Do You Decorate For Yourself, Or For Some Unknown Future Owner?

I feel like I post on this topic every couple of years, but it’s something I feel quite strongly about — decorating your house for yourself rather than for some possible future unknown owner of your house.

During my kitchen remodel, and especially after I started painting my kitchen cabinets green and adding gold leaf, I was asked several times, “But aren’t you concerned about resale?”  And even after I had finished my kitchen, and I was overjoyed with the fact that I, the current homeowner, had the kitchen of my dreams, I still had people asking, “But isn’t resale a concern?”

nine things - appliance specific outlets

Ummm…no.  I have the most gorgeous (to me) kitchen I’ve ever seen, and I walk in there every day and stare at it, amazed that it’s mine, and that such a gorgeous (to me) kitchen is in my house, and that I created such a gorgeous (to me) kitchen with my own hands.  No, my kitchen isn’t everyone’s taste, but it perfectly suits my style and personality.  I can assure you that some possible future unknown owner of my house is the absolute last thing on my mind every time I walk into my kitchen.

Fortunately, Matt and I aren’t concerned with resale anyway, since we’re planning on this home being our final home.  So I can paint cabinets green, and paint walls black, and tile my bathroom walls with white and gold mosaic tile (that idea is still formulating in my head) with wild abandon.  But even if we were planning selling in five or ten years, you know what?  I wouldn’t do anything differently.  Right now, this house is mine.  And right now, this house needs to reflect my personality.

I have to admit that the mindset of decorating for a possible future owner is one that I personally will never, ever understand, with one possible exception.  If a person/family knows for sure that they will only be in a house for a year or two (like maybe he or she does contract work and knows without a doubt that he or she will be moving in a year when the contract is up), then I can understand keeping things simple and neutral.  But if you have no certain plans to sell, or if your planning on selling “possibly in five or ten years or so”, then what’s the point in decorating for someone else, especially some presently-unknown future possible home buyer that will come along in possibly five or ten years?

More than likely, even if you keep things perfectly neutral with all safe choices, the next homeowner will want to redo everything anyway.  Either those perfectly neutral and safe choices that you made ten years ago will now be outdated when you want to sell, or those perfectly neutral choices just won’t suit the new homeowner.

You could make all kinds of safe “upgrades” to your house, like putting in granite countertops in the kitchen (even though you really wanted marble), and selecting a granite that is generally well liked and “neutral” (in this area, that would probably be New Venetian Gold), but that’s no guarantee that the next homeowner will like it and want to keep it.  The next homeowner could be someone like me, who actually dislikes all granite, most of all the ubiquitous New Venetian Gold, and will rip it out as soon as she has the opportunity.  So that “neutral” and “safe” upgrade that you made to please that unknown future owner of your house would be a waste, when you could have gotten what you liked and enjoyed what you liked for the years that you were in your home.

My point is this.  Unless you fit into that category that I spoke about earlier, and have a definitely sell date due to a job contract ending or something like that, decorate your house for you.  If you want to paint your kitchen cabinets red, then do it!

colorful house - red kitchen cabinets, via HouzzFarmhouse Kitchen

Why be concerned whether or not some possible future owner in ten years will like your cabinets? Enjoy what you love!

If you want to paint your entryway pink, do it!

colorful house - pink entryway via House Beautifulvia House Beautiful

After all, it’s just paint!

Or if you want to put up some bold wallpaper in your office, go for it!

colorful house - bold wallpaper in a home office by Shirley Meisels, via HouzzContemporary Home Office by Toronto Interior Designers & Decorators Shirley Meisels

So I encourage you to stop worrying about what that unknown possible future homeowner might think about your choices  (again, unless you have definite plans to sell in the near future), and start decorating for you!  Create a home that you love and that reflects your personality, regardless of what others may think about it.

And that’s my annual pep.  🙂  You decorate for you!



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  1. This is one of my biggest complaints while looking for a house too, people advertising new paints and carpet to get more money for the house. Frankly I would prefer you just to leave the old stuff because I’m going to rip out that carpet anyways and repaint the walls to my taste.

    1. I totally agree! I hate seeing all of those neutral “upgrades” that supposedly add to the value of the house. I’d rather save the money on the house purchase, and then use that extra money to choose exactly what I want, rather than feeling obligated to live with the neutral “upgrades” because they’re new and I’ve paid for them in the price of the house.

