The Most Important Decorating Tip for Selling Your Home

There are plenty of tips for selling your home, but this is the one rule you need to follow when decorating a home you plan to sell someday—even if that’s years away.

Woman painting her home
Photo: Paul Bradbury/Getty Images

The internet has plenty of tips for selling your home quickly: Most offer last-minute solutions, such as fixing cosmetic issues or adding a few coats of fresh paint. But the very best thing you can do to sell your house is not a last-minute trick—it should start the minute you buy it, especially if you're in a starter home or don't know how long you'll stay in the area.

When decorating a home you plan to eventually sell, the one rule you need to stick to is to keep your home renovations as neutral as possible. Yes, trends such as statement ceilings and mixed metallic fixtures are gorgeously alluring (and seeing them all over Instagram and Pinterest doesn't help), but do they have staying power? (Remember: Once upon a time, shag carpeting was all the rage.) And are you sure it's a trend everyone—or at least most people—like and appreciate?

Before you commit to a large-scale, semi-permanent renovation like wallpapering your ceiling, consider whether potential buyers will be charmed or offended by your decorating. You might have a penchant for one-of-a-kind light fixtures, but potential buyers might not—and the idea that they might have to replace several light fixtures in their new home (or, worse, spend hours stripping wallpaper) could be enough to convince them not to make an offer.

Even if you plan to stay in your home for twenty or thirty years, think about what your major updates could mean down the line. Yes, bold chevron tiling might look great now, but would you be willing to rip it up and replace it (and pay for it all) with something more classic when you're trying to sell your home twenty years from now?

This doesn't mean you can't indulge in today's home trends, but try to keep your major updates easily removable—think commitment-free wallpaper—or be willing to pay to have them removed when it's time to start showing your home. Plus, there are always updates that don't require a renovation.

After all, you can always be as wild as you wish with your furniture choices. If you want a statement purple sofa, you deserve a statement purple sofa—potential buyers can't complain about decor that leaves when you do.

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