A Sustainable Kitchen Remodel Can Actually Save You Money—Here’s How

Wouldn’t it be great if a home renovation project could essentially pay for itself? While that might seem like a pipe dream, the truth is that some renovations can add almost as much value to a home as they cost the homeowner to complete. According to the Remodeling 2023 Cost vs. Value Report, projects like a minor kitchen remodel can offer a return on investment (ROI) of more than 85 percent, which could benefit homeowners when it comes time to sell or refinance their homes.

But there’s another factor at play here. The Inflation Reduction Act can also help renovations pay their own way. The bill offers incentives and rebates for certain energy-saving upgrades, allowing homeowners to recoup some of the cash they put into their kitchens, while also saving money on utility bills every month.

If your kitchen has seen better days, now might be the perfect time for an upgrade. And choosing appliances, fixtures, and materials that are more sustainable than the ones you had previously can not only help the environment, it may even attract more buyers should you put your home on the market. According to a recent report from the National Association of Realtors, more than 50 percent of real estate professionals say their clients are interested in sustainability.

Keep reading to learn which sustainable kitchen projects are most worth focusing on this year.

Electric Stove

To improve home health and energy efficiency in the kitchen, there’s a push to move toward electric stoves. In fact, homeowners who upgrade to an induction range will benefit the most, as the technology uses less wattage than a conventional electric stove, and there’s less heat lost while cooking. That’s a win-win when it comes to stepping up sustainability.

In addition, homeowners can receive a rebate of up to $840 on the purchase of an electric stove, cooktop, range, or oven as part of the Inflation Reduction Act. While this upgrade can benefit both your home and your wallet, it’s imperative to consider all aspects of the project before purchasing a new appliance. The guides below will help you sort out whether a modern electric stove is right for your kitchen.


Water-Saving Fixtures

Upgrading to a more efficient faucet and dishwasher might be worth a homeowner’s effort, as well. Not only can these fixtures enhance the functionality and aesthetics of a kitchen, they can also help reduce household water use by 30 percent.

For instance, the average kitchen faucet flows at a rate of 2.2 gallons per minute. Swapping it out for a new low-flow model that uses just 1.5 gallons of water each minute can quickly add up to significant savings on monthly bills—not to mention it helps conserve an important natural resource for the earth’s sake. By the same token, installing an Energy Star-rated dishwasher can further efficiency in the kitchen.


Recycled Materials

Taking a material that has served its purpose and using it to produce a new material is one of the most sustainable things humans can do. Incorporating recycled materials into a kitchen renovation is easier than ever before, thanks to products like IceStone’s recycled glass countertops. The eco-friendly surface reuses what would otherwise be waste while creating an eye-catching, unique look in any kitchen.

In addition, highly renewable materials like linoleum or bamboo are great options for kitchen flooring. A leg up for the latter is that bamboo can achieve a similar look and feel to hardwood, which some real estate experts estimate has an ROI of 70 to 80 percent.


Eco-Friendly Finishes and Furnishings

One of the most rewarding parts of a kitchen renovation is adding final touches like wall color and decor. Luckily, there’s room to improve the sustainability of these features, too.

For instance, consider LED light bulbs. LED lighting may cost more upfront, but it uses less energy and lasts longer than other lighting systems. So not only does it save money on utility bills each month, it also saves time in terms of maintenance because LED bulbs don’t need to be replaced as often.

It’s also worth noting that low-VOC paints are more environmentally friendly than those that contain higher levels of VOCs. They’re also safer to use for the person doing the painting and the family living in the space.

Finally, when furnishing a newly remodeled kitchen, consider brands and products that use renewable or recycled materials and environmentally conscious production methods. For example, an FSC-certified stamp indicates that wood was harvested in a sustainable and ethical manner.


Responsible Disposal

As with any home project, it’s important to take care when disposing of refuse from a kitchen remodel. Taking appliances, cabinets, and other items that are no longer of use to the local reuse or recycling center can prevent them from ending up in a landfill. This alone can help renovators take a step in the direction of sustainability.

But, DIYers can also look to sell their used-but-good materials on classifieds and online marketplaces. Should they sell, the proceeds can be used toward the rest of the project, helping to pay for those new materials and fixtures. Plus, both methods avoid having to pay fees at the local dump.


