Having been in the real estate business for over a decade, we’ve seen trends come and go. Tastes change but the house stays, and the money spent on the latest trend that quickly looks dated cannot be replaced…

Unless you are seriously considering selling your home in the next 12-24 months and your target market is a young, hip, trend-loving buyer, maybe it is wise to go for a timeless, classic look with consideration of what is “in” right now. Because chances are, the hottest trend may or may not work in 10 years. And 10-15 years is how often an average home owner remodels their kitchen.

Lets start with the kitchen.

Painted Open Kitchen cabinetry and shelves

Open kitchen Cabinetry, or worse, open shelving instead of wall cabinets. These are hot right now and on pictures look amazing. Trendy? Yes. Will they look dated in several years? Probably. Practical? No.

Lets be honest, unless you are an absolute minimalist and have perfect sets of matching China, and are immaculately organized, these are probably not for you and definitely not for us. We’ll admire the beauty of open kitchen cabinets on Pinterest but don’t bring these into our kitchen. We are OK however with one or two open cabinets for showy display of fine China, provided appropriate kitchen size and environment. Consider your market – we are in Cleveland after all and our buyers tend to be on a ‘safe’ side of trendy but do love an interesting component so maybe go for that one showy cabinet.

Color or painted kitchen cabinets… Every ‘latest’ real estate style article insists white kitchens are out. Maybe we are moving in that direction. Maybe Clevelanders are late to catch on… Every buyer that I have at the time of this blog being written is absolutely in love with a white kitchen. Dark, charcoal or chocolate brown floors. Pleasant, light reflecting and just a perfect shade of gray walls with contrasting white trim and a white kitchen. That is the “I want” of today’s Cleveland suburb buyer.

So maybe the white kitchen era is slowing down a little bit, but it is far from gone. The painted cabinets designers rave about are a bit too trendy for our market. A washed out navy/stone/aegean/slate gray/sage (does that even make sense) may work but the intense blues or greens recommended by designers will quickly become dated.

Some sellers have caught on to this trend and we’ve shown homes with gray or a pleasant slate-gray colored cabinetry and buyers are neutral toward it. They don’t mind it and maybe even like it as it grows on them.

Two toned kitchens with undercounted cabinetry being one color and the wall cabinets another is also a little bit risqué for Cleveland market. One tone kitchen with a contracting island is usually welcomed and liked as it brings an interesting component into the kitchen, but us, Clevelanders we like to play it safe.

Quartz countertops

Quite a few articles we are reading suggest that granite is out and quartz is in. We will agree that the classy and uniform look of quartz is very “in” right now but we don’t think granite is going anywhere. Quartz has its advantages – it is harder and thus more durable than granite; it is a manufactured stone after all, consisting of crushed quartz and man-made resin. It is also not porous like granite (granite needs to be sealed) so easier to maintain but is approximately 20% – 40% more expensive. It is also not as heat resistant as granite. This is important; if resin content is high, the countertop can be damaged by heat permanently. In addition, some quartz can become discolored over time with prolonged exposure to UV rays.

And for these reasons, we think granite is not going anywhere.

Farmhouse sinks

Tough one. Majority of people like them, but some do not. Many high-end designers rave about them. Farmhouse sinks do look sharp and add an interesting component to a kitchen or a bathroom. We are slightly concerned considering a quickly burned out glass vessel/bowl sink trend that was very hot but now, only a few years later makes a bathroom look dated.

We think a farmhouse sink can look interesting in a correct environment and with the right finishes, so if the home will sell in the next few years, it may be a safe bet. Farmhouse sinks are can look bulky so the space needs to be appropriate, as well as the kitchen size. When in doubt, go for the boring but timeless, stainless steel. If you cannot let go of the trend and want to compromise, consider a stainless steel farmhouse sink.

