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Spice up the kitchen to add value to your home |

Spice up the kitchen to add value to your home

iT’S not just parties that end up in the kitchen. Many of us spend a substantial part of our lives in the room that is often cited as the “heart of the home”.

Above serving its primary purpose as a place to prepare food, the kitchen is a multi-functional space for many households. It is where families convene first thing in the morning, as well as a social hub for dinner parties and entertaining.


It can also be the most expensive room in the house. Once you add up all the costs associated with counter tops, cabinets, appliances, and lighting, it is easy to see why that is and the work that can go into making this room so special.

We take a look at how to get your kitchen to sell your home and get some tips from United Kingdom flat-fee online estate agent YOPA’s Emma Peake on what buyers want.

WHY THE KITCHEN?

While many of us know that a kitchen is a key part of a property and tops many people’s dream revamp lists, can lavishing some love and attention on it really sell your home?

TV property expert Phil Spencer has previously argued that it can. On property listing website Zoopla, he said: “If your budget stretches to just one refit in the home, make sure it’s the kitchen.

“This has now become the showpiece area of the home. We don’t just cook in it, we do homework in it, we watch television in it and hold dinner parties there.”

Remodelling a kitchen can increase your home’s value and make it more attractive to potential buyers.

Research from consumer body found that a new kitchen typically costs around £8,000 (RM44,480), and could add up to six per cent to your home’s value, which works out at an average of around £18,000 for a £300,000 home.

But if you aren’t going to live in the property and enjoy that new kitchen yourself, there are tricks to update the room without spending that much.

YOPA’s Peake recommends considering new cabinet door fronts, instead of a pricey full refit, while painting walls and freshening up skirting boards, new lighting, or just a good old-fashioned declutter can work wonders with a small budget.

Kitchen renovations can even encourage healthier eating habits, according to research by design website Houzz, which found that more than a third of kitchen updaters reported a healthier lifestyle post-renovation.

The survey of more than 3,100 homeowners found that 43 per cent cooked more meals at home, with 36 per cent of the public reporting to have reduced the number of takeaways they order, after the installation of a new kitchen.

LIGHTING

Kitchen lighting is often left as an afterthought, but for a reasonably small investment, good lighting can enhance the overall appearance of your kitchen design, create an atmosphere perfect for social occasions and make your kitchen a more functional and enjoyable space.

A dimly-lit kitchen can make the space appear smaller and less inviting.

Renovation expert Michael Holmes recommends choosing halogen bulbs for the best results. “Make sure there is adequate lighting in the kitchen. A single pendant can easily be replaced with a new unit with halogen bulbs that create a far whiter light that is ideal for kitchens. Under-unit lighting can easily be added and is inexpensive.”

“There are a range of different lighting options to consider for your kitchen,” says Peake. “Task lighting illuminates cooking areas and must be bright enough to prevent eye strain and help you prepare food safely. Consider track lighting, under cabinet lighting or a bright pendant light.

“Ambient lighting uses different tones, colours and brightness to create a warm and relaxing atmosphere, while accent lighting — usually spotlights — draw the eye to particular features in your kitchen that you want to show off.”

OPEN UP TO THE OUTDOORS

“Direct access from the kitchen to the back garden or patio is a game-changer for buyers,” says Peake.

“They can imagine themselves enjoying a morning coffee outside or dining alfresco in the summer. Buyers can see an additional space for dining and entertaining, and that adds a great deal of value to a home.”

Another benefit to a kitchen that opens onto a patio or garden is that it visually expands the kitchen, making the space appear much larger.

TV’s Spencer agrees, saying: “Installing glass bi-folding doors along a back wall not only makes for a brighter living room or kitchen, it can really bring the garden into the house. You’ll need outdoor lights to ensure this at night and in winter”.

Glass bi-folding doors cost around £3,000 and can add two per cent to your home’s value.

Obviously, if you don’t already have that access, creating or expanding the route to the garden can be a costly option — and knocking down walls and adding new doors and windows is an expense and effort that you may not want to go to if you are selling a home.

One option here is to get some plans drawn up to do this, which can show prospective buyers the potential of the room. Alternatively, you could look at any existing access and see how you could make it look more attractive.

For kitchens that don’t have access to the outdoors, consider skylights or light tubes, which let the sunshine in and flood the room with natural light.

ISLAND AND BUILT-IN BARS

Increasing numbers of homes are touting their entertaining potential as home buyers demand spaces designated for parties and hosting guests — as well as that important family time.

Peake says: “Using a kitchen island or breakfast bar is a really cost-effective way to visually divide the space, and it also adds surface area and storage, which adds value for buyers”.

Kitchen islands have soared in popularity, and according to Redfin, searches for “built-in bars” in estate agent listings continue to grow each year.

Alex Main, director at kitchen designer The Main Company, advises: “When designing a kitchen, consider breaking up the area with an island as they work as both a cooking and entertaining space by changing work surface materials to suit each area specifically”.

KITCHEN FACELIFT

You can easily spend a fortune on a brand new kitchen, but the question to ask yourself is: do I need to?

The problem with carrying out expensive renovations like this to sell your home is that you carry all the cost and disruption — and the buyer may then decide they want to add their own stamp anyway.

If you want to avoid the eye-watering expense often associated with remodelling a kitchen but make it look fresher, more modern and more likely to sell your home, consider giving the space a facelift with some cheap but effective upgrades.

Renovations expert Cherie Barber suggests simply resurfacing or painting kitchen tiles, benchtops and cupboard fronts in fresh, neutral colours. “It’s what I call a ‘cosmetic refresh’ and I’ve transformed several kitchens this way for under £1,000, using the fantastic range of resurfacing products now on the market.

“They are highly durable and ideal for kitchens that simply need a new lease of life”.

Peake suggests replacing tired cabinet doors rather than the whole cabinet to keep costs down.

“Also consider removing cabinet doors altogether. Replace half or all of your upper cabinets with open shelves. This solution makes the top of the kitchen wall look more minimalist, and of course shows off all those beautiful things you have.”

Another simple option that allows you to continue to reap the benefits is to get some new kitchen furniture. Overhauling your kitchen with a new table, chairs, or accessories such as a butcher’s block can make the room look completely different — and you can then take everything with you when you move.

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