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Winning Elements of Kitchen Design

This is the space where a significant part of the budget goes and where buyers walk in and immediately want to see.  When you are flipping a house, or renovating your own kitchen, your planning should include the details that maximize value and appeal.  Here are just a few ways I have worked with kitchens over the years to not only create a visually appealing space but add the extra attention and quality details that translate to profit.


Anytime there is the ability to open up a kitchen to another area of the home, typically a kitchen or dining room, I go for it.  With an open floor plan there are so many opportunities. You can create space for an island or peninsula to add a second dining area or gathering place.  Additional storage can be added with new cabinetry installed. The work triangle in the kitchen can be improved creating simplicity and ease where it counts.  Another final benefit to opening spaces is the improved lighting and the impact of being able to look through the home. That spacious and bright first impression is always worth the investment.


A few years ago I really dug into the numbers on the cost to purchase and install tile in a kitchen compared to installing hardwood to match the adjoining spaces.  To my surprise the difference was minor but the impact is major. Carrying hardwood flooring through the front to the back of a home adds warmth and avoids the transitions that need to be in place when the flooring materials are different.  Especially when working in older homes that may not have a ton of space this one tip can make a home seem instantly larger.


In over 150 projects I have only salvaged cabinets maybe 3 times.  And in full disclosure, many of the homes I have purchased didn’t even have cabinets.  The time and expense to salvage cabinets is really only an option if the cabinets are salvageable and if you’re not truly changing the layout of the kitchen.  Since most of my kitchens are demo’d to the studs I install a semi-custom cabinet. There are a few styles to choose from but buyers number one choice remains the white shaker style cabinet. These cabinets also offer a solid box construction with a dove tailed joint corner (look at drawers the next time you are in a flip…if the corners don’t have that detail then the drawers are “nail front” and are a lower quality.)

Counter Tops

No matter what price point I always allocated extra for a good counter top material.  When granite ruled the top of the counter top selections I found a distributor that would install a standard kitchen for 1000.00 or less.  This small investment made an impact on the buyers who would view my houses because every other house had a laminate counter top.

When quartz became desirable I did the same thing.  I was offering a different and up and coming material that buyers were only seeing on TV renovation shows.

The detail of a counter top selection is something you want to make sure that you don’t miss in your flip.  Even now I can walk through other house flips and by the style of the quartz I know if it is the lowest priced selection.  That may be fine at some price points but at higher price points you want to make sure the selection aligns with the rest of the house.


A tile backsplash finishes off a kitchen and adds a level of quality and detail to the reovation. Tile comes in a variety of price points but you do not have to spend a lot of money to create an impact.  In many homes a white subway tile backsplash is all that is needed to add that extra design boost. If you are feeling really crazy, consider installing it in a different pattern or using a contrasting grout.  Pinterest is great for those ideas.

Creating a kitchen design is about more than just replacing everything.  Remember to consult a professional for your cabinet layout so you avoid problems after installation.  And if you are struggling with design, it may be worth a small investment to have someone select your materials and finishes.  The kitchen you create will be the heart of the home for the buyers who will be walking through. Offering a space they can’t say no to will be the first step towards that offer.

Want to buy a property and renovate it?

For more inspiration for home renovations, follow me on Pinterest @thresholdhomesmn

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