Bad Interior Design Choices That Can Cost You

Just like the book “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie,” the benefits of a well-decorated space don’t stop when the last picture is hung on the walls. The path of benefits keeps going and going.

To illustrate this, think about how a beautiful home is a more desirable home. A desirable home attracts more buyers. With more potential buyers comes more offers. And with more offers, you have the potential to sell on the best terms possible. 

Conversely, the opposite happens when your home struggles in the interior design department. Less interest from buyers means fewer offers, which means selling will more likely be on the buyers’ terms, not yours. In order to avoid this situation, we’re listing the bad interior design choices that we know can cost you. Trust us, we’ve seen it all.

An interior and exterior that completely contrast

How jarring would it be to walk inside a gorgeous, elegant brick mansion and see it decorated like a log cabin? How off-putting is the thought of a beautiful modern home that has a Victorian-styled interior? 

If the thought of these scenarios makes you shudder, that’s for good reason. While things don’t have to match identically (that would also be creepy), it’s good to think of the impression your home gives from the outside and how you can carry that impression inside. A few tips:

  • Play up your location. Southwest adobe, mountain living, seaside or lakefront — carrying elements of the outdoors inside brings a sense of harmony.
  • Play to your home’s strengths. A log cabin feels blissfully secluded. A Victorian manor is a slice of history. While you don’t have to perfectly match the interior to these styles, it’s great to keep some of the original elements (and nostalgia) intact.
  • Complement colors. A dark brown home exterior would feel off with lime green walls inside. Think about warm and cool tones and try not to overly contrast.

An incohesive theme

The above photo feels super balanced and welcoming. The best interior design is cohesive and coordinated. While this might be tough with a teenager who wants a “beach resort” bedroom despite growing up in landlocked Wisconsin (not that this writer would know…), bad interior design almost always happens when something feels “off” or out of place. 

Cohesive design starts with considering colors AND textures. Metal surfaces work wonders in a cool-themed room, but not as easily in a warmer space. A bookshelf — full of textures like wood and paper — inherently feels a bit off it’s placed in the kitchen.

With all this being said, there is a problem if you get too “matchy-matchy.” I had a friend whose mom did a huge Coca-Cola (of all things) theme in all the bathrooms and it was disorienting. One antique Coca-Cola item could have brought the necessary balance and subtlety.

Too many customizations (especially permanent ones).

The Coca-Cola bathroom is the perfect example. Not only are customizations expensive, they can backfire. 

Interior design must match your style and personality — after all, you live in this space! But you still have to remember how others feel (sellers and guests alike). A good rule of thumb: don’t go too crazy on the custom if you can’t take it with you. 

Sticking too close to what’s trendy in the present.

“Evergreen” is a term that means something is good for a long time and doesn’t go out of style. Just like popcorn ceilings and loud ‘80s wallpaper has fallen off the map, the same will happen for lots of other things that are currently trendy.

Does this mean you should forego all trends and interior design? No! Again, just don’t go too overboard if it’s expensive and/or you can’t take it with you. Your adorable hipster bungalow is fresh now, but you wouldn’t want your decorations to be permanent when things around you start to change.

Supplement your space with accent pieces, or for bigger pieces (like furniture), go with something that could exist in various settings (and trends).

Going overboard on what needs decoration and design.

We all know the cringe that comes from seeing a faded pink toilet and bathtub combo. Not everything in your home has to be decorated or serve as a decoration. Certain things (like tubs and toilets) are just fine existing in the standard white. In fact, it’s what we expect and the absence of it is alarming.

You’ve seen the bad interior design choices, we know they’re out there, but you have the power to break them. If you’re currently looking around your house feeling a little creeped out that we’re describing your exact space, fear not! You can always list with RealtyHive instead of starting interior design from scratch in your current space. Selling your home as-is is a great way to leave the past behind and to start fresh. Start with RH today.

How to Add Value to Your Home

Sure, we all know that general remodeling can improve your home’s value. But what are some specific measures you can take that have an impact? Instead of doing a massive house overhaul, what individual steps and investments will up your home’s sellability (and benefit you in the process)?

Projects to Increase Home Value

Update paint.

While the painting part itself isn’t exactly easy, updating paint is one of the simplest tasks to up your home’s worth. Everything from adding an accent wall to updating trim to swapping out 1980’s wallpaper for a modern paint color — all are valuable ideas.

Embrace the eco-friendly.

Light fixtures, low-flow shower heads, window treatments, smart thermostats — the small (but mighty) ways you can update your home to be more eco-friendly are infinite. Becoming eco-friendly is no longer a fad, it’s growing into an expectation. The greener your house, the greener your finances — both now and when you eventually decide to sell.

Going solar is another great idea, though the idea might feel daunting. Look into rebates and see how solar could work for you — this is an absolute game-changer when it comes to adding home value.

Say “peace” to the popcorn ceiling.

Ahh, popcorn ceilings. Everyone’s favorite home cringe. If your popcorn ceiling is from 1979 or earlier, you should have a professional check for asbestos. Any ceilings after 1980 should be fine to remove yourself, you just need a weekend to dedicate to this wonderful task. It’s not fun, but it’s worth the increased home value.

Build a beautiful yard.

Creating a paved cement or brick patio gives potential buyers the opportunity to imagine themselves living at your house. They’ll think about what kind of backyard shindigs they’ll throw or how they’ll read outside in the summertime. Landscaping in general is a great home value increaser; a patio is a necessity.

Store it up.

Ask most Realtors and they’ll agree: built-in storage tends to make the top of a buyer’s wish list. Whether adding this to a closet or garage is up to you, but it will make a difference in both your home’s clutter and overall worth.

Aesthetic Ways to Increase Home Value

Make rooms look bigger.

Blinds that let in more light and — you guessed it — a mirror can do wonders for a room. More light gives a sense of more space and these additions create a valuable illusion.

Bathtub? Bring it on!

Many potential buyers won’t use it, many will swear they’ll use it all the time but regardless, everyone appreciates the idea of a nice tub. When you have a home feature that makes interested buyers go, “Oooh!” you know you’ve hit the jackpot. A bathtub does just that.

Fix the flooring.

That old, worn down carpet needs to go, but if you’re not ready to get rid of it just yet, you have options. Consider adding a gorgeous rug (preferably one that will still work without carpet) to spruce up your space, and schedule yearly floor treatments to ensure things last.

Swap out some sinks.

A stained kitchen sink or an outdated vanity are drab, and you deserve something fab. Switching to stainless steel in the kitchen (if it matches the rest of your home’s aesthetic) or opting for a modern vanity do aesthetic wonders for your home and overall value.

Dial up a designer.

Not sure where to start or what the latest trends are? Interior designers (or even real estate agents) are great resources to help you add value to your home. Contact someone local for a consultation — you’ll likely pay $100 or so, but it’s well worth their expert advice and insights.

These changes might seem small or inconsequential, but they can truly pack a punch. Potential buyers, whether in a time-limited event or traditional listing, can tell when effort was put into maintaining and improving a house, as well as when it wasn’t. When you eventually decide to sell, every little thing counts.