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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18 Amazing Kitchen Island Ideas, Plus Costs & ROI

Installing or upgrading a kitchen island in your kitchen is a smart move. One house-selling expert says that the kitchens which impress buyers the most are the ones that have an eye-catching kitchen island. Other designers and real estate agents call a kitchen island a “must have”.

Blue and White Kitchen Island
via Country Living

Islands look beautiful, save space, and offer extra storage and functionality – not to mention creating the overall impression of a more luxury-grade kitchen. Even if you’re not planning to sell right now, it’s never a bad idea to make your home more attractive while increasing its long-term value.

Since a kitchen island isn’t usually a super expensive item (compared to your average remodeling project), it’s also often a safe bet for a high return on investment (ROI). This is even more true if you factor in things like aesthetic value and enjoyment factor – although those things are hard to estimate, since they will differ from person to person.

In general, though, most small to mid-size kitchen remodeling projects (like adding an island) recoup an average of 78% of their cost when the home is eventually sold. That’s a lot higher than most other remodeling projects!

Below are 18 incredible kitchen island ideas to get you started, along with each island’s pros and cons, as well as their estimated costs.

  1. Repurposed Console Kitchen Island
Repurposed console table kitchen island

If you have an old console table you’re not using, why not turn that into your next kitchen island? Console tables are designed for use in halls and entryways to provide aesthetic value and (often) extra storage. But there is nothing stopping you from repurposing a piece of furniture already meant to beautify a space and using it to improve your kitchen setup.

Pros: Consoles are usually very narrow, meaning they won’t take up too much precious space. Many of them come with drawers or shelves built-in, giving you much needed storage areas.

Cons: If the console you’re using doesn’t have a lot of storage options, you may have to get creative or add a lot of hardware to get the space you want. Also, if you don’t have one and can’t find one you like that matches your kitchen, you might have to buy new – but that sort of defeats the point of the “repurposed” look.

Cost: If you already have one, it could be free! You can also get them from anywhere from $10 to $200 on Craigslist or at garage or estate sales. If you plan on painting or adding hardware (such as caster wheels – a cheap, smart bet in a kitchen), you’ll have to factor in those costs as well.

  1. Workbench Kitchen Island

Workbench Kitchen Island
via Ana White

You know that workbench in the garage that no one ever uses? The one that’s taking up space, but you don’t want to get rid of it because you might use it someday? Well, guess what – you are going to use it someday. As your kitchen island! A workbench is typically exactly the right size and shape for an island and often has perfectly sized drawers. And many of them are already on wheels, which is great for portability.

Pros: If you go with a metal workbench, like this Husky tool bench, you’ll love the extremely wide top drawer for storing spices, cutlery, and other things taking up counter space in your kitchen. But regardless of what kind you choose, workbenches are designed to hold tools and take a beating – exactly what you want if you’re planning on using the island for cooking.

Cons: If you refurbish an old bench, you’ll most likely have to factor in the costs of resurfacing: sanding the top surface and possibly oiling and staining it – though those things don’t typically add up to much (You don’t want to cook on a surface that has old oil or paint spills on it!).

Also, workbenches work best in a kitchen that already has a rustic or industrial look – so this island solution won’t look great just anywhere.

Cost: That depends on what’s in your garage. An old one may just cost you $25 for some sandpaper and some nice hooks for hanging things or other embellishments. A brand new one will typically run you between $250 and $450.

  1. Metal Rack Kitchen Island

Metal Rack Kitchen Island
via Hay Needle

For another look with boundless industrial appeal, almost any metal rack can be turned into a kitchen island with the addition of a set of wheels (and perhaps a top surface if you’re re-purposing a small set of metal shelves). Often sold new as “kitchen carts”, these professional-looking items practically beg you to get cooking.

Pros: Metal racks are germ-resistant and super easy to clean. They’re also lightweight, moveable, and especially good for storing things you also want to have on display: a beautiful basket, a colorful set of plates, or your impressive KitchenAid.

Cons: Metal racks usually don’t have drawers and may be limited on storage space. Their aesthetic is industrial, which may be too cold or unappealing for some people.

Cost: Even brand-new metal racks are often cheap: this one at Home Depot runs $126 and could be turned into a beautiful island with the addition of a hardwood top, which – depending on how fancy you want to go – could run you from $250 to $750 or more.

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2022 Kitchen Remodel Cost Breakdown: Recommended Budgets, ROI, and more!

Your kitchen is undoubtedly the heart of your home, or in more modern terms, the core of your family’s command center! 😉

amazing-yet-modest-kitchen

Whether your goal is to increase the value of your house or you’re simply wanting to make it a more enjoyable place to live, choosing to do a kitchen remodel or renovation is one of the best decisions homeowners can make. Breathing new life into an outdated kitchen adds value to a home in numerous ways.

Our pricing guide will break down the steps to planning your renovation and provide a breakdown of expected costs for the following:

  • Basic Kitchen Remodel
  • Mid-Range Kitchen Remodel
  • Deluxe Kitchen Remodel

Make a Plan

To get the most bang for your buck it’s important to set a budget from the start, know your needs and understand where the money will go. Before shopping for appliances, tile or flooring, know your personal needs and goals for the outcome of the remodel. Then you can create a wish list of desired components and begin your search for a contractor.

Recommended Budget

The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) has a recommendation for the value of a kitchen remodel to help homeowners set an appropriate budget.

As you create your budget, there’s more to consider than the amount of money you can afford to spend. Essentially, putting too much into a home improvement project can affect the rate of return on your investment.

The NKBA recommends budgeting 15-20% of the value of your home.

For example:

$250,000 home = $37,000-$50,000 kitchen remodel budget

$500,000 home = $75,000-$100,000 kitchen remodel budget

Once your budget has been determined, cut it by at least 25 percent. Set the extra money aside as a cushion to make unexpected surprises much less stressful.

Cost Breakdown

The NKBA’s guide for an average kitchen remodel is as follows:

  • Cabinetry and Hardware: 29%
  • Installation: 17%
  • Appliances and Ventilation: 14%
  • Countertops: 10%
  • Flooring: 7%
  • Lighting: 5%
  • Walls and Ceilings: 5%
  • Design Fees: 4%
  • Doors and Windows: 4%
  • Faucets and Plumbing: 4%
  • Other: 1%

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