Real Estate Selling

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.

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Wallpaper is enjoying something of a comeback moment, but not everyone is on board with this trend. Jill Hosking-Cartland, a professional home stager in Windham, New Hampshire, cautions, “All buyers think about when they see wallpaper is the money, time, and effort it will take to remove it. Paint your walls with a beautiful, neutral color that coordinates with the fixed elements in your house, such as the flooring, countertops, and cabinets.”

Open Shelving

There are two types of people in this world: Those who love open shelving in the kitchen and those who hate it. While you may fall into the first group, there’s no guarantee that potential buyers of your home will agree. If you are planning on selling your home in the near future, keep those kitchen cabinets in place.

Related: 11 “Zero Dollar” Ways to Organize Your Kitchen Cabinets

Eliminating Closets

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Built-In Fish Tanks

You may dream of a fish tank as elaborate and expensive as those shown on the Animal Planet show “Tanked,” but beware of installing one in your home if you want to woo potential buyers. Fish tanks are lovely and relaxing to gaze at, but not everyone wants the trouble of maintaining a fish tank or the expense of removing a large, built-in glass unit. Instead, stick with a standard aquarium that can move with you.

Related: 15 Reasons to Think Twice About an Open Floor Plan

Bold Walls

One thing most real estate experts agree on is that bright walls are potentially a big risk when it comes to resale value. As Hosking-Cartland says, “No buyer wants to repaint the walls their first week in the new house because you just had to have a trendy black dining room or sunshine yellow kitchen.” That doesn’t mean Swiss-coffee off-white is your only option, however. There are many appealing, soft colors that have personality, yet don’t demand too much attention.

Related: 14 Paint Colors That Can Make a Room Feel Instantly Cozy

Too Much White

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

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

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

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