Get a Resale Boost by Incorporating this Year’s Design Trends

With winter on the wane and spring inching forward, many are feeling the urge to refresh their spaces. Thinking of selling your home? The impetus to update your space may be less of a want and more of a need. Redecorating (or renovating if need be) should be done in a way that satisfies you, but also with an eye towards resale. Knowing what’s on trend – what buyers want and are willing to pay for – will help you ultimately get the biggest bang for your buck.


What’s “In” for… Kitchens and Bathrooms

Your kitchen or bathroom need a facelift? Good news: according to Remodeling magazine’s 2019 Cost vs. Value report,[1] relatively minor investments to upgrade these areas of the house have a high likelihood of being significantly recouped. In the Atlanta area, the cost of a midrange bath remodel (staying within the existing footprint but updating tile, fixtures, sink) is recouped 69.1% on average. The investment pays off even more in the kitchen: for a midrange remodel (cabinets left in place but refaced, new hardware, replacement of laminate countertops, fresh paint, midrange sink and faucet, new energy-efficient appliances), 82.9% of the cost is recouped. The research shows that these relatively minor overhauls pay off far more than major ones, with more significant bathroom remodels recouping about 10% less, and large, upscale kitchen remodels about 20% less. The lesson is that even small changes can make a big impact.


It’s useful to know, then, what’s current when choosing new tiles, fixtures, and colors. Design blogs and publications show movement away from stark white everything and a shift towards warmth. Scandinavian and spa styles are on the wane in favor of creating cozier spaces with more personality. Darker, moodier bathrooms are predicted to increase in popularity, and tiles – both in the bathroom and kitchen – will embrace more color (Moroccan Zellige tiles, say, in place of the now ubiquitous subway tiles). The move towards pattern and color has shown to actually pay dividends in kitchens: A Zillow report states that “Tuxedo kitchens, or kitchens where the upper and lower cabinets are painted in two different colors, sell for a $1,547 premium.”[2] Top-performing listings often featured white cabinets with a contrasting dark navy blue or black kitchen island. Designers also state that while marble countertops will likely always remain in style, incorporating richer wood will become increasingly popular. The mixing of metals, preferably in matte or brushed finish, will continue to be on-trend for hardware, with a shift away from trendy rose gold or shiny brass.


What’s “In” for… Paint Colors

Fresh paint is perhaps the easiest, most inexpensive way to give your home a makeover. Although traditional wisdom promotes keeping it neutral to appeal to the masses and present a blank slate, design trends are veering toward more visual interest and spark. Kerrie Kelly, a Zillow home design expert, states that “While cool, neutral wall colors like tan and light blue are still popular, we’re seeing a notable shift in home design where pops of color – particularly in darker hues of blue and gray to even black — are becoming increasingly popular. Contrasting colors, especially in kitchens and home exteriors, add interest and dimension to a room that plays very well in listing photos and videos.”[1] Research conducted by Zillow shows that between 2010 and 2018, homes with black or charcoal gray front doors sold for $6,271 more than expected; bathrooms painted periwinkle blue sold for $2,786 more; and living rooms painted light taupe/warm tan sold for $2,793 more. Granted, these colors are not particularly bold and still hover in neutral territory, and more daring color choices, Zillow found, could actually backfire: red kitchens and yellow exteriors sold for thousands of dollars less than expected. A smart bet when choosing color, then, is to stick to the warmer neutrals on the rise, such as greyer beiges (“greiges”) and softer whites, notably with tinges of color. If more distinct color is desired, greens – from dusty sages to moody shades with blue undertones – can be used in doses to be on trend, as can peach and terra cotta.

What’s “In” for… Décor

When selling your house, you’re selling a dream, a vision of how life could be for the prospective buyer. The trick is setting the right mood and tone, and décor can go a long way in accomplishing this. Trends for 2019 veer towards the maximalist (lots of pattern and color) but with a strong undercurrent of comfort. Top designers from the interiors firm Massucco Warner Miller say that in 2019, “Instead of minimalist rooms, we like pattern on color on texture on pattern on color on texture. Done in a curated way, these are the rooms that make houses feel like home.”[2] If not a top designer, however, this can be tricky to achieve, but the end goal should be the same: to make a space feel lived in and loved. People notice when a house is cared for, when attention has been paid to detail. To this end – and to stay on trend – incorporating a custom piece of furniture that incorporates color or pattern can help. Bold pieces of art (though nothing too scandalous, please) can help a room feel personal. Mixing styles – a splash of boho textiles amid your Mid-Century Modern furniture, anyone? – remains au courant, thankfully, for those of us who have collected items throughout our lives and through various trend cycles. When in doubt, however, a safe bet is to embrace the trend that has been around for years and shows no signs of declining: hygge. The Norwegian term for wellbeing, it has come to represent the art of creating a warm and inviting space for yourself, friends, and family.  Make your home feel welcoming whatever your style through displaying well-kept furniture, a neat and clean appearance, and a few personal touches. And adding houseplants will never hurt.