Serving the Lower Mainland

Your Kitchen isn't What it Used to Be

The room that's seen the biggest transition over the past few centuries has been the kitchen.

Style, color, function, and more have been modernized over this time. The kitchen has come a long way from being a utilitarian space, existing mainly for food prep and little else. Today open-concept kitchens - and their centre islands with seating - have turned the space into a multipurpose room (think homework station) as much as a place for cooking, combining dining room, lounge, and living room all in one.


Indeed, kitchens are also the single most important room in the home relating to valuation. The kitchen can make a significant difference in the value of your home. Often the heart of a home, the kitchen is a big selling point to home buyers, with a wide belief that kitchen renos are one of the top five renovations you can do to your home to increase property value, and can potentially have a return on investment.

Are you thinking about selling your home or holding on the selling part right now and just upgrading your kitchen? As such, it is crucial that you invest in having a modern, fresh and desirable kitchen. And there are simple ways you can add value without breaking the bank (as well as attract potential buyers to your home one day). Here are some things you can do to add value without breaking the bank too much.

A Coat of New Paint

If you're having your cabinets painted, consider complementary colours to freshen up your walls as well, and always remember that brighter rooms look bigger and more inviting.


Soft tones of off-white, blue and green are your best friends in a small kitchen. These colors reflect light, enhancing the sense of space and making the walls recede. Though scientists don't completely understand the link between color and mood, it is a scientific fact that color affects mood. Soft blues and greens in particular are described as having a calming effect, and are nice to look at too.

Modern Cabinetry

Add your own personal flair and custom look even when splurging isn't an option with affordable, basic kitchen cabinets - like those from Ikea and Home Depot.

When it comes to kitchen cabinets, hardware is a little thing that can make a big difference. Since styles can be very limited with cabinet profiles, try swapping out the hardware for something more custom-looking. Consider ones with color or brushed metals to give your space some extra excitement or elegance.

If you have warm tones, go with gold, blacks, or bronze. If you have a cold grey, then silvers, pewters, blacks and stainless will work.


Take note of lighting, appliances, and other metal accents in the room and stick to the same tone. You'll be surprised by the effect such a simple change can have on the look and feel of your kitchen.

New Flooring

Vinyl or resilient flooring offers a variety of styles and colors in either tiles or sheets for those on a budget. A good floor to use in high traffic areas like kitchens is tile. Why? It's durable, easy to clean, and doesn't absorb moisture - a life-saver during times like when the dishwasher leaks (and then needs repairing). Tiles come in all shapes and sizes - and can mimic almost any style. If you like the look of hardwood - you can get tile to mimic it. Ceramic tile is also durable and available in assorted colors and styles. One way of increasing space in a small area is with large tiles - which can help make the room feel airier and larger. Also think about the color of the flooring as this can play a part in accentuating the size of the space you are upgrading (light, soft tones open up a space, for example).


With a combination of lighting you can make sure every inch of your kitchen is bright and welcoming.

There are three types of kitchen lighting: ambient (aka. general), task, and accent. Ambient is your main source of light - usually from natural sources, like windows and skylights, or is cast directly from the ceiling.

Task lighting will shine extra light on work surfaces (countertops and cabinets) to provide safe lighting while you're preparing meals. When you're chopping, cutting, boiling, and baking you need to see properly! Recessed lights under cabinets are a great way to seamlessly add some much-needed task lighting to your kitchen.


Accent lighting can also provide ambient and task lighting, but its main feature is to highlight your favourite elements of your kitchen. For example, hanging pendants above a breakfast bar or kitchen island adds a stylish focal point to an everyday kitchen piece. There are lots of affordable options available for this type of lighting. A good rule of thumb for size: The bigger your island, the larger your fixture should be.

Modern Appliances

Purchasing home appliances is a major decision for most homebuyers and represents a significant investment. Big ticket items like a washing machine, dishwasher, refrigerator or oven can pay off with increased efficiency, energy savings and a long lifespan. Appliance sales happen several times a year, usually during major holidays. Check out department and box stores to save up to 40% off retail. You can also shop classifieds on Facebook and Craigslist for used appliances.

Major appliances such as refrigerators, gas ranges and freezers generally need little in the way of maintenance and repairs. And they have the longest life spans, with stand alone freezers and full-size fridges lasting around two decades with almost no maintenance. According to Consumer Reports, a few exceptions might be built-in refrigerators and gas cooktops and the sort of appliance repairs these could generate may be more trouble than they're worth. Obviously, there are pros and cons to used appliances, but we shall save that for another story.

With Black Friday around the corner now is a good opportunity to get some of the best deals on appliances. Sale prices are at their lowest in November, even when compared with major appliance sale holidays like Canada Day and Memorial Day. And a Consumer Reports market analysis found that of all kitchen appliances, refrigerators see the biggest discounts at this time of year, compared with dishwashers and ranges. Indeed the kitchen should not be overlooked here. This (November) is the best time of year for refrigerator deals. And, according to CR Reports, the deepest discounts are on highly rated models such as GE, LG, and Whirlpool.


One or two Smart kitchen appliances are also a good choice for the kitchen if you are thinking about upgrading and have some money to invest. Why? They're more energy-efficient, saving you money in the long run. They also connect directly to your smartphone, alerting you when the water filter needs to be replaced, the fridge's temperature is too high, or the door is left open. There are once again pros and cons to Smart appliances right now, but that is another story.

Be Realistic

It's important to keep a few things in mind when considering upgrades to your home. What you'll get back on your investment depends on the value of your house, the value of houses in your immediate neighborhood, the housing market where you live (buyers market right now), how soon you sell after making improvements, and the quality of the project itself. Installing a $10,000 stove in a $200,000 house, for example, just doesn't make sense, nor does it make sense to update your kitchen if your house is the only house in the neighborhood with just one bathroom.

Indeed, renovating your home can increase the resale value, but some upgrades make more sense than others.


By making some small-scale, gradual and inexpensive updates to your kitchen you will be rewarded with a stylish, modern space that appeals to home buyers, and one that you enjoy spending time in (and looking at too).

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