upgrade your home on a budget

Small upgrades, like painting cabinets and swapping hardware offer an 83 percent return on investment at resale. (Photo: Dreamstime)

Homeowners and renters alike can attest – bad hardware is something that plagues dated kitchens everywhere. And while we learned that major kitchen remodels aren’t always worth the investment, small upgrades, like painting cabinets and swapping hardware offer an 83 percent return on investment at resale. So while you may not be ready to gut your kitchen in favor of our latest favorite luxe trends, there are easy updates you can make in one weekend that will not only make your space pretty to look at but will also enhance the value of your home. You’ve already painted your cabinets, now’s the time to address hardware.

To guide us through the sea of hardware options, we tapped Peter Sallick, CEO and creative director of Waterworks – purveyors of heritage hardware and plumbing since 1925 – on his favorite hardware trends, and his best tips for upgrading hardware in your home. Splurging on your dream hardware might not be as foolish as you thought – here’s the smart way to do it.

MyDomain: Where does hardware add the most value to a home?

Peter Sallick: The kitchen and the bath are two of the rooms that can most widely impact the resale value of a home, so we see any investment in these spaces as adding value. These are also spaces that are generally complex to update and hardware is the simplest change that you can make.

MD: What are the best hardware options for kitchen cabinets?

PS: The kitchen is a focal point for entertaining and a space that is frequented by house guests, party guests, and homeowners themselves – so it has to look great, but it also has to be functional.

For a fully functioning kitchen, I see many of our professional interior designer clients combining hardware styles with a mixture of knobs and pulls, depending on the size and positioning of the cabinets and drawers. They are getting away from the sameness of a single style on every surface.

The other thing that can make a huge impact beyond pulls and knobs is the actual hinge hardware. We are seeing many Waterworks Kitchen customers who are purchasing cabinets choosing exposed hinges – either partially exposed our completely exposed with surface mounted hinges. Surface mounted brass hinges on a deeply hued cabinet door make a bold statement.

MD: What are your favorite hardware styles right now?

PS: My favorite styles of hardware are those with the less expected materials. We’ve recently introduced styles that work with hand-stitched Italian leather and rich American walnut. They add a beautiful warmth, texture and dimension to any room in the home. As soon as these were available I updated the cabinets in my dining room with leather pieces and it impacted the feeling of the entire space. Similar to metal finishes, the leather pieces will patina over time, showing how much they are used and loved.

MD: What would you recommend for someone on a budget?

PS: Hardware and also lighting probably make the biggest difference in the look and impact of kitchens. Hardware can literally dress up even the simplest cabinets. When choosing hardware, it’s important to keep in mind that you are going to touch this item on a daily basis and the feel of a solid piece is very different in your hand. Hardware is a big bang for the dollar element of kitchens.

MD: What are your tips for choosing hardware for furniture?

PS: Hardware updates don’t need to be restricted to the kitchen. A vintage furniture piece can feel completely modern when paired with a new hardware style, and it’s easy to update built-in cabinets in living rooms and dining rooms, as I just did for myself. Overall, pick something that will complement the piece and that is the right scale.

By Domaine Staff, Domain (TNS). Get the latest on home decor trends, design ideas, shopping guides and food news, and take a look inside your favorite celebrity homes on DomaineHome.com.