Tips for Both the Design-Apathetic and Design-Obsessed

Investing on March 6th, 2014 No Comments

There are 2 types of real estate investors: Those who like interior design, and those who don’t give a damn.  Here are some quick tips for both.

As someone who enjoys design and architecture, it’s easy for me (Julia) to be tempted by all the cool ideas floating around magazines,, and Nick, on the other hand, falls under the other category. Below are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind when choosing the right finishes for your rehabs.  I’ve split the tips for each type of person.

Quick Tips if You are Interior Design-Apathetic:

  • Your apathy doesn’t justify ugly and ill-matching finishes. I saw your listing and threw up a little in my mouth. That’s cool someone bought it just because the kitchen was new, but I guarantee you left money on the table due to that hideous backsplash. Your rehab shouldn’t look like a hodgepodge of the Home Depot clearance section. (Well, so long as it’s not obvious. High-five if you score clearance stuff and make it look good.)

If you suck at something business quote AA Real Estate

  • Ask for a second opinion. Like every other aspect of owning a business, if you suck at something, either learn how to be better or find someone else who doesn’t suck as much as you do. I suggest stagers, because it’s their job to depersonalize homes and appeal to the masses. They might charge for a design consultation or work it into their staging quote.
  • Speaking of second opinions; take your Realtor’s advice with a grain of salt. Just because they know their market and are good at selling houses, doesn’t make them interior designers. I’ve seen overzealous Realtors email over really weird ideas for colors and fixtures many-a-times.
  • Don’t want to hire a second opinion? Spend a few minutes looking at the color schemes on this Pottery Barn Pinterest board.  The Pottery Barn aesthetic is neutral, aspirational, and works for most projects.  Ignore anything “cute” “odd” or “quirky.”
  • Finally, take comfort knowing you only have to figure this out once every couple years. Repeat the same finishes over and over. Replace a discontinued SKU with something similar.

Quick Tips if You are Interior Design-Obsessed:

  • Remind yourself this rehab project is not an opportunity for your artistic expression. Your job is to appeal to as many people as possible. Only apply artistic elements such as balance, proportion, and ability to tell if things “go together.”

Rehab keeping it neutral

  • Recalibrate your design aesthetic and focus on neutral, popular opinion. Take a look at this PotteryBarn Pinterest board.
  • Ask yourself, “Is this universal or is it too taste-specific?” when shopping for finishes.
  • Don’t over think it. It’s either popular or it’s not. It either “goes” or it doesn’t.
  • Know when you’re out of your league. Entering a new market? Doing a super high-end project? Don’t let your pride get in the way of when you need to call in the big guns. (Read: Calling in a Pro to Kick it up a Notch)
  • Remind yourself this rehab is not an expression of your artistic abilities. (Did I already mention that??) 
  • If you find all the beiges and fake paintings of fruit to be soul-crushing, seek other avenues to channel your unique artistic impulses.  Decorate your own space, help a friend redecorate, take a painting class, browse Architectural Digest, look at this cool London Townhouse.  Just keep all it out of your rehab projects.

Need more inspiration?

Follow me on Pinterest and  It’s where I keep photos of design inspiration for our rehab projects.

Check out this article on the types of finishes we put in AA rehabs.

The AA Real Estate Group

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