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10 Kitchen Upgrades to Boost your Home's Value in 2021



Kitchen remodels can be one of the most expensive upgrades a Homeowner can endeavor when looking to improve the value of their home. It is widely known that if you plan to sell your home, a kitchen "facelift" can go a long way in the final sale price in a Seller's Market.


When we began looking into what it might cost to have our kitchen remodeled professionally, I realized that 20-30K was just not in the budget for us for new cabinets/countertops etc. However, I deeply longed for a kitchen upgrade even still, so I continued researching.


In an effort to DIY and cut some labor costs, we decided to give our kitchen a full facelift through Home Depot, on a budget this year, by putting in the hours and the savings needed to make it happen (though, without paying a contractor for help). We decided on a few simple improvements (listed below) that have made the world of a difference in our current home life and our future ability to sell our home, when we are ready to move!


As a Realtor®, I now have valuable personal first-hand experience and knowledge on pricing out a kitchen flip when helping Clients looking to take on a DIY rehab in my area!


Jenna Hensley Realtor®'s Top 10 Things Kitchen Upgrades to Boost Your Home's Value:

  1. Install New Countertops

  2. Add/Upgrade Kitchen Appliances

  3. Add a Kitchen Island

  4. Upgrade Sink & Faucet

  5. Refinish & Repaint Kitchen Cabinets

  6. Brighten your Kitchen's Colors

  7. Install NewCabinet Handles

  8. Add Good Lighting

  9. Deep Clean Your Oven

  10. Deep Clean Your Entire Kitchen


Here is a list of everything my Fiance and I completed this year (2021), we believe adding substantial resale value to our own home:

- Installed brand new Maytag stainless steel dishwasher $2500, includes labor

- Installed a new XL garbage disposal $400

- Purchased all brand new white stone counter tops from Home Depot $3500, *includes labor provided by Home Depot for installations.

- Purchased a Brand New Double Ceramic Sink and Faucet Attachments $600

- Fresh Paint Job on all cabinets $400 in supplies

- Updated kitchen cabinet knob handles $200

- Installed brand new drawer slides & door hinges on cabinets $400

- Installed New 4x6 Kitchen Island from Mayfair $600

- Thorough Deep Cleaning / Reorganization Free

Total = $8,6000 *Approx.


We had a Professional Plumbers help with the garbage disposal, dishwasher and new sink installation, as well as Home Depot's help in installing our new counter tops and sink. Home Depot's Counter Top installation process went well, but their contracted plumber was not one I can recommend if you're dealing with sensitive, intricate drinking filtration systems like we have. A second plumber was called out after, to reconnect and ensure our water pressure returned and our drinking lines were coming out of the correct filters. The other projects we did ourselves, such as re-refinishing the cabinetry and we saved a fortune on labor. My fiance installed all new hinges and drawer slides and cool artsy knob handles on all the cabinets, and I managed all of the projects, did the refinishing & painting, the cleaning, organization and the design choices.

Our kitchen has gone from drab to fab this year, and the satisfaction I have knowing I put it together with my family is just endless! We did a pretty great job on the project and I hope you enjoy the photos and blog and get inspired to make your home a place of comfort and pride too! If you are thinking about selling your home anytime soon, the kitchen is what most buyers will notice for upgrades in my professional opinion. In terms of reselling a home, a kitchen upgrade will sell faster than one without one, in most cases. When you are hoping to List your Home for a "highest and best" price, new kitchen appliances, cabinets/paint goes a very long way in the eyes of Prospective Buyers. The ideal goal is to have a Buyer walk through the home and feel like they could see themselves too living there. Creating a space that is updated, clean, modern, bright and welcoming was my aim and I believe we achieved it!

