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Debunking Design Myths About Decorating For Resale Value

Updated: Aug 15, 2019

One of the biggest objections we hear as a design firm is from clients who aren't willing to make certain investments in their home out of fear that it will diminish the resale value of their home.

My follow up question is always - "do you want to enjoy YOUR home, or someone else's home?" Really, if you think about it, that is exactly what you are doing if you are making decisions about the design of your home strictly based on whether you can sell it later or not.

Parisian inspired powder room by Casa Vilora Interiors
Parisian Inspired Powder Room In Pink. Designed By Veronica Solomon of Casa Vilora Interiors. Photographed By Colleen Scott

While I think the resale value of your home is an important matter and should be considered as you plan improvements to your home, it should never lock you into a "safe" or generic look that goes against your own personal style and lifestyle needs. I think that your lifestyle needs and style should be considered first, above all else

This is especially true if you don't even plan to sell your home for a long time. Sure, any major life change could happen that would require you to sell your home when you didn't necessarily plan to. But even then, wouldn't you rather truly enjoy your home while you live there?

I should know! Not just because I am an interior designer, but because I have sold 3 homes over the years. Every home I have ever owned was decorated strictly based on my style and needs - black and white striped plywood floors and all, and they all sold. Plus I always walk away with a good return on my investment in each home

Black and white striped plywood floors
Guest Bedroom Designed By Veronica Solomon. Photographed By Niki

If you are like me, and your style does not necessarily read mainstream or safe for the next buyer, there are ways to work around that where you can live your best life in your home and still make it appealing to the next buyer.

My thought is that if you are going to spend the money anyway to fix up your home; you might as well enjoy the fruits of your hard work and investment.

That's what staging is for. If you ever decide to sell your home, you should always hire a home stager to help your home look its best and be the most marketable. Of course, we provide some staging service as our schedule allows here are Casa Vilora Interiors. You also need a good realtor, who knows your market, and more specifically, your neighborhood, and knows how to price and market your home

Kitchen design with parquet floors
Kitchen Designed By Veronica Solomon Casa Vilora Interiors. Photographed By Colleen Scott

Here are a few of the more popular myths and how we can quickly debunk the idea that your home won't sell if you ever list it.

1 - A Bathroom Has To Have Two Sinks

Master bathroom with Kelly Wearstler for Ann Sacks Black and White Graphic marble tile floor
Master Bathroom Designed By Veronica Solomon Casa Vilora Interiors. iPhone Photography

Sure, it would be nice to have bathrooms big enough to comfortably accommodate two appropriately sized sink areas and still have great storage, but that is not often the case. Production home builders have done a great job of marketing 2 sinks as an upgrade that they can charge more money for.

Sure, it makes sense that the bathroom would be slightly more practical with two sinks - if two people need to be brushing their teeth or washing their hands at exactly the same time. Studies show that is not typically the case, by the way. But two sinks at one vanity are only practical if you have adequate space for it. It is more practical to have countertop space and not sacrifice it for a second sink that is not necessary.

If you have a vanity area that is at least 72", then two sinks can work very well. Anything less than that should just be one sink, where there will be enough room left for all the toiletries and things people need to groom themselves everyday

The picture above is a luxury master bathroom we just completed where we completely reworked the floor plan. The builder originally had two sinks on the tub wall, which is about 65". One of the sinks never got used, and was where all the toiletries were kept. It was always cluttered. We moved the vanity area to the wall where the shower was previously - about 55" and only did one sink.

2 - A Bathroom Has To Have A Tub

Shower with white hex tiles and black mosaic hex tiles on shower floor
Guest Bathroom Shower. Designed By Veronica Solomon. Photographed By Colleen Scott

I get it. If you have small kiddos, who can't bathe themselves, it might make sense to have at least one tub in your home. But if you don't have little children and you are holding on to a tub for resale value, ask yourself if you could be enjoying a more open and spacious shower area, where you can start your day right every morning.