      1. I agree with both of you, but based on all the HGTV real estate shows I watch at least, there are a LOT of people who find the idea of painting or replacing carpeting to be akin to torture. It’s just paint! Super easy to change! But apparently there are lots of people who want that neutral canvas to start with (or to keep) and will pay more so that a house is “move in ready” (even though to me, the idea of move in ready is crazy, because I will *always* want to personalize it).

        I guess everyone just isn’t as enlightened as the three of us, :-).

        1. I totally agree with you Kristi but when you watch those shows it makes me twitch how many times they are looking at the decor they don’t like instead of the actual structure. So in light of that, what Linda S. Says makes sense, too. It can go either way but you have to be happy in your house!

      2. Thanks for both of your comments. It has helped me clarify my situation and now I am making decisions for ME about how to re-do my kitchen and living room!

      3. Kristi,
        I agree with you. It is YOUR home, you should decorate as you want. I hate that anyone else would try to tell you to worry about resale. It is YOUR home, and as such, you have to live there, regardless of how many years you will do so. I hate when people gripe and complain about someone else’s choice of decoration…I ABSOLUTELY LOVE your kitchen the way you have it. My hubby doesn’t like green so he would disagree, but that’s too bad for him….he doesn’t know what he’s missing out on. 🙂

    2. I totally agree Kristi! As I watch the shows on updating and/or buying a home I wonder what the underlying message is?. So many people seem convinced that stainless steel and granite are the ONLY options for their kitchens, the two things that are the most expensive to buy and make homes look so similar inside. If someone buys a house and doesn’t like granite or when granite finally goes out of fashion, future home owners will be tearing out counter tops that cost more than any of my cars have! It all just doesn’t make sense to me especially if it was installed with the idea that it would make their home easier to sell. Enjoy your home, live in and decorate it for you (except if you are flipping) and what makes you happy, just as Kristi has. Kristi you are a wonderful example of creativity and resourcefulness, I love your blog, your honesty and I look forward to your blog emails in my ‘in’ box. A very warm thank you.

      PS if anyone can share with me how to post an original comment without having to use reply that would be very grateful. I just haven’t been able to figure it out. : )

    3. AMEN!!!!
      We recently bought a new house…complete with it’s pink walls and carpet in the Master Bedroom, ancient gray wrinkled berber in the formal living room and up the stairs, aqua paint in the kitchen and brass hardware everywhere…and those are just the big ticket items….but we loved it because we could see the potentia…to make it ours! SO immediately upon closing, we ripped out the old flooring and installed new. We painted every wall on the main floor. And we have plans to do so much more. BUT the kicker is that the previous owner loved what she had in there. It reflected her and her personality. And she apologized to us for things not being up to date…I told her not to apologize. What she failed to see or acknowledge was that the important things were maintained…the roof was in great shape, the HVAC was new, the cabinets (while not my first choice in finish) are in tip-top shape…the rest is basically cosmetic and no matter what she had tried to put in prior to knowing us, or even after, would not have been what we chose.The point is, in a new house (to you), you should feel free to make it yours…that’s part of the joy of home ownership!!!!

  2. Great advice! For the record, I think your decorating would add thousands to the value of your house…I’d buy it! Keep up the great work, both with your decorating and personally. You are an inspiration. Gosh, that was mushy. LOL

  3. Rock on wich yo bad self Kristi! I painted murals throughout my old house including a forest of oak trees with fall kissed leaves that rise up and onto my ceiling — which makes it feel as if I’m sleeping amongst them. I love it. The next owner will probably hate it. Not my problem. It’s just paint.

    1. Nicole, your comment brought back to mind my home of 15 years ago where I also did a floor to ceiling mural on all 3 walls of the dining room. When we went to sell I didn’t bother neutralizing it, figuring the next homeowner would do that themselves and fully expecting it. The first couple that looked at the house bought it and I heard from my old neighbors how much the new family loved the mural.
      My next house I did orange venetian plaster on the walls and ceiling. Sold that one last year without the help of a realtor. Buyers said nothing could beat that dining room.
      So yeah, Kristi, I agree wholeheartedly with you and Nicole!

