These Are the Design Trends Realtors Recommend Skipping

While you can’t do much to change the major determinant of your home’s value–its location–your decorating and remodeling choices can certainly affect its value, for both better and worse. Common wisdom says that you should make design decisions to suit your and your family's style and needs, but it's also true that a feature, color, or amenity that you absolutely love could be a deal breaker to a potential buyer—and that could be a real problem when it comes time to sell your home. Real estate agents see a lot of homes and speak with a lot of home buyers, so they have a good idea of the design trends that help sell a home, and those that don't. If you expect to put your home on the market within the next few years and want to get a good price, take some advice from real estate professionals and skip the following 15 interior design trends.

By Michelle Ullman | Updated Oct 02, 2020 08:08 PM

Eliminating Closets

Bedroom without a closet

Renée Kuperman, a Realtor in Miami Beach, Florida, sees it far too often: homeowners who remove closets to free up space for larger bedrooms or master baths. “You instantly decrease your home’s value by eliminating closets,” Kuperman warns. “People like to see plenty of storage space.”

Sterile Kitchens

Avoid all-white kitchens

While there’s nothing wrong with a sleek, contemporary kitchen, some homeowners today take the idea a bit overboard. If your kitchen is so white, featureless, and shiny that it could be mistaken for an operating room, chances are it’s not going to appeal to many potential home buyers. Inject some color, texture, and personality if you want to get top dollar for your home.

No Bathtubs

Don't remove bathtub

Walk-in showers are wonderful, but some people prefer—or need—a tub. As Jlyne Hanback, a Realtor in Dallas, Texas, observes, “Many home buyers are now choosing showers over a full bathtub. When it’s time to sell, however, they may regret that choice. It may be difficult to sell a home with only showers. as many home buyers need at least one bathtub to wash young children or pets, or simply prefer a bathtub themselves.”

Related: 10 Bathroom Trends You Might Regret

Mosaic or Bright Tile

Avoid bright color tile

Brightly colored tile or mosaic kitchen backsplashes and bathroom shower surrounds are undeniably eye-catching. If you have no intention of moving soon, feel free to dive headfirst into this of-the-moment trend. If, however, you think you might put your house on the market within the next year or two, listen to this warning from Hosking-Cartland: “Resist the urge to use trendy colored or mosaic-patterned tile on a kitchen backsplash or shower wall or floor. Not every buyer will like the color or pattern you select. Neutral tile selections help potential buyers imagine how their own color and style preferences will coordinate with the other elements in a kitchen or bath.”

Hard-to-Use Electronics

Avoid hard to use electronics

Whether it’s a complex, built-in sound system, a kitchen filled with genius-smart appliances and outlets, an overly complicated security system, or advanced lighting controls, if it takes a hefty manual and a series of lessons to understand how to use it, it’s likely to scare away potential buyers.

Bright Kitchen Cabinets

Avoid bright kitchen cabinets

Although Hanback notes that painted cabinets are a current trend, “If the cabinets are painted a color that is overly bright, such as cobalt blue or bright red, there is a good chance that a potential buyer will be dissuaded by the thought of the expense, time, and inconvenience involved in painting the cabinets a more neutral hue.”

Related: 12 Kitchen Trends You Might Regret

High-Maintenance Landscaping

Avoid high-maintenance landscaping

Gardening is one of the most popular hobbies in the country, and many homeowners love to spend a free afternoon deadheading, watering, or just admiring their flowers. But there are also many people who are intimidated by lavish landscaping, or simply prefer to spend their time elsewhere, so it’s best to stick with lovely but easy garden choices when preparing your home for sale.

Related: 50 Plants That Thrive in Any Yard

High-End Kitchen Appliances

Avoid high-end kitchen appliances

If you love to cook, you may be thrilled by a kitchen with a high-end, professional-quality stove, refrigerator, and dishwasher. Be prepared, however, to lose money on those investments when it comes time to sell. Kuperman cautions that not everyone wants or needs expensive kitchen appliances; after all, many home cooks just want to get dinner on the table as quickly and painlessly as possible.

Too Much White

Avoid too white rooms

While real estate professionals agree that super-brights are a no-no when it comes to resale value, they also agree that going overboard on white can also be a problem. Too much white—particularly whites with cool blue undertones—can give a room a cold, sterile, and harsh appearance that could chill potential home buyers who might otherwise have made an offer. Choose warmer whites, and mix it up a bit with walls in other neutral hues.

Wall-to-Wall Carpeting

Avoid wall-to-wall carpeting

Carpet does feel nice underfoot and can be a relatively inexpensive flooring choice. But it also stains easily and holds on to dirt and grime. That’s why Kuperman advises against it if you plan on selling your home, noting, “Most home buyers don't like carpet, and it's a pain to remove. On the other hand, refinished hardwood floors can actually get you back some extra cash, because they're highly sought after.”

Garage Conversions

Avoid garage conversions

Although it might make sense for you to convert your garage into a home office, home gym, extra bedroom, or children’s playroom, that conversion may well be a deal breaker for potential home buyers who just want a place to park their cars. If you really need to repurpose your garage, do it in such a way that it can easily be restored to its former use before you put your home on the market.

Decorate to Sell

Decorate to Sell

Design and decorate with both yourself—and future buyers—in mind.

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