How to update the kitchen in a rental unit remodel project?

The kitchen is the heart of the home and people tend to gather here. It’s no longer a room relegated to a corner of the house amongst closed walls. Updating the kitchen in your rental property will help to attract tenants who are looking for a better standard of living. Yes, you should update the kitchen, depending on its age and style. It will make the rental unit look better. You can read about renovation pro and cons list here.

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The kitchen is the heart of the home and people tend to gather here. It’s no longer a room relegated to a corner of the house amongst closed walls. Updating the kitchen in your rental property will help to attract tenants who are looking for a better standard of living. Yes, you should update the kitchen, depending on its age and style. It will make the rental unit look better. You can read about renovation pro and cons list here.

Pros and cons of renovating a rental home

What kitchen updates can you do as a landlord or property manager without breaking the bank? How do you align what the residents are looking for in the current lifestyle in a kitchen and how you update the kitchen in your rental property.

Breaking the wall to open the kitchen

Residents want to engage with their family and friends. An open kitchen helps them to do this easily without feeling isolated while cooking or preparing meals to serve to their family or guests. If you have a non-load-bearing wall, this is an easier change. At a minimum, you may be able to make an interior window opening for passing through stuff. However, a kitchen remodel can quickly turn into a whole house remodel. Kitchen sets the tone for the house. It’s easy to get carried away.

Kitchen remodel can easily spread to other projects, like fixing floor in the rest of the house

How to get a bright rental kitchen

Tenants like to have a bright kitchen. Updating the light fixture is a lesser expense than redoing the entire kitchen. Use light bulbs with more warmth. Use 2700K bulbs to see how your space transforms instantly. This is also cheaper than adding windows and skylights.

Use light to transform a place

Adding lighting under cabinet is another easy way to transform the space. It helps to have a bright workspace and also lightens up the kitchen.

How to get the rental kitchen to feel airy

There are a few ways to accomplish an airy feeling. Apply one or a combination or even all of them to achieve a transformation that will drop the jaws.

Mirror

Place a mirror to help reflect light into the room. This can make the space feel bigger. There are also mirrors available for use as backsplash, but we don’t recommend this. Its higher maintenance. Instead, go with the low maintenance approach of hanging a wall mirror strategically.

Kitchen backsplash

Update the backsplash to change the way the place feels. Choose a large-format smooth tile to reduce the grout lines and use epoxy. This helps to reduce the grime and dirt and gives your backsplash a longer life. If this is not in the budget, there are many alternative ideas for backsplash. For example, there are some peel and stick options available online. You get anything from metal, mirror or marble look-alike to spruce up the kitchen.

We prefer more permanent options than peel and stick.

Paint

Paint the kitchen cabinet doors. This is the easiest way to transform a kitchen from dark and dingy to bright and airy. While kitchen paint color style changes every year in the décor industry, we recommend sticking with semi-gloss or gloss white paint like Kelly Moore swiss coffee white for kitchen cabinet doors. It is easy to spot any stains and wiping them off is a breeze. White kitchens are classic and work well for interior decoration. Design trends for the kitchen come and go but classic design will work well for rental units and appeal to a larger audience.

Don't chase trends. Keep it classic and timeless.

Update rental kitchen cabinet doors

Changing kitchen cabinet doors is cheaper changing the entire set of cabinets. Choose durable cabinet doors with minimal designs and details – this reduces the chances of accumulating grime. While glass front doors for upper cabinets could make the space look airy, they aren’t durable. If a tenant breaks it, it is more headache for you to replace them even if you deduct it from the renter’s security deposit. Plus repainting those doors will require taping around the edges and consume time. You want to be able to turnaround the place quickly between tenants for faster showing and reduce the vacancy time.

Choose simple designs

Update the cabinet hardware pulls and knobs

Use neutral white metal that’s timeless. We prefer brushed nickel. Chromium tends to build up hard water stains. Just choose a clean line style of round knobs and keep it consistent across all your rentals. This is another classic design that will stand the test of time.

Go with quality hardware in white metal

Update the kitchen sink faucet

The basic home depot faucet is low profile and makes it hard to wash taller vessels. Instead, go with a high arch faucet for the kitchen sink. Costco and other places carry them and from time to time, they go on sale too.

Appliance

We recommend sticking with stainless steel appliances. Other colors and styles come and go. While white appliances cannot be dented like stainless steel, they make the place look dated. This is one place to compromise the durability of the exterior for design. After all, you want your kitchen to pop and appeal to the tenants.

Countertops

Depending on the size of your kitchen, you may be able to get countertops made from left-over natural materials at the fabricators. Imported pre-fabricated stones are another cheaper alternative. This is a great way to save money. Always look for durable options.

Durable countertops save you money in the long run

Update switch plates

This is a cheap replacement that can quickly make your kitchen look less dated. Ensure the outlets are GFCI compliant.

We have seen a few kitchen remodels at HomeKasa in a wide range of budgets. We have used everything from basic builder cabinets to custom cabinets, depending on the project. It’s always a challenge to balance budget, time and impact. With some thought, it is possible to pick durable materials that will last a long time and handle the tenant’s abuse.

Remember to take photos and do a move-in walk through checklist with the tenant. You can easily do this with HomeKasa, the best property management software. HomeKasa allows you to track all the engagements between renters and the landlord / property manager. You can store all your documents, photos and communications in one place. You put all this effort to update and remodel your kitchen. Ensure that you and your many tenants can benefit from it for years to come.

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