Planning a Kitchen Remodel? Here’s Where to Go Neutral and Where to Go for Broke

You’re planning a kitchen remodel. You have a vision. You want a space uniquely yours. And you shall have it! But one caveat: Be careful in the uniqueness. Yes, you have been picturing this kitchen for years, and you’re finally making it a reality. But should you find yourself selling your home, you’ll want a kitchen that’s both something you love to live in now, and that will have appeal to a buyer later. Statistics show the average American moves over 11 times during their lifetime. And that means walking a fine line between uniqueness and neutrality with that kitchen.

This doesn’t mean your new kitchen can’t have your individual stamp on it. Quite the contrary. It only means you need to make sure the mainstays of the kitchen—such as cabinets and appliances—stay on the neutral side while the elements you can change out—such as light fixtures and accessories—are where you express your style.

Where to go neutral with your kitchen remodel

According to, the average kitchen remodel costs $22,117. Some of the biggest expenditures include cabinets, appliances, countertops, and flooring. And these are the areas where you should invest in high quality yet low individuality.

  • Cabinets: Transitional cabinets are extremely versatile, and make a smart choice for any kitchen.
  • Appliances: Although retro and colored appliances are popular, your safe bet is quality yet neutral looking appliances in stainless steel, black or gray.
  • Countertops: Again, quality counts as does neutrality. Choose stone, granite, marble or quartz countertops for a neutral look but plenty of style.
  • Flooring: Flooring is not something you can easily (or cheaply) change out if you are selling your house, so go for kitchen flooring that will stand up to the wear and tear a kitchen gets and offer a neutral backdrop for your kitchen.

For more insight into consumer preferences in the kitchen, see our post on 2018 kitchen design trends.

Where to go crazy kitchen remodel

OK, maybe not crazy, but where you can express yourself… With the foundation pieces of your kitchen, such as your semi-custom cabinets, you’re investing in very good quality but possibly boring basics. When you stay neutral in your choices, you might suspect you’re going to get a blah kitchen, but it doesn’t have to be that way. You can express your individual style with those elements that can be changed out should you put your house on the market someday, elements such as:

  • Lighting: Yes, you can hang something funky over the kitchen island…and change it out later to something more basic.
  • Cabinet hardware: Here’s another area where you can express yourself, and then swap out the hardware for something simple later if you need to.
  • Faucets: Same.
  • Wall and ceiling color: Paint is paint. If you want tangerine walls, go for it! You can paint over it later.
  • Accessories like rugs and curtains: Again, very easy to go crazy with, and very easy to change out.
  • Furniture, as in bar stools around the kitchen island: If you love those retro bright red bar stools, buy them! You can swap them out for neutral furniture later when staging your home.

See other advice on remodeling with resale in mind here.

A kitchen remodel is a big investment and of course, you want it to be worth every penny. But that includes the pennies you’ll make or lose should you sell your house later. You can add plenty of individual style to your kitchen while still making a smart investment in that kitchen remodel if you follow these tips.