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11 must-have upgrades for your kitchen remodel

December 9, 2019

You’ve been thinking about a kitchen remodel and planning for the kitchen of your dreams. But now that you’re ready to go, what should your renovation include? There are lots of ways you can go, from simple cosmetic fixes to a complete gut and redesign. We’re sharing our top 11 trending must-haves for your project, important for both how they’ll improve your kitchen’s form and function and for the potential return on investment.

Sure, you can go crazy with upgrades, but even if you want only a few, there are plenty of options that can add beauty and function to your kitchen. Design trends include infusions of colour, unexpected materials, sleek appliances and creative design solutions to firmly bring your kitchen into the 21st century.

The key to it all

First and foremost, no kitchen truly works well unless functionality is the foundation upon which it is designed. Spaces need to be efficient and take into account your lifestyle needs and preferences. That means everything from the layout to lighting, flooring, fixtures and hardware need to be considered.

Of course, no one expects a homeowner to have the knowledge and experience to determine things like layout themselves. That’s where we come in. Working with our in-house designers, we’ll help you determine exactly what will work for your needs, your style and your budget.

But it’s still fun to draw on a dream wish list of materials, options and features to get the most out of your renovation. Here are 11 that can impact your kitchen.

kitchen remodel upgrades Amsted Design-Build

No. 1: Heavy metal

It used to be that the options for most kitchens were limited. That’s no longer the case. Today, typical metal elements of a kitchen — cabinet hardware, lighting, range hoods, appliances — run the gamut, with something for every taste. If selling your home in the not-too-distant future is a possibility, you may not want to opt for eccentric choices like cabinet handles in the shape of utensils, but there are plenty of stylish options.

Today’s popular choices include black, matte aluminum, brushed gold or bronze and copper. And simple changes like upgrading drawer pulls, faucets or light fixtures can go a long way toward freshening your space at minimal cost.

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No. 2: Flooring

Kitchen flooring options have come a long way. Where once our floors might have been exclusively 12×12 tiles or a sheet of linoleum, now they are as much of a design element as cabinet choices, aided in part by our preferences for open-concept spaces. Hardwood that continues from the family room into the kitchen, large format tiles, unusual materials such as a cork — all give a huge lift to your space.

kitchen remodel upgrades Amsted Design-Build

No. 3: Open shelving

Removing some upper cabinets in favour of open shelving is a long-established European trend that has been gaining ground on this side of the pond. If you have enough storage to allow for it, opting for some open shelving in your kitchen opens up the space, offers a focal point and creates a greater sense of “living” space in your kitchen versus a utilitarian or working space.

kitchen remodel upgrades Amsted Design-Build

No. 4: Counters

Replacing your countertops is one of the easiest ways to add instant pop to a tired kitchen. Counters are a major focal point and take up a lot of visual space in your kitchen, with seemingly limitless options to choose from. Wondering which way to go when it comes to choosing a kitchen countertop? Here’s a quick guide to 11 popular styles.

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No. 5: Think seating

Today’s kitchens are the gathering spaces in our homes. That means you can never have too much seating. Whether it’s adding a window seat or integrated island seating, you can’t go wrong.

kitchen remodel upgrades Amsted Design-Build

No. 6: Lighting

Good lighting is an often-forgotten element of design, yet it’s so important, both for function — so we can see what we’re doing in the kitchen — and for aesthetics. Bold island pendants or table chandelier can add a ton of personality and a focal point to your kitchen. And layering your lighting for different needs is key. Think valance lighting for tasks, dimmable pot lights for ambiance and statement lighting for some pop.

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No. 7: Energy efficiency

In the kitchen, this is most easily resolved through upgraded appliances. Granted, appliances can be a large portion of the budget, but it’s also important to reduce our ecological footprint and appliance power requirements can go a long way toward improving a home’s energy needs. Plus, upgrading your appliances is an opportunity to give a fresh look to your kitchen. And don’t forget about low-flow fixtures to help save water.

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No. 8: Focus on the stove

Next to your counters, the stove is typically the feature in your kitchen that can easily become the focal point. If you’re upgrading your appliances, consider switching to a professional-grade or chef-worthy range that, along with a stylish range hood, can become the focus of your kitchen, and provide a superior cooking device.

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No. 9: Cabinet makeover 

It’s not always necessary (or in the budget) to replace your cabinetry. If the cabinet boxes you have are well laid out and efficient, why replace them? You can easily modernize dated cabinetry by painting it, giving your kitchen a whole new look. And if the door styles are showing their age, it’s much more economical to change only the doors and hardware.

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No. 10: Go open concept

A large number of the kitchen renovation projects we tackle are a result of an older home with closed off rooms that need opening up for today’s preferred open-concept layouts. Taking down walls and adding an island can completely change the feeling of your home. But note that it’s important to determine whether the walls you want to take out are load-bearing. It can still be done, but extra care is needed to ensure your home’s structural elements are not impacted.

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No. 11: Splash it

Like swapping out your counters, changing your backsplash is an easy way to give your kitchen a fresh look. The backsplash is an area where you can add personality with funky tile or opt for that expensive one since it’s typically a small area to cover. And if it’s a trend that wanes before long, it’s not a big deal to change it out again.

So, ready to get started? Give us a call and we’ll work with you to see how many of these wish list items you can include in your kitchen.