Home Renovations That Will Pay You Back

When it’s time to remodel, many homeowners head to home improvement stores like Lowe’s to buy the supplies they need to complete their home projects. It’s a smart idea, especially since the right projects can put more money back into your pocket.

However, home renovation costs can be substantial: The average bathroom remodel alone costs between $6,000 and $35,000, according to HomeAdvisor. Meanwhile, a kitchen remodel ranges from $4,500 to $50,000.

If you want to choose the best home renovations, here are several that will give you the biggest bang for your buck when the time comes to sell.

Remodel the Kitchen

“If it’s more than 15 years old, upgrading the kitchen floor, cabinetry and appliances to modern standards will net you more money during [the] time of sale,” said Joe Polyak, founder and realtor of Rise Homes in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Many families view the kitchen as the center of the home. So, minor kitchen renovations can drastically increase your property’s value — the Remodeling report showed a 65 percent national recoup on average. This renovation can also increase home enjoyment for the entire family.

If you have an outdoor kitchen that needs to be renovated, consider updating the appliances. For example, Lowe’s offers savings on high-quality appliances.

“Outdoor entertaining and grilling go hand in hand,” said Jule Eller, director of trend and style at Lowe’s. “So bring the heat, and fire up that backyard flavor with a modular grill. You can choose add-ons like a sink, side burners or refrigerator to create a complete outdoor kitchen.”

Still, renovators should take care not to go overboard with kitchen remodel costs. “Upgrading the appliances to a certain level of luxury — KitchenAid versus Bosch, for example — can significantly increase value,” said Polyak. “Be careful, though. You don’t need to put Wolf appliances in a condo in a blue-collar condo complex. That won’t add value.”

Build an Outdoor Deck

“This can be a fairly inexpensive project that can add a lot of value in the eyes of potential homebuyers,” said Polyak. Specific features tend to vary in popularity by geographic location, and the national average cost for this upgrade is about $10,000 for wood and $17,000 for composite materials, according to Remodeling’s report. Of that amount, a homebuyer can hope to recoup about 71% and 65%, respectively.

“In Arizona, people like a nice fire pit with a beautiful outdoor area. In the San Francisco Bay Area, they like a nice deck with landscaping,” he said. “You can hire someone to do the work, but depending on how handy the homeowner, this can definitely be a fairly inexpensive do-it-yourself project.”

Create a Paver Patio

You might also consider adding a paver patio to your home. “Building a paver patio or walkway is a simple way to make your landscape more inviting and define an outdoor living space,” said Eller. “Best of all, you can install the paving stones yourself. You can also integrate landscape lighting to add ambiance and dimension.”

Eller recommends purchasing 10 percent more blocks, pavers or stones than you anticipated. “The excess should account for breakage, the material you need to cut and replacements for future repairs,” she said.

Upgrade Lighting Fixtures

Most fixtures can be purchased for a few hundred dollars or less, but when you’re working with electrical wires, you’ll also want to make sure to bring in a professional. Most homeowners spend about $318 to bring in an electrician, which will increase overall remodeling bills, according to HomeAdvisor. Still, prospective buyers are likely to appreciate the enhanced lighting, making it one of the best home renovations on a budget.

You might also want to upgrade your outdoor patio lighting with string lights, lanterns, candles, outdoor table lamps or floor lamps to bring your patio to life. Or, perhaps you have a deck? You’ll probably want to upgrade those lights as well. The good news: It won’t cost you a lot of money at stores like Lowe’s.

“From setting a festive mood to offering a soft glow after dark, outdoor lighting is a great way to make your outdoors warm and inviting,” said Eller. “Check out these battery-operated LED step lights or these bronze solar LED post lights.”

Replace the Entry Door

Installing a new steel entry door has the largest cost versus resale value, according to Remodeling’s report. It’s about a $1,400 project that’s likely to boost your home’s value by the same amount.

Bold colors can always replace a traditional door like a bright yellow and high-gloss black. To make this change buy some inexpensive door and apply paint to it yourself. There are plenty of affordable door options you can find online.

Install or Repurpose Flooring

“Updated hardwood floors or new carpeting can help sell a home,” said John Bodrozic, co-founder of digital home management tool HomeZada. “But a lot of the determination of whether the project pays for itself depends on how much money people put into the project.”

