The power of good decorating is seductive, but smart homebuyers and designers know how to spot what really matters when purchasing a home. Here are nine things to gloss over the next time you visit an open house.
It’s easy to be swayed by adept staging, and some sellers pull out all the stops when it comes to making their home look magazine perfect. Filter out the cute rugs or beautifully pristine nursery like this jaw-dropper, and recognize that’s probably not the way it looks every day.
Photographer: Donna Griffith
Source: House & Home August 2014
Inner beauty is important, and this is especially true of flooring. If the existing carpet needs a refresh, find out what’s underneath. Hardwood floors are resale gold: they are authentic and add contrast and depth to rooms.
Photographer: Pieter Estersohn
Source: House & Home June 2010
Designer: Amanda Nisbet
Wallpaper is highly personal, but not a deal breaker. A good steamer and elbow grease can fix walls that are a bit too bold for your tastes, are dated or suffer from wear. What’s harder to remedy? A lack of architectural elements. If a prospective home has beautiful millwork details and plaster moldings like this Georgian rowhouse in Edinburgh, it’s a great canvas for your own personal style.
Photographer: Chris Tubbs
Source: House & Home December 2014
Designer: Samantha Lawrie
It’s a byproduct of life, but if clutter stresses you out, know that the homeowners will be taking their belongings with them. The important takeaway when buying a home is storage; is there space (built-ins and ample closets are premium draws for prospective homebuyers) to organize
your things once you move in?
Photographer: Per Kristiansen
Source: House & Home Makeovers 2011
Designer: Emma Reddington
Lighting can be replaced but what’s more crucial is the amount of natural light in a home. Even though rewiring a new fixture and dry walling can tally up, it’s not as expensive as adding or modifying existing windows. Experts advise scheduling viewings at different times of the day to get an accurate picture of the natural light. Generous windows with high ceilings, as seen in this striking Montreal apartment, max out the available light and open up a space.
Photographer: André Rider
Source: House & Home September 2014
Designer: Carl Lapointe
Don’t be spooked by colors that would make a highlighter look tame. When it comes to the key selling points of a home — location, the bones, layout and the foundation — existing paint color doesn’t even factor into the list. You’ll probably want to repaint anyway to put your own stamp on your new home.
Photographer: Sian Richard
Source: House & Home October 2013
Designer: Brad MacArthur
You wanted brass taps in the bathroom, but all you see is nickel for days. Updating the sink faucet and taps in the bathroom or kitchen isn’t a major plumbing job (just check whether it’s single hole or 4″- or 8″-center set). A new finish can also go a long way to updating a room: here a matte black fixture is a fresh partner for a contemporary vanity.
Photographer: Kim Jeffery
Source: House & Home Kitchens + Baths 2017
Designer: Shirley Meisels
Curb appeal is a big draw for home buyers, and mature trees are a bonus — just look at the beauty in this Nova Scotia yard. If your potential new home is surrounded by blighted roses and woody bushes, cut your losses. With the right care and light, new plants can take off in a few seasons. No green thumb? Sparse landscaping means less maintenance and it’s easy to make improvements down the road.
Photographer: Janet Kimber
Source: House & Home July 2014
Designer: Deb Nelson
Don’t let an adventurous hue on kitchen or bathroom cabinets stop you cold. Companies that specialize in spray painting cabinetry are an easy solution if you’ve been dreaming of a white kitchen, but found something a bit spicier on the color scale.
Photographer: Michael Graydon
Source: House & Home October 2013
Designer: Stéphane Chamard
Author: Wendy Jacob
House & Home October 2013