Golden Brass finishes

Stop right there. Maybe in an ultimately luxurious market where remodeling and updating takes place every 4-6 years; maybe, the brass is somewhat back. We’re in Cleveland ya’ll. Every single buyer I have had in the last many, many years has cringed at the classic golden door handle and golden faucet we see in every Cleveland area suburb. Grandma’s house is not “in”, it is still very much “out” locally. Maybe somewhere; where we are not, this is a trend. Not here. Classic satin nickel, bronze, or chrome are very much still “in” locally.

Deep, rich wall colors

Correctly chosen deep shades are very much in. Provided they reflect light, not absorb it; the room is open and has nice complementing contrasts, deep wall colors have been getting good feedback from our buyers. Appropriately chosen deep colors bring life to boring walls and the crisp white doors and trim totally pop against the darker hues. Deep shades are not right in every space, so be careful. If the room has very little natural light, it is best to avoid this trend. Additionally, stay in the deep but neutral color schemes – grays stemming from slate/charcoal/graphite; sandstone or oyster… Don’t go with reds, greens, yellows or purples.

Accent walls -Textured and Patterned Design Details

If done right, textured and patterned accent walls can add an interesting component to a home. We have not seen many homes implementing this trend as it can be expensive and is very taste specific. We have seen a few powder rooms that looked quite impressive with a uniquely lit up accent wall. If your home has a hip, design-ey feel, try it; otherwise we advise to stay on the neutral side.

Spa-like bathrooms

Yes, yes, and yes. If you are remodeling or adding a master bathroom, definitely don’t go the cheap route. Buyers love hotel, spa-like bathrooms. Clear glass showers, soothing colors, free-standing tubs, sophisticated tile, elegant vanities and fixtures. A buyer will gladly pay a premium for a spa-like master bathroom.

Finished Basements with perfect entertainment space

We’ve never had a buyer complain about a small kitchenette or a wet bar in the basement. Buyers usually are thrilled with available entertainment space. So many possibilities with a thoughtfully finished basement – a home theater, a wet-bar. A huge plus if you are able to add half bath.

Opened Floor plans, Widened doorways

This is big. If you are remodeling, call us. Lets talk about how we can modernize your floor plan. What does today’s buyer want. Based on our recommendations, homeowners are doing amazing updates to their homes. Unrecognizable even. Open floor plan concept is very much “in” and it is not going anywhere. We can talk about what needs to be opened to create a modern and sophisticated flow to sell your home at top dollar. So that when you put your house on the market, there will be multiple buyers fighting for your home. There is a science to this and an art. We are happy to share!

No two homes are the same and spaces work differently in each, but very generally, with a living room and dining room being in an L shape, try taking out the wall between kitchen and dining room. This alone will make a world of a difference. Majority of the time quite a few adjustments can be done to maximize selling price but those are often determined on the spot.

Additions and modifications

Another trend that is here to stay. Many homeowners modify floor plans, like removing walls to make a home more ‘open concept’, build additions such as a grand master suite with glamour bath or convert unnecessary spaces into useful and purposeful areas that can be used. Based on a short consult, one of our sellers converted a sun room into an extension of a family room and finished the second floor of said sunroom to become an extension of master glamour bath. The modification was not cheap but we set a new record for sold price in his neighborhood.

In other instances, we’ve recommended our investors purchase an outdated and impractical multi-family home to be converted into a glamorous single family home. There is lots of physical space to work with and the financial potential is very attractive.

Another popular addition is a luxury mudroom. Cleveland winters are tough and a structured space with plenty of storage for the bulky coats and a million pairs of toddler shoes is a definite “want” on any buyers list. If that mudroom can incorporate a first-floor laundry, that’s even lovelier.


The newest trend is to bring nature inside. The designers were talking about finishes – wooden accents, accent walls or decorative components. We recommend adding plants. Lots of them. Make sure they are kept up – no dry leaves and are planted in decorative containers. There is something so relaxing, soothing and calming about a home with houseplants. Choose a room that you’ve wanted to remodel for a while; add a plant stand, fill it with plants. Install brighter or accent lighting. Viola. Your eye naturally will travel to the new nature-corner and you’ve saved thousands!