According to HomeAdvisor, existing carpets can be cleaned for about $174, and the average hardwood refinishing cost is $1.50 to $4 per square foot. Installation of new flooring increases the cost: $1,583 for carpet and $4,397 for wood. However, you can reduce these sums.

“If you have the skill or are willing to learn, you can save labor costs if you can do some of the work yourself,” said Bodrozic. “If you do hire a contractor, make sure you get three to five bids and make it known to the contractors that they are competing for the business. Depending on the marketing conditions and timing of your project, you could save yourself some money.”

Upgrade to Energy-Efficient Features

“I’m noticing a big trend toward energy-efficient appliances, LED lights and tankless water heaters,” said Diana George, a vice president at Century 21 Real Estate Alliance.

“These products save homeowners money and contribute to a smaller carbon footprint.” A tankless water heater can be installed for about $4,200 in a 2,200-square-foot home, and LED converter bulbs can be bought for about $14 per light, said George.

You don’t have to wait until you move to reap the financial benefits that accompany an energy-efficient upgrade. A tankless water heater can cut a homeowner’s water heating bill by about a fifth each year. A switch from incandescent to LED bulbs, meanwhile, can save a homeowner a surprising $300 per year. Energy-efficient upgrades might not be the most exciting of home improvement projects, but they can have an almost immediate impact on a home’s overall bottom line.

Replace Vinyl Siding

It’s not everyone’s idea of a dream renovation project, but new vinyl siding can dramatically enhance a home’s curb appeal, which can make or break a homeowner’s prospects when selling on the open market.

Newer siding can also help curb heating and cooling costs and reduce occurrences of mold, fungus and mildew. New vinyl siding generally costs around $14,000 and will increase a home’s resale value by about $11,000, according to Remodeling.

Remodel a Bathroom

“Bath renovations are always worth the money invested,” said Karen Gray-Plaisted of Design Solutions KGP in Warwick, New York. “If the home has good bones and quality finishes, the home seller will reap most, if not all, of the cost.”

A homebuyer can expect to pay about $18,000 for a mid-range bathroom renovation and recoup about 65 percent, according to Remodeling. However, making smaller changes can also bring big rewards. “The impact a new light fixture can make can take a house from being dated to feeling new,” said Gray-Plaisted. “I find upgrading light fixtures in bathrooms and kitchens to be worth every penny spent.”

In the end, a home renovation choice is about more than just the value you’ll eventually recoup. Consider projects that will keep your home properly maintained, but also that your family will enjoy. A house is more than an investment; it’s also the place where your family will build memories for years to come.

Open the Floor Plan

An open floor plan is one of the more sought-after features for homebuyers today. However, older homes typically have many walls and narrow hallways, said Polyak. The good news is that it can be surprisingly inexpensive to knock down a wall and create a more cohesive space. An interior demolition costs about $3,000 on average, according to HomeAdvisor.

Even load-bearing walls can be removed, preferably by a skilled contractor who can then place a beam in the ceiling for support. Even with the added home renovation costs, this improvement can still add significant value to a home, said Polyak.

Paint the Interior

Most homeowners spend between $996 and $2,721 on home interior paint costs, according to HomeAdvisor. At that price point, it’s easy to recoup the cost when it’s time to sell. Even so, it might be worthwhile to consult a professional before selecting a color.

Still, professional advice doesn’t have to add to the cost of the project. Many national paint retailers like Sherwin-Williams and Benjamin Moore offer free paint consultations.






Are you planning to build a new house? One often overlooked aspect of a house is the basement, but keeping an eye on your lower floor can maximize your space and your ROI. In fact, a finished basement can give you a return on investment of about 70–75%. With that great return, you can see the worth of finishing your basement. But what should you include in your basement? Our experts weigh in about the top things you should consider for your basement.

1. Another Bedroom (or Two)

Depending on the size of your basement and what all you decide to have in it, you could add one or two bedrooms to it. Every homebuyer considers the number of bedrooms when looking at a house, and a basement bedroom could be perfect for teenagers, aging parents, or even just a large family.

2. Another Bathroom

As with bedrooms, potential buyers will note how many bathrooms your house has to offer. Having a bathroom in the basement is especially nice so residents and guests don’t have to trek upstairs to use the washroom.

