10 Must Have Upgrades For Your Kitchen Remodeling Project

A List of Ten Kitchen Remodeling Upgrades

Whether your kitchen remodeling project is a gut-to-the-studs redo, or you're planning an update to modernize a tired space, today there are plenty of exciting upgrade possibilities that can make your kitchen beautiful and functional. New design trends are featuring the creative use of color, interesting new materials, modern appliances, and functional design upgrades that can bring your kitchen into the 21st century.

Here are ten must-have upgrades that can transform your tired kitchen into the cooking space you've been dreaming of!

Kitchen Remodeling 101: First Consider Functionality

Think about how you use the space, and take lifestyle into consideration. Efficiency is the key. Remember when designing your space, the functionality is as important as aesthetics. Lighting, flooring, fixtures, and hardware are all logical places to start. Make sure the materials you choose to fit in with your lifestyle.

Upgrading to marble countertops may not be a great choice if you have kids who love grape jelly sandwiches and juice snacks! If you get tired or have arthritis, bamboo or cork flooring may be a better choice than tile. Weigh your options against your needs and lifestyle, and work closely with your designer to make the best choices.

1. New Metal Options:

Old kitchens were made with the materials that were available and popular when they were originally built, including the kitchen hardware. Today, manufacturers have introduced new materials and designers are following the trends.

Simple changes like upgrading drawer pulls, lighting fixtures, and exploring range hood options can modernize your space. New finishes and materials include: matte aluminum, stainless steel, brushed gold and copper.

Luxury Vinyl Tile and Wood Flooring in a Kitchen

This remodeled kitchen uses a very traditional material alongside a new material. 3/4" oak flooring is installed in most living areas of this home, while Luxury Vinyl Tile was used in the kitchen proper. 

2. Upgrade Your Flooring:

Flooring is a major design element of your kitchen that is often forgotten. If your flooring is linoleum that's stuck in the 1950's, try upgrading to a more contemporary, resilient and timeless material like natural hardwood, stone, tile, or cork.

These flooring materials are more durable and will last as well as increase the value of your home when it's time to sell. Manufacturers today are creating a ceramic tile that can mimic hardwood, travertine, and slate with a much lower cost.

3. Consider Open Shelving:

Most older kitchens were built with walls of cabinetry for storage. Often these cabinets can make the kitchen feel dark and confined, especially in a smaller space. Consider eliminating some of the upper cabinets and replace them with open shelving. It's a modern look that can open up your space, create a wonderful focal point and still provide plenty of storage.

Banquette Seating

This remodeled kitchen in Conservancy Place, DeForest, WI uses both and island and a dining table. The dining table is nestled into a corner Banquette Seating arrangement. Note that this provides 3 discinct ways to sit: On the banquette bench at the table, using standard chairs at the table, and taller chairs at the island.

4. Upgrade The Counter Tops:

Your countertops are a major focal point and take up a lot of visual space in the kitchen. Get rid of your old tile and grout or laminate countertop. Today, there's an almost endless variety of materials out there. From solid surfaces that are made of stone and resin to natural stone like marble and granite, there's an option to meet every taste and budget. Designers are getting creative with their choices.

Today, along with engineered products and natural stone countertops, designers are using concrete, stainless steel, brick and even copper for a truly unique look.

5. Think Seating:

Whether it's adding space for a window seat and breakfast nook, or seating at a luxurious island, you can always add more. The kitchen is a gathering spot for your family and friends when entertaining. Modern kitchens offer plenty of seating options. It's a place for the kids to do their homework and friends to congregate when you're entertaining. Make it a comfortable one!

Kitchen Lighting Design

This Signature Home in Sun Prairie, WI demonstrates all different types of lighting design. Recessed cans provide ambient lighting. Undercabinet lights provide task lighting on the countertop by the cooktop. The large pendants over the island provide both decorative lighting and task lighting. And the "cloud" ceiling over the island has decorative light reflected off the ceiling.

6. Brighten Your Space With New Lighting:

Lighting is one of the most important considerations for any kitchen remodeling. Lighting should be a blend of task lighting over work areas, for example, pendant lighting over the island, ambient under-cabinet lighting and decorative lighting like a beautiful chandelier over the table. Consider placing lights on dimmer switches to create the perfect mood for your family and guests.

7. Improve Energy Efficiency With New Appliances:

We're all trying to lessen our environmental impact and upgrading your appliances is a great place to start. Today's appliances are all more energy efficient than older models. You'll upgrade your look while lowering your energy use. Don't forget low-flow fixtures, they save a lot of water.

8. Make Your Stove A Focal Point:

Your stove is the most visible feature of any kitchen. Consider upgrading to a professional grade range. They are top of the line when it comes to functionality and are available in a wide range of styles and colors offering plenty of options.

9. Paint Your Existing Cabinetry:

If you have good quality cabinet boxes, changing the doors and hardware and giving them a stylish new coat of paint can upgrade your kitchen. This is a great option if you have a small budget and are looking for a big impact. Whether you choose a trendy new color like emerald green or dark rich navy, painting your cabinets is a quick way to add some pop to your kitchen renovation.

Open Floor Plan Kitchen Design

Several walls were removed and the kitchen now utilizes the former dining room space at this remodel at Sixmile Creek, Waunakee, Wisconsin. This photo also demonstrates the stove as a focal point, using Quartz countertop material for the backsplash behind the range.

10. Open Up Your Space:

Today's trend for open concept living offers a great option for updating your kitchen. Opening a wall and adding a large island can completely change the vibe of your living space. If you have non-load bearing walls between the kitchen and dining or living rooms, it's an affordable option that can offer an immediate visual element.

If your walls are structural, removing them is still possible, but it can increase the cost significantly. Before knocking down any walls, always consult with your design build remodeling contractor to make sure it's an option.

Sometimes simple elements can transform an old space into something new. Upgrading elements of your existing kitchen can give you the look you want at a budget you can afford. If you're considering a complete down to the studs kitchen renovation, consider each of these upgrades when you're planning your design.

At Degnan Design Build Remodel we can help you to maximize your kitchen remodeling budget by offering you upgrade options. Let us show you where to save and where to splurge on your kitchen remodeling project to give you the kitchen of your dreams at a price you can afford.

This article was updated by Abe Degnan on 7/30/2018.