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A kitchen upgrade can add to your home’s value, but you have to plan it properly to get it right. Here we look at how to plan the upgrade to get the best results and the best return on your investment.


Planning Your Kitchen Upgrade


The kitchen is possibly the most important room of your home. It is definitely a priority for home buyers when they look at purchasing a property, and often a less than desirable kitchen can be the make or break when it comes to clinching your asking price on your property. It is the place that we tend to spend the most time. Morning chats over hot cups of coffee and toast, Sunday roast making, Saturday afternoon baking, evening meals after work and school where the whole family is chatting about the day they have had. It is the heart of the home and it makes a huge difference to a house visually and practically so it makes sense that a lot of us spend a lot of time and money on our kitchens.


The only glitch with renovating or upgrading the kitchen is that it is possibly the most stressful room to upgrade. This is for a number of reasons including:


  • The countless practical things you need to think about and consider like the plumbing and lighting
  • The different zones in the kitchen such as the eating area, the cooking area and social area
  • The endless options there are for materials, accessories and colour schemes
  • The way you personally use your kitchen. Maybe you bake or you have children, or perhaps you only entertain. Your own personal kitchen use influences what you want to do with it


kitchen upgrade - ivory porcelain floor tiles in kitchen


Regardless of whether you move into a home with a new kitchen or not, you will likely have to do your kitchen up at some point because it will naturally degrade. You might even want to upgrade your kitchen because of new tastes or trends, or because you are using it in a different way or perhaps you want to sell and you want to invest in the kitchen. Regardless of why you want to fix it up, there is a lot to think about and plan. You could get overwhelmed like a lot of people, but there’s no need to, not with careful planning and a little help from our useful kitchen upgrade guide.


First things first:

Plan For Planning

This sounds silly but, you have to actually make time to plan. Many people will often put off planning and never get round to it because they don’t have time or it seems like too big a task. They might then also go straight into upgrading the kitchen without really planning it properly which is a disaster in the long run for various reasons.


So do set aside time to plan the kitchen, and to make it easier, do it in stages. So say this Saturday afternoon you plan to pour a glass of wine, sit in the conservatory and write a list of things you want to change about the kitchen. Then on Tuesday lunchtime you’re going to have a think about the budget. Then Friday evening for an hour you are going to make a little Pinterest account up for inspiration.


Cairnpark Kitchen in New Home


This way of planning might work for you if you need to have things done in digestible little bits. However if you know you’re a ‘get it all done’ type person then set a weekend aside to plan everything out and get yourself ready for renovation. Whichever way you do it, consider the following:


  • Be clear as to why you want to upgrade as this will highly influence what you do. For example: changing things to rent the property out might mean you have a more plain kitchen than if you are changing things for yourself.
  • Set a realistic budget with a top and a bottom that is based on calculations and not just ‘off the top of your head’.
  • Create a Pinterest account so that you have plenty of inspiration. Also seek inspiration from things like magazines, friends’ houses, TV programmes and DIY centres.
  • Always put practicality first because the kitchen is such a practical room. There is no way that you will be able to enjoy how the room looks if you cannot use it properly.
  • Discuss the plans with your family so that everyone feels they have a say in what happens next.
  • Don’t worry about being over-prepared it is impossible to be over prepared with something so important.
  • Contact people just to get an idea of costings or for other information you need, and don’t worry if you don’t plan to use them, you’re just getting the information you need to get your planning done.


Planning is so important you really have to allow yourself to take the time to do it properly so that you feel totally ready for your renovations.

Struggling To Know Where To Start?

Perhaps you can’t plan yet because you don’t know where to start or what might need an upgrade or more so, what should be upgraded? Don’t worry, we have plenty of ideas to help you, with details on the most common areas of the kitchen people like to upgrade and how to go about upgrading them:

Kitchen Units

The kitchen units, otherwise known as kitchen cabinets, are sometimes the most expensive part of the kitchen to change because they take up a lot of space. You can get them so that they are ready made and this tends to be a cheap option. However, for a more unique look you can pay more for semi-custom built units or entirely custom built units. You should expect to pay up to any amount for entirely custom cabinets as you choose size and materials so really the ceiling price is up to you. When planning the units you should definitely think about it all properly for as much time as you need, especially if it does end up being the most expensive part of the entire upgrade.