3. A Home Gym

If the COVID-19 pandemic led you to give up your gym membership in favor of working out at home, give yourself the space you need with a designated home gym. When you’re building a basement, you can even set aside space for all your equipment, a sauna, and a yoga studio. No matter what you have in mind, be sure to design your home gym for your preferred workouts.

4. A Home Office

With the rise of the Coronavirus, more people than ever before have started working from home. If you have plans to work from home permanently, a home office is perfect for you. Set up your workstation exactly how you want it. From having a window near your desk to having enough outlets for all your gadgets, you can customize your home office to be as comfortable as possible.

5. A Children’s Playroom

If you have kids or grandkids that play with their toys all over the house, it might be nice to have a dedicated children’s playroom. The sky’s the limit with a playroom, and kids will jump on the opportunity to have their own space. Consider building a slide, rock climbing wall, reading nook, dress-up closet, shelves to hold toys, or even a faux tree house to keep your little ones entertained.

6. A Mother-in-Law Apartment

Mother-in-law apartments or suites are essentially an entire apartment that can function separately from the rest of the house. Many people use these suites for elderly family members because it gives them the independence they need while keeping them close. Even if you don’t plan to have family members use the space, you can also rent out the mother-in-law apartment to gain some extra income.

7. A Home Theater

Everyone loves having a movie theater experience from the comfort of their own home, making a home theater an excellent option for your basement. No matter if you’re a casual watcher or a self-professed movie buff, you can deck out your home theater with everything you need to enjoy the show. Some of the most popular touches to a home theater include adding acoustic panels to your walls, surround sound speakers, lounge chairs, a concession stand, and even a popcorn machine.

8. A Game Room

If your family spends a lot of time playing games, converting your basement into a game room can be a gamechanger. Whether you enjoy more board games, arcade games, or even foosball, having space for all your games makes it easier to play and clean up afterward. For easy storage, consider building shelves to hold your games or necessary supplies like dice, paper, and pens. You might also want to have a kitchenette, so you have all your treats and drinks ready for your next game night.

9. A Laundry Room

Boost the functionality of your new home with a basement laundry room. With an entire room set aside for laundry, you’ll have more space for all your laundry totes, baskets, detergent, and clothes. Add cupboards to hold your supplies, a sink to wash stains, rods to hold hangers, and even storage cabinets to keep your ironing board out of the way.

Make the Most of Your Basement

When you’re looking at the design for your new house, don’t forget to give your basement a personal flair. This is your space, and it should be what you want. Whether you’d rather have a home gym or a theater room, you can do so much with your home’s basement. For help designing and building your custom home in the surrounding areas of Bucks County, PA, contact Brett King Builder!


With a little bit of work, any home can be modified to be safer and more accessible for wheelchair users or other individuals with impaired mobility. Here are a few options to consider:

1. Modify or Remove Steps
If you have stairs as part of your home’s entry access, that’s the first thing to address. Build a ramp or retrofit the walkway to your front door with a non-slip concrete to create a gradual slope that eliminates the need for stairs.

If the ground floor of your home has small sets of stairs, consider installing sturdy railings that aid in mobility or remodel the hallways to gradual ramps. If you have a multi-story home that you want to make truly accessible for a wheelchair user, it’s possible to install a hydraulic or cable-lift elevator. This can often be done at the back of the home or where two closets are stacked on top of each other; talk to a contractor for an expert opinion.

2. Expand the Floorplan
Whether an individual is in a wheelchair or mobility impaired in some other way, it’s essential to have wide walkways and a spacious layout to allow for easier navigation. As a general rule of thumb, wheelchairs require five feet of turnaround room to navigate effectively. If your home feels too cramped, taking out a wall or two can create an open concept floor plan to give some much-needed extra space.

3. Seamless Flooring Transitions
If possible, aim for the same flooring throughout the entire floor of a home to prevent lips and edges that could form a tripping hazard. If this isn’t possible, install ADA-compliant transition strips to smooth out these edges.

4. Simplify Doorknobs
Up-down levers are easier to operate than traditional rotating doorknobs for people who use wheelchairs or who don’t have full usage of their arms due to arthritis or other conditions.

5. Widen Doorways
ADA compliance standards state that the width of an entryway must be 32 inches or more when the door is fully open. However, many accessibility-savvy home designers recommend up to 10 inches of additional clearance for individuals who push their own wheelchairs. Widening the doorways of your home—or getting rid of them altogether—can make getting around your home easier.