  4. Couldn’t agree more. Choosing colours and finishes that suit some future unknown person versus living with what you love? No brainer, to me!
    Anyone who buys a house on the basis of the paint colours and finishes isn’t paying attention to the things that matter, like the wiring, structural integrity, location, etc.

  5. YES!!! I say it all the time to friends… your house should be for you, not whomever if ever you move. Enjoy your space if that means red walls or a yellow island countertop. I full agree, an love that you are making your mark in your home and it is beautiful!!

  6. I totally agree with you! If you live in a house and decorate it for a “future buyer” then you aren’t LIVING in YOUR house, you’re only residing in theirs for the time being. Why would anyone (besides someone with a definite limited time frame) want to live like that. You are so right about a future buyer wanting to change most things anyway. Live in your house like you want to, enjoy it fully and don’t worry about the next buyer. If you are that stressed, when you do have to put it on the market to sell, just prime and paint everything white and have neutral floors. Don’t miss your opportunity to love where you live NOW! I can’t wait to see your breakfast room. I’m so thrilled with everything you’ve done to your home. Happy to know you and Matt are living in a place you do enjoy!

  7. I totally agree! I’d rather have something I don’t like in a house and thus feel pressed to change it rather than have something that is neutral and boring but which I can just about cope with – and then end up coping with it for a (too) long period of my life…

  8. I’m with you. I would never ever consider doing something in my house for a future tenant. I believe if you decorate with things you love it will work and the “art doesn’t have to match the couch”.

  9. I totally agree! Paint is just paint, and can always be painted over. (By the way, I love the pink entryway and the black and white wallpaper example pics!) Also, I just noticed your sliding doors outside the kitchen in that pic, and absolutely love them!! They have style, but aren’t too loud in contrast with the kitchen. They fit really well with it, actually! Can’t wait to see how the breakfast room ties in! 😀

  10. Totally agree! If you must keep it all neutral to make the next owner happy, you may as well be renting.
    I blame HGTV for this “always thinking of selling” mindset. Too many real estate shows and not enough that focus on decorating and renovating for the way you want to live in your own home.

    1. I haven’t had cable (and therefore, HGTV) in years, but I’ve heard that same complaint from so many people — too many real estate shows. And I’ve also seen those complaints all over their Facebook page. I wonder why they don’t pay more attention to what their viewers say they want. :-/

    2. I couldn’t agree more. How I miss the decorating shows like Candice Olsen. Many of the shows have reduced homes down to these neutral shelters devoid of any personality primed for maximum resale value. I think Fixer Upper does the best job of making homes into something that families will fill with love and memories.

  11. Making a decision for a space that is all about your current needs and not the needs of a hypothetical future homeowner is one of the most empowering things you can do.

    About 5 years ago, my husband and I removed the extremely large bathtub from our master bathroom. I had used it maybe once for actually bathing but mostly as a collecting point for our Goodwill donations. (And don’t get me wrong: a homeowner NEEDS a Goodwill collecting point in her house. Maybe just not an 18 square foot collecting point.)

    We were pretty nervous about it, due to the dreaded resale value argument. Our realtor friends thought we were nuts. But we did it anyway. We ripped it out, repaired the walls, installed hooks, shelves, and a mirror, and now use the space daily.

    It was a turning point for us. We did something that was anti-resale value, and the sky did not fall. Furthermore, it was, like I said above, completely empowering. When we look back on our marriage (19 years), we actually list that project as one of our high points.

  12. I totally agree with you Kristi, you should always decorate your home for you. It should be a reflection of you and furthermore, you are the one paying for it, so you should have the things and style that you like. I really like your vision for your breakfast room and can’t wait to see it coming to fruition. It’s going to be so sophisticated and classy! As always you are such an inspiration Kristi. Love your work.

  13. I totally agree, also; on the other hand, lol, some of us are just more sophisticated than others and truly enjoy doing our own thing when they prefer mainstream. ;c)

  14. I want to take out the tub in my main floor bathroom and put in a walk in shower with a seat. The tub will be in the basement bathroom and it will be a claw foot tub. All I hear is what about resale – you need a tub in the main bathroom and people don’t like claw foot tubs. (insert raspberry sound here). Well what about it. I am doing my house for me. That means my computer room walls will be olive green and my kitchen cabinets will be light grey on top and dark grey on the bottom. You’d think I wanted to sell my first child. I am getting to the point that I don’t volunteer any information on my projects — only furnish when asked. And, you know, that is sad. When did we start living our lives thinking about whether the next owner of our homes will like our choices? I am retiring in four years and when I do, my house will be exactly the way I want it.

