AS the hub of your home, you want your kitchen to always look its best. There is an expression that says, “kitchens sell houses”, and this has many a time proven to be true as kitchens have the most financial value and are one of the biggest factors that could potentially influence the sale of a property. Lara Machado, head of the training academy at Engel & Völkers Southern Africa, says homeowners have agreed that should they wish to take on a remodelling project, the kitchen is the best place to start. She says statistics show that almost 50% of the buyers are influenced and impressed by a new kitchen, and 28% of would-be buyers are prepared to pay more if the kitchen was of a higher standard. She shares 10 low-cost, easy-to-implement ideas that will go a long way to making your kitchen a hot topic at the next braai. KITCHEN UPDATE TIPS • Turn one of your drawers into a spice drawer. Ideally, this would be the drawer next to the stove. Spice drawers are better than the more common spice rack since they free up wall space for other items that get used more often. • Install an island or butcher’s block table in the centre of your kitchen. This will give you more work space and storage space. For a smaller kitchen, buy a rolling island. The wheels allow you to move it out of the kitchen or to the side if you need more space. • A chalkboard wall is a versatile decorative feature, but it’s also a practical addition as it allows the family to maintain to-do lists, menus or shopping lists in a common location. It’s also a space for the budding artists in the family to express themselves. A can of black chalkboard paint is inexpensive and a great way to dress up a wall for the perfect backdrop. If you’re out of wall space, a door or cabinet surface will also work. • Add an induction cooktop or replace your electric stove with a gas stove. Induction cooktops are energy-efficient and generate heat directly into compatible pots or pans, making it even more efficient than gas. • Why not give your upper kitchen cabinets a new look? Convert them to open shelving or floating shelves which are convenient for storing essentials like cups, pans or condiments. • Add a creative planter to your windowsill for edible herbs. This will also spruce up your kitchen by adding a touch of green and wonderful aromas. • Stone sinks and countertops are where the trends are heading. Swop old or bland stainless steel sinks for beautiful stone sinks that are available in various colours and styles. You can also replace melamine countertops with granite or Caesarstone, as these add value to your home’s resale price. • The kitchen of the future is here thanks to home automation. From sensor-activated lights that only illuminate the kitchen when it’s in use, meat thermometers that alert your smartphone or tablet when your dinner is ready to smart kettles and coffee machines that can be turned on from your smartphone. • A kitchen cart can provide a bit more storage space and free up your countertops from your cooking books, gadgets and other non-cooking supplies. • If you have a large kitchen, adding a table and assorted chairs will create a cosy environment where you can get together with family while preparing meals. - Supplied.