6. Lower Countertops
Standard countertop height is around 36 inches from the ground, but this can be too high for wheelchair users to use comfortably. Putting counters at 30 inches or lower can make it easier to perform tasks in the kitchen, bathroom, laundry room, and home office.

For wheelchair users, ensure you have lots of storage within reach as well. You should be able to access everyday essentials from lower-level cupboards and drawers.

7. Improve Sink Access
Removing cupboards and cabinets under sinks and putting pipes closer to the wall gives knee room for wheelchair users and allows for easier access to sinks in the kitchen and bathroom. When you’re looking at mirrors for vanities, get one that tilts up and down to adjust for varying heights of family members.

8. Rearrange Appliances
Rather than placing your microwave above the stove or on the countertop, consider putting it lower, flush with the lower cabinets. This placement, combined with a touch-button model, can make appliances much easier to use for everyone. Additionally, a side-by-side refrigerator may give easier access than traditional styles with the freezer on top and fridge on top.

9. Improve Bathroom Safety
A few tweaks can make the bathroom significantly safer and more navigable for individuals with impaired mobility. Install grab bars near the toilet for stability and opt for a wide, roll-in shower with nothing to step over for entry. The flooring should be seamless and as non-slip as possible. The best shower set-ups have grab handles and a bench to sit on.

10. Brighten Up Lighting
Dim or inadequate lighting is a safety hazard—someone could trip over obstacles they can’t see clearly. To lower this risk, ensure that your home has strong and bright lighting. As an added step, install voice-controlled lighting with smart technology.

Accessible Homes for Everyone in Delmarva
If you’re looking to make your home more accessible, Brett King Builder can help.

The Best Materials for Your Bathroom Remodel: A Comprehensive Guide.

When considering a remodel for your bathroom, the choice of material is paramount. Sure, the layout and design are important, but unless you choose quality material that is durable and water-resistant, you may end up having to redo the bathroom again.

Hot water, steam, and strong cleaning products—not to mention dirt and grime—are par for the course for bathrooms. In choosing the material, you should keep three things in mind: durability, affordability, and of course, aesthetic appeal. Let’s take a look at several aspects of your bathroom remodel and the types of materials that work best in each.

Bathroom Floors

There are several different materials to choose from for bathroom flooring, like cork, wood, porcelain tiles, natural stone, and vinyl. But when it comes to durability and a great ROI, natural stone and porcelain tiles are your best options.

Both stone and tiles are water-resistant and easy to clean. Stone is more expensive and can limit the possibilities in terms of colors and design, but it is easy to install and is long-lasting.

Tiles, on the other hand, offer endless possibilities in terms of design and color and are more affordable than stone. Your contractor can help you decide which material would be best suited to the kind of look you are going for with your bathroom floors.

Bathroom Countertops

For bathroom countertops, the most durable and affordable materials are quartz, granite, or marble. All three fall under a similar price point and offer a wide range of colors and patterns to choose from.

A lot of home remodelers opt for laminate as well, but it doesn’t have the touch of class that marble, quartz, or granite bring to the table (or countertop)!

Bathroom Fixtures

When choosing fixtures for your bathroom, you may be tempted to opt for something budget-friendly—higher-end faucets, showerheads, and knobs can feel like a luxury you can’t afford—but you won’t believe how much that affects the value of your home when it’s time to sell the house. Beautiful, expensive-looking bathroom and kitchen fixtures make a great first impression.

Bathroom Storage

Bathroom storage consists of closets and cabinets. In an attempt to save money, you may be tempted to get particle board cabinets and closet doors. While particleboard is a bad idea anywhere, it’s especially terrible for a bathroom. It’s not water-resistant, and being constantly exposed to water and steam will warp and damage it quickly, leading to doors that won’t shut all the way. Invest in plywood cabinets and closet doors that are resistant to water damage and are also durable.

The Bottom Line

If you are redoing your bathroom, invest in materials that promise longevity, look sleek and stylish, and are also affordable.

If you are looking for professional contractors with decades of experience and a solid track record of exemplary work, Brett King Builder is here to help. We’ve been in the business for 35 years, working with a wide range of residential clients in Pennsylvania. We have the expertise and the experience to handle your bathroom remodeling project, whether big or small.