Thinking about giving your kitchen a facelift? It’s a big step, but totally worth it for the updated look and potential boost in your home’s value. Let’s get straight to the point and talk about what really makes a difference. Whether it’s tearing down a wall to open things up or picking the right countertops, we’re here to help you figure out the must-haves that turn a kitchen from just okay to awesome. You’ll end up making choices you’re happy with, no regrets.

kitchen remodel with white cabinets, wood shelving and bright feel
Open Shelving. Photo credit: Running to the Kitchen.
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White Kitchens

White Kitchens. Photo credit: Canva Pro.

White cabinetry is timeless, beautiful and versatile. It can work into any design style such as traditional, modern, contemporary or farmhouse. White cabinets allow for great resale value too and give you a blank slate for choosing fun accents like the sink, light fixtures and hardware.

Upgraded Appliances

Upgraded Appliances. Photo credit: Running to the Kitchen.

This can mean anything from incorporating a 36″ to 60″ professional range or simply buying the better quality standard sized appliance. There’s no point spending your hard-earned money on a kitchen renovation if the appliances don’t do a good job cooking.

Shaker Style Cabinets

Shaker Style Cabinets. Photo credit: Running to the Kitchen.

When in doubt, go with a Shaker style cabinet. It’s clean, timeless and always looks good. The simple lines incorporate easily into almost any design plan, and with less trim work, they’re easier to keep clean.

Knocking Down a Wall

Knocking Down a Wall. Photo credit: Running to the Kitchen.

Open layouts are here to stay. Gone are the days of closed off kitchens with doors to a formal dining room. Taking down a wall, even if it’s load bearing, is usually a worthwhile decision to bring in more light and make the kitchen the center of your home with enough space for family and friends to gather.

Natural Stone Countertops

Natural Stone Countertops. Photo credit: Canva Pro.

Everyone says quartz is in, but the reality (from personal experiences) is that quartz is not heat resistant, is quick to absorb stains and scratches and chips more easily than granite or quartzite. You’ll also pay a similar price, if not more, for a high quality quartz – which is man made compared to natural stone. This is one kitchen design element where we stand firm against the mainstream narrative. Stick to granite or quartzite and you won’t regret it.

Open Shelving

Open Shelving. Photo credit: Running to the Kitchen.

Breaking up the monotomy of a wall of cabinets with open shelving is a nice visual touch. Just make sure to balance form with function. If you’re someone who hides a mess behind a cabinet door, go with a minimal amount of shelving otherwise you’ll likely regret the decision to display everything out in the open.
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Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood Flooring. Photo credit: Running to the Kitchen.

Hardwood floors are just so much cozier than tile and feel better on your feet when you’re standing in the kitchen for hours. Continuing hardwood from other areas of the house also allows for a more unified feeling rather than breaking up the kitchen with tile. You won’t find anything more durable than wood to stand up to the high traffic space of a kitchen either.

Subway Tile Backsplash

Subway Tile Backsplash. Photo credit: Canva Pro.

There are so many ways to make subway tile work for you in your kitchen renovation whether it’s choosing a different color other than the standard white, laying the tile in a more unique pattern like herringbone or stacked or, selecting a more unique edge like beveled or irregular. Backsplash can make or break a kitchen design but subway tile is elegant, timeless and classic.

Large Stainless Steel Sinks

Large Stainless Steel Sinks. Photo credit: Running to the Kitchen.

Stainless steel sinks are easy to keep clean and outperform any other choices like enamel and solid surface options. They’re also like white cabinets and can work themselves into any design style whether farmhouse or modern. Choosing one large sink basin is also much more conducive to cleaning big pots and pans than divided sinks.

Gina Matsoukas is the writer, founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients as much as possible. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.

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  1. It all looks lovely. But I have a few things to add from my experience.
    Although open shelves look great, kitchens spawn a lot of grease, and dust settles on the grease. So I would avoid open shelves unless I was keen on cleaning.
    As I have become older, I have really appreciated the fact that we put in a kitchen table rather than a bench height island. I have to sit to do a lot of food preparation now, and a chair at a table is a lot easier and more comfortable than a stool at an island.

    1. Good points! I agree on the table. It’s nice to have a space to sit that’s not a countertop as well. I also agree on the shelves but I find that cabinet doors need just as much cleaning as shelves from dust and grease so I think it just comes down to aesthetic preference :)