If you are one of the millions of people who have made getting healthy part of your new year's resolutions, then you may find yourself taking a good, hard look at your kitchen.  And, if when you find yourself there, you decide that you can put off aid in your healthy lifestyle goals by taking a bit of time to refresh kitchen space (where you will be cooking up all of those healthy meals, no doubt), then you have come to the right place.  So put down that salad, hop off the treadmill and take note, because here are some of the upgrades that you can make to your kitchen that will get you the most bang for your buck?

Appliances

One of the biggest impacts, both visual and practical, that you can make to your kitchen is upgrading your appliances.  For clarity’s sake, when we say appliances here, we mean the big three: the refrigerator, the stove/oven and the dishwasher.  You can spend thousands upon thousands on the most high-tech, smart appliances, but if you don’t need your refrigerator to update your shopping list, your stove to sing you happy birthday, and for your dishwasher to console you when you’re feeling sad, you can still get some really good looking, energy-efficient appliances without having to break the bank.  

One of the first choices to be made when making these purchases is finish. The most common choice when it comes to finish is, of course, stainless steel.  However, in recent years, both black and white appliances have made a stylistic comeback.  Just be sure that whichever finish you decide on, you keep consistent.  This is not the time to mix and match colors; unless, of course, that is your thing.  Then, well…you do you.  If you are not looking to sell anytime soon, then making choices very specific to your personal style may not be as much of a concern.  However, If you are considering selling before you plan on replacing appliances again, then you should probably stick to the same finish for all.  Consistency is key from a return on investment standpoint.  On that note, if your microwave is visible in your kitchen, whether it hangs above your stove, or sits contently on the countertop, it’s a good move to be sure that its finish matches that of the big guys’ as well.  

Countertops

Changing out the countertops in your kitchen promises to make a MAJOR impact.  This is especially true if your home was completed with “builder-grade” (as the HGTV hosts like to say) finishes, which can be the case for many homes within planned communities.  When it comes to material, there are a plethora of options that run the full gamut in terms of price.  Before you make a final choice, you’ll want to think about how you use your space and take into consideration what material is going to suit you, your family and the style of your home the best (all while keeping price in mind).  Granite is always a popular option because it looks great and is incredibly durable.  However, granit is a porous material, which can make it susceptible to staining if not sealed properly and often.  Marble adds some serious value to your home, but comes with a hefty price tag and, like its cousin granite, is prone to stains.  Recently, engineered stone, also called quartz, has surged in popularity.  It is often made to look like granite or marble, but because it is made of science, and not actual sonte, it does not need to be sealed annually and can even be installed by the eager DIYer.  Butcher-block countertops have become quite the rage, with the rise in interest in the “modern-farmhouse” style.  This material is nice because it can be sanded and resealed as time goes on, giving them a long lifespan, but they can easily be scratched and cut, and can give bacteria a happy home if not properly cared for.  You can spend some serious time contemplating the material, color and style of your shiny new countertops, but you can look forward to a serious transformation, all while adding value to your home.  

Paint

We have saved the easiest, cheapest and somewhat anticlimactic upgrade for last.  It’s true, paint may not be as exciting as a whole new set of appliances, or a total overhaul of the space, but paint can have a major impact on the overall look and feel of your kitchen.  Kitchens tend to be messy places, so if your paint hasn’t been touched up in a while, you can probably find evidence of meals passed on your walls.  Grease, sauces, and various other sticky/slimy/gooey substances seem to jump right out of pots and pans and can leave your walls looking anywhere from drab to straight-up yucky.  A fresh coat of paint (possibly after a good scrub) can clean and brighten everything up, and give your space a whole new look.  Most pros suggest using a satin or semi-gloss paint for kitchen walls, because they tend to be easier to clean and hold up better to all of the messiness that kitchens can offer.