    Sorry, you hit on a sore subject. I am so glad you posted this. I plan on sending it to a few people.

  15. I’m an interior designer, and I get this question all the time. This is what I tell my clients. If you’re definitely planning to more within 5 years, keep the surfaces that are difficult (0r expensive) to change….countertops, flooring, cabinetry.. as neutral as you can and allow your personality to shine in fabrics, paint color and accessories. If there is no end game for you, then do exactly what you want, because if you’re in the home more than 5 years and you want to sell, you’ll have to update everything anyway. That seems to give them a structured way of making a decision, and it’s worked well for them and me. I think the real estate professionals are responsible for this “neutra” mindset, and we have allowed their perspective to be seen as “good design” when it’s not!

  16. oh Kristi you singing to the choir to me. I am so sick of hearing about decorating neutral, beige and boring I could scream and I blame it all on HGTV and the decorating shows. I swear the people looking at the houses (usually 3 of them at a time) walk in and say oh I hate the wall colors and act like this would keep them from buying the house (by the mentality of them this is probably true). I have never seen more shallow people than on these shows. Oh and then they go back 3 months later after they have “decorated” and it looks like school dorm rooms if you ask me. For some reason realtors have picked up this mantra also and the first thing they tell you oh you have to paint these rooms off white or beige and maybe change out the carpet, floor etc. it just goes on and on. You keep preaching we will keep listening……..

  17. I agree – I do try to keep the permanent things (tile, flooring, bath fixtures) more neutral — not for new homeowner but because I’m fickle. I know that a blue bathroom today may be coral or yellow down the road.

    I also try to keep the improvements in line with the neighborhood (which means upgrading all the awful, cheap to be cheap, builder grade choices of the previous owners) because while I’m not decorating for the next owner – I am considering that smart choices will make US more money when we sell. I’m decorating for me now and me when we retire and cash out.

  18. We just built our forever home and put a a lot of personal touches in it. We choose a deep Pacific Blue for the siding and go a lot of, “are you sure?” and “what about resale?” My husband and I could personally give a flip about what anyone else thought. This was our home and we were going to love every inch of it. I can’t tell you how many compliments we get on that blue siding. We stick out like a sore thumb in our subdivision of “retirement beige” houses and I love it!

    Where I live, most of the houses are builder grade and lack any sort of personality what so ever. Everything is golden oak, uba tuba granite and “Tuscan” looking. Fine if that really is your style preference, more power to you, but it wasn’t ours and I’m so glad we went outside the box. We really love our home and a year later I still smile every time i look at it.

  19. This! My husband and I are in the market for a home and it is highly unlikely that I would buy a house just to leave the same as the last owner regardless of their taste, neutral or otherwise. So if they made hideous choices (to me) like red wells and new venetian gold granite counters with Texas star stain glass front doors, I will just feel that much less guilty about ripping it all out and doing what I want.

  20. Totally agree! It’s your house now, you’re paying the mortgage, shouldn’t you enjoy living there (especially if you plan to be there for years)?

    Just on a side note, how are you liking the concrete countertops? I’ve heard they scratch easily but I LOVE the look in your kitchen and am trying to talk my hubby into letting me try it =)

    1. I LOVE my concrete countertops!!

      When people say that concrete countertops scratch easily, I think they’re talking about the faux “concrete countertops” that people are doing these days, i.e. the laminate (or other material) that is skim coated with that Ardex concrete material, like YHL did in their kitchen, and Little Green Notebook did in her laundry room. That type of concrete countertop, which isn’t actually a concrete countertop, scratches very easily.

      REAL concrete countertops like I have don’t scratch. I’m not careful with my countertops at all. I even spilled paint on them (just a few drops) and didn’t realize until it was dried. That usually a good thing, but it was the green BM Advance paint, which doesn’t come off as easily as other latex paints. So I got a sharp knife and used the pointy end to scrape up the paint. Worked great, and didn’t leave a mark on my countertop. No stain, either.

