Last Updated on June 28, 2021 by Maggie Sutton
What do you want prospective buyers to remember after visiting your home? On average, they will have under an hour to visit every room, ask a few questions and revisit the master bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen. They need to focus and imagine their family living in your house. Anything that distracts them or repels them from imagining living there can lose you a potential sale. Here are eight decorating trends that can turn off prospective buyers.
1. Color – Bright, Bold, Dominant
Walk into any room in your house and list the first thing that pops into your head. If the word is a color, we’ve got a problem. There’s nothing more exciting in today’s decorating trends than a bold dash of color, be it an accent piece, a countertop, or all four walls. When a buyer sees a dominant color, it lights their brain up, and two things can happen: the color can turn them away from the house based on personal preference or distract them from the vision of their family in your home.
To avoid repelling or distracting buyers, the quickest and most inexpensive way to keep the sale on track is to remove any dominate accent pieces and mute any overly bold colors by painting the walls a creamy beige, and keeping any color or pattern confined to one space – perhaps with something like this peel and stick wallpaper to create a feature wall. Maintain the focus on each room’s function and keep a potential buyer in the zone of imagining their family in the space.
2. White on White
An all-white bathroom or kitchen offers a different problem. For one, it can feel boring, it also shows up dirt very easily. How do you keep it looking clean without it being too sterile? It seems every little drip or smudge is glaringly obvious, and buyers can see the room as too cold or too much maintenance for their busy schedules. In this case, a muted accent wall or some color accent pieces can make the area feel warmer and not as high maintenance. You could consider some interesting and colorful décor or vibrant photos. Anything colorful that can distract from the white is a plus, just try not to go to overboard.
3. Metallic Hardware and Accessories
Mixing metals has been all the rage of late with metallic and shiny surfaces vying for your attention, but too much of anything can be overwhelming. Brass, copper and polished nickel all come with maintenance that also becomes an issue, as anything shiny needs to be polished regularly. Sellers can reduce the distraction by packing some of the metal accessories, and choose one metal finish to simplify the look of the kitchen or bathroom. If kitchen hardware is overly unique, switch it out with a more low impact type in a muted finish. Check out other rooms for possible “glaring” distractions with lamps and light fixtures. Are fire screens or accessories competing with other finishes? Work to reduce metals to one finish per room.
4. Custom Converted Rooms
It’s terrific to repurpose a room to meet your specific needs like crafting or an office, but if you list your house as a three bedroom, two bath house with a double car garage, it’s critical to present your house as advertised. Don’t make the prospective buyers wonder where the third bedroom went. If you’ve partitioned your garage into a shop or music practice room, make sure there’s room for at least one car. Prospective buyers can find these confusions disconcerting and believe the house may not meet their needs. They can also view the necessary changes as extra work they will need to do before moving in.
5. Wall Mounted TV
So many homes have freed up floor space and mounted their TV on a wall. Sometimes, we can forget that not everyone has a TV omnipresent in their life. To those who don’t have a TV or limit screen time for children, a mounted TV means additional changes needed before they can move in. For the short amount of time that you will be showing the house, replace the TV with an attractive picture.
6. Wall-to-Wall Carpeting
For decades, wall-to-wall carpeting has been a standard decorating choice, but more and more buyers are looking for other floor covering options. Wall-to-wall carpeting forces buyers concerned about hidden dirt and allergens to face the cost and time of ripping up the carpet and replacing it with a more hypoallergenic option. Sellers need to be aware of these issues and evaluate their flooring carefully, realizing that updating flooring can reveal subflooring issues that add costs. Sellers can offer a flooring allowance to defray costs of updating or changing carpeting, but this leaves buyers looking at the additional time before they can move in.
7. Decorating With (and For) Animals
Decorating with taxidermy trophies is a long tradition, and accessorizing with horns, hides, and sporting fish is very popular, but it is not for everyone. Sellers should remove any items which might make prospective buyers uncomfortable. Decorating for your animals can also be problematic. Remove all pet beds, food, water bowls and even pictures of your pets before viewings of your home. Some people are allergic to animals or feel having animals in the house is inappropriate. Anything that takes a potential buyer out of their comfort zone can reduce the chance they will choose your home.
8. Lavish Lighting
While you want to make sure your rooms are well-lit, make sure you are lighting your home’s attributes rather than just displaying a light fixture. Enter each room and see what first draws your eyes. If you are looking at intricate chandeliers and stylized track lighting, downsize your lighting or be selective with which lights to turn on. If there are any unique lighting fixtures that you plan to take with you, pack them up now and purchase more simple versions to sell with the house.
When prospective buyers view your home, their time is limited, and the pressure to make a decision is high. Help them envision a future in your house by avoiding decorating trends that distract from the features of your home. Remove features that use bold color or complicated metallic schemes, overly personalized décor, and lavish lighting. Prepare your house as a blank canvas for potential buyers to imagine their dream home.