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  • Writer's pictureChristina Mariani

15 Design Mistakes you do not want to make

Updated: Jan 30, 2023

Design trends come and go.

When you are remodeling your own home, it is very important to choose finishes and furnishings that you truly like and feel confident that you will like for a very long time.

It is absolutely okay to ignore current trends to a certain extent, especially if you plan on living in your house for many years.

It is more important that you love your environment as long as you are living there. Also, it is nearly impossible to predict what will become the biggest design trends many years from now. It could be even more difficult to predict what they will be the exact year you may decide to sell your house. Don't waste too much time trying to figure this out and don't base your design decisions off of something that can be nearly impossible to predict.

Be careful to not just slap together all of the most current, expensive design finishes and furnishings. You must be able to visualize the cabinetry, countertop, sink and backsplash selections all together in one room to ensure that you truly like the planned outcome. Pinterest is a great tool for this.

Investors have it a bit harder. They are faced with hundreds of serious design decisions during the renovation process of each flip or rehab. They are trying to stay up on design trends to be able to make selections that will match what the buyers in their specific market are currently craving. When you nail all of the design decisions, you are able to sell for top dollar because your product is superior to the competition and all of the top paying buyers want it.

Some investors have a passion for design and staying up with trends. Others are doing their best; paying attention to what their competition is doing, and using a combination method of copying, guessing and trial & error.

Top paying buyers cringe when they step into a beautiful home that has been freshly renovated from top to bottom, but all of the colors and finishes are already out-of-style by a few years.

It is extremely important to nail the flooring, countertops, backsplashes and cabinetry. The kitchen and bathroom finishes are crucial in capturing greatest ROI at closing, and every investor knows this, whether or not they want to admit to it. Guessing or using the trial & error method is potentially losing you thousands of dollars on each sale. For most buyers, the idea of having to redo a turn-key property that is all new, just to get the design right, is a deal breaker. They might as well buy an out-of-date property at a better deal if they are going to have to remodel the kitchen and bathrooms. Most buyers are not looking for this level of work commitment.

My beloved investors, to obtain the greatest ROI at closing, it is imperative that you review and update your finish formula with a designer atleast every 2-3 years to stay ahead of your competition and to ensure that you attract the best buyers who will pay top dollar for your product. I provide this service to investors in the city of Detroit. I operate on a close referral, word-of-mouth-basis only. I am very selective with the projects I choose to take on and who I agree to work with as clients. Why? Because no one will ruin my love of design or cause me to burn out. This is one of my greatest loves. I will protect it at all costs.

Onto design trends that are OUTDATED. Let these babies rest!! They are causing you to leave money at the table. I am speaking primarily to Historic Detroit homes here. People buying in Detroit city proper are looking for character and charm that cannot be found in the cookie-cutter, fabricated, dry-wall-box suburbs.

My dear house flippers and remodeling enthusiasts, please stop covering up and destroying the nearly extinct craftmanship. Renovating homes in the city of Detroit requires a different design skillset than elsewhere. You have to know what to preserve, how to restore and what to update and modernize enough without overdoing it. It is a very niche art! Be sure to consult with a designer who specializes specifically in historic homes. Hiring a designer from outside of this niche can cost you to lose more money. I have seen historic homes mishandled by excellent suburbian designers.

My BONUS list of Crucial No-No's: (This list is a free gift I may decide to remove at some point.)

  1. Painting all of the wood-stained window trim white or any color.

  2. Painting the grand wood-stained fireplace mantles white or any color.

  3. Painting the risers in grand staircases. Painting the stairs at all.

  4. Discarding original railings that could have been preserved.

  5. Covering up original bathroom tile, foyer tile and kitchen tile that is in good condition.

  6. Replacing the original windows with new modern windows

  7. Doing all white kitchens with extremely modern finishes


  9. GRAY WALL PAINT NEEDS TO BE BANNED, that is very 2019.

  10. Removing the original doors, brass hardware, glass doorknobs and outlet cover plates that are in good condition.

  11. Covering up and losing important details of character and history, instead of preserving them (milk shoots, laundry shoots, built-in storage, butler's pantries, decorative nooks, breakfast nooks.)

  12. Covering up or removing textured walls and ceilings, millwork and plaster work.

  13. Disposing of gorgeous original light fixtures, sconces, cabinetry, tubs and sinks.

  14. Using subway tile in brick formation in the kitchens and bathrooms with dark grout and all matted black finishes

  15. Sliding barn doors

My friends, please STOP! Consulting with a designer to update your plans and formulas could save you and help make you substantially more money. Hire one today.

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