5 Changes to Make to a Dated Kitchen When Selling Your House That Could Help You Sell Faster and Get a Better Price

Have an outdated kitchen and are keen to sell your home? Experts believe a renovated or well-staged one could help your property sell faster

A kitchen with tile flooring and wooden island and cabinets
(Image credit: Alexander&Co)

Experts believe that a well-designed, and updated kitchen can improve a home’s valuation — in fact, it can even help the property sell faster. Generally, when offered a home with a well-equipped kitchen, buyers realize they won't need to pour a lot of resources into lengthy renovations straight away, and are more likely to up their offer.

But it isn't always easy on the pocket to undergo a full reno when you're looking to sell the house. To understand how to give this space a turnaround on a budget, we asked real estate experts and stagers for tips. Here's how to have an updated, modern kitchen, that might increase your chances of a successful sale.

Is it advisable to update an old kitchen before selling the house?

A kitchen with black lights and wooden cabients

(Image credit: David Lauer Photography. Design: STYLEWORKS)

Kitchens are fast becoming the new living rooms of the house. This is a place where you cook, gather with friends and family, and even host entire soirees. Its design, look and functionality are of utmost importance. Whether it's a closed layout apartment kitchen or an open plan kitchen, it's the most used room in the house.

According to a few surveys (including realtor.com) homes with luxury kitchens sell 8% faster than homes in the same neighborhood with kitchens that need work. And, about 69% of property listings use the kitchen as a major selling point.

'The kitchen is often the selling point in any home,' says Liv Conlon, the CEO of ThePropertyStagers. 'If it is attractive, the goal is to accentuate its existing beauty. During staging, our goal is to spruce it up and add some warmth. This means staging all worktops and surfaces (shelving units) and choosing kitchen-themed items.'

However, do note that the opposite isn't true — an outdated kitchen shouldn't inversely affect your sale price. 'If a homeowner is intending to sell a property with an outdated kitchen without making any improvements, it really shouldn't result in a negotiation in price,' say Leigh Davies and Amanda Green, founders of The Property Presenters and members of Home Staging Association. 'A good estate agent should price the property accordingly, knowing that a new owner is likely to need to invest in this in the future. There are plenty of areas for negotiation during a sale, such as unexpected findings in a survey, but the kitchen is visible from day one, and as such, the asking price should reflect this.'

1. Go for interesting wall treatments

green kitchen

(Image credit: Kristen Francis)

A great way to make this space look immediately interesting is with great kitchen wall decor ideas.

'Think wall treatments as your first step,' says Amanda Wiss , founder of NYC- based home staging company Urban Staging. 'Paint the kitchen a new color and look into replacing the kitchen backsplash . This can be an easier update than pulling up a tile floor, for example, because of the smaller amount of square footage covered.'

2. Repaint the cabinets

A kitchen with dark green cabinets and white walls

(Image credit: Molly Culver Photography. Studio credit Shannon Eddings Interiors)

Consider repainting your kitchen cabinets . 'Colorful cabinets are trendy now, so consider a deep blue or a green (as the rest of your decor allows) for an updated pop of color,' says Amanda. 'Also, use beautiful hand towels and cutting boards and other decor to create vignettes that work to partially hide outdated stoves and appliances.'

3. Clear the clutter

minimalist kitchen with large island and wood slats on the wall

(Image credit: Rory Gardine. Design by Pandolfini Architects)

'Make sure that however outdated your kitchen is, it must be spotlessly clean and clutter-free,' say Leigh and Amanda. Make sure you organize the kitchen such that it is relaxing and calming to be in. 'Even if the kitchen is old, it should demonstrate that it's possible to house all the crockery, cutlery, and gadgets within cupboards and drawers, and not give the impression that storage space is a problem. Whilst accepting that your kitchen may be a negative, focus also on the positives; think about your home's best features and work on enhancing these. And finally, employing a professional home stager who is experienced and skilled in presenting homes for sale.'

4. Make small changes

A kitchen with white cabinets and gold hardware

(Image credit: Nicole Dianne. Design: Collected Interiors)

'There are cost-effective ways to improve an old kitchen at a fraction of the price of a new one,' say Leigh and Amanda. 'Consider replacing just kitchen countertops, doors, tiles or even just handles. All these can give an old kitchen a new look without the expense of a full refit.'

If you do decide to update parts of the room, say the kitchen storage, consider updating the cabinets. 'Shaker-style cabinets, for example, have been popular for decades and are unlikely to go out of style,' says Liv.

5. Style it up

Gachot Studios kitchen with brass back handles

(Image credit: Gachot Studios. Photo credit: Nicole Franzen)

'Instead of opting for practical items such as toasters or microwaves (these tend to not be very aesthetically pleasing), opt for a coffee press with some styling mugs, a trendy salt and pepper grinder, a cookbook, and stand, or a strategically placed chopping board angled against your backsplash. Look at kitchen hardware trends and choose designs such as brushed nickel or chrome knobs and pulls. Avoid overly ornate or trendy styles that may quickly become outdated.'

3 elements to help stage the kitchen

Design Editor

Aditi Sharma Maheshwari is the Design Editor at Livingetc. She is an architecture and design journalist with over 10 years of experience. She's worked at some of the leading media houses in India such as Elle Decor, Houzz and Architectural Digest (Condé Nast). Till recently, she was a freelance writer for publications such as Architectural Digest US, House Beautiful, Stir World, Beautiful Homes India among others. In her spare time, she volunteers at animal shelters and other rescue organizations.