The Kitchen Question: Always A Value Add 

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“Kitchens sell homes. Bathrooms too, but very few homeowners spend time with family or entertain guests in the bathroom while the kitchen is the heart of the modern home!” This is  Silvana Dos Reis Marques’s, Franchisee at Leapfrog Pretoria East and Irene, answer to the question of whether kitchen renovations add value to a property. 

Kitchens are high-volume areas, used by all who occupy the property (to a more and lesser degree, of course), and as such an important part of the comfort, practicality, and overall aesthetic of a property. Ideally, kitchens should be renovated every ten to 15 years, just to account for wear and tear. “Kitchens suffer heat and moisture and sharp objects, which becomes evident in the finishings after about a decade.

Even the layout becomes dated as new trends take root and reveal a different way to utilise this space,” Dos Reis Marques shares. So does a kitchen renovation add to the value of the property? “Almost always,” Dos Reis Marques says. Is there a way to renovate a kitchen that doesn’t require a second mortgage? “Definitely yes!”

Luckily there’s no need to get rid of everything (including the kitchen sink!) because a few smart changes and savvy improvements, combined with a creative approach, can go a long way in sprucing up the kitchen. 

Practical plans and money matters 

Start by drawing up a wishlist and then specifying the cost of the line items on that list. Work backward from there, dividing the list into the essentials, must-dos, and the nice-to-haves, and speak to a trusted property advisor who will be able to share useful insights with you about what sort of value your improvements will add to your property in the medium to long run. 

If your budget is tight, avoid structural changes, such as moving the plumbing and breaking walls, and rather focus on improvements that refresh the look and feel. Consider the practicality at all times – this includes flow, storage and organisation, and lighting. “Be mindful of sacrificing practicality for aesthetics – there’s a fine balance but in the long run the former is more valuable,” Dos Reis Marques believes. 

Here we gather 

If the kitchen is your favourite place to socialise – as it is for many people – make sure to renovate accordingly by, for example, lengthening the counter to allow for more people to sit around it or installing an island bench that does the same. 

On the topic of counters, if your budget doesn’t allow for a massive aesthetic overhaul but you’re desperate to update the look, consider just replacing the countertops. If the cupboards and fittings are in good condition, replacing the countertops with something more modern will make a notable difference.  

Super storage 

There is no such thing as too much storage space in the kitchen, though sometimes extra cupboards simply aren’t an option. Think outside the box – or the cupboard! – and consider options like a narrow shelf behind a door, or opting for drawers rather than cabinets. There are a lot of small interventions that help in making optimal use of space for storage purposes. 

A lighter side

Goodbye white fluorescent tube light, hello mood lighting. “Yes, kitchens can and should have mood lighting too,” Dos Reis Marques believes. The right lighting adds mood to any room but in the kitchen, it has to do double duty by also being practical. Dimmable downlighters work well in the kitchen as they can be positioned directly above work surfaces and angled as needed. 

Playful and personal 

“The best spaces – be it living rooms, patios, or kitchens – are the ones that carry the touch of those that use and love the space. Make the kitchen yours by hanging artwork or displaying souvenirs or putting a comfortable armchair in the corner!” Dos Reis Marques encourages. 

A clean, modern, and user-friendly kitchen is one of a property’s most attractive assets and a space you won’t regret spending a bit of time, money, and effort on.