Kitchen Remodel: Which Improvements Offer the Best Return on Investment?

Happy Holidays! As we are well into this holiday season, and especially during the year 2020 and beyond, many of us will be spending more time in the kitchen.

While embarking on any home remodel project can be a daunting process, remodeling your kitchen has one of the highest return on investment (ROI) in your home remodel. Provided you use high quality and durable materials, the average ROI on a kitchen remodel can be anywhere from 54%-81% of the total cost.

When it comes to the aesthetics of the kitchen, sticking to clean lines and neutral color palettes on your cabinets, tile, and countertops can retain the most value long-term. Especially if you decide to sell the home down the road, a clean and classic design will stand the test of time and appeal to a variety of buyers.

Here are some materials, designs, and elements to take into consideration when looking to build a long-lasting kitchen: 


ROI for kitchen cabinets can run as high as 80%-100%.

This is one of the first things people will notice about the kitchen and I highly recommend doing custom cabinets for ease of installation and longevity.

Cheaper and lower quality cabinets are made of particle board and tend to have hinges that come off easily. As with appliances, you wind up replacing them or paying a contractor to constantly fix them.

Custom cabinets also provide infinite possibilities for your personal needs and sizes. Flush inset or European cabinets are more expensive to create but have a more seamless and high-end look. If you need to value engineer, flush overlay cabinets can save some money on the cost, as they are easier to make.

Refacing existing cabinets is a great way to recoup the cost and save money - if you are happy with the layout and function of them. It is substantially less expensive (by as much as 85%) to re-face rather than create new custom cabinets.

Natural wood cabinets add class and warmth to the space and lighter color woods are easier to re-stain if the homeowner wants to update the look of the kitchen down the road. You can’t go wrong with the fresh look of white. White is one color that won’t go out of style if you decide to sell down the road.

In custom cabinets, you may consider doing a lacquer paint finish; this will resist all scratches and chips as opposed to traditional painting. Consider contrasting the white cabinets with darker color countertops for more depth. 

Kitchen Remodel: Which Improvements Offer the Best Return on Investment?


If your kitchen is large enough to accommodate a built-in nook or island, the average ROI is 60%-80%.

Both can provide plenty of additional seating, workspace, and storage opportunities. 

Kitchen Remodel: Which Improvements Offer the Best Return on Investment?

New Countertops:

Durable, well-made countertops have an average ROI of 60%-80%.

Materials such as quartz, sintered stone, and porcelain are the most durable manmade materials with a wide range of solid colors or patterns that imitate concrete and natural stone.

If you prefer a natural stone, quartzite countertops are beautiful and durable although they are more expensive to fabricate due to the properties of natural stone.

What about marble? The classic style of marble is a beautiful and timeless look however, marble is also a very porous material. Marble countertops, when used heavily, tend to chip and stain easily and are costly to replace. Marble is more practical as a backsplash, accent piece, or surface that isn’t heavily used for food prep and is out of reach for youngsters. 

Kitchen Remodel: Which Improvements Offer the Best Return on Investment?


Luxury appliances are going to provide the highest return rate. Appliances, on average, deliver an ROI of 60%-80%.

For homes that are long term, you won’t need to replace the appliances every few years, if at all. If installed correctly, they will need very little maintenance, so spending the extra money will save you time and money down the road.

If you’re a big “techie” you’ll have lots of fun with the latest appliances on the market. Smart appliances, such as ovens, let you set the temperature and cooking time from your computer or smartphone. Refrigerators now have touch screens with apps, calendar tools, and built-in recipe books for ease of cooking.

Sub-Zero and Wolf appliances are tried and true brands with great longevity and tremendous track records. Jennair’s new Rise and Noir line is new but highly rated and has beautiful custom finishes. La Cornue ranges are the most expensive but highest-rated and most customizable. If you go the La Cornue range route, make sure the other appliances are purchased in the same family and finish.

In general, one beautiful appliance from a specific vendor is fine but too many different vendors can feel like a hodge-podge and often is too busy looking.

Kitchen Remodel: Which Improvements Offer the Best Return on Investment?

Want to add some flare to your timeless kitchen?

Bold wall art, wallpaper, hardware, wall paint colors, and decorative light fixtures can all be easily swapped out if you decide to sell or refresh your home down the road.

Guest Blog Post Author: Julianne Schaefer, Collected Studio (Interior Architecture + Design).

READ MORE: This Is What a $50 Million California Home Looks Like

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