Over the last eight to 10 months, we have upgraded the kitchen appliances and the result brings a smile to my face literally every day.

The fridge was outdated and way too small. The dishwasher didn’t, well, “wash” dishes. And the sink/faucet combination was way too shallow and simply annoying to use. Everything we bought was second hand to save money — it’s amazing what people sell — and other than the water line to the new fridge, we installed everything ourselves. We literally couldn’t be happier.

On multiple articles over the last few years, we have discussed the remodeling or upgrading of certain areas of the home. Kitchens, baths, basements and garages have all received my treatment and all have had one thing in common. It is important to know for whom you are doing the remodel.

In most cases, even if you are tackling the project with selling in mind, you still get to enjoy the benefits of the upgrade for as long as you live in the home. This is an added bonus that makes the remodeling process more palatable since you get a direct benefit (besides a higher selling price).

Today, we are going to focus on the kitchen, but our goal will be to focus on those upgrades or changes that will stand the test of time. I’ve seen some black-themed kitchens that look amazing and really stand out from the crowd. We’ve also seen kitchens that incorporate various levels of patterns and colors that are beautiful, bright and cheery. These are the kitchens that specific homeowner loves to wake up to every morning. Our shift today is going to be aiming for a more universal appeal and a design that is leaning toward being future-proof. Let’s dig in.

We have covered the idea of keeping your colors throughout the home on the bland side or at least “neutral.” In the kitchen, you can safely choose white as the dominant color and be safe for generations to come.

While there will most assuredly be other trends that come along, white will always be safe for those selling as well as those remodeling to stay put. White allows total freedom for the accent pieces and is a fantastic color to help make smaller kitchens feel larger and more spacious.

“My favorite reason for having a white kitchen (or any other room for that matter) is the ability to add color and pizazz with accent items like cabinet doors, appliances or even simple pillows,” Badger Realty agent Kathleen Sullivan Head said. “The white 'canvas' allows for creativity and making the room or home personalized without the need for a large-scale remodel when it is time to sell.”

The next “safe bet” for your kitchen remodel is going to be the flooring. Much like the color choice above, hardwood flooring is going to be your best bet in the kitchen and even throughout much of the home.

Hardwood floors have timeless appeal and “go” with virtually any color or material you can pick for accent items, furniture or appliances. It is tough and capable of withstanding lots of traffic and can be refinished multiple times to further increase its utility.

Lastly, the open-floor plan nature of hardwood allows the rooms to flow into each other and creates a larger feeling throughout the home.

When I built my home, I purchased the entire kitchen from a friend. That included counters, cabinets and even the oven. Besides the great deal, I was most attracted to the kitchen because the cabinets were wood, simple and “clean”.

There are loads of cabinet styles out there with glass doors, fancy colors, smoked and colored glass, etc. But, for a kitchen remodel to stand the test of time, I strongly encourage simple, standard “Shaker-style” cabinets. Their timeless appeal will withstand generations of style fads and, more importantly, they don’t “steal the show” in the kitchen. Good cabinets simply do their duty and remain in the background to allow the appliances and counters to shine.

Lastly is going to be the usability of the kitchen. One of my favorite parts of my home was having “adult-height” cabinets (and toilets) throughout the home. Once you experience them, you will never go back.

For your remodel, I would also encourage a wall oven and a cooktop. These increase your cabinet space and remove the need to stand on your head to get the cookies out of the oven! I also love the fact that some smarty-pants added lazy Susans to those useless corner (under-counter) cabinets and some other engineer came up with those awesome pullout drawers for pantries and those lower cabinet drawers.

Anything you can do to make your kitchen easier to use and more universally convenient (including extra-wide clearances throughout) will make a big impression on potential buyers and, like we noted before, make you a happier camper every time you use it.

As a homeowner the temptation is to customize the home fully to your own personal tastes. I’ve never felt the desire to stay in one place for very long so I’ve always kept the next owner in mind.

If you are more like me, feel free to tackle the kitchen remodel, but always keep the idea of “future-proof” in your mind when it comes to all of those decisions you will make. A more universally appealing kitchen will sell faster and will help eliminate the need for a quick turn-around for the next upgrade. You’ll be doing yourself and the next buyer/owner a huge favor.

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