You finally found a house that checks all the boxes—well, almost. There’s just one thing that’s bothering you, but you’re not sure how big of a deal it is. Welcome to our take on the internet’s favorite trend: It’s a 10, But. In this column, we’ll explore common issues and ask the experts to weigh in.
Today we ask the pros: How big a deal is an out-of-date kitchen? Their answer: Not as big as you might think. For starters, a kitchen that hasn’t been updated is an opportunity for you to remodel to your own tastes. Even if you end up doing a floor-to-ceiling renovation, you’ll be 100% in control of where your dollars are going.
That said, it really comes down to just how old the kitchen actually is.
“A kitchen that hasn’t been updated in decades will have most buyers convinced they’ll have to spend a lot of time and money to redo it,” says Bill Samuel, a licensed general contractor and residential real estate developer in the Chicago area. On the other hand, a home with a decade-old kitchen is an opportunity for buyers who are willing to take on some DIY work or invest in a remodel over time.
The verdict: It’s a 6.
Thinking about buying a house with a dated kitchen? We talked to realtors and contractors to get their best advice for small fixes with a big impact. Here are four changes that are sure to make that kitchen feel shiny and new.
Paint it white.
One inexpensive way to perk up any room, especially one that’s dark and small, is to paint it white, says Samuel.
But which white should you pick? There are a lot of options, but they generally fall into three categories: cool, neutral and warm. “Cool whites have a darker tint (blue, black, etc.), neutral whites are the bright whites (plain white), and warm whites have a lighter tint (yellow, red, etc.),” he says.
To make sure you’re picking the right white, paint a small section of the wall, then “observe the colors under different lighting over a few days,” he says. Consider how the wall looks in direct sunlight, overcast light and artificial light. “This will help you make the right choice that will brighten and modernize the space.”
Install open shelving.
Installing open shelves is another easy way to give your kitchen a low-cost makeover and a little individual style, according to Mike Gregor, a Realtor at Cohen Agency in New Hartford, Connecticut.
Once you’ve added the shelves, he suggests taking a less-is-more approach to styling. “The key is to keep it simple by avoiding overcrowding,” he says. “Instead of exhibiting every piece of glassware and china, choose favorite everyday objects that can stack to provide depth, color, and intrigue.”
Add a breakfast bar.
If you have the space for it, a breakfast bar is always a win, Gregor says. “A breakfast bar requires significantly less space than a table and chairs, it can be used to prepare and serve food, and it adds a point of architectural interest,” he says.
“If your existing layout has a peninsula, then it’s as easy as installing new larger countertops with a big overhang—provided you make sure the overhang is properly supported,” Samuel says. “If your existing layout doesn’t have a peninsula, then you would need to redesign your cabinet layout.” This may sound complicated, but he assures us that it’s “relatively easy if you have the extra space.”
Embrace old flooring–or cover it up.
If your kitchen has old floors, consider leaning into the look. Those black and white tiles? They’re always in style.
Alternatively, Gregor suggests peel-and-stick vinyl flooring, like this “Carrara marble” option. It’s “easy to use and can transform an unsightly kitchen floor into one that looks updated—and clean.” A case costs just $42 and covers 30 square feet.
For this and related articles, please visit Realtor.com