House styles

Old world styles are popular. In demand are French, English, Tuscan, and Spanish homes with stone or stucco walls, tile roofs, iron fixtures, heavy beams, and rustic floors. A sense of historical connection resonates with shoppers today.

The Craftsman style, built in the early 1900s, is back. Features of this style, such as cobblestones, deep eaves, tapered columns and wide moldings, favor the artisan look over the mass produced.

Farms and cottages are perfect candidates for remodeling and prototypes for new homes. Native materials, wood windows, simple floor plans, and warm colors connect with nature and bygone times.

The retro look is in fashion. Ranch styles and split levels built in the 1950s are perfect for sleek remodels and fit into trendy furniture styles.

The modern urban is everywhere. Modern open plans make use of color, tiles, glass, and experimental materials like plastic and metal.

Low level

The preferred ceiling height is 9′-11 ‘. Two-story roofs are out. In small rooms, they feel like towers.

It is not advisable to make a lot of changes to the ground level.

Most of today’s buyers want four bedrooms and at least two living rooms. Formal dining rooms are still in demand.

Formal living rooms are often converted into studios, libraries, or guest rooms.

Multimedia rooms are a highly requested feature when the price range allows it.

The visual and spatial connection between the kitchen and the family room is firmly established.

Cabinet space is required for large televisions and wall space for newer flat screens.

Three car garages are needed, especially in areas without basements.

Structured cabling is important today for the Internet, telephone, cable, and sound. Computer desk space required.

Good access to the outdoors is something buyers look for. French doors combine access with light. Sliding glass doors are not so favored.

A lot of storage space is needed for today’s lifestyle. People have many things. Large master closets, pantries, laundry rooms and additional storage closets are expected.

On the other hand, very sober lofts are perfect for some lifestyles. Simplified spaces are an antidote to today’s complex lifestyle.

Kitchens / Bathrooms

Most buyers know kitchen design well and appreciate good workspaces with easy access to the stove, refrigerator, and sink. Plenty of counter space, deep drawers, two sinks, a nearby additional refrigerator, and butler pantries are desirable features.

Stainless steel appliances are going strong. In modern urban styles, white or colored appliances return. High-end homes hide some appliances like cabinets.

Eat-in kitchens are a staple requirement for most buyers.

The old tables or cabinets are being renovated and used as bathroom cabinets. Furniture-like kitchen cabinets are a great look.

Granite, marble, or stone countertops are popular. However, granite countertops added to 80’s cabinets don’t look good. Consider your architectural style before adding features.

Concrete countertops are perfect for ultramodern ones, but most buyers avoid them.

Wide cabinet depth refrigerators have a built-in look and are not as expensive as true built-in refrigerators.

Large rustic tile, stone, concrete or wood floors have a warm and functional appeal.

Subway (3 “x 6”) tiles are popular in bathrooms and kitchen backsplashes.

Patterned cultured marble and laminate are out. The slippery white floor tiles are off.


Wide baseboards (6 “+) and window and door trim (4” +) are key features in old European and American styles.

Craftsman-style doors (simple square frames with flat panels) work well with an antique and modern look.

Iron or heavy wood entry doors make strong statements that buyers love.

Rustic finishes on hardware such as brushed nickel, oil rubbed bronze, weathered brass, and other non-shiny finishes are the most popular choices.

Rustic wood beams or wood covered ceilings create a primitive, handcrafted look that buyers love.

Wrought iron gates, stair railings, and light fixtures complement the rustic style.

Stair railings in ultra-modern homes can be made of wire, pipe, or painted metal.

Front porches and covered patios are always a strong selling point. Outdoor fireplaces are popping up everywhere.

Floors and Walls

Aged hardwood floors that look old are appreciated. Simple wooden planks are sometimes laid with exposed cracks. Reclaimed wood is very desirable.

Bamboo flooring is popular, especially in modern style homes where light colored flooring is desired.

Concrete floors, often stained and scratched, are popular. These go well with the modern look and are also used in European craft and rustic styles.

Colorful laminate flooring blends well with mid-century modernity. No more laminate flooring that looks like wood. Parquet floors are outside, unless they are made by hand.

Framed or hung mirrors are preferred, although flat glass works in ultra-modern styles. Mirrors used on walls or ceilings are a blackout.

Colors are in, but soft is the word. Soft greens, yellows, earth tones and creams create a serene background that fits many styles. Complex colors are sought, with more colors in the mix. Deeply saturated colors like plums and reds are used sparingly.

Matte paint on the walls hides flaws and creates a designer look. Shiny is out. Soft whites are safe for trimming.

Faux finishes are out. These often do not turn out as well as expected and are difficult to maintain.

The same (or similar) wall color throughout adjoining spaces creates a more spacious feel.

Historic paint colors like sage green, beiges, muted yellows, and grays work well outside. Bold or harsh colors are a roadblock for most buyers.

Wallpaper is troublesome and harder to change than paint. Very often it does not suit the taste of the buyer.

The heavily textured walls and popcorn ceilings are totally out.

Lighting and plumbing accessories

Buyers want more windows, natural light, and a greater connection to the outdoors.

Nowadays, people discriminate more about the quality of light. Windows on both sides of the room balance lighting and reduce glare.

A light in the middle of the room won’t do. Task lighting under cabinet is appreciated. Security lighting is important. Wall sconces offer soft ambient lighting. Recessed cans provide light to the area. Dimmers help control lighting.

The luminaires are a decorative element in all styles. Clean, modern accessories like pendant lights, recessed cans, and wire rope lights complement the urban look.

Retro accessories are interesting decorative items in 1930s craftsman and 1950s ranch styles.

Industrial metal accessories are all the rage. The undecorated industrial look of metal or stainless steel is all the rage.

The heavy curtains are outside. They are too pretentious and, well, heavy. Light curtains of cotton, linen or silk are used. Gold, wooden shutters. Or nothing.

Retro woven wood blinds are back. The mini blinds are very yesterday.

Bathroom fixtures are finished in rustic bronze, nickel, or chrome. Two-handle faucets and old-fashioned country-style sinks are all the rage.

The sinks can be glass, granite, stone, stainless steel or traditional porcelain bowls. Cultivated marble is out.

There are separate bathtubs. Pedestal and wall-hung sinks are all the rage.

Energy efficiency

With rising fuel costs, energy efficiency is definitely in vogue. Buyers want high-efficiency air conditioning, good insulation, low-e glass, programmable thermostats, double-pane windows, and ceiling fans.

Effective passive solar targeting is a great advantage. Shows smart planning and use.

natural solar energy.

Instant hot water is a perk that buyers like, as are drinking water filters.

Nobody wants aluminum foil on windows or cling film for windows.

There is demand for light. Don’t close the blinds. Remove sun screens when they are not needed, such as under the roofs of patios, porches, or shade trees.

Screened porches are back. They create a multipurpose space both indoors and outdoors, and keep mosquitoes away.

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