 study from 24/7 Wall St. found 48 percent of home buyers are willing to pay extra for a kitchen island. However, adding an island that comes between the sink and fridge isn't such a good idea. Design the island so that it adds convenience - not steps - to your day.
3. Wrong appliances
Don't get carried away and splurge on professional-grade appliances just because that's what the magazines show. Likewise, don't think you can save money by buying the cheapest appliances on the market. An ultra-cheap new appliance could end up being a downgrade if you have a better-quality, older model in your kitchen already.
4. Cheap cabinets
The same advice about cheap appliances could go for cheap cabinets. They may look nice, but cheaply made cabinets will be quick to show wear and tear under heavy use. Instead of replacing your well-made current cabinets with lesser-quality ones, freshen them up with new paint or hardware instead.
5. Short cabinets
Another cabinet mistake is installing short cabinets. That space between the top of the cabinet and the ceiling is either going to collect dust or clutter. Rather than have a kitchen with dead space, maximize your storage by installing cabinets that go to the ceiling.
6. Stainless steel everything
Stainless steel appliances can definitely be a selling point - about 41 percent of homebuyers say they would pay more for them. However, too much stainless steel can overpower a room and make it feel cold and sterile.
7. Marble countertops
Marble countertops are gorgeous, but they are high maintenance. If you're the type to obsess over every knick and stain on your countertop, you will not want marble in your kitchen. What's more, marble is expensive and can regularly cost well in excess of $100 per square foot. If you are remodeling to sell, it may be hard to recoup your investment if you live in a mid-level neighborhood.
8. Single overhead lighting
You've found the perfect hanging light for your kitchen. Great, but it won't be much of an upgrade if it's the only lighting you have planned for the room. Instead of splurging on one statement fixture, spread your money around, spring for a dimmer and include some under-the-counter lighting which will eliminate the shadows and dark spaces that are common in one-fixture kitchens.
9. Built-in coffee machines
For the average coffee drinker, it's hard to justify the price tag on built-in machines that can typically range anywhere from $2,500 to upwards of $10,000. Not only do you lose valuable kitchen space to the machine, the jury's still out on whether the coffee tastes any better.
10. Major kitchen remodel
Finally, it's a mistake to automatically assume you need a major kitchen remodel. Your cabinets may be salvageable with new paint and hardware. Your appliances may be perfectly serviceable. To do a creative kitchen remodel, you don't have to gut the entire room. According to Remodeling Magazine, you'll get a much greater ROI with a minor kitchen remodel anyway - 79.3 percent in 2015 compared to 59 percent for an upscale major overhaul.