Adding Value to Your Home: Part 2 (Fun Stuff)

As a continuation of my last blog, which was about adding value to your home by maintaining it, here are some more fun ways to add value to your house.

Create space/open up the floorpan-Open floor plans are very popular. You can potentially open up your home by removing  a non structural wall, kitchen island, or antiquated built-ins (like a built in buffet).  This works particularly well for smaller homes.  But before you start knocking down walls- please consult with a designer. Opening up the floorpan can go wrong really quick though. Here’s an article about the pros and cons of open floor plans.


small open floor plan

quintessential mid century open floor plan

quintessential mid century open floor plan

Landscaping– Trim back heavy foliage and let more light in. A dark house doesn’t show well and is a major turn off for most buyers. Clean up and fill in empty/dead space with inexpensive solutions like crushed granite or dark mulch.  A succulent garden is a great idea for California.  Succulents need next to no water,  grow like crazy and are very hard to kill.  Even my black thumb has yet to kill one off.

You can get away with this in England, not Los Angeles.

You can get away with this in England, not Los Angeles.


replace weeds with crushed granite or mulch.


Crushed granite walkway

Trim with succulents

Succulents in entry


Trim with succulents instead of grass.

Entry way- update and maintain the entry way.  The entry sets the stage for the rest of the home. It’s the first and last thing you see. The latest trend is painting the door a vibrant color and putting modern house address numbers. It adds instant polish and sophistication and gives the impression of a well kept home.


You want to house to say ‘Welcome Home’ to potential buyers.


If it’s a family house, it’s great to have some toys outside to make it feel livable.

I do LOVE an orange door.

I do LOVE an orange door.

This is east coast perfection.

This is east coast perfection.


Floors.  Floors.  Floors.  Nothing ruins a great house faster than a crappy/cheap floor.  Get the best quality you can afford.  Engineered wood has come a long way and is more versatile,  less expensive and more eco friendly than real wood. But real wood almost always looks better in my opinion. Click here to read about the pros and cons of engineered wood vs. real wood.

My favorite wood flooring that is very on trend right now but also a can’t-go-wrong-classic is white oak.  It’s gorgeous. Wide plank or narrow, lightly finished or darker–it’s just got a quality that oozes understated luxury.

narrow plank ‘eclectic’ finish.



yummy white oak perfection


Master Bathroom–  People love a good master bath and will pay more for it. An out of date powder room or kids bathroom is more forgivable so if your budget includes only one bathroom upgrade, make it the Master and for the love of god, make sure you install double sinks.  After a certain age, men and women shouldn’t be sharing a sink. Or a toilet (or maybe a bedroom), but that’s another blog post.


A trend i like is turning a mid century dresser into a double sink cabinet. The brass fixtures make it feel more modern.


Lower budget look- keep it neutral.



Bespoke bathroom. My someday bathroom. Steam shower + deep soaking tub + window with a view. I could live in this bathroom.


Middle cost bath- you could reduce the cost by nixing the marble and choosing a synthetic material. Keep it neutral.

Paint– You know that creative phase you went through 7 years ago when you decided to paint one wall in your living room bright turquoise to add a pop up color? Please paint it something neutral.  I promise you that exactly no one that comes in to buy it will appreciate it as much as you once did.  I know neutral is boring but a clean neutral palette will allow buyers to project their own ideas on to the house. And it’s all about buyers seeing themselves living there, not your 25 year old. Paint is one of the least expensive ways to update your home.

Don’t. Ever. Do This. I faux-painted a wall in the early 90’s. Enough said.

Why do i feel like having a piece of peach cobbler?

This better be in New Mexico.


The Kitchen – it’s the heart of the home.  People die for a nice kitchen.  It should be the number one thing on your list to update. If you can’t afford a full kitchen renovation here are some lower cost ways to make your kitchen appear more modern/updated without doing a full renovation:

Change the light fixtures.  Two words: Pendant Lights. They just make a space feel polished.


Grey is a nice neutral counter.

Paint cupboards and change pulls.  You can get a little more creative with colors with kitchen cabinets but keep it relatively neutral–grey’s and blues are very popular and lend just a bit of personality without being obnoxious. Another look that’s been popular lately is to remove top cabinets and install open shelves for dish storage—but if you do you must have pretty dishes and glasses on display.


Low budget- paint cabinets and new pulls.





This works.

This works.

open cupboards 2




N O ! !

No. Never.

New countertops and backsplash tile can change the whole look of a kitchen without remodeling the entire thing.  Kitchens can become dated quickly, so stick with neutral palettes in materials that work for your family. It’s finding the right balance of beauty and maintenance. Personally, i will sacrifice some beauty to have something that is lower maintenance (we have synthetic Cesar Stone). Lately I have been seeing a lot of Soapstone in higher end houses, which is lovely but higher maintenance.  Also, seeing a lot of butcher block in median priced homes, which adds  nice warmth to the kitchen.

Granite, once the queen of countertops has really become dated

Granite, once the queen of countertops has really become dated.


Grey counters are neutral and timeless.

Soapstone- the supermodel of countertops. Beautiful but high maintenance.

Soapstone- the supermodel of countertops. Beautiful but high maintenance.

butcher block countertops add warmth to kitchen

Butcher block countertops add warmth to kitchen

Kitchen floors– If your floors are less than stellar- put down a modern rug or two in the kitchen to distract from the floors. Or my favorite low cost kitchen flooring is a modern take on linoleum, called marmoleum.

marm 3

Marmoleum comes in an array of colors.


rugs in kitchen are ok

Linoleum in the Laundry Room.

Try linoleum or marmoleum in the laundry room or playroom  for a  low-risk pop of color/creativity.

Organize the Playroom– Playrooms are a must if you have kids.  Most people don’t have the luxury of a separate playroom.  It’s usually a nook or extension of a general living space in the home (mine is the laundry/mud room). If that’s the case, be sure to keep it modern, neutral (or same palette as your home), and tidy/organized.  It reads adorable if it’s done well and screams cluttered deathtrap if not.



A few tweaks are all that’s necessary to make a tired home feel fresh and newish. I hope these tips are helpful. Thanks for reading and happy updating!