The Most Important Changes To Make So Your Kitchen Doesn't Look Dated

The kitchen is arguably the most important space in a home because of two main reasons. First, it's the spot where everyone in a household gathers, whether to have heart-to-heart conversations or grab a quick bite together. Second, it's a major selling point for a house, an important consideration should you consider putting your home out on the market. According to the National Association of Realtors' 2022 Remodeling Impact Report, kitchen remodeling can increase a home's functionality and livability by up to 43%.

Yet, while this is all true, the kitchen is often down the priority list when it comes to renovations and remodeling because of cost. Because of this, it's quite common for kitchen spaces to remain stuck in the past. Fortunately, giving your old and dated kitchen space a facelift doesn't always mean a complete overhaul that will break the bank. There are several simple changes you can make to bring it up to date and improve the appeal of your kitchen overall.

So whether you're considering selling your home, or simply want to upgrade your outdated kitchen space, here are a few tips on some of the important upgrades that will help you create a more modern cooking area.

Reface and paint

Old and outdated cabinets are the first elements that'll give away the age of your kitchen at first glance. Cabinets take up a huge chunk of a kitchen's real estate and aren't possible to hide. While full cabinet remodeling is a possible solution to this problem, it goes without saying that not everyone has the budget for it. Fortunately, if your cabinets are still sound structurally, a few cosmetic changes will be enough to give them the modern vibe you're looking for. 

One creative way of refreshing the look of your kitchen cabinets is refacing them. This involves changing the appearance of the cabinets by either replacing the cabinet and drawer fronts or covering the existing surface with laminate or wood veneers. For such a project, Fixr estimates it'll cost $210 to $750 per linear foot, which can still turn into a considerable sum. At the high-end, the cost guide quotes a cabinet-refacing budget of $22,000.

This said, the average to reface kitchen cabinets is $7,000 to $12,000. Lastly, if you want to take the appearance a notch higher, especially if you don't opt for the high-end refacing, consider giving the newly refaced cabinets a coat of paint just to make sure that everything matches nicely.

Replace kitchen appliances

Although older appliances contribute to the old and outdated look of a kitchen, the reasons for replacing them with modern alternatives go beyond that. Older appliances (10 to 15 years old) are often inefficient and are major energy zappers in most households. Small Footprint Family says that such appliances consume up to 90% more energy compared to their modern counterparts.

What's more, older appliances are bound to break down sooner than later, so replacing them is simply saving you trouble a few years down the line. Plus, it gives you the time to choose your next model versus rushing to replace a broken appliance in a pinch. When choosing an appliance for your kitchen, it's important to keep function and aesthetics in mind, particularly when you're hoping to update an outdated look.

You want appliances that not only make your work easier in the kitchen but also improve the aesthetic appeal of the space. Finishes like stainless steel will give your kitchen a modern and luxurious vibe. You can also choose matching finishes for all your appliances to harmonize with the style of your kitchen. When buying appliances in bulk, The Washington Post recommends looking out for package deals that will help you save a few bucks for the entire purchase.

Upgrade your countertop

Countertop surfaces contribute greatly to the visual appearance of a kitchen. And countertops made of a dated material (such as Corian from the '70s) can really impact how modern a kitchen can look. Further, similar to kitchen cabinets, you can't really hide countertops, especially when the aim is to keep them clutter-free. 

The beauty of choosing this upgrade, however, is that the installation won't disrupt your daily activities because the entire scope of work happens in one day, taking between two to seven hours, according to Maryland Granite. Other than that, modern countertops are also quite durable and cost-effective, especially when you don't have the luxury of doing full kitchen remodeling. 

Countertop Guides notes the cost of countertop installation is relative to the material, but, in general, the prices range from as little as $15 to over $200 per square foot. Modern options for countertop materials include marble, quartz, laminate, ceramic, and granite, among others. They also come in plenty of colors, patterns, and finishes to match whatever interior style you fancy for your kitchen. When choosing countertop materials, be sure to go for options that are both durable and scratch-resistant to ensure they retain their beautiful finish for longer.

Change your flooring

Maybe your kitchen floor has lost its shine or you're starting to notice chips and cracks on its surface; either way, these are among the earliest indicators that it may be time to consider an update to your outdated kitchen floor.

While the floor is often not given the recognition it deserves, it's an important element for any kitchen. It contributes to the room's aesthetics, but it also works extra hard given the foot traffic the kitchen space experiences every day. The good news, however, is that modern flooring materials are quite up to the task, and come in different styles to fit most interior designs. 

For your new kitchen flooring, you could go with hardwood, laminate, tile, porcelain, or vinyl. It's worth mentioning that changing the kitchen floor doesn't come cheap, ranging from $1,500 and $4,500, according to the Kitchen & Bath Shop. Nonetheless, it's a type of upgrade with a dual purpose: not only for the aesthetics but also for the functionality of this important space in the house.

Update the lighting fixtures

While lighting in the kitchen is often an afterthought, it's equally important as far as creating a suitable working environment is concerned. Unknown to many homeowners, lighting contributes to the ambiance and how dynamic a particular style appears, and lighting fixtures have a role to play in all that. Similar to other things in any household, lighting fixtures also go out of style. In fact, Furniture Lighting & Decor points out that if you have had a fixture for more than 10 years, there's a chance it's outdated. 

For a modern touch to your kitchen area, consider installing pendant lighting over working surfaces like the island and recessed lights on the ceiling to enhance a minimalist appearance. Another good addition to your kitchen is a dimmer switch which will allow you to control the brightness of the light. This is great for setting a mood in the kitchen during times when you're relaxing while snacking on your favorite bite.