Angie's List: Kitchen upgrades


Your kitchen is the heart of your home and an outdated kitchen can be a sore thumb in an otherwise beautiful house.

Kitchen remodeling projects are some of the most expensive, but they do add value to your home.

"You can see up to an 85 percent return on your investment on a good remodel job," said Angie Hicks with Angie's List.

Replacing your cabinets, for example, can cost you $10,000.

So what simple changes can you do to update your kitchen?

First, change the cabinet color. Indianapolis contractor Kevin Jones says there's money to be saved here. The average color change costs around $3,000 - a $7,000 difference.

"This was a honey oak kitchen cabinet. The customer wanted to update it, so what we have done is taken it from a honey oak and went to a white. It's still giving them the quality of the wood cabinets that they have had," Jones said.

Focus on your counter top and your faucets. Some home builders will charge much more than $500 for a new counter installation, but to pull that price down, use less expensive materials. A smaller, yet noticeable, change is a new kitchen faucet. Depending on the quality and the material, you can also purchase a new kitchen sink for less than $60.

Also, there's always room for new lighting. Materials may cost you between $25-55.

"A trick at making your kitchen appear larger is lighting. Swapping out fixture lighting for recessed or track lighting can help you highlight particular features in the kitchen. Adding lighting underneath your cabinets can make dark areas lighter and appear larger," Hicks said.

Finally, modernize your kitchen with new appliances. If you are handy, installing a garbage disposal or trash compactor are relatively inexpensive additions that can update your kitchen.

More from Angie's List:

Not only is an outdated kitchen aesthetically unpleasing, but it can also make cooking a real chore. Unfortunately, kitchen remodeling projects are also some of the most expensive.

However, there are some ways that homeowners can update their kitchens without breaking the bank. These updates can lead to a more aesthetically pleasing kitchen that is also more pleasant for cooking and gatherings:

Angie's List tips: 5 Simple kitchen updates 

  1. Remodel kitchen cabinets and shelves: Obtaining a completely new set of cabinets can be very expensive, but homeowners can hire a kitchen remodeling contractor to update, not replace, shelves inexpensively. Some common updates include adding slide-out shelves, lazy susans, drawers and new hardware. Painting or refacing the outside of the cabinets is also an aesthetically pleasing idea.
  2. Install a new counter top: Some home builders will charge much more than $500 for a new counter installation. However, because the installation can take place in a single day, homeowners may be able to find a contractor who will charge a reasonable rate for this upgrade. But, to keep this upgrade under $500, homeowners must choose inexpensive materials.
  3. Update the faucets: A new kitchen faucet is a small addition, but it can change the look of a kitchen, making it appear more modern or refined. However, homeowners should be aware that new faucets may call for a unified look. Depending on the quality and the material, you can also purchase a new kitchen sink for less than $60.
  4. Install new lighting: Lights that are too bright can give the kitchen a glaring, unfriendly look. Light that is too soft can make it hard to work. However, homeowners may want to consider installing several types of lights, including a light over the sink for dish washing, a light over the stove for cooking, and perhaps a chandelier or wall sconce for a brighter, but still soft, main light source.
  5. Add a garbage disposal or trash compactor: These appliances are relatively inexpensive and can be installed by most home builders. However, they can go a long way in making a kitchen more modern and practical.