7 Kitchen Cabinet Choices That Can Help Your Home's Resale Value

Your choice of cabinets can make a significant difference in not only the aesthetic appeal of your kitchen but also in the resale value of your home. A quality kitchen can even up your sales price as it's often a major selling point for potential buyers. In fact, Realtor.com reports that homes including updated "luxury" kitchens sell faster than homes in the same neighborhood with kitchens that need work. Moreover, 69% of listings on the website used the kitchen as a major selling point.

Because the kitchen makes such a big difference in your home's resale value, it is essential to avoid kitchen cabinet choices that will make it harder to sell your home. Whether you are planning a full-scale remodel or just a simple refresh, understanding the importance of cabinet selection is key to unlocking your home's profit potential. These are a few smart kitchen design choices that can enhance your home's market value.

Choose quality kitchen cabinet materials

Opting for low-quality materials, such as particle board, can be a costly mistake. Particle board, while initially inexpensive, lacks the durability and aesthetic appeal that is necessary to attract potential buyers. Its susceptibility to water damage and high temperatures also makes it prone to wear and tear, diminishing its longevity and overall quality over time.

Ariel Path, a professional kitchen designer, explains on her blog, "Particle board cabinets have lower resale value than plywood kitchen cabinets and solid wood cabinets." When you use high-quality wood, your cabinets will look more luxurious and can drive up the resale value of your home. Plus, with the variety of styles and colors available, solid wood cabinets can fit into any design scheme. Maple, cherry, oak and hickory are all popular species that are known for their longevity.

Refresh existing cabinets

Outdated or worn cabinets can make your entire space feel tired and uninviting, leading buyers to perceive the property as lacking in value and upkeep. To fix this issue, refresh your cabinets with a new coat of paint. Real estate agent, Jennifer Turano, explains to House Beautiful, "Having cabinets repainted is often a lower-cost way to transform the appearance of your kitchen. This can be done either as a DIY project to save money or with the help of a professional painter, who may use a spray technique to give the cabinets a brand-new, factory-finish appearance."

New cabinets can cost as much as $10,000, which isn't always attainable for homeowners.  You can tackle painting your own cabinets, often for less than $100 in material costs. On the other hand, a professional job will likely cost you several times that, as much as $2,000. If you decide to DIY it, take your current cabinet material into consideration. Wood is known to be the best cabinet surface to paint as you can rough it up with sandpaper to make the pigment adhere better. If you have stained wood or wood with a glossy finish, then you will need to de-gloss the surface before painting. For these surfaces, consider using a liquid sandpaper product such as Klean Strip.

Select the right buyer-friendly cabinet color

Opting for bold or intense colors when painting, refacing, or replacing your cabinets can be a detrimental mistake. Research suggests that some kitchen cabinet colors can hurt your resale value, like dark blue (or any other bold colors). While vibrant hues may reflect your personal style preferences, they risk alienating potential buyers who favor more neutral color palettes.

Real estate agent Colleen Toner highlights the best colors to paint kitchen cabinets, telling Apartment Therapy, "Most consumers prefer neutral colors—whites, grays, browns, and perhaps even some shades of antique blues or greens." Property investor Dana Bull echoes this sentiment, stating "Obviously, for resale, most prefer white, and any bright color may not appeal to the masses." 

When selecting a neutral shade, it is important to consider the undertones. Warm neutral paint colors have a brown undertone, bringing out the warmth in your space. Cool neutral colors have a black or gray undertone and make a room feel polished and pristine. To determine the undertone, look at the darkest square on the paint color strip. These deeper shades tell you what the lighter colors are made of, uncovering their undertones.

Prioritize storage and functionality

Kitchen storage may make or break a prospective buyer's decision, impacting their perception of the home's overall value. According to a Homelight survey of real estate agents, kitchens with plenty of storage space are highly sought after by 41% of homebuyers. Real estate investor Donald Olhausen highlights the importance of this kitchen feature in an interview with BHG, noting that "Today's buyers tend to focus on storage and favor cabinets with good aesthetic appeal." Therefore, it's important to have cabinets that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

When designing or remodeling, focus on maximizing capacity through thoughtful organization solutions like adjustable shelves, pull-out drawers, and built-in organizers. Make sure you are utilizing every inch of your space efficiently, including corner cabinets and vertical storage options. If you have a small sliver of space next to your range, you can add a cabinet-mount pull-out spice rack, such as this one from Lowe's. Features such as vertical dividers for baking sheets and deep drawers for pots and pans are also great additions.

Under-cabinet lighting can be appealing to buyers

Should you add lights under your kitchen cabinets? The experts say yes! Without adequate lighting in this key area, shadows can obscure your workspace, making food preparation and cooking more challenging and creating a gloomy atmosphere that is not appealing to buyers.

When it comes to how much light your kitchen really needs, the magic number is about 70 to 80 lumens per square foot. Under-cabinet lighting can help you achieve this goal, improving visibility and functionality and adding that touch of sophistication that buyers love. Real estate mogul Sidney Torres emphasizes the impact of lighting as one of the most affordable features you can add to your kitchen in an interview with CNBC, stating, "It's not expensive to do, but it's nice. It washes down the backsplash. You can also put them above the cabinets, which is nice too."

Consider installing LED light strips beneath the upper cupboards, like these from Home Depot. These fixtures can be easily integrated during installation or added as a retrofit option to existing cabinets. If there are any loose wires, make sure you secure them neatly in place using staples or cord hiders for a clean look. 

Upgrade hardware for a cost-effective impact

Neglecting to upgrade hardware can be a critical mistake. Outdated or worn knobs and handles can detract from the overall appeal of your space, making it appear dated and therefore less desirable to potential buyers. Additionally, mismatched or low-quality hardware may give the impression of a lack of attention to detail and can lower the perceived value of the home.

Design group owner, Marika Meyer, emphasizes the transformative power of using hardware to enhance your home's resale value, telling Trulia, "Hardware can change the feel of the space, making an out-of-date kitchen feel more modern, or non-custom cabinetry feel like an upgrade." Brushed nickel, chrome, or brass finishes add a touch of elegance, enhancing the overall look of the kitchen. Additionally, these materials are easy to clean, which is important in a kitchen environment. 

Interior Designer Dana Tucker advises readers of her blog on how to select new hardware. She swears by limiting the number of different metal finishes in your kitchen to no more than two. "If you have stainless steel appliances, that counts as one metal. So that leaves one other metal you can bring into a kitchen. If you've got brass light fixtures, that's your one other metal. Your new hardware should be nickel or brass."

Reface outdated cabinets

One mistake that many homeowners make is completely replacing their cabinets. This can be costly and time-consuming, especially if the existing cabinets are still structurally sound. Appraisal expert Leslie Sellers warns against kitchen projects that involve gutting the space completely, telling HGTV, "If the cabinets are substandard or dated to the point where they cannot be brought up to date by other means, you should replace them. But oftentimes you can just paint them or add new doors."

Refacing your cabinets is a more cost-effective solution that can still increase the resale value of your home. According to Remodeling Magazine's Cost vs. Value report, a minor kitchen remodel that includes refacing adds nearly as much value as the project costs. Hiring a professional to reface your cabinetry costs about $7,000 on average. However, you can take a cost-saving DIY approach by measuring your existing doors, ordering new ones with the same dimensions, and installing them yourself.

You can update the look further by replacing the doors with ones with custom features. One stunning kitchen cabinet trend that's making a comeback is stained glass inserts. You can elevate the look to your space by purchasing new doors with stained glass inserts or adding ones, like these from Terraza, to your existing cabinets.