Stretching a kitchen face-lift

The biggest trend in home-improvement kitchen projects is … smaller projects.

Called “face-lifts,” these projects refresh a kitchen “in place” without major structural change.  Walls, appliances, wiring and plumbing tend to stay where they are, likely with upgrades or modifications. Cabinets, countertops, fixtures, lighting, flooring and technology take center stage.

The housing market the past few years has dictated this trend. Rather than seeing their home as a dynamic investment with rapid financial return on exotic improvements, budget-conscious homeowners are taking more of a long-term and “static” approach to how they invest money in their homes.

It is proving to make good business sense. The relatively-new custom home-improvement industry listing of “minor kitchen remodel” has provided the leading return on investment of all home-improvement projects at more than 70 percent for the past seven years or so. “Major kitchen remodel” most years ranked only a few percentage points behind, but the projects can be many times more expensive.

With the budget firmly in mind, homeowners often seek professional advice on which aspects of their existing kitchen are leading contenders for change. What we can offer is an honest appraisal of update priorities, and the latest information on styles, trends and technology. Of these … technology in all areas is the thing that has changed the most in the past few years.

Touch-open cabinets, LED lighting, easy-access drawers and hideaway storage units are just a few items that can make a dramatic and positive difference in how a kitchen functions.  Sustainable, environmentally-friendly materials are available for flooring, countertops and cabinet fronts. Appliance technology and appearance updates can make the same floor plan feel new.

It may be time to think big regarding how best to improve convenience, appearance, livability and environmental friendliness. And the best way to stretch your home value may be to think small.