advice hub

Design Trends That Could Hurt Your Home Value

Outdated Home Trends That Could Make Selling Your House Harder

A home is the most significant investment most people will ever make. When you sell your home, you want to get your full return on investment. One potential hurdle to doing that: dated home trends. Here are eight home trends that can hurt your home value (and credibility as an interior designer.)

Tuscan Kitchens

Modern kitchens are supposed to be sleek and airy. Tuscan kitchens are anything but that. The heavy cabinetry and stone-tiled walls feel bulky and cumbersome to most homeowners. This is not to say Tuscan kitchens can’t work. It’s just that they feel out of place if you’re not living in an Italian villa.

The other problem is the cost. The average kitchen remodel costs $13,000 to $37,000. Unless a prospective homebuyer is smitten with your Tuscan kitchen, it’s going to cost a small fortune to redo it.

The Solution: Focus on creating space and brightening your walls and finishes. An open and naturally light environment is ideal for any kitchen design. If you really want a modern feel, consider adding a farmhouse sink or updating your cabinetry and light fixtures.

Tile Countertops

Tile countertops would be the perfect focal point for a kitchen if we still lived in the 70s. The trend has fallen out of style, in part, because the grout is porous. As a result, homeowners have to reseal them every year or so to keep the countertop stain-free.

Cleanliness is the name of the game when selling a home. Tile countertops don’t fit that agenda. They’re best where they are now: the past.

The Solution: There are plenty of worthy replacements for a tile countertop. Some of our modern classics include veined marble, butcher blocks, quartz, concrete, and stainless steel. All are easy to clean and fit a range of interior design styles.

Popcorn Ceilings

Stucco ceilings. Popcorn ceilings. Stipple ceilings. Whatever you call them, the style has not been relevant since the 70s. Unless a homebuyer specifically wants a retro look, stucco ceilings are a looming deal breaker.

The appearance is disruptive and abrasive. There’s a certain messiness that creates a hard-to-discomfort unease. It doesn’t help that many homes from the 1950s to the 1980s contain one to ten percent asbestos in their stucco ceilings, which was a building material until the Consumer Product Safety Commission banned it in 1977.

The Solution: Scrape off the popcorn and reveal the smooth ceiling underneath. It provides a more reflective surface than its stucco counterpart, which improves natural lighting. It's also easier to repair and does not harbor potential allergens.

Obnoxious Accent Walls

For starters, it’s possible to have a good accent wall. Walls that are electric green or eye-watering red, though, provide the wrong kind of visual pop. Too much color on your walls and prospective homebuyers won't even take a tour of your home.

The Solution: The best accent walls keep the room neutral. If the majority of the room is light yellow, a deep brown accent can make a powerful yet measured statement.

Wallpaper Borders

You don't need to be an interior designer to know wallpaper borders are out of fashion. According to a Samsung survey, 12 percent of design experts called it one of the worst interior design trends of the last 50 years. That puts wallpaper borders slightly above TV cupboards, but below furry toilet seat covers.

The Solution: Take it down. Paper over it. Whatever it takes to remove the wallpaper border, just do it. A solid coat of paint or wallpaper is far and away a superior option.

Hollywood Mirror Lights

We’ve all been there. We leave the house feeling alright about our appearance. As soon as we look at a clothing store mirror, we see every possible flaw. Don't worry; it's not you. It's the lighting.

Hollywood mirror lights may exude 90s glamor, but it is one of the most unflattering lighting setups. Even models would see creases in their forehead and dark circles under their eyes. If you want houseguests to feel at home, steer clear of dramatic Hollywood mirror lights.

The Solution: The best lights complement the face. They should surround the mirror to soften and smooth your appearance. Apply shades or covers to diffuse the light source. Avid DIYers can even put the lights behind mirrors or inside the molding like they do at high-end retailers like Saks Fifth Avenue.

One more note. People look best in lighting that is 2700 kelvins. This temperature measurement is sometimes called “soft white/warm white” and is available for most light bulbs.

All White Kitchens

We’re talking all white everything - like a polar bear eating rice in a snowstorm levels of white. While white is known for never goes out of style, all white kitchens never were in style.

The look is clinical and utilitarian like you're visiting a hospital. White is also costly to maintain. Spots and scratches show more prominently, which means you have to enjoy regularly cleaning to want an all-white kitchen.

The Solution: Add a splash of color to your kitchen. You can add a granite or marble countertop, paint the walls a neutral color, or purchase stainless steel appliances. The visual variety provides the balance you need for a contemporary aesthetic.

Some Home Trends That Are Actually Timeless

If you read this list and found an uncomfortable number of trends in your home, it’s time for some home improvements. Fortunately, there are plenty of fashionable trends that will stand the test of time. Here are a few ways to incorporate timeless design into your home:

  • Maximize the use of natural light
  • Use marble and stainless steel
  • Install crown molding
  • Use classic patterns, like damasks, instead of trendy ones, like animal print
  • Install built-in bookshelves
  • Purchase high-quality, long-lasting appliances
  • Use neutral wall paints, like light blue or grey

Some of these home trends are easier (and more affordable) than others. A bucket of grey paint will only set you back $30. Meanwhile, built-in bookshelves cost $1,000 to $4,000 and require much more elbow grease.

So, how do you pick the home trends to follow? Look at the return on investment (ROI). ROI measures the performance of an investment. For instance, if you spend $22,000 remodeling your kick, the average ROI is 81.1 percent. That means your home value should increase by $17,842.

Kitchen remodeling, garage door installations, and siding replacements are among the highest ROI home improvements. Energy-efficient appliances and smart technology are huge pluses, too. Potentially low energy bills and easy maintenance make properties more appealing to prospective buyers.

The Bottom Line

There’s a difference between decorating your home for pleasure and sale. While Tuscan kitchens and Hollywood lights were once trendy, they're now fads. Air on the side of caution with your home décor and your home selling experience will be better off for it.