By Jenny Xie

Earlier this week, Curbed ran a Twitter poll asking folks which part of the house they’d rather renovate. The winner? The kitchen, by a landslide.

That’s not exactly surprising, is it? Kitchens, after all, are often where families end up gathering whether there’s food involved or not, often turning into makeshift family rooms, work areas, and more. It’s a really important space, so some extra design love is definitely warranted.

While we’ve already explored what people don’t want in their kitchens (Open shelving! Chalkboard walls! Glass-tile backsplashes!), now it’s time—especially in the spirit of Renovation Week—to discuss what you do want.

To start things off, here are a few remodel ideas that may or may not draw the ire of some, but could really add value to a kitchen, aesthetically or otherwise.

Subway tiles in a renovated Philly rowhome
Photo by Chloe Berk

Ah, the subway tile. Yes, it’s oh-so-trendy right now, but a lot of readers seem to agree that it’s simple and subdued—a classic. The better case for subway tile? It apparently helps sell a house faster and for more money.

The black matte Vipp kitchen system, as in the Copenhagen home of the Danish brand’s chief designer
Photo by Anders Hviid via Dwell

Minimalist and statement-making at the same time, matte black cabinetry (plus matching appliances) can instantly give a kitchen a more luxe look. Real talk though, red is pretty snazzy, too, or a high-contrast black-and-white scheme…anything to break the all-white spell!

A Homepolish designer gave her 1870s brownstone a thorough makeover
Photo by Claire Esparros for Homepolish

While breakfast nooks are definitely due for a comeback, they’re not always possible given space constraints. But even the tiniest alcove can make a huge difference, as evidenced in this renovated kitchen in a Brooklyn brownstone. The bay window seat adds another dimension to the kitchen and brings in light and garden views.