That decision should be based on your lifestyle now, and not for the next buyer. This is a very important part of your life. This is where you start the day and where you practice your daily routine to look and feel your best. This is the time to be selfish. Create it for yourself. Make great choices in materials as best as you can in case you do need to sell, but even then, make material choices that you will enjoy looking at everyday as well

This bathroom was a builder grade bathroom that included a tub/shower combination complete with shower curtain and rod. It was small and dark with only a small window above the toilet that directly faced a window in the neighbors home. This meant that the window had to be closed most of the time, rendering it fairly useless. Opening up the shower area as much as possible made complete sense.

3 - Custom Drapery Is Not Necessary

Kids' bedroom with dinosaur bedding
Kids' Bedroom designed By veronica Solomon. iPhone Photography

If you have been around me long enough, you know how I feel about a room without drapery. I mean, I even bring in custom drapery into kids' spaces.

Custom draperies is one of the essential elements that complete the look of a room. I rarely come across a residential space where draperies weren't needed. It is absolutely necessary if you want your home to look finished, and as you know, they do serve a functional purpose as well

They don't have to be super expensive. The ones shown here were under $1000. And you can possibly take them with you if you ever do sell your home - of course, provided the windows of the new home are very similar to the ones in the home you are selling.

4 - The Working Triangle In A Kitchen Is A Must Do

Kitchen designed by Veronica Solomon
Kitchen Designed By Veronica Solomon. Photographed By Colleen Scott

The kitchen working triangle was developed in the early twentieth century. It is a theory that states a kitchen’s three main work areas should form a triangle. The three main work areas being the sink, the refrigerator, and the stove. According to its tenets, each side of the triangle formed should be between four and nine feet each, and the sum distance of the triangle should not be less than 13' or more than 26'. So neither too far apart or too compact. This theory is great as it helps with traffic flow and to prevent bottleneck in a kitchen that is used by a large family. The triangle is rational movement and flow for most activities that take place in the kitchen.

However, the working triangle may not apply in all cases, and your kitchen can still be functional and works for how you use it. You may have a smaller kitchen, or you may want to take advantage of other features nearby. For example, in my own kitchen, my sink is underneath a window facing the backyard, and away from the flow of the working triangle. I like to hand wash my dishes, and therefore it is nice to look out into the backyard as I do that. The kitchen still flows well, but it is not a triangle

As you plan your next kitchen remodel with us, we want to know how you actually plan to use the kitchen and get more detailed about your lifestyle, and we then design around that.

5- You Must Paint Your Home In Neutral Colors

Bedroom painted in Benjamin Moore Hale Navy
Bedroom Designed For A teenage Boy By Veronica Solomon Casa Vilora Interiors. Photographed By Colleen Scott

No, you do not have to paint your entire home one neutral shade of gray. It is still your home and the colors you like should be showcased. It is what you add to the rest of the room that will matter. Even if you paint your walls red, find the right shade of red and decorate to complement the color.

This teenage boy's bedroom is painted in a navy, and the decorations added makes for almost a neutral palette. However, there is still some color in the bedding and furniture. Any buyer would walk into this room and consider it a neutral space, when it's not. It is the way the entire room flows. That is how color is done when you want to include it in your home, but still make it acceptable to other tastes - you need to find one of the most neutral versions of that color and keep the contrast at a minimum

6- Wallpaper Is A Bad Idea

Bedroom Designed By Veronica Solomon Casa Vilora Interiors. Photographed By Colleen Scott

Homeowners are warming up a lot more now to the idea of wallpaper. I even have clients asking for it now, which is great. But some still think that adding wallpaper to a few rooms in their home will be a problem for resale.

Wallpaper is an amazing way to give a room personality, and immediately add a luxurious, custom touch. Paint just doesn't have the same impact. Wallpapers today are not a nightmare to remove like their counterparts from yesteryear, and there is even the peel and stick variety that could work in a pinch

You may also consider an accent wall. I will say that you need to be very careful when doing accent walls. It needs to make sense in the space overall, and the rest of the room should look cohesive, and not heavy on one side.

7- Knock Down Texture Is A Must Have

Living Room Designed By Veronica Solomon. Photographed By Colleen Scott

This is another area where home builders have managed to completely convince homeowners that this is an appealing and upgraded feature - knock down texture, or any texture for that matter.

Builders came up with that brilliant idea to hide the imperfections in sheetrock application - another reason why they also use builder grade flat paint to paint walls.

