It doesn’t matter how perfect your home is—if your listing photos don’t stand out, potential buyers won’t come by to take a look. In our series “Lessons From Listing Photos,” we dissect the smart updates sellers have made to their homes, and how their listing pictures highlight the home’s best assets.
There was nothing wrong with this Sullivans Island, SC, home when the sellers purchased it. It was built in 2005, so it hadn’t acquired decades of wear quite yet, but the decor did display furniture trends and colors that were hot in the early 2000s.
Before they put it on the market once again, the sellers decided to update a few of the home’s interior details, embracing many of the hottest trends of the moment. It’s a great example of how small touches can make a big difference—and how you can stir up more interest in your home without a major renovation project.
Below, our design experts highlight the stylish changes that the sellers made, how they likely affected the sale of the home, and (most importantly) how you can make the same thing happen in your home.
There’s no denying that this is a comfy bedroom, but the design in the after photo is a lot more on-trend than the other—and our experts were quick to point out why.
“The before image is very matchy-matchy, which is slowly going out, while the layered, textured, and eclectic design in the after photo is in,” says Katie Stix, partner and design director at Anderson Design Studio. “The antique-looking bed mixed with more modern bedside tables and area rug is very trendy. All-white walls is also something you see a lot these days.”
Nisha MacNeil, design manager at Kerr Construction & Design, says the white room allows a few colorful features to pop.
“This is a huge trend and really allows you versatility in the space,” she says.
You have to look pretty closely to see the changes in the kitchen, but once you do, you won’t be sure how you missed them.
“This kitchen had great bones; I would die for this space,” says MacNeil. “Shiplap walls, artisan subway tile, exposed beams, and great natural light. Who could ask for more?”
But despite the architectural quality of the kitchen, there was still room to update the decor, brighten up the space, and bring it into this decade.
“By opting for clear-glass pendants over the island and sink and removing that piece of art over the range, the whole space now breathes and feels so warm and inviting,” says MacNeil.
“The bar stools have a lot more personality, and are very trendy,” says Stix. “The woven vinyl look with curved wood frame play off the other wood tones and add more visual interest. They fill the space a lot better and are more comfortable than backless stools.”
Paul Trudel-Payne, founder and creative designer of Casa Consult+Design, says the simple changes in the light fixtures and bar stools really updated the space and infused true style into the kitchen.
“While this update is not major at all, I really feel like buyers will resonate with the attention to detail,” he says.
Before: Living room
After: Living room
This gorgeous living room is where the biggest decor changes were made.
“It almost looks like an actual renovation took place” says Tiffany Fasone, owner and CEO of Voila Design Home. “Previously, the living room felt very dated and heavy: the white slipcovers, all of the different wood tones in the floors and furniture, and the dark bricks on the fireplace. … The new style feels more current.”
Fresh white paint helps the room feel open, airy, and modern.
“They also did a clever trick by simply whitewashing the brick to tone down the red of the original brick. This really softens the space, but still leaves the history and texture intact,” MacNeil says.
The white walls also leave room for the new colorful furniture and artwork to take center stage.
“I love that they contrasted the blue sofas with the citron geometric rug,” says Stix.
“The luxe vibe created with the royal blue velvet sofas is everything,” adds Trudel-Payne.
Who wouldn’t want to spend a Sunday morning sipping coffee on this redesigned back porch? The space itself is idyllic, but the previous design—which included turquoise sofas and pillows that looked more suited for a child’s room—left much to be desired. But brand-new furniture and a revamp of the fireplace make this space just as tasteful as the interiors.
“This porch is now a design lesson in how to do white on white properly. You need texture, and lots of it,” explains MacNeil. “The ceiling joists, which are exposed, and shiplap walls are part of this texture. In the furnishings they made selections that had texture, like the woven armchairs and the rug all in tone-on-tone white and off-white.”
Fasone agrees that going all white was a good move, and sees another benefit to the redesign: “The porch feels more like part of the exterior now that they used outdoor woven patio furniture instead of the oversized aqua matching love seats,” she says.
Before: Sitting room
After: Sitting room
The sitting room was probably the most outdated space in the whole house, and our experts say the sellers embraced all the right trends to bring it into the present.
“This room felt so stuffy before with the furniture choices and wall sconces. Now it has a perfectly curated, eclectic feel,” says MacNeil. “The key here is the rug has an aged look, and matches so well with the floors so it blends together and creates the perfect base. The traditional turned-leg desk feels so sweet, but juxtaposed with the black and white artwork it gives it a real kick. Throw in the Eames chair, and it’s the perfect balance of traditional, modern, and rock and roll.”
“Getting rid of that robin’s-egg blue wall is long overdue. That, plus the removal of ornate gold art, bulky furniture, and dated sconces really brings the space into this decade,” says Trudel-Payne. “Although my favorite new detail is the refinished original hardwood floors that were sitting beneath the carpet.”