Styled, Staged & Sold

Bringing you the latest home design and staging trends. From REALTOR® Magazine.

Help Sellers Upgrade Their Home’s Look to Impress Buyers

Content sponsor Opendoor offers tips on how you can guide your clients toward timeless design elements that won’t go out of style.

A home’s design, including floor plans, tiling, cabinetry and countertops, can make or break its appeal to buyers. Just like fashion, home decor trends change over time, so what’s “in” this year may be “out” the next. Knowing how to guide your clients on these trends can help set you apart from competitors. You can learn from industry surveys; Opendoor, for example, recently surveyed homeowners to learn about their design priorities—and cost-effective approaches are top priority. Owners are moving toward “universal decor” and ultra-functional spaces, according to Opendoor’s survey, which includes a roundup of tried-and-true design must-haves. Below are the survey’s top findings, along with tips to enhance a space without breaking the bank.

Impact of Inflation on Design Budgets

Inflation is prompting fewer owners to update their home’s look, with only 25% saying they swap out their decor at least once a year. That’s down from 32% in 2021, which suggests that “universal decor”—pieces that work year-round—may gain favor. When walking a client through a home, make sure to point out specific features or design elements that will have longevity (think quartz countertops in the kitchen or hardwood flooring elsewhere in the home).

Homeowners who do seek a makeover are choosing cost-effective options, such as fresh paint (66%), furniture rearrangement (49%), new throw pillows (43%), house plants (41%) and updating wall art (39%). DIY projects can be easy on a budget, too, such as staining a vintage piece of furniture, painting cabinets, new peel and stick tiles, repainting a room or adding modern wallpaper.

The New Powerhouse Room

The living room has overtaken the kitchen as the central space of the home. Twenty-four percent of homeowners say the living room is where they feel most energized, while 54% say it’s also where they feel most relaxed. Fifty-five percent say they feel closest to others in the living room, with the kitchen coming in second (21%).

Ultra-functional rooms, which maximize indoor opportunities for connection, rest and relaxation, solitude and productivity, are likely to see higher demand. Forty-one percent of homeowners say they want a fully open layout for the kitchen, living room and dining room. Advising clients to use living room furniture to delineate a separate space—the couch in the middle of the room, backed by a console table—will help foster a feeling of openness, even if the layout doesn’t allow for it.

Using Design to Impress a Potential Buyer

A significant number of buyers will also need to sell, which means you can use design elements to give potential buyers ideas for how to sell their current home. Survey respondents shared the role design plays in that process:

Opendoor graphic

Another easy and cost–effective upgrade that clients can easily do themselves is switching out light fixtures. Replace outdated vanity lights, pendant lights or builder-grade flush mounts with reasonably priced, design-forward options, like fixtures with LED bulbs or energy-saving dimmers. Lighting can completely change the look and feel of a space.

If your client’s home needs more than touchups, focus on the upgrades buyers say they want most, including new kitchen appliances (23%), a kitchen island (21%) and quartz countertops (15%). Opt for durable, high-quality materials that can withstand stains and spills. Quartz counters and luxury vinyl plank flooring in colors and patterns that mimic real stone and wood offer a timeless design.

2023 Design Trends 

Homeowners revealed what’s resonating with them in the Opendoor survey:


In: Ranch-style (35%) and Craftsman (23%) styles impress the most.

Out: Italianate (24%) and Modern (16%) styles impress the least.


In: Millennials incorporated “cottagecore” (21%) and maximalism (25%) into their homes in 2022.

Out: Homeowners say that Bohemian (30%) and modern (17%) are their least favorite styles.

Front Door Colors

In: Neutral colors are preferred by homeowners (44%).

Out: Bright and bold shades are least preferred (48%).

Interior Colors

In: Mid-tone gray and beige (38%) are most preferred.

Out: Deep shades (13%) are least preferred.

Outdoor Features

In: Outdoor dining tables and chairs (22%), a fire pit (20%) and an outdoor structure (23%) are most appealing.

Out: Fountains and statues (27%) and outdoor rugs (21%) are least enticing.

Renovation Priorities

In: Both kitchen (24%) and bathroom (26%) are popular.

Out: Only 19% plan to remodel their living room in 2023.

Opendoor graphic

3 Tips for Captivating Indoor Design Features

1. Recessed LED lights: Pairing overhead lights with task and accent lighting, like floor lamps, brings in extra layers of lighting to make a room feel more cozy.

2. Luxury vinyl plank: LVP throughout the home can bring in the warmth and coveted look of hardwood floors with the added safety of its durability, particularly in wet areas.

3. Subway tile: For creative applications with subway tile, explore different colors, sizes and textures, ranging from brick-like to handmade zellige subway tiles. 

Eco-minded home buyers are expected to take an indoor/outdoor approach. Inside, they are likely to refinish existing floors, cabinets and fixtures (50%); invest in energy-saving light dimmers (47%); or refinish/repaint an old piece of furniture (38%). Outdoors, they may want solar-powered lights (46%), native landscaping (43%), drought-resistant landscaping (40%), solar panels (26%), turf lawn (22%) and drip irrigation (21%).

You also can advise your clients to skip the hassle of repairs, staging and open houses when they sell their home to Opendoor. Get it done with speed and ease. Learn more at

This is a sponsored post submitted by Opendoor. The representations, information, advice and opinions presented by Opendoor are solely its responsibility.

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