      1. Thanks! We currently have tile countertops and although I hate the look and trying to clean the grout, I LOVE the function of having a hotplate on every surface. Concrete is going to be my next kitchen DIY. =)

  21. Kristi,
    I love your common sense approach. And what a good reality check to folks who might be tempted to decorate to resale. I liken it to the whole Martha Stewart craze and the folks who criticized her because she was making the rest of womanfolk feel bad about themselves. To that I say, shame on you (those unnamed woman) if you let her make you feel bad – take her examples, ideas, etc – keep what works for you and pitch the rest! Ok, I’ll get down off my soapbox now. You bring a wonderful balance of everyday and sprinkle it with something special that I find a great motivator in my own home and DIY journey. Thank you.

  22. My home is decorated to my taste. I never think of other people when doing something. It is about what I want. We designed and built our home and have been here for 23 years. We will be moving on in the next year due to retirement and downsizing (this place is 4700Sq Ft). I can be happy in about 1500, warmer climate, with a pool! I do realize that there are some things that will have to be changed, before we put the house on the market. The master suite, for example, is a very dark blue (which will stay) but the sitting room has a red and white wallpaper that will have to be removed and repainted. I may paint that area about the chair rail a lighter blueish grey, since I am planning to paint the bathroom vanities in a grey color. Everything else is white, except for some half walls that are the dark blue. The guest bedroom and bath need to be painted and the wallpaper border will be removed. That is all I will change. On the other hand, since I have been house shopping (and I don’t know if this indicative of FL) a neutral house is more appealing. A lot of the houses I see are either so over decorated, or outdated that it is almost impossible to vision them with my ideas. So I do understand the idea of keeping it neutral, but I would not do it. However, we will probably end up buying a neutral home, and putting my decorating taste into it. It just seems easier to start at neutral and improve, than to have to undo everything, just to redo. Don’t know if any of this makes sense, but it is what it is! Blessings

  23. I am another one in total agreement with you! And like so many have said — it’s only paint! (your green kitchen) Seriously, someone could come in and paint all your cabs white — heaven forbid, lol — and they would have a very neutral kitchen…white cabs, gray counters, white back splash, wood floors. BAM. Done. So, yes, don’t worry about what Mr. or Mrs. Home Buyer wants — it’s your house now, so do whatcha want!! 😀

  24. Thanks Kristi! I needed to read this! There are A LOT of things I’d like to do to our home but I always think about resale (which could be years from now or never). I will definitely make sure to do all the things that make me happy and enjoy our place whether anyone else likes it or not.

  25. Frankly, I would BUY your house BECAUSE of the KITCHEN! Your condo (for example) was personally decorated, but also stylish and coordinated. There are times when we sell… that toning down the “personalization” is an asset. But I totally agree to design for your self…then when you stage to sell you might want to make changes that have more “universal” appeal. Often times things like a green kitchen or and cute yellow bathroom set a home apart in a BLAH market. Especially in neighborhoods…or condos where almost all the available houses look SUPER similar! Model homes aren’t boring! Design on my friend…your working miracles in that house!

  26. Growing up, we moved every two years, so Mom definitely kept resale in mind. My husband and I made the decision to stay put and watch our children and their friends grow up together. It has been so liberating. I decorate with what makes me smile. I wanted a purple laundry room – and I have it. I wanted floating floors- I got them. I don’t want granite counter tops, no matter if every other house has them. I love my house and it looks like ME! So I say enjoy your beautiful style and laugh in the face of “resale.”

  27. I RENT and I feel this way. I’ve been in my rental over ten years. A few years into it, I knew I wasn’t leaving and I knew the owners would need to repaint after I vacated any way. And it helps that the owner is a friend. There’s not a white wall in the house. I’ve even carpeted some hard floors with carpet tile which I can peel up and take with me. I remodeled a bathroom 8 years ago for about $400 by doing it myself. Totally worth it. I’m getting inspired to do my other bathroom watching your kitchen renovation. For me, interior design and comfort are wildly important. I wouldn’t live in a space I couldn’t manipulate to my liking, rental or not.

  28. I Definitely decorate to please myself. I will use any color I want. The only time I holdback is for bathroom … tub toilet, things that are going to stay for years and I can’t replace., I find myself hesitant to be trendy & i tend to be safe with colors when i cant afford to change it down the road.

