Wish your home stood out more from the many surrounding it? Then the HGTV show “Hidden Potential” could get your gears turning. Now in its second season, the show follows Jasmine Roth as she renovates clients’ suburban homes to give them a bit more personality.
“In so many suburbs, the houses look the same—basic cookie-cutter designs,” says Roth. “Being able to be creative on behalf of my homeowners is just a blessing … and it’s challenging.”
Roth quit her corporate day job in 2012 to renovate her own house, and it grew into a business. (She recently helped renovate the “Brady Bunch” house.) But while many of her renovations are grand in scale, the work she does on “Hidden Potential” often focuses on small things any homeowner can do to make their place feel a bit more special. These things could be, say, clever storage beneath stairwells or a brightly colored front door.
We chatted with Roth about how to help a house stand out. Here’s her advice.
Take some risks with your decor
Roth believes that if you own a home, you should feel free to put your own stamp on it.
“We’ve done several homes this season that are just totally different,” she says. “I just finished one yesterday that is a Tiki house. The theme was ‘atomic Tiki.’ Very retro and very futuristic at the same time. It was so much fun!”
The take-home message? “Do what you like and what makes you feel happy,” advises Roth.
Add instant personality with family photos
Forget about fine art—if you want your house to feel more you, add more photos of yourself throughout.
“The first thing that I always recommend for making a cookie-cutter house feel personalized is to add lots of family photos,” says Roth. “There are so many different ways you can display them. It really makes a space feel personalized.”
Design your front foyer to help you unload
“I would argue that if you can identify the pain points in your house and make that pain go away, your house is going to feel a lot more like your own,” says Roth. For instance, consider what greets you as soon as you enter your front door.
“Ask yourself when you walk in, what do you usually have in your hands? Do you have three dogs and need somewhere to hang the leashes, or do you have three kids and need somewhere to put their backpacks?”
Place some hooks and hangers for these things, and your home can help you unload and destress.
Daunted by bright colors? Go pale instead
“I’ve been using a lot of really beautiful pale colors. Not so much pastels like you’d use in a nursery, but more of a white with a bit of a tint to it,” she says. “For example, I’ll use a real pale blue or green color in a beach house. And you’d hardly notice the color, but it makes a huge difference.”
Gray can be bold, too
Yes, the color gray may seem awfully safe, but there are ways to make it look more risqué.
“Gray is still being used a lot, but we’re using it in more clever ways, and not just as the answer to everything,” Roth explains.
She’s a big fan of gray walls that have a little bit of a hue to them, like a gray-blue or a gray-green.
Don’t mix home decor styles too much
“You go to a store, and there are so many different styles and things to choose from these days,” Roth says. “I think people get confused and distracted, and unintentionally mix many different styles.”
She advises sticking as close and consistently as possible to your chosen style.
Consider board and batten for siding
Board and batten is Roth’s very own version of shiplap, and she finds it goes well on just about any style of home.
“It’s a flat, vertical board, and traditionally, you would use narrow strips of wood to cover up the seams,” she says. “I use it pretty regularly because it’s a great finish that adds some texture to the outside of a home. It goes really well with stucco or shingles. Adding different materials to the exterior of a home makes a huge difference.”
With flowers, don’t do every color under the sun
Roth is big on being very careful with plant selection.
“I pick one accent color,” she says. “You’re not going to see a lot of the houses I’ve done with three or four different flower colors out front. It’s always going to be orange or yellow or purple, but not all three.”
Roth believes in “pared-down, very intentional landscaping.” She continues, “You can do a renovation and you can do a beautiful job on the construction, but if you don’t put in beautiful landscaping, it’s not going to look finished.”
Consider how long you plan to stay in your house
If you plan to stay in your place for only a year or two before you sell, you might want to go easy on the wild design and brilliant colors.
“Bigger design projects should be more neutral,” Roth says—but you don’t have to abandon color altogether.
In a kitchen, for example, “pick more neutral finishes that might appeal to a greater number of people that you also like. Then really customize it with cabinet hardware or paint colors or accessories, things that are really easy to change out.”
“But if you’re going to be in your house for another five, 10, 15 years, maybe indefinitely, I say go for it!”
HGTV’s “Hidden Potential” airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET.
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