Kitchen remodels were the most popular home improvement project during the summer of 2020.  In the past several years the interest in an updated kitchen has not waned. Unfortunately, neither has the cost. Nationally, the average kitchen remodel costs approximately $25,736.  That’s a fairly high number for a renovation, however a kitchen upgrade can recoup up to 81% of the cost when you sell.  

If the above average cost just made your heart race a bit faster, you’re not alone.  Many homeowners balk at the idea of spending so much money on a single room remodel.  Luckily, it doesn’t take a massive kitchen remodel to increase your home’s selling price.  Some of the kitchen updates that help you sell your house for more are the ones that cost the least. If you are on a limited budget you can update your kitchen and get the best return on investment by choosing a few of the following kitchen updates.


  1. Add a Fresh Coat of Paint

A fresh coat of paint is one of the easiest but most effective ways to update your kitchen.  The average cost to repaint a 13’ by 13’ kitchen is $150 to $250.  However, that cost will be fully reimbursed and then some with the 107% return on investment.  To get the best return on investment you should stick with a classic neutral color scheme.  Soft whites and warm grays are popular paint colors among buyers because they brighten up the room while keeping a classic blank canvas appearance to the kitchen.  

When you are done painting the walls, don’t forget to paint the kitchen cabinets.  A set of new kitchen cabinets will cost between $1,860 and $9,187.  The price can go even higher if the cabinets are custom made. But if your cabinets just need a touch up you can paint them yourself.  To begin, remove the cabinet faces and all of the hardware.  Wipe down the cabinets with Murphy Oil Soap to ensure they are free from any dirt, dust or grease. Select a paint color that will appeal to buyers and match the style of your kitchen.  Painting cabinets can take a bit of time, but the end result is a clean finished kitchen.


  1. Change up the Space with New Backsplash

Backsplash isn’t just for looks.  It functions as a barrier to protect your walls from water from the sink or grease and food splatters from the stove. 42% of real estate agents say that backsplash is a kitchen upgrade that home buyers want to see.  If you don’t have backsplash, you can add it for a very low cost, especially if you install the backsplash yourself.  The cost of backsplash depends upon the style and material you choose.  The most affordable backsplash is subway tile which costs anywhere from $0.15 per square foot to as much as $15 per square foot.  These can be installed in a classic staggered stack, vertical stack, herringbone pattern, or geometric pattern.  Keep in mind that the tile you are adding is not just for your enjoyment.  It should be a classic tile that matches the style of your kitchen.  Avoid overly bright colors or patterns that are too personal.  


  1. Upgrade Cabinet Hardware

Possibly the easiest kitchen project that any homeowner can tackle is upgrading kitchen hardware.  This includes the knobs, pulls, and hinges throughout the entire kitchen.  The average cost to upgrade hardware is between $130 and $275.  Despite such a low cost and ease of completion this project has an estimated return on investment of 85% to 100%.  Kitchen cabinet hardware comes in a  wide variety of styles, finishes, and types.  Popular finishes are black and polished bronze, unlacquered brass, chrome,and polished nickel, copper, and gold but whatever matches your kitchen style is what you should choose.  


  1. Invest in New Countertops

New countertops can make even the most dated kitchen appear new.  However, a brand new set of countertops can be very expensive, especially if you go with materials such as quartz, granite, or marble. The average cost for a new countertop is anywhere from $1,851 to $4,309.  The cost to replace countertops may seem high, but homeowners rarely regret the additional cost of new countertops because they effectively boost a kitchen’s appearance and functionality.  They also come with a return on investment of 60% to 80%. A more affordable option if you have tile countertops is to cover them with concrete or epoxy.  If you do not have tile countertops you can cover your dated countertops using a refinishing kit that will create a durable stone-look-a-like finish.  You can also lay laminate over the existing countertop or use a modular granite.  In addition, countertops can be covered with a wood overlay that will create a butcher block effect.  In general, refinishing your countertops will cost anywhere from $150 to $800. 


  1. Purchase New Appliances

Replacing your outdated appliances with new stainless steel appliances is a great way to increase the value of your home.  New stainless steel appliances can cost over $4,000.  While that price tag may seem high the addition of stainless steel appliances will add $5,982 to your home. High-tech smart stainless steel appliances are becoming more and more popular among home buyers.  If brand new appliances are too pricey for your budget you can search for used appliances at places like Habitat for Humanity ReStore or at other discount appliance stores.  


Tackling one or two kitchen updates can greatly increase your home’s final sale price.  Discuss your options with a trusted real estate agent who can guide you in kitchen updates that will cost less while increasing your home’s final sale price.