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7 Home Improvement Projects For a Functional Kitchen

Written by Charlotte Granville

Published on March 28, 2023


7 Home Improvement Projects For a Functional Kitchen

We reveal 7 home improvement projects that will help you achieve the most functional kitchen.

To provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date information, we consult a number of sources when producing each article, including licensed contractors and industry experts.

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Is your kitchen a source of frustration, stress, and mess? If so, it might be time to make some changes to your kitchen. According to a recent study, 65% of experts believe that the biggest driving factor for a kitchen remodel in 2023 will be to improve its functionality. The kitchen has become a space for a lot more than just preparing food recently, and therefore it needs to be versatile to cater for a number of different activities. 

If your kitchen works well for you, then it becomes less of a space for chores, and more of a place to gather and enjoy. Depending on the size, layout, and style of your kitchen, there are certain aspects that can be modified so that its functionality is optimized. Here are 7 home improvement projects that will help you create a functional kitchen you can look forward to using on a daily basis.

1. A Kitchen Layout Makeover

One of the main aspects of a kitchen’s functionality is its layout. Your kitchen design should facilitate a flow between the main working stations, which are the sink, stove, and refrigerator. It’s good to keep these areas in mind when designing your kitchen layout, as a general rule of thumb is that the distance between them should form some sort of triangle, also known as the kitchen triangle. The idea of this is to make the kitchen layout more efficient to work in, as people usually rotate from one station to the other frequently.

Changing the kitchen layout is the costliest project on this list as it requires a full kitchen remodel in order to change the structure of the space. A full kitchen remodel costs between $26,000 and $70,000, and although this project can be worth the improvement it brings to the space, there are more affordable options to improve the functionality of your kitchen.  

Find the best kitchen remodeling contractors near me

2. Adding a Kitchen Island

Depending on the size and layout of the room, consider adding a kitchen island. If you have an L shaped kitchen layout, adding this feature will give you more surface space to work on or insert appliances in. A kitchen island can also work in U shaped kitchens if the space is large enough. If space is an issue, try opening up your kitchen with an open plan design by removing a wall and replacing it with a kitchen island. This will create an open flow between the kitchen and dining or living areas, making a space the whole household can easily gather in. 

Installing a kitchen island typically costs between $4,000 and $8,000. There are also plenty of designs you can choose from depending on your needs and the space you have. Whether it’s a small surface for a bit of extra landing space or a large unit with built-in cooking areas, a kitchen island can really improve the functionality of your kitchen in terms of space and layout.  

3. Optimizing Storage to Your Advantage

Storage can really make or break the functionality of your kitchen. In contrast to one of last year’s top trends, open shelving, 53% of experts say that hidden storage will be the biggest kitchen trend of 2023. If things fall out of your kitchen cabinets as soon as you open the door, consider swapping them out for utility cabinets. Utility cabinets are customizable and can be made to store and organize your kitchenware and cleaning products, and can even hide certain elements such as trash cans. Having utility cabinets installed costs between $400 and $9,485, depending on the type of cabinets you choose and the size of your kitchen. 

If you have an L or U-shaped kitchen, you know how frustrating it can be to try and reach for cookware stored in the corner cabinets. A solution to this is having a lazy susan installed, allowing you to easily access everything stored in the cabinet. Adding elements such as roll-out draws or a pull-out pantry will also make a huge difference in terms of optimizing your storage and keeping your kitchen clutter-free.

4. Upgrading Countertops

Your kitchen countertops are one of the main features of the space, and 71% of interior designers say they’ll be at the top of homeowners’ priority list in terms of kitchen upgrades this year. Kitchen countertops tend to see the most wear and tear, so choosing a durable material to work on is a must. Quartz countertops are one of the most durable materials on the market, costing around $40 to $100 a square foot installed. Granite countertops are a more affordable option and are also very durable, but they can scratch more easily than quartz countertops. 

Being a waste byproduct of other manufacturing processes, quartz is an eco-friendly material. It’s also non-porous, so it doesn’t need sealing as granite does, making it a low-maintenance option you can depend on for a long time. Quartz countertops are resistant to heat, stains, and scratches, so you won’t have to worry about them getting damaged while you’re busy cooking a meal.

5. Investing in Smart Appliances

An increasing number of manufacturers are adding smart features to their appliances. As this technology advances, making the most out of these new appliances will help you achieve a modern and functional kitchen, so consider investing in a smart fridge. Smart fridges can connect to WiFi, allowing you to use your phone to see what’s inside the refrigerator from anywhere, so you can find out which groceries to get at any time. Smart fridges can also feature a touch display screen which allows you to take notes, look up recipes, and even track your calendar. The cost to install a smart fridge is between $2,500 and $5,000 and is a great feature to add to your kitchen and help you stay organized. 

WiFi-compatible dishwashers are now also available on the market. They include voice control features and can connect to your smartphone to control your wash cycles remotely. Smart dishwashers also help you monitor your energy consumption and will alert you if a leak is detected. These smart dishwashers cost between $650 and $1,900, and they’re a relatively simple appliance to get started with if you’re slowly transitioning to a smart kitchen.

6. Installing Tile Flooring For Easy Maintenance

Certain types of flooring are better suited for the kitchen than others. Hardwood flooring, for example, can get damaged by spills or other common kitchen accidents. One of the best options by far for a kitchen floor is tile. Tile flooring doesn’t wear out, scratch, or stain, and it’s also waterproof. And if you’re on a tighter budget, 66% of experts say ceramic tile is the most affordable material for the kitchen this year, however, it does have a tendency to crack if heavy items are dropped on it. 

Tile flooring is both easy to clean and maintain and costs around $3,500 to be installed. Tile offers a wide variety of colors and styles, and porcelain tile can even mimic other materials such as wood in case you prefer a warmer look. Not having to worry about your kitchen floor being damaged by spills or scratches will give you peace of mind when using the space. With tile flooring being low maintenance, you can focus on other more important things in the kitchen.

7. Improving the Lighting

Lighting might seem like a small detail when it comes to increasing the functionality of your kitchen, but it can actually make a significant difference to the workstations and overall look of the space. In fact, 47% of experts believe that statement lighting above the kitchen island is set to be the biggest kitchen trend of 2023. Including extra lighting above work spaces such as the stove, countertops, and kitchen island can make the process of cooking both safer and more enjoyable.

As well as statement lighting, you can add recessed lighting underneath your cabinets to evenly illuminate your countertops, making for a concealed and ambient look. Expect to pay between $450 to $650 per can for recessed lighting in the kitchen, and make sure to include it in the areas you use the most. 

Find the best recessed lighting installers near me

A Space That Works For You

Experts believe that homeowners are now prioritizing turning their kitchen into a space that works for them as well as matching their design tastes. Improving the functionality of the room will not only make life easier on a daily basis, but it will also encourage more cooking, and household gatherings. You can also design it in a way that suits you best, and according to your budget and the space you have to work with. 

When designed correctly, the kitchen can be a place for the whole household to come together in. Having a functional kitchen can improve the way you feel about the space, and with it being one of the most frequently used rooms of the house, the investment made for any of the projects we’ve mentioned can be more than worthwhile.


Charlotte is a researcher and author at Fixr.com. With a Bachelor’s degree in Visual Communications, she analyses industry data to provide homeowners with the best advice and visual representations of the home improvement sector. She is passionate about promoting sustainability within the home, and with a personal interest in interior design, she is always up to date about the latest home remodeling trends.