On the show “One Week To Sell,” designer Taylor Spellman knows that even in a hot seller’s market, certain homes can sit without offers. And the reason is usually the home’s style—or lack thereof.
On the latest episode, “Bridging the Style Gap,” Spellman works on an old house in the sought-after community of Rockville Centre, NY. Just 30 minutes from Manhattan, and priced for just $725,000, this house should be fetching multiple offers. However, it’s been on the market for almost two months.
Spellman has just $9,800 and four days to turn this run-down old house into a desirable property that’ll reel in buyers. Here’s how she pulls it off, which contains plenty of pearls of wisdom home sellers and owners might want to apply to their own homes, too.
Remove dated wallpaper
When Spellman first walks into this dining room, she’s unsettled by the blue paint and, of course, the loud floral wallpaper.
“When a buyer walks in and they see this level of wallpaper,” Spellman says, “all they see are dollar signs and how expensive it’s going to be to fix this.”
The first thing Spellman does is remove the wallpaper and repaint the room a clean, fresh white. The new color immediately makes the space look much larger, but Spellman says she’s not done yet. She adds hand-painted, black shapes to the walls, giving the space a modern aesthetic.
“In removing the crazy floral wallpaper, we achieved a blank slate,” Spellman explains. “So, for me, the dining room is a moment to kind of bring back some character and some fun.”
While this black-and-white look may not be to everyone’s tastes, the design gives the dining room some much-needed personality without letting it feel dated.
Good lighting is a real game changer
While Spellman is a big believer in the power of paint, she says that lighting is the real game changer.
“Lighting is everything,” Spellman says. “It will change the buyer’s experience from start to finish. And that’s why I’m going to invest in a really amazing lighting piece.”
She explains that she doesn’t mind investing a good chunk of her budget on lights, so she replaces the dated chandelier with a black and gold fixture, priced at $640. This new light matches the new, modern vibe of the living room, and it brings lots of bright light to the dining space.
This light might be a little priceey, but once it’s installed, Spellman proves herself right. The light really does make a huge difference!
Vinyl flooring lends a modern look for less
After seeing such a dated dining room, Spellman isn’t surprised to find a worn-out kitchen. The brown cabinets are an eyesore, the striped wallpaper is old, and the multicolored floors are dated. Spellman decides to paint the cabinets black and even gives the breakfast nook a bright red, modern makeover.
The only thing left to change is the floor. While some hardwood might look good in the space, Spellman is afraid new wood flooring will clash with the wood in the rest of the house.
“The whole house right now does have wood flooring,” Spellman says, “but if I bring in a wood tone into this kitchen, it’s going to compete with what has been here since the 1900s.”
Instead, she decides to install gray vinyl in the space for the low price of $700.
“I need something new and fresh,” Spellman says, “and this gray tone will just be neutral, but also modern.”
When the floors are finished, they look perfect. The gray color elevates the space and complements the black cabinets.
Shelving is an inexpensive way to add some eye candy
With the kitchen and dining room looking modern, Spellman knows that the living room will need to match that fresher style. So she paints the space a nice, clean white and adds some modern art above the fireplace. However, she realizes that the space will need more than just these updates.
“Right now, this living room feels so drab and dull and there’s nothing that your eye gets drawn to,” she says. “So I’m outlining one whole side with a big, beautiful shelving unit.”
Spellman paints one wall black and installs some inexpensive shelves. She fills the shelves with colorful books and decor that give the space a homey touch.
“In this home, I need to have books, artwork, decorative items, and furniture in a variety of fabrics and prints,” Spellman says, “so that the room looks very sophisticated and the buyer is visually stimulated as soon as they walk through the door.”
A colorful rug can really pull a room together
With warm hardwood floors and freshly painted walls, this living room looks great, but there’s one thing it’s missing: a little texture.
“This home needs to feel really upscale. It needs to look luxurious and, right now, with the shelves on one side and the couch on the other, [the] living room just feels incomplete,” Spellman says. “I need a large, beautiful rug to tie everything together and give it that wow factor.”
Spellman calls in a favor to borrow a large, colorful rug for the open house. The rug gives the space an extra splash of color and a softer feel. It completes the look of the living room and makes this house feel like home.
In the end, Spellman’s upgrades cost a mere $9,709, and pay off big-time. At this property’s next open house, the seller receives an offer over asking price. It’s a good lesson that you don’t have to spend tons of money to turn a home’s luck around!