You buy or rent a house. But you make it your home. Creating a space that meets your needs and reflects your unique personality often becomes an ongoing quest, passion, and source of joy. In 2020, we spent over $700 billion globally on home décor. During the first year of homeownership, most of us spend thousands of dollars on the details that transform a piece of property into a personal haven. We paint, we furnish, we remodel, and more.
But most of the money we invest in adding all those personal touches is money we’ll never see again. If you’ve ever tried to sell a used leather sofa on Craig’s List, you know what I’m talking about. Does that mean we regret spending that money? Absolutely not. Living in a home, we’ve lovingly designed to reflect our personalities, interests, and standards returns a reward we experience dozens of times a day. There are, however, some décor choices that have been found to offer a more tangible reward: they increase the value of your homes. Let’s take a look at the reasons why we redecorate and how to create a redecorating plan that not only makes you feel good but may put some money back in your pockets.
What Drives The Decision To Redecorate?
Moving to a new home often inspires or necessitates redecorating. Here’s a statistic that might surprise you: about 40 million Americans move every year. That amounts to about 13% of the population. While people move for all kinds of reasons, including professional opportunities and the desire to live closer to family, the most common motivation for moving is simply wanting a different house or apartment. Growing families need more bedrooms, empty-nesters need fewer. Elderly people may decide they want to live on one level because climbing stairs has become a chore. But that 9-piece sectional that fit nicely in your sprawling ranch living room may not fit in your new urban condo. More bedrooms mean more beds and dressers, more bathrooms, more towels, and shower curtains. Then there’s always the possibility that the previous residents of your new home had an awful taste!
But moving isn’t the only reason we decorate. For years, people who’ve lived in their homes cite a wide variety of reasons for switching up their home decor. Furniture and rugs show signs of wear-and-tear—paint chips. Styles change, and your home may begin to look dated. On top of that, decorating is fun! It lets us tap into our creative skills. It’s a source of pride. For people who enjoy a good dose of retail therapy now and then, the shopping involved in redecorating alone can be great entertainment and provide a substantial emotional boost.
Creating A Redecorating Plan
Whether you’re just moving into your new home or looking to spruce up your old familiar place, creating a budget and a step-by-step plan can help you make the most of your décor dollars. Just as you start by figuring out how much home you can afford when you move, budgeting comes first. Take your very best guess on how much you’ll be able to spend on redecorating in a given year comfortably. Then reduce it by 10%. It’s best to build in a cushion to address any emergencies that may arise during the year.
Next comes prioritizing. New furniture is essential for some people—bunk beds for growing toddlers, a dining room table if you’ve never had a dining room before. That’s the sort of investment that won’t provide a return; nonetheless, it may appear at the top of your list. If you have enough furniture, start looking elsewhere for ways to improve your home that can pay dividends when you decide to move.
If you’re a renter, invest in décor that’s portable. A fabulous oriental rug that will make you happy and suit your needs for years to come, anywhere you move. Artwork that makes a statement about you as it beautifies a room. A stunning comforter that fits the bed you’re likely to take with you wherever you go. Investing in high-quality pieces that will last will save you the expense of replacing them when you move.
If you’re a homeowner, you may have a wider range of financially-beneficial choices. Paradoxically, it’s the stuff you can’t take with you that helps you build equity in your home.
Décor Decisions That Boost Home Value
Any experienced realtor will tell you that great kitchens and baths sell homes. New and high-end appliances are among the features homebuyers covet most. But those are among the more costly improvements you can make. Other less-expensive choices, like reglazing a worn-out bathtub, swapping old faucets out for new, or installing contemporary, energy-efficient lighting, can also make your home more attractive. And never underestimate the value of a fresh coat of paint! Choosing neutral colors, particularly foyers, large hallways, and ceilings, is usually a good idea. Save your more idiosyncratic favorites—love lavender or crimson red?—for a small bath or bedroom.
Well-chosen custom window furnishings are another home feature that can up the resale value of your home. Again, choosing blinds and shades that can complement a wide array of furniture and paint colors is a wise choice. Wooden blinds are not only a timeless choice; they’re in keeping with today’s overall design trend towards warmer, more natural-looking décor. Motorized blinds, a relatively new addition to the growing list of smart home features—you can control them via mobile app—are another interesting choice that lends not only convenience but also an added measure of home security.
One Final Tip
If you decide to spring for high-end appliances, smart home features, or other pricey décor upgrades, be sure to protect your investment as best you can. Even the best homeowner’s insurance company won’t reimburse you for items you have not documented. Each time you make an improvement, take photos and save the receipt for your purchase. Why? Let’s say you have a fire in your home. If you can’t prove you made costly home improvements, your insurance company may not fully reimburse you for them. The custom-fitted drapes you paid thousands for and want to replace? Your insurance company is more likely to give you enough money to buy a new pair of curtains at Target or Home Goods. For as much time and creativity you invest in making your home your haven, it pays to spend a few more minutes updating your insurance information. It may wind up saving you thousands, but it doesn’t cost a dime.