AveryHess, Realtors® Blog

Hot Design Trends that Sell Homes

WASHINGTON, DC – For anyone planning to sell a home, there’s no one better to turn to than a real estate professional. Every year, Realtors® spend hundreds of hours taking their clients to hundreds of homes. Agents are able to see and hear, first-hand, what clients don’t like, as well as what features, amenities, and extras get buyers’ pulses racing.

“You can take a client through a dozen properties with similar floor plans, features, and prices, and after a while it all runs together,” says Katja Hom of AveryHess Realtors. “But more often than not, it’s that one home where the seller has followed a few smart design tips to make their property stand out.”

“In some ways you can blame it on the HGTV effect,” she says. “These days, buyers are expecting to go into homes and see updated kitchens, modern bathrooms, and other popular features they see in the renovation and home flipping shows. When they don’t see those things, they move on to the next.”

Hom says that by implementing the latest design trends, sellers can improve their home’s appeal to prospective buyers.

What are today’s hot design trends?

AveryHess recently conducted a survey among its agents to identify the most popular design trends and features among prospective Washington area buyers.

  • 1Remodeled Bathrooms. Features like subway tiles, granite or marble floors and countertops, vanities with storage space, designer vanity lighting, and shower panels can make bathrooms feel like luxury spas.
  • 1Remodeled Kitchens. Upper and lower cabinets with ample storage, stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, islands with cooktops and bar seating, pendant lighting, and tiled backsplashes will have buyers salivating.
  • 1Hardwood Floors. Whether its refinishing old wood or installing new, hardwood floors make rooms feel larger and cleaner. Having hardwood on throughout a level creates consistency and the “open flow” feel buyers prefer. From bleached to cherry to ebony; distressed to wide plank to high gloss, today’s popular hardwood floors comes in an array of colors and styles.
  • Granite or Marble1 Countertops. Stone countertops are durable and stain-resistant, and elegant. The right granite can both elevate and finish off a room. Granites and marbles are available in a spectrum of colors and can be polished to a smooth sheen and finished off with fancy edging such as bullnose, ogee, and bevel.
  • 1Stainless Steel or Brushed Nickel Fixtures. These days, nothing says outdated like gold or old-style chrome fixtures. Swapping out old kitchen and bath fixtures for stainless steel or brushed nickel is one of the quickest and cost-effective ways bring those rooms into the present.  More exotic finishes like oiled rubbed bronze fixtures can also make a statement, but some buyers may not like it or worry that the trend could fall out of style in a few years.


Other trends that scored high in the poll were neutral wall colors such as grays, tans and warm whites; and storage and organizations systems for closets, pantries and garages.

“Buyers today want value for their money and don’t want to remodel when they move in,” says Patricia Mancini of the AveryHess Springfield office, “Gone are the days of ‘sweat-equity’ for most buyers today. They just want to move in and enjoy their new home.

AveryHess advises sellers to first do a walkthrough with their agent. Together, they can come up with a list of upgrades or improvements that will most appeal to buyers, help reduce time on market, and get the highest return on investment.

Sellers don’t need to include everything on the hot list, says Hom. “Usually, just including one or two design features can make all the difference.”

The “Hot Design Trends for Home Sellers” survey was conducted among 200 AveryHess agents by BlueFusion Creative and Marketing Group.

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