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To renovate or not to renovate: Are kitchen makeovers worth the investment?


When it comes to home improvements, kitchen renovations and remodels are touted as the smartest and most profitable upgrades one can make, so many people don’t think twice before taking on such a project. The abundance of kitchen makeover ideas and stunning transformations with before-and-after photos posted all over social media can also make you buy into the idea that you absolutely need to go down this path.

However, this shouldn’t be regarded as a one-size-fits-all solution for everyone. Just because kitchen renovations are something many homeowners do and it pays off for some of them doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good idea for all. You shouldn’t base your decision on presuppositions, generalizations, and unwritten rules about home renovations. Instead, you should take the time to consider your particular situation and decide if it’s a good option for you or not.

If you are thinking about renovating your kitchen but are unsure it’s worth the financial and emotional mayhem it brings along, this guide might help clarify things for you.

The reality of a kitchen renovation

You need to understand what a kitchen renovation entails before you get down to business, otherwise you’ll be facing a lot of unpleasant surprises down the road. First of all, these types of projects don’t come cheap. Obviously, costs vary depending on the scale of the renovation and the changes you intend to make, but it’s generally going to cost you more than you initially anticipated and that means you need to have a healthy budget.

Secondly, you have to factor in the time and effort investment, because it’ll take more than money to see a kitchen renovation through. You might have to take days off work, set up a temporary kitchen, and even roll up your sleeves and do part of the work yourself, so be ready for some inconveniences and disruptions in your life.

Thirdly, there’s a lot of uncertainty when calculating the value renovations add. According to the latest data, a kitchen renovation can increase the selling price of a property by 5-6%. But with the fluctuations in the real estate market and the numerous variables that determine renovation costs, it’s difficult to determine if the added value and other benefits trump expenses or the other way around. In fact, in the current economy, even if a kitchen renovation can boost a home’s value, it can be hard for homeowners to recoup their investment.

This means proper planning is crucial for ensuring a successful renovation, from deciding on the upgrades that add the most value and setting up a clear budget (which should cover unplanned expenses as well) to creating a renovation schedule, hiring the right contractors, and so on.

When kitchen upgrades pay off

If your kitchen is extremely worn out and outdated and no amount of mending and TLC can bring it back to a decent state, investing in new kitchen units and appliances isn’t just preferable but completely necessary. If you intend to sell your house, you’ll have a better chance of attracting potential buyers and getting a better price for your property if you offer a turnkey kitchen.

In some parts of the UK like Essex, the added value of a kitchen renovation on house prices has gone up by a whopping 14%. In Kensington and Chelsea, a standard kitchen renovation worth £11,000 can increase the selling price by as much as £72,531.

However, investing in a kitchen renovation makes sense not just from a resale perspective. Sometimes, it’s simply about improving the functionality and energy efficiency in one of the most used rooms in the house and making the space more enjoyable.

A newly renovated kitchen that provides extra storage space, ensures a good workflow, and meets your current needs will make your life so much easier. These are all valid reasons for revamping your kitchen and if you’re doing it right, you’re going to love the results.

What not to do

If you want to renovate your kitchen just to keep up with trends, you’re just chasing shadows. Trends come and go all the time and it’s virtually impossible and downright ludicrous to use fleeting fads as a motivation to revamp your kitchen.

If your kitchen is in good condition, you don’t need to do a complete renovation to improve its look, feel, and functionality and bring it up to date. Small changes like a fresh coat of paint, switching the hardware, or fitting new kitchen doors can help you give the space the refresh it requires and make it look current, without the hustle and bustle and expenditure of a full reno.

Money plays a big role in the equation. Without a solid budget, you can’t put your renovation plans into practice or you. So, if you think you’re just going to start the project and then figure things out along the way, you should think again because you risk getting into a really messy problem.

Similarly, if you’re at a point in your life when you simply don’t have the time, energy, or disposition to deal with the workload that a kitchen makeover implies, it’s best to put it off until your situation improves instead of complicating your life unnecessarily with an extra burden.

Think before you renovate

Ultimately, it all comes down to your specific circumstances and motivations for renovating the kitchen. If you’re doing it for the right reasons, set up realistic expectations, and plan the project thoroughly, you won’t regret the time, money, or effort you’ll have put in, and it’s all going to be a rewarding experience, financially or otherwise.

However, if you’re jumping into a kitchen revamp unaware of the pros and the cons and without doing a bit of soul-searching to help you assess your situation and establish clear goals, you might come to regret your decision. Think carefully about what you want to achieve by renovating your kitchen and what it would take to achieve it and you’ll be able to make the right call.