If you’re considering putting your place on the market, it’s time to stop thinking about it as your home and start thinking about it as a house to sell. Once you decide to sell, take a step back and have a good, hard look at your home’s decor. Are your decor choices outdating your home? Dated touches might seem charming to you but it can turn off a potential buyer, lower your home value and make the selling process that much more difficult.

What do I mean by dated touches? These include fixtures, fittings, wall and floor coverings and furniture that was first placed into your house before the year 2000. A home with green pile carpet, striped wallpaper or black and white checked lino floors will be seen as a renovation project to potential buyers. Yes, there have been fads post 2000, such as glass mosaic tiles as your splashback, but modern home buyers are more forgiving of these. So which touches need to be modernised?

Wallpaper and Bold Paint; One thing that can instantly date your home is old, unsightly wallpaper or boldly coloured paint. There are some exceptions, of course–very, very expensive designer wallpaper–but even wallpaper of that quality is extremely specific, to a certain taste. So, welcome your walls to the 21st century by purchasing spray-on wallpaper remover and paint them to give your walls a little “pick me up”.  When choosing new paint, it’s important to stick to neutral tones on your walls, unless you know your target buyer will like a splash of color. Neutral tones are not just the “blah” real estate beige; explore with off-whites, silver greys and blue greys.

Dated Fixtures and Hardware; Are your handles or kitchen knobs chipped or just plain ugly? Do you have gold, chrome and brass tapware or door handles? Have your power sockets and light switches faded, cracked or yellowed? These can all give a home an outdated, 80s feel.  Swap them for something more contemporary, like brushed nickel. You may also want to consider replacing the knobs on vanities and bathroom cabinets.

Popcorn Ceilings; Modern buyers are afraid of popcorn ceilings due to potential asbestos and for that reason they turn buyer’s off. It doesn’t cost as much as you think to have it scraped off, but if your ceilings are high enough, just cover them up!

Over-sized Furniture; They may be comfortable, but over sized furniture isn’t fashionable. Replace bulky leather sofas with smaller pieces which are both comfortable and affordable.

Wood Panelling; This was one of the most popular trends in the 1950s, 60s and 70s when it was widely used to decorate interior walls, but doesn’t suit the 2017 market. Modern buyers tend not to love the rustic dark-wood panelling look, reminiscent of a log cabin in the woods, but the good news is that it can be very easily and economically updated. It can be stained, varnished or covered with other finishes such as plaster, tile or stack-stone either partially or completely. It can also be painted, which would be my preference. Painting panelling a lighter colour can open up a room dramatically and painting it the same colour as the other walls sees it recede in prominence.

Carpet in the Bathroom; It may have worked in the ‘90s but carpet in the bathroom doesn’t belong in 2017. It’s just nasty and should be pulled up. While you are at it, coloured and nylon carpets should also be replaced. If you are re-laying carpets in the bedrooms or on the stairs, choose materials like wool or bamboo in neutral tones. These are much healthier than synthetic carpets which give off toxins, will wear better over time and will instantly upgrade your home to this century.

Sometimes, the smallest changes you make in your home can have the greatest impact. There are so many inventive ways to update and improve your home even with the most limited budget, why not get started right away?

Thanks for reading!

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