14 Best Kitchen Remodel Upgrades for 2022: Costs, Pros & Cons

You don’t have to totally remodel the kitchen this year to give it a fresh feel. These top 2022 kitchen upgrades stand on their own and deliver excellent ROI whether you stay put forever or decide to sell in the next few years.

This isn’t a “kitchen trends you will see everywhere” article. Who wants a kitchen that looks like everyone else’s?

Instead, these hot kitchen trends for 2022 give you room to personalize the design to fit your vision of what the perfect kitchen should be.

Leading trends in design, color, texture, materials, and kitchen components are explored throughout to give you insight into how to customize your kitchen improvements.

Kitchen Upgrades for 2022 – Two Guiding Themes

Feel free to jump down to the list and discussion of the top kitchen upgrades if you’re pressed for time.

But if you are interested in the theme and counter-theme that designers are driven by in creating the hottest kitchens this year, you might enjoy this section. It’s a 60-second read.

Theme One is the Multi-function Kitchen

In the pandemic years, day-to-day life became more focused on the home. Work from home. School from home. Stuck at home.

As a result, the kitchen, more than ever, has become the hub of the house. Austin designer Claire Zinnecker affirms what we all know, “The kitchen is the perfect multi-use room because people naturally gather here.”

Many households embrace this in their kitchen improvement choices. “Kitchen meets living room.” There are appealing ways to make this work.

Multi-purpose kitchen meets living room – open kitchen layout
Source: These Three Rooms (Design: The Shaker Kitchen Company Photography: Malcolm Menzies)

Think versatility Is this your view of the kitchen? The multi-function kitchen is a combination of components related to food plus the addition of living space. As a result, it needs a little bit of everything – decent appliances, adequate storage, a tea and coffee station, generous counter space, open shelving, a charging device station, and decor that would fit just as well in a living room. The vibe says, “relax and stay a while.” Desk space or a second island with casual seating are wonderful if the kitchen’s footprint allows.

Terminology tip – This kitchen style is also called the blended kitchen and multipurpose kitchen.

Theme Two is the Food-focused Kitchen

This is the counter-theme. Yes, home life has become busier, the outside world is crazier, and some of us want a place to get away from it all. For many, the kitchen is that place!

Think more specifically of a space designed for food preparation – a daily routine that keeps you centered on what’s most important. In this kitchen, the price of gas and the politics of the day are forgotten.

This kitchen is best outfitted with high-performance appliances, plenty of storage for food and your favorite food-prep tools, spacious countertops, a double-basin sink – and a prep sink if possible.

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Top 15 Kitchen Countertops Costs and Pros & Cons in 2022

Recycled glass countertop

If you’re looking to install new countertops in your kitchen, you’re not alone – 95% of homeowners looking to renovate say that “kitchen countertops are their top priority this year”.

This consumer buying guide covers top 15 countertop options, along with each material’s pros and cons, and the average cost to install.

  1. Granite countertops

Granite Countertop for sale at Lowe's

What it is: You probably already know! Granite is a natural stone countertop material which has been highly prized in the kitchen for many years. It is available in a wide variety of colors and blends well with many different flooring and wall designs.

Granite countertops are becoming more and more common thanks to their increased availability and affordability.

Granite worktop samples on display at Lowe's

What it costs: Granite can be expensive. Prices between $85 and $175 per square foot installed are not uncommon, depending on the size, color, thickness, and pattern of the granite slab, manufacturer/supplier and installer, and where you live.

Pros: Because granite is highly sought after and considered beautiful, the countertops will add non-depreciating value to your home. It is non-porous and sanitary, heat-resistant, and easy to clean. It does not get scratched easily.

Cons: Granite is very difficult to remove, and should be considered a “forever” upgrade, because you may have to rip out the entire counter if you get sick of it. It is expensive when compared to other common countertop materials.

It is also labor-intensive because it is so heavy, which means that it may require additional structural support than what your counters already offer. It must be sealed roughly every 10 years or so to prevent staining, and it can crack if hit by a large, heavy object.

  1. Quartzite countertops

What it is:

Not to be confused with countertops labeled “quartz” – which are a kind of manmade composite, consisting of about 90% quartz and 10% resin – quartzite is a relatively new solid-stone alternative to granite or engineered quartz countertops.

Quartzite is a naturally occurring rock that starts its life as a kind of sandstone and evolves into quartzite when subjected to heat and pressure. The resulting white or gray rock tends to have beautiful streaks of color, giving it the look of marble while maintaining the toughness of granite.

A word of caution, however – the term tends to be used somewhat loosely by manufacturers, so it is important to check with your supplier to find out if your quartzite is “hard” or “soft” quartzite, which will affect how durable the material is, and how often routine sealing must be done to care for it.

What it costs: $85 to $150 per square foot installed, depending on the type of quartzite you choose and where you live.

Pros: The neutral colors of quartzite look nice against almost any kitchen color scheme. Its natural swirl patterns lend a clean, modern, organic look. It is somewhat heat resistant (although protection should be used if you intend to leave a hot pot sitting for a while).

Did you know? Quartzite is also harder than granite, making it a little more durable.

Cons: Depending on the type of quartzite, periodic sealing must be done (as with any stone surface) to avoid staining. Also, because it is a heavy stone, it requires professional installation.

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