Here’s Why Home Buyers and Sellers Love a Kitchen Remodel—and Where to Start

Make the most of your home improvement dollars with a project that will pay you back, no matter the scope.

By Jenny Stanley | Published Jun 3, 2022 8:10 AM

bob vilas most valuable projects of 2022 - kitchen remodel

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This is the first installment of Bob Vila’s Most Valuable Projects of 2022, a month-long series featuring high-ROI home improvements on kitchens, curb appeal, bathrooms, and outdoor living spaces. Each week, we’re pulling from our vast library of informational content, vetted shopping guides, and connections to industry professionals to present primers on the top projects to take on this year.

Kitchen renovations come in all shapes and sizes, but one thing’s for certain: They boost property value. Even if you don’t intend to sell your home in the next several months and simply want to make it more livable while you stay put for a while, return on investment (ROI) can be a helpful factor in determining which home improvement projects to tackle and when. With an estimated 71 percent ROI, according to the Remodeling 2022 Cost vs. Value Report, a kitchen remodel is worth prioritizing.

You don’t have to completely gut your existing space, remove load-bearing walls, or splurge on high-end fixtures, either, to reap ROI. Even modest kitchen updates such as refinishing existing cabinets or swapping out old appliances for new, more efficient models can improve a home’s aesthetic and functionality while you’re living in it, as well as increase its value whenever you choose to sell.

Of course, improvements can be interpreted differently between homeowners and future home buyers, so do not get caught up in making updates that aren’t beneficial to you and your home now. It’s best to consider the individual projects within a remodel and choose the ones that will have the biggest impact on your daily life and the final, cohesive look you desire.

Once you nail down what you want to tackle and how much you want to spend, you can find ways to reduce construction costs and minimize waste—both paramount for any home improvement project today.

Ready to take on a kitchen remodel? Keep reading for the key considerations, cost estimates, how-tos, expert-recommended products, material comparisons, and money-saving solutions you need to know.

bob vila's most valuable projects of 2022 - kitchen remodel planning

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Cabinets

Like most kitchen features, cabinetry comes in a wide array of styles and prices. Replacing or refreshing with paint, DIYing or hiring a pro—these are some of the biggest decisions in planning this project. The following articles break down the details to help you achieve the look you want for a price that fits your budget.

6 Things to Know Before You Buy
Popular Types of Kitchen Cabinetry
The Best Kitchen Cabinets of 2022
The Average Cost of Kitchen Cabinets
How to Install Kitchen Cabinets Yourself
Should You Paint Your Cabinets Instead of Replace?
The Best Paint for Cabinets
How to Refinish Cabinets
How to Paint Kitchen Cabinetry
The Average Cost to Paint Cabinets

Countertop

Replacing old laminate countertops with engineered stone—arguably the most popular choice today, according to Houzz’s kitchen trends study—is a big-ticket project within a kitchen remodel. That’s why it’s important to carefully compare different countertop materials against trending options like quartz, as each varies in terms of durability, maintenance, cost, and potential resale value.

Popular Types of Countertops
All About Engineered Quartz
The Average Cost of Quartz Countertops
Quartz vs. Quartzite
Quartz vs. Granite
Quartz vs. Solid Surface
Quartz vs. Marble
The Best Countertop Installers of 2022

bob vilas mvps of 2022 - kitchen remodel quartz countertop

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Energy-Efficient Appliances

It’s no secret that old appliances use more energy and cost more money to operate than newer models. Investing in appliance upgrades will not only pay off in the long term by helping to boost home value, but it will also help to lower utility bills in the short term. And incentives such as rebates on Energy Star-certified purchases can help home improvers recoup even more of the initial cost. Consider the following researched buying guides and expert recommendations when shopping for new kitchen appliances.

The Best Kitchen Appliance Brands of 2022
12 Energy-Efficient Appliances That Will Save You Money in 2022
The Best Places to Buy Appliances
The Best Time to Buy New Appliances at a Discount
How Long Do Kitchen Appliances Last?
9 Times to Replace Rather Than Repair Appliances
The Best Appliance Repair Services of 2022

Flooring

Wood flooring is both trendy and timeless, but it’s not always the best choice for spill-prone kitchens. Materials such as vinyl plank and laminate, on the other hand, can mimic the attractive design of hardwood while providing greater durability, moisture resistance, and cost savings. Bonus: Vinyl plank and laminate flooring are also easier for DIYers to install compared to traditional hardwood, offering even more ways to reduce the cost of a kitchen remodel.

Pros and Cons of Hardwood in the Kitchen
The Average Cost of Hardwood Flooring
The Best Vinyl Plank Flooring of 2022
The Average Cost to Install Vinyl Plank Flooring
How to DIY Vinyl Plank Flooring Installation
The Best Laminate Flooring of 2022
The Average Cost to Install Laminate Flooring
How to DIY Laminate Flooring Installation

bob vila most valuable project 2022 kitchen remodel - install laminate flooring

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Sink and Faucet

Replacing the sink and faucet is another small-scale project that can make a big difference in the kitchen. Often a combined update with new countertops, the sink and faucet offer opportunities to inject even more functionality and personality into the overall design.

If you aren’t planning to alter the location of the sink/faucet fixture—which would require rerouting plumbing lines—costs for this project are mostly dependent on the specific products you choose. The following advice will help you narrow down the wide range of choices to find a kitchen sink and faucet that suits your needs, style, and budget.

Popular Types of Kitchen Sinks
The Best Kitchen Sinks of 2022
The Average Cost to Hire a Plumber
How to DIY Kitchen Sink Installation
Don’t Forget the Garbage Disposal
Popular Types of Kitchen Faucets
The Best Kitchen Faucets of 2022
How to DIY Kitchen Faucet Installation

Backsplash

A backsplash serves to protect the walls in various “splash zones” of a kitchen, such as around the sink and stove, so it needs to be easy to clean. A backsplash can also serve as the focal point of the room. Tile typically combines function and form, making it a go-to material in this part of the kitchen. It also offers lots of opportunities for customization, ranging from bold colors and interesting shapes to muted tones and simple lines.

Tiling a backsplash is also a DIY-friendly project that requires minimal tools, especially if you opt to install peel-and-stick tile that doesn’t require mastic to adhere to the wall.

Popular Types of Tile
The Average Cost of Tile Installation
How to Tile a Backsplash Yourself
How Much Tile Do You Need?
The Best Peel-and-Stick Tile of 2022
Dos and Don’ts of Using Peel-and-Stick Tile

bob vila's most valuable projects of 2022 - kitchen remodel backsplash

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Lighting

One could argue that lighting is the unsung hero behind a successful kitchen remodel. It helps to define spaces, boost safety, and express style. If you choose double-duty ceiling fan lights, these fixtures can even increase airflow to help cool the kitchen and mitigate steam, smoke, and odors while cooking—perfect for when the range hood doesn’t cut it.

To maximize the potential of every zone in the kitchen, a mix of ambient, task, and accent lighting is recommended. See which fixtures the Bob Vila team recommends for each type of lighting in the researched buying guides below. Then, weigh the cost of hiring an electrician against the complexity of doing it yourself to determine which installation method is right for you.

Important Kitchen Lighting Considerations
The Best Recessed Lighting of 2022
The Best Pendant Lights of 2022
The Best Track Lighting of 2022
The Best Under-Cabinet Lighting of 2022
The Best Ceiling Fans of 2022
The Average Cost to Install a Ceiling Fan
DIY Ceiling Fan Installation