Complete Guide to Kitchen and Bathroom Upgrades without Remodeling

Whether you’re considering putting your house on the market, or you’re simply looking to update your look – upgrading your bathroom and kitchen with simple changes can transform the look of your home without a complete remodel.

Dollars and Sense

Before any update, renovation, or remodel – you must consider the basic cost benefits. How much will you spend and how much value will you add? Here’s a few things to consider:

Calculating Cost

With kitchens and bathrooms, renovation options are abundant and it is easy to go overboard. The cost of your update is more than simply the price tag on your new faucet.

You have to consider the full scope of the project, the materials needed, tools, and time. The best way to calculate cost is to shop around, make a comprehensive plan, and set a budget.

How Much Is Too Much?

How much should you spend on updates and renovations? It’s depends.

Before you start shopping for marble bathtubs, determine the value of your space. John Bredemeyer, a spokesman for the Appraisal Institute, says you should “spend no more on each room than the value of that room as a percentage of your overall house value.”

If you’re still confused, consider this: the kitchen holds 10-15 percent of a home’s value, the master bathroom carries 10 percent. Based on those percentages, this gives you a baseline of the value of your kitchen and bathroom.

If your total house value is:
The value of your:
Master Bathroom
Powder Room/Half Bath
Master Bathroom
Powder Room/Half Bath
Master Bathroom
Powder Room/Half Bath
Is approximately:

We are NOT recommending spending this dollar amount on home upgrades, but it is important to keep in mind the value of the space in your home. Only after you’ve calculated the total cost can you assess whether your upgrades are a good investment.

Calculating Cost

Ok, so let’s say you plan to spend $5,000 on upgrades to your Master Bathroom, it’s in your budget and it’s within the value of the space, but is it worth it? Cost and value are not the same thing, and should not be treated as equals.

If you plan on staying in your home for more than 10 years, the value is based more on your own personal preference, desire, and budget. If you are likely to move in 10 years or less, it pays to limit your spending and consider what you’ll get back in resale.

After determining the cost of the renovation, you need to determine the value it will bring to your home. The best way to determine value is to talk with a local appraiser or real estate agent to see how much your updates will increase the price of your home.

Kitchen Cost vs. Value

According to HGTV, kitchen remodels will recoup between 60 and 120 percent of your investment depending on your style choices and what you renovate.

Estimated Cost
Approximate Value

Bathroom Cost vs. Value

Experts agree, bathroom renovations pay off big. Most bathroom upgrades and additions can recoup 80 to 130 percent in resale value. The average recoup cost for bathroom upgrades is over 100%, which means bathroom upgrades are almost guaranteed to pay off every time.

Estimated Cost
Approximate Value
The key to increasing the value of your home, and making money back in resale is choosing classic styles and avoiding current trends. Stick with a traditional and contemporary style with timeless elements that appeal to a wide range of buyers.

Bathroom Upgrades That Really Pay Off

Although it’s not typically a place for crowds to gather, bathrooms are one of the most important rooms in the house. Simple upgrades in the bathroom can pay big dividends if they are done right. Whether you’re looking to sell, stay, or just need more storage, consider these bathroom benefits for your family and your guests.

Bathroom Plumbing Fixtures

This is an easy one that can be done in an afternoon with minimal skill and only a few tools. Or you can hire a plumbing professional to help with the install as well as design and style ideas. The faucet fixtures, shower heads, and even handles on your bathroom door can make a big difference to the overall look of the bathroom. They also can provide cost savings if you have a leaky faucet, and give a nice fresh look to an old dingy showerhead.

Replace the Flooring

If you have carpet in your bathroom, consider tiling the space to get rid of trapped germs and buildup in your carpet. Tile wears very well and is easier to clean and maintain in a bathroom space.

Re-Grout and Replace Your Tile

If you already have tile, how does it look? Do you have cracked pieces that need to be replaced? If the grout is old, stained, and dingy, consider replacing it. Re-grouting your bathroom can give the look of new tile without the price tag.

Reglaze the Tub

If your tub needs a little TLC, you can reglaze it to reveal its original glory. It only costs a few hundred dollars and is well worth the investment if your current tub is too large, or too expensive to replace. This can also be used on sinks and toilets.

Paint the Room

Painting a bathroom can brighten up the space, remove odors, and give a fresh look. Light colors with shiny white trim in the bathroom make it look larger and more open.

Add a Feature

Details can make a big difference, especially in a small space. Consider adding a bathroom feature like an automatic soap dispenser that is practical and beautiful. Frame your mirror to create a focal point, install towel rail that adds function and storage, or simply put up a new shower curtain or a new set of bathroom accessories that create a stylish, coordinated look.

Kitchen Upgrades Worth Your Money

The kitchen is the heart of any home. As the most used room in the home, any upgrades made to your kitchen make a big impact to the overall look and pride of a home. Upgrades to the kitchen can cost anywhere from $500 to $50,000; but you can almost guarantee to get a return on your investment in a home resale. A kitchen should be comfortable and functional with a splash of personality that fits your family.

Improve the Lighting

Lighting is easier to install than you may realize. Recessed lights, under cabinet lighting, or pendent lights over an island or eating area can change the look of your kitchen with minimal effort.

Affordable Cabinet Upgrade

Cabinets usually take up the most real estate in your kitchen. Replacing them can be expensive, but sanding and painting your existing cabinets can give you the change you want at a much lower price point.

Easy Appliance Upgrades

If your existing appliances are in good working order, you can upgrade the appearance of them with a coat of electrostatic paint to get a stainless steel or enamel-type finish.

Simply Painting

Paint is always a nice way to update a home without a complete overhaul. Kitchen paint can get especially dingy because of smoke, grease, stains, splatters, etc. Brighten up the kitchen with a fresh coat of a light color.

Kitchen Plumbing Fixtures

Faucets and sinks make a big difference to a kitchen. Replace your sink with a farmhouse version, stainless steel, or a large faucet that is beautiful and functional.

Small Details

It is surprising how much a deep clean can change the look of your kitchen. After a thorough deep cleaning, add decorator detail by changing your window treatments, molding, or décor.


Upgrading without a full-blown remodel has never been easier. You can transform your space without breaking the bank. If you’re nervous about working with pipes or power tools, you can always hire a professional, even for small jobs and enjoy the peace of mind knowing things are done right and enjoy the long-lasting impact of simple bath and kitchen upgrades.

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