According to Remodeling Magazine, the Pacific Region, which encompasses Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington, has the highest cost to value ratio (88%) when it comes to recouping remodeling costs.  As the saying goes, kitchens sell homes, and remodeled kitchens continue to be one of the best investments you can make in your house.

A kitchen remodel is one of the most costly home renovations, so where should you spend your money?  First of all, replace old appliances with new energy-efficient models.  They are better for the environment and will reduce your energy bills.  It is also beneficial to purchase a matching suite of stainless steel appliances.  Using one brand, style and finish throughout the kitchen will provide a cohesive look.  Stainless steel appliances have become very popular in the past decade and are available at nearly every price point. Even entry-level buyers expect to see them in an updated kitchen.

Replace ceramic tile and laminate counter tops with solid-surface or natural stone counter tops.  Corian, granite and quartz are durable, stain and heat resistant, and will appeal to a wide variety of buyers.  Install counter tops in natural or neutral colors for maximum resale value. If your kitchen has an island or peninsula, consider installing a larger counter top with overhang so that bar stools can be tucked underneath for additional seating. Changing out counter tops also gives you the opportunity to replace an outdated sink. Deep single basin sinks are useful for filling large pots and washing roasting pans with ease. They can also be mounted beneath the counter for seamless cleaning.

Backsplash tile not only protects walls from water and food stains, but also provides the opportunity to add color, texture, and pattern to your walls.  Porcelain, ceramic, stone, metal, shell, and glass tiles, used individually or in a mosaic, are very popular options. Prices range from $2-$60 per square foot depending on the materials used.  Choose a combination of natural or neutral tones so they will match with any style or décor and appeal to a wide range of buyers.

Solid wood cabinetry is a major investment, but buyers will appreciate the appearance, quality, and durability.  Functional features like soft close drawers and cabinets will also increase appeal.  Choose modern wood tones and stay away from dated finishes like golden oak and cherry.  If your cabinets are in good condition, but just need some sprucing up, paint them a neutral color like white, ivory, or light grey, and swap out the old hardware for pulls and knobs in a more contemporary style or finish.  A glaze can be applied over the paint in order to achieve a rustic or vintage appearance.  Colored cabinets are very popular and if refinished correctly, will increase the value of the kitchen.  If your cabinets are structurally sound, another option is to reface them.  You keep your old cabinet boxes, but replace the cabinet doors and drawer fronts with new ones.  Side panels, face frames and molding can also be replaced to ensure everything matches.  Cabinet re-facing typically costs 1/3 of the price of new cabinets.

Replace dated vinyl, linoleum and ceramic tile floors.  Porcelain tile is strong, economical and comes in a variety of textures, colors and patterns.  Pre-finished engineered wood is another affordable option and more comfortable underfoot than porcelain tile.  Luxury vinyl tile, or LVT, is the fastest growing segment of the flooring market.  Luxury vinyl tiles are made to mimic natural stone or wood, without the hardness of stone or the price of hardwood.  Because LVT is water, stain, dent, and scratch resistant, it’s a great flooring option for wet, high-traffic areas like kitchens and bathrooms.

Many consider the kitchen to be the heart of the home, a gathering place for family and friends.  A renovated kitchen, decorated with quality, efficiency, comfort and beauty in mind, is an investment that will hold its value for many years to come.

Randi Wilson is a Certified Interior Decorator and owner of Wilson Interiors, LLC.  She can be reached by phone at (707) 616-4687, or by email at  Photos of her projects can be viewed at