Home is where the heart is, but the heart of the home is the kitchen. It’s where you sit down with your family for a meal or enjoy a chat with a friend over a cup of coffee. This particular room in your house serves a multitude of purposes – dining space, homework zone, entertainment center, and a spot to hold family meetings. No wonder most people think of it as an essential part of the home. When it comes to resale value, the kitchen counts a lot because, aside from the bathroom, it is probably the most utilized space in the house. If you ask homeowners which area they would like to invest in improving, many will pick the kitchen.
A good kitchen remodel does not come cheap. You can certainly opt to utilize the cheapest labor and materials around for your remodeling project. This may save you money initially, but you will lose big time in the long run. A botched job or the use of poor-quality materials can ruin your home’s aesthetics. Worse, you can end up with a piece of property that is worth less than it originally was. When looking to improve your kitchen, you have to find the balance between cost, quality, durability, and appearance, especially when it comes to materials.
Best materials for a kitchen upgrade
You don’t have to construct an entirely new kitchen. Small upgrades can still make your kitchen more functional and beautiful if done right. Depending on which part you’re renovating, it pays to be familiar with the best materials available to you.
A functional kitchen should have ample storage. Today’s designers favor the more ergonomic drawers over door cabinets, and space is maximized with floor-to-ceiling wall cabinets. You can utilize these storage areas to keep kitchenware, plates, pots, pans, utensils, and even cookbooks. Natural wood for cabinets is a good option. Cherry wood, with its dark finish, is popular. Great alternatives are mahogany and bamboo.
Nothing sets the tone of the kitchen like a benchtop does. Its impact on overall design is so significant that you can’t be faulted if you focus on it more than on cabinetry. Durability should be first on your list of features to look for. The material you choose should be consistent with how the kitchen will be used and your taste. Some of the options available include the following:
- Granite is the top choice of many homeowners and with good reason. It is durable, easy to maintain, heat resistant, and reasonably priced. If you’re going for granite, pick a supplier who also offers customization services, like Euro Marble. This way, your benchtop will be crafted just the way you want it.
- Engineered stone or quartz is steadily finding its way into more kitchens. Many love it because it resists both stains and scratches and is available in a wide range of colors.
- Laminate features a plastic-coated surface. It is very affordable and can be a good option if you’re working on a tight budget. The drawback, however, is that a laminate countertop won’t add much to your home’s resale value.
- Soapstone is for you if you fancy a quaint, old-world vibe in your kitchen. Similar to granite, it is durable but tends to darken with age. Regularly treating the surface with mineral oil will even out the appearance.
- Marble was used by sculptors during the Renaissance. Just imagine the classically elegant ambiance that a marble benchtop will lend to your kitchen. One downside is its permeability. You have to be careful not to spill red wine or fruit juice on it because it will stain. Marble has a higher price tag than other materials.
- Solid surface counters are synthetic and offer hassle-free maintenance. They are not as scratch resistant as granite, but you can deal with the unwanted marks by sanding and scrubbing.
- Ceramic tiles are not only for the floor; they can be laid on top of the counter too. You can get creative in your design with tiles since they are sold in many colors, textures, and patterns. Bear in mind, though, that cracking will sometimes occur and they will require grouting.
Don’t make the kitchen sink a design afterthought. If you splurged on a stunning benchtop, do the same with the sink. For a more coherent look, purchase it together with the cabinets surrounding the sink area. Sinks come in various sizes, shapes, and depths. The most common ones are made of stainless steel, but others are crafted from fiberglass, cast iron, solid surface, and quartz. When buying a sink, consider comfort, convenience, and your cooking habits. For instance, your height is a factor in how deep you want the bowl to be. With design trends continually evolving, expect to see more types of materials in the future. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what’s best for this special space in your home – the kitchen.