I wish that walls were smooth, but in our area here in Katy Texas, almost every home you enter will have textured walls and it is very expensive to float and smooth the walls.

If this is one area that you have some control over - maybe you are building a new home, ask for no texture on the walls or as subtle a texture as possible.

Choosing to remove the texture from walls will not negatively affect the resale value of your home

8- Millwork Is Unnecessary

Teen Bedroom Designed By Veronica Solomon Casa Vilora Interiors. Photographed By Niki

Millwork is one of those elements that will truly give a space architectural significance and that classic and timeless element. Most production homes don't include a lot of architectural features, so when you can add things like picture frame and panel moldings throughout your home, it is a good thing. In fact, it may even make your home more marketable and increase the value

It is not a waste of money to do that. Millwork creates that awesome back drop that will allow your furnishings to shine and look much more important

9- Wall Niches Are A Great Upgrade

I will admit that some wall niches help to make the room great, so clearly those are not the ones I am talking about. But in most cases, wall niches are awkwardly placed by builders and do not add to the beauty of the room.

In the case of the photo above, this mammoth of a wall included two awkward built-in speaker towers on either side of the niches. We removed the towers and decided to keep the wall niches because of the vastness of the wall, which goes on for up to about 22'. We even added an accent of a patterned sisal wallpaper inside them to make them feel more intentional

However, in most cases, we recommend that the niches be removed. They are not an upgrade and not worth paying extra money for as you build your home. Your home will sell just fine if you decide to sheetrock over awkwardly placed wall niches.

Shampoo niches in showers however are a great idea

10- Open Floor Plans Are A Must

Staged Home In the Woodlands TX
Staged Home In the Woodlands TX. Designed By Veronica Solomon. Photographed By David Gaona

Open floor plans are great some of the times, but not all. Depending on how you use your home, you may prefer to have rooms that are not all open to each other.

The more important factor to consider is that each room has a defined purpose and they flow well with the materials and decor. For example, installing the same flooring throughout the space for more continuity.

More and more I hear people trying to get away from the open concept idea, and to more intimate living spaces that have a purpose, and spaces they will actually use

11- Holding On to Unused Formal Spaces

Lady's Study And Lounge That Used To be A Formal Dining Room By Casa Vilora Interiors

Kids' homeschool room
Kids' Homeschool Room That Used To Be A Formal Dining Room. Designed By Veronica Solomon Casa Vilora Interiors

A lot of homeowners will keep formal areas that they never use simply because that is how the space was defined on the floor plan, when the same spaces could be reworked into rooms that they would actually use everyday.

Even if it is a desirable feature for a future buyer, you are living and using the home everyday and it should work for your lifestyle needs. You can always convert it back to that desired feature if you ever list your home for sale.

Great examples of these unused rooms are formal dining rooms, which are often used only a few times a year. I see clients in need of another bedroom, or an office space, or a space for parents/in-laws, and they would not consider converting the formal dining room into a usable room.

The fact is that most of us don't "formally dine", and even when we entertain often, people still tend to gravitate towards the kitchen and more casual dining area

You don't have to completely gut and convert the space into a bedroom, but perhaps flipping the formal dining room with the study and then turning the study (which often has doors) into a bedroom or hang out room, or whatever function that you would actually use the room for, would be a better use of space and support your daily lifestyle.

We can help you convert those spaces seamlessly, to where they feel like they were always intended for that purpose, even without major construction. Both the rooms above were converted from open formal dining rooms, but were designed to blend seamlessly with the rest of the spaces

Rendering Of Small Apartment Living By Casa Vilora Interiors

If you are in the process of decorating your home and not sure what choices to make to create the home you will enjoy, please reach out anytime and we would be happy to help.

We truly believe that your home should allow you to live your best life. It is the place that you should be excited to come home to, even from vacation. If you love color - decorate with color. If you love quirkiness, decorate with quirkiness. It is your home. With some professional guidance from us, you can also ensure that the choices you make will also work for the next guy

Wishing You Beauty And Inspiration!


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2 commentaires

Veronica Solomon
Veronica Solomon
15 août 2019

Thank you so much Jay


Membre inconnu
13 août 2019

Veronica you are a fearless designer with talent to burn. This article is as timely and true as they come. Keep up the great work! Sharing...

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