How to Design a Flip that Doesn’t Look Like One: 5 Tips From an Interior Designer
Too often, it’s easy for potential homebuyers—even those with an untrained eye—to spot flips from a mile away.
We get that a newly renovated house gives it away but what we’re talking about here are the properties that are way too basic and expected, a copy-paste type of feeling no matter the context.
Below are just a few ways you can steer clear from falling flat—and instead make your real estate investment stand out with an impressive design.
1. Be inspired by the home’s architecture and neighbourhood.
Major updates and modern amenities are expected in a newly renovated home, even if it’s 50 or 100 years old. But most buyers will appreciate some character that feels original to the house—whether authentic or not.
We love to keep and restore key features like old fireplaces or original millwork—a little piece of history incorporated into the new design can go a long way. Within our product selections, you might often find nods to the home’s history.
Here, we recommended the stairs and beautiful wood arch detailing be kept and the floors be within the same tone throughout the main floor, second floor, and basement.
We tied in more of this wood texture by using it on the interior of some custom cabinetry within rooms where the floors were tiled, such as the kitchen and master bathroom.
As every Montrealer knows, our beautiful city has multiple personalities with its eclectic mix of neighbourhoods, each with their distinct atmosphere. When designing to sell, we do our best to reflect those expectations as we consider the home’s location.
2. Go custom where it matters.
It’s no secret that we love custom cabinetry here at HB DESIGN. It allows more room for creativity and especially for us to more accurately fulfill the room’s needs not only aesthetically but also to maximize storage.
This being said, we find custom cabinetry to typically make the most impact in the following rooms, in order of priority: highly-coveted kitchens, quality walk-in closets, practical mudrooms/laundry rooms, bathroom vanities, and, lastly, more particular built-ins that would go in living rooms, offices, gyms, wine cellars, and dens.
We also believe there is a hierarchy within a home’s bathrooms, where a master bathroom and powder room must impress more than a hall bathroom and definitely more than a basement bathroom.
When making the most of a budget, because custom does come at a price, we consider the priorities and evaluate each time where the most impact will be felt.
3. Switch it up but keep it consistent.
We believe an overall aesthetic direction is super important when designing a high-end flip but using the same vanity in all the bathrooms just looks lazy.
It’s a question of balance between consistency and change. Starting with a single-page inspiration board helps us keep on track, as well as picking a colour palette that will be represented throughout the home by the use of different materials and fixtures.
When using bolder accents, we repeat this colour so everything feels like it belongs.
4. Pick your wood floors first
It’s the one finish that will be your backdrop to all other finishes throughout the home and should be used as a reference moving forward. For example, a Scandinavian wide blond plank vs a narrower medium stained oak will each set a totally different tone.
5. Pay attention to lighting.
Lighting might not be such an obvious aspect to really focus on but it can make a world of a difference.
Natural lighting brings a sense of well being and is always the best way to view all our carefully selected hues. We encourage natural lighting by designing open or semi-open concept floor plans, sometimes adding or enlarging windows, and in most cases, keeping our designs bright and airy.
Light fixtures add a ton of personality and this is especially true for a flip that might be shown empty, unstaged. As with any project, we like to provide different types of lighting whenever possible, allowing for more flexibility in ambiance or a room’s key tasks.
Great lighting can also be helpful to showcase a home when buyers are visiting once the sun is down, which is quite early in our winter months.
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