Home design trends change from year to year and decade to decade. Back in the 60s, 70s, and early 80s, homes were much smaller than they are today. Part of this was cultural. This was before the rise of McMansions, back when kids still shared bedrooms and everyone in the family didn’t need their own space to get away.
It wasn’t just that homes were smaller from a square footage perspective. Home layouts were much more restricted and compartmentalized. There were doors in between the kitchen and living room, long hallways, and very little natural flow from one space to the next. As a result, a 2,500 square foot house from the 1970s felt much smaller than a 2,500 square foot house that’s been renovated or built in the last decade.
If you have an older house that hasn’t been updated in a while – or even if you have a newer house that’s small and cramped – then you’re probably a little nervous about putting it on the market. How will buyers, who are overwhelmingly looking for spacious, free-flowing floor plans, respond?
Try These 7 Practical Design Hacks
While you can try to sell your house how it stands – and you may find some buyers – it might be best to rethink things. There are plenty of ways to make your home look and feel bigger without adding any additional square footage. Let’s check out a few of the top design hacks to give you some inspiration.
- Tear Down Non-Structural Walls
Let’s start with the most intensive, yet effective method: tearing down non-structural walls. (Disclaimer: The rest of the hacks on this list are far less involved and don’t require a hardhat and hammer.)
If you have walls in common living areas that exist for no other purpose other than to partition off different rooms, get red of them. Tearing down a non-structural wall between the kitchen and living room is a fantastic way to really open up your floor plan and make it look bigger and more modern.
- Try Minimalist Home Staging
The more stuff you have in a room, the smaller and more crowded the room will feel. Thus, if you want to open a room up and make it feel larger than it actually is, get rid of the clutter.
Minimalist home staging is a trend that’s really appealing in the marketplace right now. It involves getting rid of everything that isn’t integral to the room and only using simple, sleek design elements.
- Kill Wasted Space
If you don’t have a lot of square footage to work with, you can’t afford to waste any of it. When listing your home, think carefully about how each room can be maximized. For example, does it really look best to have a 9-foot dining room table with a full set of chairs in a cramped dining room? When showing the house, it may be best to leave the room empty so that it looks bigger.
Another example of wasted space is a movable island in the middle of the kitchen. Find storage space for anything that’s in the island’s drawers and cabinets and remove it. You’ll have a lot more room to walk around.
- Use Lighter Paint Colors
The paint color on your walls actually has a psychological impact on how people perceive specific rooms. Dark colors make rooms appear smaller, while lighter colors give off a more spacious vibe.
Than Merrill, host of A&E’s Flip This House explains, “White will make any room appear bigger and complement the natural lighting.” Other good color choices include light yellows, grays, and soft blues.
- Try Striped Rugs
Another trick you can use to make a room look longer or wider is to place a striped rug on the floor. A striped rug visually elongates the room by drawing a person’s eyes along the lines. You don’t want to overdo this, as too much pattern can be turnoff, but it’s worth doing every now and then. When combined with lighter colored walls, the results can be quite alluring.
- Leave Windows Uncovered
“Drapes are a beautiful — and functional — home privacy solution, great for covering up an unwanted view inside or out,” designer Yanic Simard admits. “But when your home has beautiful windows and privacy isn’t an issue, why hide them?”
Not only are ornate window coverings no longer in style, but they actually make rooms appear smaller. By doing away with drapes, you enjoy two major benefits. First, you show more of the window and eliminate a bulky item that takes up space. Secondly, you let in more natural light, which always makes rooms feel bigger.
- Spruce Up Outdoor Living
Outdoor living is becoming more and more popular and many homebuyers on the market like patios, decks, and screened porches. Even though a nice porch isn’t technically considered livable square footage in the MLS system, it is for all intents and purposes.
If your house has existing outdoor living space, take the time to fix it up and stage it prior to putting your house on the market. And, if at all possible, sell during the warmer months when you can leave the doors open. This allows people to seamlessly transition from the indoors to the outdoors, and vice versa.
Let Green Residential Sell Your House
The good news for homeowners is that we’re in the midst of a major seller’s market. A well priced home in a decent neighborhood in the Greater Houston area can expect to see multiple offers within the first week of being listed. The key is to work with a real estate company that understands pricing strategies and marketing techniques that work.
At Green Residential, we put our clients first every step of the way. We operate on a flat rate, which can potentially save you thousands of dollars when compared to the traditional commission based fee structure. For additional information on how much we can save you, don’t hesitate to contact us today!