The key to making a house a home is in the detail, and some of those details could well be the interior design features that will help sell your house or add value.
Sarah Beeny gives advice on selling your home fast
From on-trend living room paint colours that show personal style to the choice of kitchen designs, interior choices shape homes. But these choices are also impactful in determining how appealing a house is when it comes to selling. The key interior design features that can help sell a house quicker are the ones that resonate profoundly with potential buyers, as opposed to the common interior design mistakes that can have the opposite effect. For some, if they see a design feature they can tick off their wishlist it's easier to visualise themselves living in the space more readily. Experts on buying and selling houses, from agents to home stagers, have outlined the key design features that buyers are instantly more engaged with and therefore add more value.
Ettan Bazil, CEO, and founder of Help me Fix, said: “Always think of functionality as each buyer will no doubt have a differing style to your own, but everyone can see the value in a tidy, well-maintained garden, a clean organised kitchen, or great bathroom space. The old advice still holds relevance in this instance and your first port of call should always be to declutter and deep clean your home.”
In addition to these fundamentals, there are key interior design features that appeal to most potential buyers, and these therefore could prove more valuable to your home so they are worth investing in. “When adding interior design touches, always keep in mind whether they add value, or are potentially off-putting,” added Ettan.
1. Kitchen islands
One of the biggest kitchen trends of 2022, a kitchen island is an interior design feature that never fails to add value and appeal to any cooking space. The design team at Olive & Barr said: “Whether you're looking to sell or thinking ahead when it comes to adding value to your kitchen, there are a few features you need to consider. From giving your kitchen extra worktop space and additional seating to adding a multi-functional feel to the space, the kitchen island has become a must-have feature as a place for gathering, working, or entertaining.”
Elaine Penhaul, interiors expert and founder of international award-winning, home staging company Lemon and Lime Interiors added: “A striking kitchen island can be the centrepiece of a house, providing the versatility that suits busy lifestyles – nowadays an island can be the deciding factor on a purchase if the buyers do not want to absorb the time and cost of installing one. Create that added value by tapping into the multi-functionality of the space, supplementing with overhanging utensils, a work area, as well as plenty of kitchen storage if wall space is limited.”
2. Cohesive colour palettes
The general advice is to use paint colours throughout the home that feel cohesive and neutral enough to appeal to all tastes. "This doesn’t mean your entire home has to be a plain magnolia paint colour,” says Colby Short, CEO, and co-founder of GetAgent. He added: “In fact, far from it but make sure the shades you choose complement each other and don’t stand out for the wrong reasons.”
Explaining why the wrong paint colours can devalue your home, Colby said: "A thing to consider with the colours throughout your home is that potential buyers are often wary of how much redecorating they might have to do when they move in. Having neutral clean colours can help take some of the stress away for them.”
Elaine agreed: “By repainting your walls in tonal, neutral colours, you can easily freshen up the look of the property and save the buyer the painstaking job of repainting when they move in, adding value to the home and making it more attractive to the eye.”
Colby advised: “Think calming, natural tones. Neutral shades in creams, soft sage greens, and gentle pink paint colours, as well as other natural hues, can help make the room feel brighter and more spacious.”
3. Stylish shutters
Window dressings are also a worthwhile investment and it would seem that shutters, generally one of the more expensive options, will always be a good investment and hold value when it comes to selling up. Ethan said: “The addition of shutters can upgrade the look of your home from curtains or ghastly office-style blinds. But not only do they look much more attractive, but they also provide privacy and protection which will resonate with any buyer.”
4. Wood panelling
Wood panelling is one of the most popular interior design trends in recent years, dominating DIY projects of 2022, and it turns out this popularity is a valuable design addition to welcome to any room. Ettan noted: “DIY wall panelling is also time and money well spent as it helps to improve the style of your home. Plus, it’s an addition that still looks great even when kept in neutral colours.”
Elaine was also in favour of including wood panelling in homes. She said: “DIY vertical slat panelling is a popular and easy-to-fit way to add depth to your walls - whether throughout the whole room or sections. If you want to go for a polished, painted look then make sure you paint the panels before fixing them - you can create a 3D effect by painting the wall a different colour to the wood."
5. Statement lighting
Creating the wow factor doesn't always have to be a permanent fixture, it can be a design feature that is easily replaceable but when in places welcomes a certain look that effortlessly elevates the surrounding decor.
Ettan explained: “A showcase lighting instalment can really help set off an otherwise neutrally decorated room. Not only will this help you sell, but it's an item you will bring with you when you move. So if a buyer doesn’t share your sense of style, they don’t have the worry of rectifying the issue if they do move in.”
6. A well-kept front of house
First impressions count, and there's no better place to set the tone of your home than the front of the house – it shows that your home is well-maintained and creates a sense of anticipation about looking inside for further style inspiration. So it’s definitely worth investing time and money into the exterior of your property.
Elaine explained: “Buyers will often take a drive past a property they are interested in before booking a viewing so first impressions are incredibly important. If your home looks badly maintained from the outside, then many buyers will be put off and assume it needs renovating on the inside as well.”
Yvonne Blacker, independent consultant and creative director of interiors agreed: “A sense of arrival is an essential element for improved curb appeal. Is the landscape or front entrance prepared to welcome guests? Is it tidy and well-lit? Is the exterior decorated in a way that delights or offers a glimpse of those who live inside?
“Simple touches like a freshly painted fence, large-scale containers filled with beautiful garden plants, and decorative lighting to show the way in can set an approachable entranceway while adding to your home's curb appeal.
7. Painted front doors and window frames
Investing in a new front door, or repainting your existing one, can “make all the difference when coming to sell your home”, according to Adam Pawson, window and door specialist at SafeStyle.
Elaine agreed as she said: “Spruce up your front door with a lick of paint and a hand-crafted house name or number, showing to buyers from the outset that efforts have been made to create attention to detail. Classic colours work well for a front door, dark navy and greens are always inviting.
“Rather than spending a fortune on refitting new window frames, and assuming the wood is still in good condition, spray your existing ones with a lick of paint to give them a new lease of life, and possibly add up to £10,000 to your house value. Painting the exterior frames can tie in the interior colour scheme into the exterior and transform your house’s curb appeal.”