When discussing interior design and the things that make one space different from another, we tend to focus on trends and personal tastes. It’s far more rare for us to consider why the design is taking place, but the answer can be important. Interior design is varied because whether your project is a light refresh or a gut renovation, there are any number of reasons to design a space, and each one can require a different result.
One of the best examples of this is when a home needs to be renovated for sale. Renovating a home with the intent to sell requires you to address the question of design in a slightly different way than usual. If you lean too heavily on trends, you run the risk of creating spaces that appeal only to hardcore design lovers. At the same time, focusing too much on personal tastes risks alienating everyone who isn’t you. Even a balance between the two may not be enough to avoid creating something so specific that prospective buyers can’t picture themselves in it. Complicating things further are questions of time and budgets.
Maximizing your home to sell can present challenges, but don’t worry, there are smart ways to find your way through the design quagmire that will not only save you time and money but also help sell your home faster. Here are our top renovation tips:
1. Paint the exterior
As any magazine article or home design show will tell you, curb appeal is everything when selling your home. One of the best ways to get passersby to come into your open house is with a home that has a fresh, inviting, and engaging look even from the outside. That all begins with paint. Not only does a fresh coat of paint attract attention all on its own, color is a great way to draw additional interest. Just make sure you’re doing it in a good way.
The good news is that this is the age of colorful outdoor finishes for our homes, so feel free to go beyond the typical white or beige for something more impactful, like a shade of gray, black, or navy blue. But stop short of picking anything too bold. For instance, a deep red may be a bit too unique for some potential buyers.
2. Update the kitchen
We’ve all heard that kitchens and bathrooms sell houses. As with most cliches, if you’re tired of hearing it, there’s a good chance it’s true. No one is exactly sure about the source of the strange power these rooms hold over us, but one thing is clear: If you’re going to renovate something in your home to increase it’s salability, the kitchen is a good place to start.
When getting your kitchen in shape for new owners, updating your appliances is key. Listings and open houses are all about getting people to see themselves in the space and getting them to like what they see. No one daydreams about having to replace a refrigerator or cooking in an undersized antique oven. Other areas of interest include your hardware, lighting, backsplash, and, depending on the size of your kitchen, the island. It likely won’t be necessary to replace all of these pieces in your kitchen, so take your time and look for the areas where an update will have the most impact.
3. Renovate the bathroom
Getting your bathrooms in shape is every bit as important as having a healthy-looking kitchen. Just as with the kitchens, your major appliances and fixtures are the place to start. Look at your vanity, toilet, and tub. These are the main areas of interest in any bathroom, so you’ll want to make sure they’re updated and in good shape. When renovating the bathroom, avoid funky wallpapers and colorful toilet seat covers in favor of simple subway tile and streamlined pieces. Finally, be sure to integrate pieces that will save a new homeowner money, like a low-flow toilet and water-saving showerhead.
4. Create an open plan
Typically, getting your living room ready for prospective buyers is more a matter of design than renovation. The living room is a major selling point for any home, and when putting your home on the market, it’s never a bad idea to start by giving yours a little extra TLC. If your living room is on the smaller side, however, and you have an adjacent dining room, it may be worth looking into removing a wall or two and bringing the two spaces together. Work with an interior architect who can let you know which walls can be safely moved. Adding more space is always an attractive feature, especially in the rooms where we spend the most time.
5. Finish the basement
Basements are great for storage, but when renovating your home for sale, think of turning it into a space that will expand your floor plan and your bottom line. Transform your basement into a den, office, family room, or even guest bedroom. Finished basements can add a whole other room that, unlike a living room, dining room, or bedroom, doesn’t have a pre-assigned role. A basement offers endless possibilities for what could be, making an attractive home irresistible. When finishing your basement, design it as a multi-functional space and allow buyers to imagine what it could become. Maximize your bottom line even further by adding a bathroom and laundry area.
6. Show off the outdoor area
When it comes to yards, bigger is usually better, but a sizable outdoor space won’t sell a home all on its own. You have to help it out. The goal of making over the outdoor area is to maximize the possibilities in the minds of everyone who comes to see the home. That doesn’t mean putting every idea into the space at once, but rather showing off the full range of what the space can do and be. If there’s room for a grill and seating area, put them in. In terms of renovation, the elements you’ll want to consider adding are a deck or an enclosed area that will allow the new homeowners to enjoy the outdoors in the colder months as well as in the summer.