Why the Kitchen Sells the Home

Blame it on the market or simply bad luck, but why is it that some homes are snapped up the second they hit the market while other similar properties sit stagnant for months or years before being purchased?

We’re here to tell you that the secret lies within the kitchen!

A quality kitchen can add 4-7% more value to a home and is often times a major selling point for potential buyers. Whether it’s a kitchen’s beautiful design or its luxury appliances, there are certain features that contribute to making some spaces more marketable than others.

In today’s blog, we’ve teamed up with Sean and Blanca Schellsmidt from eXp Realty in Maple Grove, MN to share their expert opinions on why the kitchen sells the home while also giving you insight on how you can add value to your own space.

The Kitchen is the Heart of the Home

You’ve probably noticed that every time you entertain, whether it is a family holiday or dinner with friends, your kitchen is the place where guests congregate despite there being ample seating in your adjacent living room. That’s because kitchens truly are the “heart of the home” and have more traffic than any other room in a house.

Even if you don’t have an affinity for cooking, chances are you will still spend a significant amount of time in your home’s kitchen. That’s because kitchens aren’t just for meal prep, but for dining, socializing, working, and doing things like helping kids with homework. Due to its position at center stage, potential buyers tend to seek out homes with kitchens that are both beautiful and functional. Buyers look for kitchens with an efficient layout, ample storage, and lots of seating.

With the kitchen being the heart of the home, it’s also the place where potential buyers form their first impressions about a property.

“As Real Estate Professionals, we see this every day – when buyers enter a home during a showing, they make a bee-line to the kitchen! Many times, the buying decision is made right there!” commented Sean.

Even aside from attending showings, nine of 10 home buyers rely on the internet as their primary research source when looking to purchase a home. And the most popular room searched is, you guessed it, the kitchen. With kitchens being an integral part of the opinion people form about a property, you can see how crucial it is to have a space that’s built to impress. 

Kitchen Remodels are Daunting for Home Buyers

While some buyers purposely seek out fixer-uppers, most people want a home that is ready to move in with minimal fuss. When people are already spending copious amounts of money on purchasing a new home, the last thing they want is to tack on is thousands of dollars in additional projects to renovate a kitchen that’s not up to par.

Because kitchen remodels are usually time consuming and expensive, an updated space is extremely appealing on the market and could play a major role in getting your house sold.

Before you start worrying about saving for an extensive remodel, know that you do not need a fully renovated kitchen in order to make a sale. There are a number of improvements you can make to your current kitchen in order to give it an updated look and feel. We recommend investing in a few upgrades that will refresh the look of your space and enhance its overall design. Make sure to check out our blog on kitchen refreshes.

But be warned, there is no bigger turn off to a potential buyer than touring a home and finding indicators that the previous homeowner cut corners in their kitchen update.

“A well-designed kitchen should be completed consistently and with purpose. A common mistake that we see is kitchens that have been done halfway.  For example, if granite countertops are added to an old kitchen but everything else stays the same, the kitchen still looks old,” said Sean.

Make sure if you are going to improve your kitchen that you do so thoughtfully, with an eye toward consistency.

Mid-Century Modern Luxury Kitchen Design in North Oaks, MN
Mid-Century Modern Kitchen Before & After

The Appliances in Your Kitchen Can Help Sell Your Home

A nice kitchen is considered a “luxury” and a lot of that idea stems from quality appliances. A kitchen can have a beautiful design, but if it has a run-down refrigerator and a rusted range, it won’t give the impression of a high-quality space.

Another reason why appliances can work to sell your space goes back to the idea of convenience! If you sell your home with updated appliances, the buyer doesn’t have to go through the hassle and expense of purchasing new appliances soon after they move in. Aside from the added convenience, nice appliances also allow you to potentially list your home at a higher price point.

When looking to upgrade your appliances, it’s important to remember that most people touring your home are not well versed in lesser-known appliance brands. Keep in mind that familiarity breeds confidence! For example, if people touring your open house see a Sub-Zero refrigerator, they will recognize the name and know that it’s a luxury brand.

Luxury Range in Full-Service Kitchen Design Showroom
La Cornue Range in our Showroom

A Functional Layout is Crucial to Selling Your Kitchen

According to Sean and Blanca, many current home buyers aren’t intentionally seeking out properties with large kitchens, but rather, those with functional layouts! Again, the kitchen is a space where people spend a significant time living and working, so if that space is cramped due to an awkward layout, it will be a huge turn-off to potential buyers.

