If you are buying and planning to resell or rent, to get the most out of your property you may want to make some updates to give it some curb appeal. The number of updates required would depend on a case-by-case scenario. Obviously, if it is necessary to do the roof, the foundation, etc., there is no question. I’m talking major renovations, but updates. That curb appeal and that makes a buyer go “wow” and pay a little more for the place.

If you’re not going to be working with a designer and would like to do it yourself, I suggest you go to the library or buy a bunch of up-to-date home style magazines to get ideas of what’s out there right now. Knowing your market is not that important because almost everyone wants something elegant and stylish. Something I like to call “urban chic”; lots of clean lines, minimalism, and bright, open spaces. A zen-like approach. That look is selling to the mass market right now.

First impressions are always important, which is why the exterior of the house needs more love. Don’t get bored either. Sew exciting colors like grey/mauve, terracotta or sage. Paint everything you need, wood, railing, mailbox, light fixtures, etc. I’m not talking about a single color, have some black or white in your contrast. If they can’t be painted, replace them.

If there is no landscaping or it is rolled, you need to refresh the look. Pull out or cut back anything that has overgrown. Be ruthless if you have to. Cedars are great when they are green and small, however if they are yellow and too tall, get rid of them. Keep your eyes short, so you can see the entrance. Remove grass, if any, add more seeds. Clean debris dirt and weeds, add more dark soil and mulch. Make a nice clean line between the lawn and the garden. I’d invest in a couple of contrasting shrubs and some bright annuals to light up the front.

The floors are the most important. They make a big impact. They have to be nice. If there is hard wood, I suggest renovating them. Dyeing them dark is always a nice touch. Parquet looks amazing stained with chocolate. It goes from a bad 70’s look to something modern and Asian looking. If flooring needs to be replaced, bamboo and other sustainable flooring are all the rage right now. If the linoleum is old, replace it. If you can afford the tiles, go for it.

Kitchen. If the kitchen is old 1950’s wood, there’s no need to rip it out and redo it and spend all that extra money. Paint it bright cream and add stylish knobs. You could even add a molding to it.

If it is white melamine, you can paint it with special paint or leave it as it is. Sometimes it’s the surrounding area that can polish it off and make it not look as “melamine”. That is, add a trendy tile backsplash, a new countertop, and knobs. If the melamine has a removable ’80s trim, remove it for a cleaner look.

If you have the oak cabinets from 1990, they look amazing painted too. If the cabinets hang from the ceiling that divides the dining area, you could remove them and reuse them somewhere else, like an island.

Additional keys:

  • Faucets are important. They can be a focal point for the room. You don’t have to go high-end to have a modern, polished look.
  • I think the investment in crown molding adds a lot of value to the place if done right (not necessary in the bathroom). Paint it bright for a vintage look.
  • Keep paint colors simple and light. Painting a wall in a room dark gray or another trendy color is fine, however use it minimally.
  • Dark over light is very much in style right now.
  • Make sure the flow of color from one room to the next is there.
  • Clean, clean windows are a must.
  • Knock down a wall if necessary to give the space a more open feel. For example opening the kitchen to the living room. You should check with a structural engineer before you tear anything down.
  • Spotlights and dimmers.
  • Fashion lamps and knobs. Don’t go high end. Places like Ikea are fine or places that claim vintage.

Bathrooms are easy because it’s all about the choice of tile and countertop. The white bathtub, sink and toilet are always in place and if they are in good condition they will not need to be replaced. Cabinets can be painted black, chocolate, white, or cream. It will update any aspect.