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Make these easy kitchen updates before selling your home

Real estate agents agree kitchens and bathrooms are big selling points for any home. The kitchen continues to be the gathering, eating, nurturing, and a social spot for families in many cases. Making those rooms look as inviting as possible will go a long way towards enticing buyers to make an offer.

When you plan on selling your home, a full-scale kitchen remodel is not a likely option, but there are updates and tweaks you can make to make these rooms more attractive. For example, a fresh coat of paint goes a long way to freshen things up, and the below updates will transform your kitchen and make your home appealing to buyers instantly.

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shiny clean kitchenCabinets and cleaning

No judging here, but when was the last time you really cleaned every part of your cabinets? Little food splashes and splatters, as well as grease, build up over time. You’ve likely wiped over them and thought to yourself, “That’s something I’ll take care of later.”

Guess what, later has arrived.

You will be surprised at how nice your cabinets will look once they are clean. To clean wood finished cabinets, mix one cup of white vinegar with one cup of water. This is a mild cleaner and won’t take the finish off or warp wood. Use a microfiber cloth and wipe the cabinets down, and use an old toothbrush to get in the cracks. If you dislike using vinegar because of the smell, you can use a mild soap mixed with water. You don’t want to soak the cabinets, so ensure you aren’t splashing the mixture all over the place.

For serious hardened-on food—who knew cake batter would harden to a cement-like consistency—use a paste of baking soda and water and then rinse off. For painted cabinets, clean with a mixture of dish soap and warm water. Pro tip: Do not use a cleaning foam sponge to rub off grime. It will take the finish off and leave a dull spot that will be noticeable in the light.

After you wash your cabinets, dry them with a soft cloth. Leaving them damp is bad for the finish, and it will leave water spots on the hardware and rust the hinges. For a soft, lustrous finish, wipe wood cabinets with furniture polish or wax.

cabinet door with hardwareHardware

Over time, your cabinet hardware takes a beating. Gradually the finish will wear off, and often, you won’t even notice. One of the easiest ways to give your kitchen an update is to change out the hardware. Granted, you still have to take the old hardware off and put the new hardware on, but we’re only talking about screws and a screwdriver; no heavy lifting is required!

Pay attention to where the current hardware sits on the cabinet door or drawer. You don’t want hardware that is so big it will hang over the edge of the door or look too big for a drawer. You also don’t want hardware that is so small it won’t fit in the old hardware’s footprint. Keep in mind that your cabinets change color over time, so not fitting the hardware perfectly will leave an odd colored space.

Count the number of knobs and pulls you need, and then count again. You don’t want to come up short, and ordering an extra one (or two) is a good idea. 

cleaning backsplash tileBacksplash

First, wash your backsplash with a degreaser and then dry if you’ve got subway tile or another type of tiled backsplash. Now, in bright, full sunlight, take a good look at the entire tiled area. Is the grout dingy or cracked? You can clean grout with a mixture of vinegar and water. All you need to do is spray it on and wipe it off. If you can’t get all the dirt off, use a small scrub brush. Always start with the mildest soap mixture and work your way up if you can’t get the grout clean using the vinegar mixture.

If the grout is cracked in some areas or pieces have come out, you will need to replace the grout in those areas. There are quick-setting grouts you can buy at hardware or home improvement stores. Carefully chip out the old grout using a small screwdriver as grout needs a solid surface to adhere to. If you try to adhere the new grout over the old, it will hold for a short period and eventually fall off. If you have wallpaper backsplash or a painted backsplash, you can update and refresh with peel ’n stick wallpaper, peel-and-stick backsplash panels, tile, and even stone. The larger panels do a great job of covering wall areas in older homes that might not be completely straight.

A clean countertop, backsplash, and cabinets will make your kitchen have an attractive shine and make it much more appealing to buyers. Add a plate of freshly baked cookies and a bouquet of flowers, and you’ll have a kitchen buyers will want to come home to

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Kathleen Ostrander
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Kathleen has worked for United Press International and she's written about everything from style to pets for newspapers…
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