Classy kitchens on the cheap…

Is There an Inexpensive Way to Freshen Up a Kitchen for a Sale?

TIM McKEOUGH | New York Times | July 10, 2013 | link

Q. My kitchen looks tired. Is there an inexpensive way to freshen it up for a sale without a full renovation?

A. An appealing kitchen can help sell a home, but it might not make sense to do a full renovation just before selling. “That’s like a $30,000 or $40,000 investment, and you’re not necessarily going to get that much more for the apartment,” said Francine Stobnitzky, an associate real estate broker at Coldwell Banker Bellmarc in Manhattan. In fact, she added, “You may not cover your costs.”

Part of the problem is that it can be difficult to predict what style of kitchen any given buyer will want, she said. “What if you redo the kitchen,” Ms. Stobnitzky said, “and the new buyer doesn’t like it?”

So she recommends that most people leave their kitchens largely as is, and focus their energy on staging. “If you paint it, clear out the clutter and put one or two pretty, decorative things on the wall, you’re going to be fine,” she said.

If you want to go a little further, said Erica Broberg Smith, an architect who is an owner of Smith River Kitchens in East Hampton, N.Y., there are many things you can do, even on a tight budget. “We do it all the time,” she said. “We do it for resale, and we also do it on projects where people can’t afford a new kitchen but want to freshen it up.”

Her first suggestion is to give cabinets a coat of white paint. Remove the doors and spray them or paint with a brush. Spraying “is probably the most efficient way to do it,” she said. “But some decorators like a brushed finish.”

For an inexpensive backsplash, she recommended using Nantucket BeadBoard rather than stone, glass or tile. Available in medium-density or moisture-resistant fiberboard sheets, it can be cut to size, affixed to the wall and painted to create a paneled look.

The hardware on your cabinets can also be updated easily. “Brushed nickel is the most popular right now,” Ms. Broberg Smith said, “probably because it matches all the stainless-steel appliances.” Replace the cabinet pulls, she suggested, as well as the hinges if they are visible on the outside of the cabinets.

Finally, take a close look at the overhead light fixtures. “A lot of recessed lights from the ’70s have a black or gold interior and are very clunky,” she said. Where possible, replace them with “a slim, trim kit that’s all white, so they disappear.”

Installing a simple decorative light fixture over an island or sink, she said, can add a bit of visual interest. Read more…

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