Giving your kitchen a facelift is always a popular remodeling project but these top five kitchen renovation trends are a good investment if you’re planning to sell your home. Buyers want a kitchen that fits their lifestyle so you should make sure your kitchen is up-to-date.

In the 2013 Cost vs. Value Report, produced by Remodeling Magazine in partnership with the National Association of Realtors, minor kitchen remodels returned 82 percent of the cost invested while major kitchen overhauls returned 74 percent.

Trend #1: Updated kitchen appliances

A main concern for homebuyers is the state of appliances, specifically the refrigerator, oven and microwave.

“I have found that homeowners start with these three and I think it is due to budget reasons,” says Carl Bruen, a certified graduate remodeler and owner of Bruen Design Build Inc., a remodeling company in New Jersey. If the space of the old appliance works well for a new appliance, then homeowners can have a remodeled look without touching the layout.

“These three items change the whole landscape of the kitchen and they can act as a unifying element or establish a theme,” Bruen says.

Bruen’s caveat is that the updated appliances have to fit in the same space as the old.

“When they want to move up to a larger cooktop, oven, fridge or my favorite: get the microwave away from the cook top, then you get into modifying cabinetry, if not changing out all the cabinets,” Bruen says. At that point you’re doing more than updating appliances and you’ll need a larger remodeling budget.

Trend #2: Granite and quartz countertops

“Granite is still king but people are moving towards those manmade materials like quartz because there’s less maintenance involved,” says Leslie Molloy, a certified kitchen designer at Normandy Design Build Remodeling in Chicago. Granite comes straight from the earth as one chunk and usually costs around $60 per square foot. Quartz is mixed with resin and can cost anywhere from $67 up to $95 per square foot.
“Quartz has less variability in the pattern which most people prefer versus the veining in the natural stones,” Bruen says.

Quartz is also the preference from a sanitary perspective because it has been recognized by the Public Health and Safety Organization as NSF certified, meaning it complies with all standard health and safety requirements.

Trend #3: The open kitchen layout

If you haven’t already implemented an open kitchen then you should in your remodeling project. The open layout that combines a kitchen and living room is still in style, according to Molloy and Bruen.

“For us, the most requested is the open kitchens by far but people are also paying attention to proper seating arrangements and space for furnishings. Oftentimes, they will want fewer upper cabinets to keep the space open and to make the storage a bit more accessible,” Bruen says.

Trend #4: White cabinetry with transitional lines

With cabinetry, there’s a trend for simpler lines that set a transitional mood rather than modern, Molloy says. Transitional style is defined as a marriage between traditional and contemporary in furniture and materials that results in a classic and timeless design. Usually transitional styles feature neutral colors to evoke a clean atmosphere.

“White is very popular still and I would say a cleaner line in the door is also, nothing that’s too contemporary but also nothing that’s too ornate, just simple and transitional,” Molloy says.

Trend #5: Maintaining a vintage mood with old style fixtures

A newer trend that fits in with the transitional design has homeowners keeping old fixtures and even planning renovations around these elements for a vintage result.

“They do this through schoolhouse light fixtures, farmhouse sinks, and the dark countertops that remind you of a science lab,” Molloy says. Customers are also starting to request old style devices to fit their home.

“I have just started to see this trend and perhaps from a design perspective is safer than having an incompatible design such as the French Country kitchen in a 1960 split level,” Bruen says.

If you’re planning to remodel, think about the trendy projects that could work for your kitchen. Renovating is a good way to freshen up the mood of the house but it’s important to plan for it. Minor kitchen remodeling projects can cost up to $18,000 while major overhauls can be around $54,000, according to the Cost vs. Value report.

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