The client for our South London project was keen to not only inject value into his home for future investment, but to also update and improve its appearance for the next couple years that he will live there. The home required a lot of work. It is a mid terraced property — sandwiched between many others — but had old carpeting throughout and wooden panelling that reminded me of the 80s. So, while a renovation will improve your home in so (SO!) many ways, it is also important to realise that when you are selling your home, there are a handful of elements that are seriously unattractive to buyers. At the end of the day, unless a homebuyer is looking to completely tear down and renovate a house, most homebuyers will prefer to move in to a home that is up-to-date, clean and habitable.
P.S.! – Even if you’re not selling your home, these are tips you can incorporate into your existing home if you are looking to rejuvenate your space or simply create a cleaner appearance.
— Odours —
In September 2018, my boyfriend and I viewed an apartment together in South Kensington. While the apartment was not for us for other reasons, an overriding and inescapable issue was the smell! It was a combination of Chinese takeaway and broccoli and the smell would not disappear! It was extremely unattractive. Any dirty, smelly house will be difficult to sell, EVEN IF it is a good size and in the right neighbourhood. While your house is on the market, avoid fried food, cooking with fish or overbearing smells that linger. The same rules apply to smokers and pets – for some people these are deciding factors on whether they will express interest in a property since the smell of cigarettes and pets can often sink into curtains, carpets and the floor. A diffuser or scented candle will not only significantly help with the smell, but will also create a welcoming and enjoyable ambience.
Tip! Try the Vintage Gardenia Reed Diffuser , a fragrance with a delicate floral heart with rich, woody Sandalwood notes. The scent isn’t too overwhelming but pleasant enough to freshen up your space with a calm and invigorating presence.
— Outdated Fixtures —
There’s a reason why the past is the past! Not one buyer wants to see tarnished doorknobs, disco-esque lighting fixtures or dare I say, old ceiling fans! (All you have to do is type ‘outdated home’ in Google and you’ll see the visual I’m referring to!). Old hardwares and fixtures should be changed and the investment of a few hundred pounds is definitely worth it. Kate from Heirloom Way’s kitchen reveal below shows a dramatic improvement from a dark, outdated kitchen with old wooden cabinets and that ceiling fan. It’s amazing what a fresh coat of paint, two new lighting fixtures and some crisp, white subway tiles can do to a room. Automatically, the space is fresh, liveable and clean.
Some gorgeous farmhouse pendant lights give this kitchen a very subtle and contemporary feel, especially in the Fall when the kitchen island can be an atmospheric focal point thanks to the concentrated light source above.
Good House Keeping suggests covering up spotlights, which can appear to be harsh and unattractive, with a soft shade instead. Our selection of shades include those not only for table lamps, but shades in variety of sizes, colours and styles that are designed equally for sconces and chandeliers.
Tip! We can help you design your perfect shade from colour, style, pattern, size and trimming finish (pom-poms, feathers, or plain) if you are looking to update a particular fixture in your home! Just visit our bespoke for more information!
— Popcorn Acoustic Ceilings (Or Walls!) —
These are an absolute no-no. Popcorn Acoustic Ceilings are an artefact from the 1960s and 70s and will age your home significantly. I would always suggest removing these textures within your framework as I don’t think they serve any aesthetic (or functional!) purpose whatsoever. They are difficult to repair, hard to clean and catch dust easily. A buyer will realise these lengthy, costly and exhausting tasks and as a result, could walk away without any interest. The Balance has a guide on how to remove Popcorn Ceilings, but you can equally hire somebody to do the job for you.
— Old Carpets —
As a general rule of thumb, carpeting throughout a house (upstairs or downstairs) can be an unattractive feature to buyers. As was mentioned above with ‘Odours’, carpets not only absorb smells but also stains and mess. Just because you think you concealed that red wine stain, it doesn’t mean the carpet is clean. Furthermore, statistics claim that most prefer either beige (55%) or grey (24%) carpets and use carpeting the most in bedrooms, basements and home offices. Often people will want to keep their kitchens, bathrooms, living and dining rooms either tiled or in hard wood flooring as they are on the ground floor and used the most throughout the day. While more exotic and vibrant colours may appeal to you, there is a strong chance they will not appeal to prospective buyers so it is usually best to keep it neutral.
Tip! If you are not willing to replace the carpets with hard wood flooring (which will equally inject both aesthetic and financial value into your home), you should consider deeply shampooing them or having them professionally cleaned.
So keep your carpeting neutral, clean and flat. Any carpeting that is too shaggy is also reminiscent of a bygone era and raises questions regarding cleanliness and hygiene. Here are some colours and styles of carpeting that is conducive to a contemporary home:
This picture (below) is from Patrick Ahearn’s book Timeless: Classic American Architecture and illustrates perfectly the effect of clean, geometric and neutral colours in a home. While I agree 100% that it is important to reflect your own personality with colour, textures, accessories and fabrics, for the purpose of selling your home, it’s best to keep it neutral. (Timeless: Classic American Architecture is a great book by the way as Ahearn’s designs are phenomenal. It also makes for a good coffee table book).
— Clutter —
Clutter is not only a pet peeve of mine, but it is also a turn-off for buyers. While we become accustomed to our own clutter and live with it, homebuyers sure do notice! Julie Dana, a decorator and home stager in the Buffalo/Niagara area of New York and co-author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Staging Your Home to Sell, says:
“I usually start in the closets… Your closets should be half-full, with nothing on the floor. Why? Because most people looking for a house have outgrown their previous house. Showing them that you’ve still got room to grow gives them a reason to buy.”
Kitchens and bookshelves should showcase spaciousness by following the rule of three. For kitchens, no more than three countertop appliances and surfaces should be fairly pristine and clean. Meanwhile, bookshelves should be divided into thirds: one-third books, one-third vases and pictures, and one-third empty. Seems like a lot? You will already have picture frames and some books lying around, so all you need to do is select a few that you can use decoratively. Purchasing inexpensive but aesthetically pleasing vases or ginger jars online can serve a dual purpose as they will not only add attractive features to your home-for-sale, but you can also enjoy them in your new home!
Tip! Lenore Brooks Design has a concise guide on the fundamentals of staging decluttering which is useful to follow if you are looking for some more in-depth advice on decluttering your home.
For all interior design / consultation enquiries, please email us with some more information and we would be happy to speak to you further.