My goal was to keep the home's original Spanish hand painted backsplash tiles and maintain some historical flair, but adding some modern conveniences, a few affordable necessary upgrades and some cleanliness to the space. We live in a 100 year old adobe home, that is extremely well preserved and cared for in Northern New Mexico. Our kitchen now has elements of history mixed in with the needs of a modern day chef. My kitchen is my personal corner of the world where I create healthy delicious meals (follow me on TikTok for food recipes at @jennahensleyrealtor). The Kitchen is where we dance, have meals, play games, celebrate, plan, make content, rebuild and convene. The Kitchen is where dog food batches are made, Cannabombs were once pressed and cocktail or juice creations are dreamt up. I spend most breakfasts, lunches and dinners in my kitchen. Our kitchen is the most lived-in room in our house so, I want it to be a really good one!


10 Things I Learned While Re-Finishing & Hand Painting Kitchen Cabinets:

  1. Painting over previous paint jobs can leave a less-desirable finish. Removing the many layers of paint jobs before you want to apply a new layer, can give your wood cabinets a sleek and clean finishing look. It is a difficult process to strip paint but the end result makes it worth it. Setting up outside or in a garage is preferred as it's a messy job! Once it's done though, you can clean and sand and re-paint for a fresh start.

  2. If you choose to use paint stripper products to remove previous paint jobs, latex gloves are not your friend. Chemical burns can occur the instant this stuff touches your skin, so get nitrile gloves and plenty of ventilation going before you open the lid to this stuff. Cover the surfaces nearby to avoid spills and make sure your are wearing a mask if possible. Paint Stripper is powerful, toxic and it removes many layers of paint. I tried 3 brands, some work faster than others based on their potency. By doing this, I removed 5 layers of paint from my old cabinets. The results are remarkable. Once the paint was stripped, I cleaned with a mineral spirit and sanded the cabinets down to their original raw wood form.

  3. While remodeling your kitchen, realize it's going to not be in functioning order for a while. Pre-planning some healthy meals ahead of time might save you from a few nights eating out. Our kitchen was out of working order for a couple weeks, I wished I had prep cooked more than I planned, before!

  4. If you sand wood inside, you will spent 2-3 days cleaning it up. Set up an outdoor workshop and thank me later! Having a shop vac on hand will perform cleaning miracles for dust. Wear a respirator.

  5. Never paint a dirty surface. Read that again. Always ensure every fleck of dust, hair and food is washed off of your cabinets before you paint over it. I have seen so many bad paint jobs because someone didn't simply wipe things down first.

  6. Got paint somewhere you didn't mean to? Grab the paint stripper and quickly remove the paint splatter from where it does not belong- and then clean up the chemical once its gone. Have a giant pale of old rags at your disposal for such occasions. Have a pale with a rough dish scrubber and bleach available. You will be cleaning before painting, and throughout. Don't leave a bunch of paint dots, splatter behind - nothing looks worse truly. By using plastic drop sheets and taping them to stay in place while you paint, you can capture any paint or dust. This is the difference between a good job vs an amateur one. I am not a professional painter, but I do know the difference visually. Be extra cautious about painting corners, if your brush is carrying too much paint you will get drippy build up in the corners which is also very amateur. I worked really hard to ensure all corners were clean and even still, Im not a professional painter!

  7. Buy plenty of Plastic Drop Cloths and Plastic floor covers. More than you think you need. Tape them down. Protect your floors, walls and appliances from any paint!

  8. Buy a $60 Black and Decker mouse shaped Sander, they are amazing tools. However, get way more sand paper than you think you will need. Running back to Lowes everyday for more is a waste of time. Over-buy on the sand paper!!!

  9. Cleaning brushes seems daunting but it's really not. Have several disposable paint liner refills and use one for a nightly soapy warm water brush cleaning. Under soapy hot water, massage all the paint out until the water runs clean. If you leave your brushes out over night full of paint, they will dry and ruin and money is wasted. By cleaning them after you are done you can preserve them for another day of painting. Also, you can store wall paint (mine had primer and finish mixed into it, I bought the Ultra White by Sherwin Williams Interior Sheen) overnight by covering it with some plastic wrap!

  10. Dedicate yourself a set of paint/shop clothes. You will destroy them. I had white paint all over my clothes daily from running around painting cabinets by hand


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