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Exactly How Much to Spend on a Kitchen Reno to Make It Worth the Investment

This number hits the sweet spot.
Lydia Geisel Avatar
white kitchen with vintage rug

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Most homeowners face a common dilemma when preparing to put their place on the market: Leave it as is or make some renovations? A new report from and has the answer. Nearly half of homeowners surveyed believe that a kitchen remodel is the way to go if you want to add value back into your home (features like a pool or a new roof are low on the priority list). But the catch is, spending money on costly custom cabinets and a fancy marble island isn’t going to help you much. Instead, doing smaller, less expensive renovations will get you the most bang for your buck.

The report found that those who made minor changes (think: in the $22,000 range) netted an 80 percent return on their original investment when their house finally sold. In contrast, people who dropped more than $66,000 only recouped 60 percent. In this case, being a little stingy with your money actually pays. Take advantage of every last penny by opting for these small yet impactful changes: 

Scale Down the Backsplash

The difference between a low-cost reno and a pricey one can come down to 10 inches—of backsplash, that is. While the standard height is 15 to 20 inches, more and more designers are opting for just six (it’s just as functional!). This means you can go ahead and install an eye-catching material like soapstone without having to stress over the splurge. 

Swap Out the Door Fronts

Save a few bucks where it counts: the cabinets. Studio McGee chose affordable IKEA cupboards for a client’s black and white kitchen, but the designers made the feature look expensive by replacing the fronts with custom Shaker-style ones by Semihandmade. 

Paint Everything Dark

Chris and Julia Marcum only dropped $1,000 on their refresh, but the space is barely recognizable from before. The biggest decision they made? Keep the dated granite countertops, but coat both the cabinets and backsplash in a chameleon green-gray. The dramatic hue causes the dingy mataerial to fade into the background. This upgrade is a win-win. 

See more stories like this: 5 Kitchen Sinks That Put Drab Stainless Steel to Rest Homeowners Agree: This Dated Countertop Material One-Ups Trendy Quartz You Don’t Need a Sprawling Kitchen When You Have These Designer Tricks

Lydia Geisel Avatar

Lydia Geisel

Home Editor

Lydia Geisel has been on the editorial team at Domino since 2017. Today, she writes and edits home and renovation stories, including house tours, before and afters, and DIYs, and leads our design news coverage. She lives in New York City.