Adding value and style to your kitchen without breaking the bank

Renovating your kitchen can be a big job. But it also has potential to bring big rewards.

We’ve talked about renovating our kitchen since moving in two years ago. We recently pulled the trigger, but not without significant research and debate. Why? Because there’s lots of competing factors to consider and balance. For example:

1. We wanted the updates to be as functional as possible while letting our personal style show. We have two kids, an energetic dog and my husband loves to cook. Durability was essential to the decision.

2. We are always thinking about listing our home and we wanted to ensure that the updates would appeal to potential buyers.

3. We’ve also toyed with the idea that we would keep the property and rent it out as an investment property. Any changes we’d make would need to be tenant proof.

4. Whatever we did we wanted to reflect the character of the home. It’s almost a hundred years old and the kitchen needs to carry this feeling.

Considering these and other factors, we started our process by determining what we would keep from the existing kitchen. The cabinets were big box builder basic, but in good shape and functional. They made the cut. We also kept the polished chrome faucet we replaced last year and the white porcelain sink. The appliances were all stainless steel and mid-to-high end. They stayed, too.


That leaves us with flooring and counters. The existing floor was a vinyl roll with faux tile print. Gone. The counter was dated Formica. Enough said.

For the floor, we originally looked into cork for it’s uniqueness and comfort under foot but decided against it for durability reasons. Our search led us to composite flooring products, which are basically a vinyl plank with a textured wood finish and a cork underpad. Form meets function and frugality (roughly $3/sq ft!) This product also comes in a variety of colours and textures and was a relatively simple click-lock installation. Expert installers not needed. We chose a wood finish with lots of greys, which would play well against the white cabinets.

For the counter we were wary to go with a stone. Our house has a rustic vintage feel and stone didn’t fit into that. Also, from a tenant proofing perspective, stone can be chipped easily and could need to be replaced down the road. 

After much discussion, we decided to go with a traditional solid-wood butcher block from our local Ikea. We liked the look of the beech wood and appreciated the easy installation and maintenance. Also, we like the price tag and flexibility it holds – unlike stones and other surfaces, butcher block can be sanded and stained as our tastes change. This is also good for covering up blemishes and imperfections.

We’re very happy with our updates and feel we’ve added a lot of value at a reasonable price. Most importantly, we now have a place to come together that looks great and feels like home.




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