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How to add value to your kitchen by upcycling

New kitchen cupboards closeup

Ever since I moved into my condo I’ve wanted to fix it up. But I’m a realistic gal. I know my place isn’t rising in value and upgrades don’t always pan out financially. So I’ve spent the past while researching how to add value without overvaluing the place.

It’s a tricky balance.

Research and compare

There are things I must consider when choosing what to update and what to leave alone. One is that at any given moment there are four or eight units for sale in my 140-strata complex. Whenever there’s an open house I take a look, learn the asking price, and see what the owners have done to improve the place. I’ve learned a lot from this research.

One thing I’ve seen is nearly every unit is identical and what’s most noticeable are the kitchen cupboards. They’re all the same!

When I am ready to sell my place I want it to stand out against all the other for sale units. It’s time for a change.

Old versus new kitchen cupboards

How to add value to your kitchen

I looked into replacing the cabinets and after going back and forth, back and forth I decided it wasn’t worth the investment. The cupboards were perfectly usable and just needed a face lift. I decided repainting my cabinets would be the best way to add value to my kitchen.

Before committing I asked around to see what people thought about repainted cabinets. Most didn’t have an opinion but a couple people mentioned they’ve noticed when the paint job isn’t done well and it looks pretty terrible.

With this information I determined it was worth the cost of hiring a professional to do it right.

The next decision I had to make was on colour. I loved the idea of light uppers and dark lowers or even the trendy brown black (and what about neon?) but was convinced these trends would fade and I would do far better with a neutral.

Overall I think the colour changes the cabinets just enough to give them a fresh look. This is upcycling in its simplest form—and even with hiring a professional painter I was able to transform my kitchen for $500.

Upcycling more of the home

Now I have cost-effective upcycling and kitchen improvements on the brain! There are so many creative ways to add value to your kitchen without breaking the bank.

Faux granite counters, for example

Last year I discovered this interesting granite workaround and have since wondered if this is a good upcycle for my laminate counters. I don’t know? Maybe? The video sure makes it look easy. The product sells for a couple hundred bucks so it’s much cheaper than actual granite countertops.

Another interesting idea is resurfacing appliances with faux stainless steel stickers. I’ve only heard about it in passing but when I looked it up there are loads of options for resurfacing appliances—any surface really!

I think as long as you’re not trying to pass these upcycles off as the real thing you can add a lot of value to your kitchen as it will look fresh, updated and different than the Jones’.

If you have any suggestions for kitchen upgrades I’d love to hear about it. I’m so happy with my cabinets I’m ready to do more!

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Working full time as a writer, editor and audio broadcast producer should be enough. But instead of resting after a long work day Robyn sets to creating havoc in her space by attempting more DIY, upcycle and knitting projects than she has room for. Her husband is a patient man.

One Response to “How to add value to your kitchen by upcycling”


Changing simple things such as hardware can make a huge difference with little investment. I would change out your cabinet knobs to stainless to complete the look!

Things like light fixtures and electrical outlet replacement is another great quick update, although you will want to hire an electrican. It really cleans up well!


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