Amber on Design – Renovation Do’s & Don’ts

The design aspect of a renovation project is probably the most fun and creative part of the process.  But design like fashion … home designs are always changing!

Rather than talk about specific design ideas, let’s go over some Do’s & Don’ts, and also how you can stay current on what’s trending and popular.

Don’t wing it if you have no design sense!  Aesthetics are a major contributor to getting top dollar for your houses.  Most people don’t have vision.  Most buyers today want houses that are trendy and move-in ready.

Do have a designer on your team.  If you can’t afford it one, have a friend that has an eye for design critique your choices and offer suggestions.   VestorPRO students have the advantage of  posting pictures in our private Student FaceBook group, and ask for feedback from experienced designers!

Don’t design with yourself in mind.  Many times, people tend to over improve. A house doesn’t sell based on how much money you put into it.  It sells based on what someone is willing and able to pay for it.  If it’s overpriced for the neighborhood, you probably won’t make your money back, no matter how amazing it looks.  High end appliances/fixtures, granite, may not be necessary.  (It doesn’t have to be a house you’d live in).  The opposite could also be true, if you are doing a higher end house, you may need to put in higher end items than you even have in your own home!

Do design with the comps in mind. (Look closely at the comps to see what they have to offer, and go ever so slightly higher end than then to stand out).

Don’t use funky bold colors on the walls or countertops.

Do stay neutral.  You can stage with trendy pops of colors.

Don’t go the cheapest route with fixtures. They are probably not trending lol.

Do spend money where you get the biggest bang for your buck. Little touches like:

  • Add Crown Moulding above the Kitchen Cabinets
  • Installing Door & Drawer Hardware on the Kitchen Cabinets
  • In a standard kitchen, add an above Range Microwave instead of a Vent Hood.  In a high-end kitchen, you’d probably make other choices, maybe a built-in wall oven, a cooktop with accent tile above it, maybe a pot-filler, a modern or oversized refrigerator.
  • Tile the Kitchen Backsplash
  • Tile the Flooring
  • Tile Tub/Shower Surround instead of using plastic or surround
  • Modern Lighting
  • Door Knobs
  • Crown Molding or Chair Rail

Don’t use the same choices if it is a different style of home.

Do allow the style of the home to guide your choices. You can stick with the same choices for most traditional homes, but you’re going to want to mix it up if you have a specific style of a home.  For example, you probably wouldn’t use the same light fixtures or kitchen backsplash in a contemporary home that you’d use in a farmhouse or a Mediterranean style home.

Don’t use the same choices for years on end.  Styles do change!

Do stay on top of what is trending.

  • Magazines
  • Pinterest
  • Houzz
  • Walking through Home Depot or Lowes and seeing what is new (not the items that have been there 20 years like the fake crystal shower valves and brass door knobs …. Look for the NEW stickers on the price tag labels!
  • Visit local Model Homes or Tour of Homes

Don’t be afraid to shake it up.  Don’t keep something for the sake of that you “shouldn’t do it”.  What I mean is, some people think it’s a crime to paint brick, stone, or wood.  But in some cases, it’s just down right hard on the eyes!  So go online to Google Images or Pinterest and get some inspiration to bring those kinds up things up to date and make them visually appealing.

Do make it current.  Just because something was once in-style, doesn’t mean it still is.  Fashion changes, people have diamonds in jewelry reset to new modern settings.  Interior design is ever-changing and evolving.  Colors and finishes go in and out of style.  Some bricks are timeless and beautiful, but other ones that may have once been a very trendy brick pattern or color are now dated and visually offensive to most people.  But look at it as your diamond in a new setting.  A coat of paint, or a stone veneer may bring an ugly brick or stone fireplace or wall back to life.

Now, with all this being said, there are almost always exceptions to the rules.  For example, if you are doing a row house in San Francisco, or a Beach House in the Florida Keys, you’d probably be okay with not sticking with the “Stay Neutral” rule of thumb.  So if a house allows you to get a little funky and colorful, by all means go for it!

Besides depositing the profit check, it’s the most fun and glamorous part of flipping a house, so have fun with it.

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