Many homeowners wonder if a home remodeling project could possibly have a negative effect on the resale value of their home or if they will recoup their investment when it comes time to sell.

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This family’s kitchen was opened to the dining room and an adjacent bedroom (now a family room) to create a great room common in many new homes today.

Even if you are planning to live in your home until the day you die, it is wise to consider resale value as a factor in your remodeling decisions.

When appealing to popular demand, there are three areas in existing homes that are often in need of updating in order to compete with homes built in the past 5-10 years. These are the kitchen, the great room and the master suite.

If you choose to include any of these popular remodels in your project, then you can have confidence that your ‘”new” old house will have increased appeal should you decide to put your house on the market.


There are two aspects to consider here: function and aesthetics.

Aesthetic inadequacies are usually easy to spot and are sometimes where a kitchen remodel starts and stops. Today you have a wide range of choices when it comes to updating the look of your kitchen.

You can choose wood or metal cabinets that are stained or painted, with flat or raised panel profiles. You can upgrade the counters with granite, soapstone, quartz, concrete or stainless steel. Then you can finish it off with floors of wood, tile, stone, linoleum or cork.

Harder to spot are the functional shortcomings, but if you are going to invest in aesthetic upgrades we highly recommend making functional improvements at the same time.

So consider: Does your kitchen function like a well oiled machine, or are you always bumping into a counter, screaming for more storage space, piling papers on the bar or getting trapped by bad flow?

To help improve the function of your kitchen, ask yourself some questions.

Do you want a one-cook or two-cook kitchen? Do you want room for a table and chairs or a bar and stools? Do you need more storage or more counter space? Do you want to improve circulation with an island rather than a peninsula? Do you need room for a desk, wet bar or laundry?

The kitchen is one of the most popular remodels you can undertake. While you can upgrade a kitchen without changing the layout at all, this may be the time to open the space up to adjacent rooms to create a great room in which you can gather your family and friends together.

Great rooms

Traditionally, homes have been built with a living room, a dining room and a kitchen on the main floor. The trend in newer homes is to combine these spaces into a great room — a large, open room that includes the functions of cooking, dining and sitting.

This open space is a natural draw for gathering as the kitchen is the heart of today’s home and the center of many family’s activities.

Many owners of older homes are undertaking renovations to convert their homes from the more traditional layout to the newer great room concept.

This involves removing walls to open up the different functions of each room to each other and may involve rearranging functions to create the right kind of space.

Master suites

One of the most frequent items seen on our clients’ wish lists is a master suite. Master suites are a relatively recent trend in home design, so most older homes do not have them. In our experience, the master suite often becomes the crown jewel of the renovation.

A typical master suite has three functions that include a bedroom large enough to fit a king-size bed, a couple of pieces of furniture and possibly a sitting area; a luxurious bathroom with a separate shower and tub (or just a spectacular shower), two sinks and a toilet (often within its own room); and a master closet, which is typically a walk-in closet with built-in organizers.

The master suite often includes luxurious fixtures and finishes — from a jetted tub and granite-lined steam shower to a private fireplace to cedar or mahogany closet organizers.

However, you don’t have to go all out for the master suite. Just the idea of having a private getaway in your own home is appealing to anyone in almost every circumstance.

Including any of these three high-demand projects in your remodel will definitely help you see a higher return on your investment and in the meantime you can enjoy it, too. You can’t go wrong!

Architects Ann Robinson and Annie V. Schwemmer are the founders of Renovation Design Group, a local design firm specializing in home remodels.

Renovation Solutions: Make sure a remodel adds value to your home