Howarth Homes Kitchen

Unit Materials

Anything solid is going to cost you more because it is going to last longer and be a generally higher quality item. To save money you can opt for units that look like they are solid when in fact they are layered with base layers, veneers and laminates. You will also find that the inner cupboard is of a lesser overall quality compared to the frontage of the cabinet, and this is entirely normal and the way that most units work. So do look for buzzwords like composites, vinyl and ‘wood-look’ when looking for units if you want to keep to a budget.

If you don’t mind spending a little more then plywood is a good option for you. It is strong and durable and will last you much longer than cheaper options but you will be paying for that extra quality, often by quite a lot. A mid-range option between plywood and composites would be MDF which is a denser composite that does cost a bit more but is made to be more durable and stronger.


Choosing External Cabinet Materials

The bit of the cabinet you can see is the bit that matters the most to most homeowners. For this reason, you might want to simply upgrade the exposed section of the unit rather than replace the entire unit. This will save you money. You could get a very good cheap replacement look by simply using a laminate which is a coating that goes over the bulk material and creates an entirely different look. If you wanted something a little more high quality and you want to pay a little more, then vinyl foil is a good option. You simply mould this over the cupboard door and it works with the shape of the wood in a more natural way than laminate does. For a top-range upgrade you will want to use solid wood or wooden veneers which come in a wide variety of options (oak, hickory, maple etc) but you will be paying a lot more for them.


Countertop choices are huge and there is a style for any taste. This is a good thing but also a bad thing. It is good in that you get to enjoy a style you like, but the bad part is choosing the right one!


The most popular type of countertop is usually a manufactured solid type which is made from stone of some sort. This could be quartz or just a natural stone that is built to look attractive but it isn’t as expensive as higher grade natural stones. If you are happy spending a little bit more than you will want to look at marble or granite, but you will pay the price for them. There are affordable marbles and granite style worktops and there are more expensive rare types, so the choice is yours as to how expensive you would like the surface to be.

luxury kitchen - white porcelain tiles

Rare marble will cost you the most and it isn’t naturally durable so doesn’t work well in kitchens that are used a lot. A more budget friendly and more durable option would be solid wood which looks really attractive but you have to choose a durable wood like oak in order to avoid quick wear and tear. Alternatively you could go even more budget friendly and choose laminate but these aren’t great for this particular job role in the kitchen as they just aren’t very durable.


Your kitchen floor will have a big impact on the look of your kitchen and it may well be there for many kitchens to come if you invest in some high quality floor tiles.


The practicality of the floor is so important and it must come first in your considerations. It has to be slip-proof, heat resistant, scratch and dent resistant, be anti-humidity and anti-moisture, it should be easy to clean and maintain. It really is a lot to get in one material but it is possible.


If you have a low budget then you should look at vinyl because it is so cheap, so easy to replace and it comes in so many different styles. If you don’t mind paying a little more look at porcelain floor tiles which are very easy to clean and highly durable. If you can pay for something high grade that will last for years then you should look at hardwood flooring or a strong natural stone floor tile.

The Look Of The Kitchen

When you are looking at upgrading your kitchen, do put practicality first because it matters so much in a room that is so important to how you live. However, you should also think aesthetically because you have to enjoy spending time in this room and it should look beautiful and pleasing to the eye. As a general rule, opting for something light and natural will serve you well over something that is attached to current trends. Think timeless, classic and beautiful. You can always jazz it up with accessories, but they don’t cost much to replace in the same way units and flooring do.

Hiring A Contractor

When you hire somebody to work on your kitchen upgrade, put as much time into it as you need to. This person could absolutely ruin your home if they do a bad job, and they could waste thousands of pounds of your hard earned money. Research various companies and individuals who are qualified to do the job, check references, get quotes and recommendations and get a feel for them. If at any point you feel unsure about their abilities then move on to another person. It just isn’t worth the heartache and misery of hiring the wrong person and having to sort everything out afterwards.


You Can Have A Beautiful Kitchen Upgrade

Just remember how important this room is to you and your family and that will inspire you to take the time to get everything just right. With plenty of time, patience and research you’re going to have the most beautiful kitchen upgrade.

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