From the colors that are in (and out) to the perfect kitchen details, DOORA’s Antoinette Fargo shares some of the latest ideas in home design that feel fresh right now.

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This article was last updated May 3, 2022.

When you’re talking to sellers in the current market, they may believe that they don’t really have to do anything to get their house buyer-ready. In reality, though, most homes could use a little bit of a refresh, even if there’s no budget for a major overhaul.

You know that ubiquitous gray paint you see everywhere? The one that’s so popular with real estate investors that Behr even named a shade “Flipper”? Even it seems to (finally) be on its way out, according to a January 2022 article by Insider.

That’s just one of the changes we’re seeing that promises to transform residential interiors in ways large and small. Driven in part by the wholesale cultural changes brought about by the pandemic and the resulting emphasis on more organic, nurturing home styles, this year, to freshen up your listings or help your buyer envision some easy, affordable updates, you may want to latch on to these trends.

New color stories

So why is gray going away? Long story short, color trends tend to have a shelf life of about a decade, and gray is nearing that benchmark. When it began, it felt like a fresh alternative to neutrals like white and beige, but its overuse has made it seem tired.

In addition, so much time at home has made folks eager for a more personal look that’s suited to their individual tastes. Look for a wider variety of colors, especially in shades of always-popular blue and Gen-Z staple, green.

If you’re trying to help your clients neutralize their space, remember that almost every color has a lighter, more neutral version available. Instead of white, consider the palest possible shades of other colors. Instead of beige, consider a richer, yet still adaptable, camel, cocoa or taupe.

Kitchen reboots

The farmhouse kitchen may finally be going away, particularly in its emphasis on open shelving instead of cabinetry. While many homeowners love the look of open shelves on their favorite HGTV show, in real life it is rarely practical. 

That’s because those shows involve carefully curated displays of perfectly coordinated dishes, all sized and arranged to perfection. That’s just not how people live, and many homeowners have found that their open shelves just look jumbled and messy, no matter how many times they rearrange.

In addition, prominent restaurant-style exhaust hoods seem to be on the way out, replaced by sleek exhaust fans built into the counter, stove or cabinetry. These kitchen trends point to a cleaner, more minimalist approach to kitchen design.

Natural elements

Many folks weathered the pandemic by becoming plant parents, filling their homes with an array of greenery. This reflects a logical desire to bring life and growth into the space when dealing with so much illness and anxiety. It also reflects increasing concerns around the environment and sustainability.

The focus on bringing the outdoors in extends to floral and leaf-patterned textiles and accessories. In addition, sustainable materials such as bamboo, cork, glass and reclaimed wood breathe life into stale interior spaces.

Discrete spaces

Gone are the days when an open-concept floorplan was the only option for interiors. In search of privacy, homeowners are embracing the merits of cozy studies, sheltered reading nooks, accessory dwelling units and other individualized spaces.

For those with open floorplans, privacy can be achieved affordably through room dividers or by repurposing existing elements of a room. For example, a small bump-out can be designed as a distinct office or seating space rather than being incorporated into the design of the room as a whole. Even an under-utilized closet can be reimagined as a small office, then shut away when not in use.

Spruce up spaces for faster sales

Want to ensure your listings look their best this spring? Here’s how:

  • Change out small items, including exterior lighting, bath vanity lighting and door handles, for an updated look at little cost.
  • Update listing photos with fresh potted plants on porches, a new doormat, fresh paint on front doors and shutters and additional landscaping.
  • Stage a little without adding clutter. A candle, plant and books will warm up an entry table as soon as they walk in the door. Put cookbooks on the kitchen counters along with a plant, wooden bowl and kitchen towels. Add a tall faux plant to an empty room or an accent chair and table. Place a few decorative towels and a soap dispenser in the guest bath. It will make the space feel cozy and like home for potential buyers.

Whether you’re helping your listing clients to stage their home or helping your buyer clients plan for value-added changes during their home search, it’s important to keep abreast of the most popular design details in your market. Make a designer part of your professional network so that you’re always aware of what’s new and what’s next in residential style.

Antoinette Fargo is the co-founder and creative director of DOORA Collective + DOORA Design in Ventura, California.

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