What to do with this small kitchen? (Pic)

17 Replies

I am starting to think about a soft remodel on a unit.
Area is challenge to rent.
How can I improve this small kitchen?

Paint cabinets? Or replace?

Counter will get replaced.

New farm sink with new facet.

New wood laminate floor?

Track lighting?

That depends. Are your plans to rent or flip? From the looks of the kitchen in the photo, it appears to be fully functional. So, if renting - I wouldn't do anything to it. If selling, I would check the comps in the area and see what kind of kitchen this property demands.


Seems hard to rent the way it is since its older. Kitchen is a draw back from what people say when they come thru.

What specifically do people say is the draw back? The cabinets, flooring, and counters all look to be in good condition in that pic. My problem with that kitchen is in layout and design. The space between counters appears to be pretty narrow which makes having more than one person in there at a time pretty difficult. In that space, there really isn't anything you can do about it either unless you are able to blow out a wall and have the kitchen open up into a different room such as the den or living room. Changing the counters, or sink (farm sinks get scratched up easily on the front when people are wearing belts) would be like putting lipstick on a pig. You still have the same problems.

I agree with most of what has been said, wouldnt touch the cabnets! everything looks fine. Track lighting is generally though of as out dated and the space probablly isnt big enough anyways.
Wood laminate is not suggested for use in wet areas such as kitchen or bathroom.

Make sure the gaps on the cabinet doors are equal. The left sink base does not look like it is right. I would also put some hardware on. You can get chrome pulls at HD for under $1 ea. If you want to paint the cabinets I would go with a new countertop. I use Wilsonart Premium in Kalahari Topaz. (really looks nice). If it is missing the kick trim (looks to be) you can rip some stock down and put that up to make it look more "finished."

If that is not a tile floor, make it one. Use 12x12 tile with a 1/4" grout line.

The two light fixtures make the room look smaller. Go with one central one or pot lights. While you have your electrician there, have him put in some undercabinet task lighting. You can buy 24": GE units from HD for about $20. I would also have him put a plug under the sink for a garbage disposal if you dont already have one.

What is going on with that window treatment over the window? It is just a bar. Get rid of it. It is a small kitchen.... let as much light in as possible.

If you do everything I said to do, it can be done for under 2k. I would not paint or put on new tops so I would reduce that budget well under 1k depending on what work you are willing to do yourself. materials should only be around $300.

It is not too bad but up close looks a bit old because of the cabinet doors, the countertop. Agree with previous about the bar above the window. Either put in inexpensive but nice looking blinds or just leave it clean. Because it is small an advantage is if you shop you can affordably, get an expensive look and oohs and aahs from granite countertop(make it a dark color or stains will show). Paint the cabinets a white or light (fake wood looks cheap). Add hardware pulls. If you want to go further open up a bar/window to the living room.

I agree with Steve Dove if you are renting, however, you get more bang if you put in more bucks. So any, even subtle changes could make a difference.

In one of my rentals the kitchen is similar to this. I just added new counter tops and a dish washer. Just these two changes put my property in higher demand. I went from a showing here and there to rented, for more money, in less than a month. (Had to raise rent since I pay water)

As far as resale is concerned, I haven't ventured into that area so I couldn't tell you.

I have an apartment with a similar sized kitchen, small. My kitchen doesn't even have he fridge, it's in the dinning room :) In all of the units I painted everything, new pulls, new lights, and a new floor where needed. Any types of visual improvements/ modernizing will really make the kitchen stand out. One thing that really helped was to paint the appliances chrome with appliance paint. This makes the units stand out and was a very cheap alternative to buying new alternatives. Hope this helps

Terrible advice folks.

This is a rental. Putting in a new kitchen should be done only as a last resort.
There is no reason to burn this money.

Wood floors ? NO, ceramic tile when new floors are required and not until then. AN what I see looks great. New sink and counter tops, waste of money ..

This kitchen looks fine. If you need to, paint the cabinents or touch them up with a furniture pencil, and put new contact paper inside the cabinets so that they are clean. Polish everything up and make it look immaculate.

The lights are fine and functional. Make sure the refrig and oven are immaculate as should be stove pans, replace then if they are not, 10.00 at Walmart.

If the place is not renting it is because you are asking too much or their are other problems. Check your comps in Craigslist and be the best at the lowest price. Drop to one month security from first, last and security if that is what's up.

Remember, one month empty reduces your rent for the year by 12%, so one month empty is the same as reducing your rent by that amount. Tossing in thousands is not the answer, marketing and proper pricing is.

Spending money on this is a waste, do not do it, drop the rent until you lease it. Do not throw good money away. Renters will not take care of it anyway, it is a rental.

Clean it, spruce it up, drop the rent, don't waste precious cash. Use the cash for your next house.

You are looking in the wrong area.

Sorry meant 8%, mixed up the months and percentage..

As far as the remodel would go, I'd have to base it on numbers. A few thousand into updating this place could go a long way and attract the right person. My theories on my rental properties are simple. I buy them cheap enough so that upgrades do not put me upside down on value. And even though you are dealing with renters, you'll most likely be dealing with a buyer at some point. These places need to be ready for sale at any moment. Especially if you get into financial trouble. At that point, you won't have any money to update it and make it sale-able. I guess I hate the term "slumlord", and like to keep my places nice. Also, make sure the contract holds them responsible for damage as well as any repairs under $300. -My two cents.

"Renters will not take care of it anyway..."


just make it clean and cabinet doors are square and etc..

save your Fix up money in the bank until the time you decide to SELL it, then spend on upgrades if you desire.

Although, I may just lower the price if it was another landlord buying.

If you are dead set on "doing something"....

What rooms are adjacent? You could blast out an entire wall and build an island to connect the two - the "great room" look. Or simply cut a large opening to connect the rooms and open things up. If you know what you are doing you could do it all for fairly cheap and drastically change the look and feel of the entire home. Hopefully attracting a new tenant quickly and have the home prepared for re-sale should the right buyer come along.

You could also....
- add can lights
- make the cabinet doors match
- add some contrast in color - everything look clean but it has no "snap" - hence no real thrill to the buyer. To get "snap" you need contrast.

I agree with Lucia.... I say clean the heck out of the stove and fridge, throw some fresh paint on the wall and put some window fixtures up to make it a more apealing for a small amount of time and money. Other than that, I feel that Lucia pointed out the most important factor which is that every month the home is vacant, it knocks 8% off your revenue for that year.... I suggest offering a free month over dumping money into rehabing the kitchen.

I would also agree with Lucia......IMO Paint the cabinets, add hardware and call it done - the fake wood look is a major turnoff. The rest of the kitchen looks just fine. Leave that $ in your account

Are dishwashers the norm in your market? I don't see one.

isn't giving definite advice a bad move when you don't the market or the competition.  This could be in an area where 700sq ft fetches $3000.

Free eBook from BiggerPockets!

Ultimate Beginner's Guide Book Cover

Join BiggerPockets and get The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Real Estate Investing for FREE - read by more than 100,000 people - AND get exclusive real estate investing tips, tricks and techniques delivered straight to your inbox twice weekly!

  • Actionable advice for getting started,
  • Discover the 10 Most Lucrative Real Estate Niches,
  • Learn how to get started with or without money,
  • Explore Real-Life Strategies for Building Wealth,
  • And a LOT more.

Lock We hate spam just as much as you

Create Lasting Wealth Through Real Estate

Join the millions of people achieving financial freedom through the power of real estate investing

Start here