Every few years, the tastes of homeowners and buyers shift; what was one in-style and in high demand, becomes less so.  In a recent poll of Realtors done by Builder Magazine, the following trends were most reported. While it may not be cost effective to add a basement with 9-foot ceilings to your 1924 South Minneapolis home, some of these trends cost very little to do, and could help you sell your home faster and at a better price. Here are some top trends in home design and features we see currently and going into 2017.


This can be helpful to make use of smaller spaces. Where one room flows into another, it is easier to host large family gatherings, or to feel more spacious when you’re alone. On the flip side, when you drop that plate of shrimp on the kitchen floor, everyone is going to see you put them back on!


Modern design is one that is hard to find;  it’s a small group of people who seek out a design style from another era, so we’re not talking grey walls and chrome with pops of color here a la Piet Mondrian. Currently modern design includes trends like up-cycling (think warehouse cart coffee tables and salvaged barnwood), neutral colors (see below), clean design lines.


Beige, khaki, cloud grey – These should probably stick around for a few years, and allow you to accent with colors of furniture or accessories. Pro-Tip – you are more than welcome to paint your room in honor of his purple-ness, but if you’re trying to sell, consider covering it up.


As our parents age, many families are looking for a situation that helps them be care givers to loved ones when the time comes, but they generally enjoy each other’s company, so spaces with in-law suites, or adjoining living spaces can be a great fit for buyers.


For many reasons, the first floor master or even multiple bedrooms can be an attractive feature. Whether purely out of convenience or accessibility for a resident of the home that has mobility limitations, these rooms can go a long way to staying in your home longer.


While this may be a trend nationally, I find it to be split pretty evenly down the middle for buyers. Some have no interest in what will be wasted space, while some others prefer a part of the house reserved for special occasions or entertaining. It is not strictly generational either. Younger buyers may like the formal dining room, or they may want to turn it into an office next to the living room.

Photo from Decoist - Mixing modern with farmhouse elements is one style buyers seek. Neutral floors and walls are important here too.

Photo from Decoist – Mixing modern with farmhouse elements is one style buyers seek. Neutral floors and walls are important here too.


As an extension of the white trim trend, we’re seeing more kitchens done up mainly in white.  White cabinets and frame faces, usually with  contrasting stone counter top. White appliances don’t seem to have come back in vogue yet though. if you’re considering an update, you might choose to sit this one out, but older houses with original cabinets can sometimes benefit from a well-done refinishing of cabinets and some new hardware.


Call it the Garage Mahal; the garage is the new man cave, except it’s everybody’s space. This is not an easy upgrade, especially on a city lot, but anything extra on a garage is generally liked. Extra depth for workshops and storage, extra overhead height (taller doors) for larger vehicles, or extra stalls are some of the options available on the market and in high demand.

Space is king in garages and anything for more room however you use it is a great selling feature. PIcture courtesy Chicago Tribune

Space is king in garages and anything for more room however you use it is a great selling feature. Picture courtesy Chicago Tribune


At certain price points, a walk-in close becomes expected, but if your house has a walk-in closet as part of the master or multiple rooms, this can be a great selling feature. At the higher end, closets that could be converted to a bedroom are not uncommon and can really add to the appeal


Barn style doors hit the scene by way of Pinterest a few years back, but they don’t seem to be going anywhere. Like the pocket doors of the 70s and 80s era, these sliding doors add a rustic charm to a space, but one of the major features is the fact that they don’t take up room with a traditional swing, so can be great for separating two adjoining spaces in style.


While this has been reported for the article, we would place a caveat on this. In certain neighborhoods and price points, you will certainly not see any vinyl or composite floors, favoring instead exotic hardwoods as a show piece, especially in entry areas or entertaining spaces. Wood is certainly king everywhere, so if you have a wood floor covered by carpet, consider polishing up that diamond in the rough before selling. With floors of vinyl or even tile, the wood look can still show very well, but even inexperienced buyers can tell quality materials from not here, unless it was just installed last week.


Aesthetically, bathrooms range from spa-like simplicity to use of exotic materials, but everyone gets excited about luxury when it comes to homes with master bathrooms. While the spa-tub, or garden tub look is still popular, younger buyers get most excited about large showers with multiple heads, or welcoming and spacious bathrooms with lots of natural light. If you are considering a remodel and have an older whirlpool tub, consider if converting to a luxurious shower might be right for you.


In general, if you are buying a newer home or building, this might be doable, but consider the use of a basement. For many it’s an entertainment area for the family to enjoy, so big rooms are great for rambunctious kids or adults! The takeaway here would be that it is finished. If for some reason you have the urge to lift your house up and increase lower level head space it might be a good fit for you, but not likely a good return on investment from a sales price perspective.

What is something you love to see in a house, or would like to have in your dream house? Let us know; and if you’re looking to buy or sell, call me today!

Erik Laing