A functional layout is essential to a quality kitchen, and you can achieve it in a few different ways. To improve your space’s layout, a designer can advise you on making effective use of your space to create a smooth workflow. That way when potential buyers tour your home, they will note the feasibility of the layout, particularly as they imagine themselves cooking and working in the kitchen. 

If you’re not looking to do a full remodel, know that you don’t need to knock down walls to achieve the look of a spacious kitchen. There are a few modifications you can make to your pre-existing kitchen in order to give it the appearance of having a more open layout. For instance, implementing a neutral color pallet is a great way to brighten and open up your space. Light and bright walls are more reflective, making a room feel open and airy, which helps maximize natural light’s effect. Dark shades tend to absorb light, making rooms feel smaller.

Upgrading your lighting is also a cost-effective way to open up your space. The idea is to flood the intended area with as much natural light as possible. This will make the kitchen feel bigger and be more appealing.

Lastly, make sure you choose features that are properly sized for your kitchen. Even though a sizeable center island sounds appealing, if you choose one that’s too large for your space, you could be left with a kitchen that appears small and cramped. Whereas a slightly smaller island will give you the counterspace and storage you desire while also keeping your kitchen open and functional.

Modern Farmhouse Kitchen Remodel
Modern Farmhouse Remodel Before & After (Take a look at how we transformed this space on our website).

Kitchens Help Buyers Connect with a Home

If you’ve ever toured an open house, then you’ve probably noticed a tray of fresh baked cookies conveniently placed somewhere in the home’s kitchen. And while you might think this sweet treat is just a kind gesture from the homeowner, it’s actually a clever marketing tactic. Kitchens foster some of our deepest emotional attachments and if the smell of chocolate chip cookies reminds a potential buyer of baking with their grandmother, they will form a positive association with that space and be more inclined to put in an offer.

Baked goods aside, if you want to sell your home for the highest price in the shortest amount of time you need to emphasize or add design elements that will enable potential buyers to envision themselves living, cooking, and working in your space.

“Let’s face it, a home is a reflection of the homeowners’ personality, and what better room to show off your personality than a beautiful and unique kitchen space,” said Sean.

An easy way to accomplish this without a full renovation is to properly style your kitchen. Make sure to incorporate elements that give your space a home-y vibe, such as stylish seating and a nice rug. A neutral color pallet is also a great design choice as it appeals to a larger range of people’s taste.

Another trick is to minimize personal items or photos when staging your home for an open house. The lack of photos from the homeowner will allow the person touring to picture themselves living in the home opposed to picturing the homeowner’s family living there.

Pantry design off the kitchen with plenty of storage and prep spaceEnglish Pantry Project


In summary, here’s a short list of some upgrades that are likely to increase the value of your kitchen, and ultimately your home as a whole. But don’t forget Bianca and Sean’s advice: whatever you do, make sure you do it thoughtfully and consistently to retain the space’s cohesiveness.

  • Kitchen refresh: Upgrading a few choice elements of your kitchen is a great way to give it a brand-new look and feel.
  • Replace your cabinetry: Replacing your cabinetry is a great way to increase storage and functionality in your kitchen. In addition to its practical uses, cabinetry can dramatically improve your kitchen design.
  • Update your hardware/appliances: Appliances can make or break a space, make sure that yours are high quality and complement your kitchen design.
  • A new color palette: Sometimes a simple paint job is enough to freshen up your kitchen! Other ways you can upgrade your space’s color palette is through an accent wall or by purchasing new accessories.
  • Add a creative backsplash: A fun and timeless backsplash is a great way to add a “wow” factor to your space. Just make sure that your backsplash matches your countertop!
  • Replace your countertops: Quality countertops increase the value of your kitchen through their durability and design. Take a look at our blog on Cambria Countertops.
  • Change up your accessories: One of the most budget friendly ways to improve your kitchen is upgrading your accessories. This is also a chance to get creative and express your unique style!
  • Replace your flooring: Floors take on a lot of wear and tear, so fresh floors are a great way to improve a kitchen and increase its value.

To learn more about how your kitchen can help you sell your home and to start a project with Studio M, contact us.

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