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Kitchen Cabinet Upgrades: Why a Little Goes a Long Way

by Jessica Santina

A 2009-2010 Cost vs. Value Report from Remodeling magazine finds that kitchen and bath remodels are still among the best investments to make in your home in terms of return on investment. But minor remodels seem to produce the most bang for your buck (think cabinet refacing, lighting, and updated fixtures). In fact, a minor remodel can recoup 78 percent or more, which is considerable when you take into account the small amount it costs to make what feel like big changes.

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Kitchen Cabinets Upgrades Are a Smart Investment

Potential home buyers tend to gravitate toward the kitchen first when they inspect a home. Give yours real face value with a cabinet refacing. Cabinets tend to make the biggest impression in a kitchen, and refacing takes less time and money.

  • Think simple. Skip the ornate cabinet hardware or delicately engraved cabinet doors. Home buyers are drawn to what's clean and modern. Ironically, that's also what's usually the least expensive. White kitchen cabinets (painted or Thermafoil) is a nice choice.
  • Small upgrades may be best. Under-cabinet lighting, brushed nickel hardware, increased storage, and crown molding are some of the best choices for return on investment, while glass doors, open-shelf cabinets, and wine racks cost more and return less.
  • Think about focal points. You can make a nice tile backsplash for a fraction of the cost of granite, and if it's made with recycled glass, all the better, as environmentally-friendly choices are increasingly more popular.

Remember to consider the value of your home before planning major re-models. Many buyers make the mistake of adding high-end granite countertops or top-of-the-line appliances into modestly-priced homes. You probably won't recoup those costs.

About the Author

Jessica Santina is a freelance writer and editor with 11 years' experience in media, marketing, and publishing, and 8 years' experience as a college writing instructor.

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