  29. I’ve always found this to be an interesting topic and generally speaking, I agree with you. When it’s “just paint” or “just wallpaper,” why the heck not? That’s easily changed. However, some things aren’t as easily changed and that not only affects a future homebuyer, but it affects me too when I decide I need a change. If you do things right, you can make it easier (and cheaper) on yourself or a future homebuyer down the road.

    Here’s an example… I hate my home’s current kitchen. I have wood cabinets that are painted an awful high-gloss shade of seafoam green with a door style I don’t care for. The layout is not functional, the storage capacity is terrible, and whoever put in the oak hardwood floors went around the cabinets rather than going under them. I don’t have the money right now to do a full gut-job, but I could possibly afford a partial job that involved moving things around, adding or removing a few cabinets, some fresh paint, and maybe new inexpensive countertops. That would make me happy and I could live with it until the day when I can afford to make it perfect. Know what’s preventing that? The choice of the previous owner to half-ass the floors. I’m now stuck with the existing cabinet footprint unless I can cover it entirely or I want to pay a professional to come in, patch the floors, and sand and re-seal the entire kitchen and adjacent dining room.

    My point is that, had I chosen to put the floors in, I probably would have lifted the cabinets out and gone under them. Would it cost a little more? Sure. Is it more work? Sure. But in the end, neither I nor a future homeowner would be stuck with that footprint forever (or be limited to a full gut-job). Incidentally, I did this in my condo bathroom with the tile floor and my Dad thought I was crazy. But I’d just gone through ripping up and re-tiling the floor just to change-out an ugly pink vanity. I didn’t want me or some future condo owner to have to do that again. If they didn’t want my dark cherry vanity, there was no reason they should have to rip-out a perfectly good neutral-colored floor because the new vanity had a different footprint.

    Basically, what I’m saying, is that some things are more permanent than others (hardwood flooring, tile, cabinetry, wall paneling not mounted on top of drywall, etc.) because of cost, installation cost, or the cost of repairing damage after removing them. If you can bring yourself to choose more neutral color or classic style for those items or install them in such a way that they can be replaced down the road without replacing everything else in the room, why not?

    All that said, I hate when people judge you for ripping something out that they themselves deem valuable or that they personally like. You’re right…it’s about what YOU like. We have a huge living room in our house that was done floor-to-ceiling in knotty pine with glossy oak floors that have dark-colored plugs. There’s a huge stone hearth in the corner. Clearly, someone really liked that “log cabin” feel, but it’s just not us. Family members who like it can’t understand why we’d ever want to yank it out or, *gasp*, paint over it. And clearly, the previous homeowners never intended to remove it because the pine boards are fastened directly to the studs. Same problem as the kitchen. I can’t remove it unless I’m ready to drywall, mud, and finish the entire room.

  30. Kristy continue to enjoy it every day, it’s BEAUTIFUL, its yours and yours alone.
    People need to learn to live in the moment.

    YOURS is the keyword here.

  31. OH MY GOD I can’t tell you how MUCH I hate the “but what about the resale value??” crap! We just got done putting in luxury vinyl plank throughout the main floor of our house and it looks FANTASTIC. I did it because we rescue dogs and having an extremely durable flooring that will withstand five or six dogs running around is essential, plus we have a bit of a wavy floor and the flexibility of the planks was ideal.

    So it looks fantastic, it is so easy to clean, it’s exactly what I wanted… and I keep hearing “it’s probably not going to help your resale value”… “Hardwoods might have been better to help your resale…” “Couldn’t you have gotten something similar in laminate? It would be worth more if you decide to sell.”

    I’d love to tell you where I’d like to cram all this “resale” talk, but it wouldn’t be proper. 🙂

    I love my house too and intend on staying there a long time, and your design choices are inspiring and beautiful. So go with what you love and tell the “resale”-ers where to shove it. 🙂

  32. I had owned a Wall Design and Finishing Company. I do not have a single room that has white or beige walls or ceilings. When we sold our last home, I had the Realtor poll the people who saw our house on what they thought of the colors an finishes. We only had 1 person who objected to our house. He had grown up with semi-gloss white walls, it’s what he always had his walls painted. Our current home, same thing. Everyone who visits, loves our home because it’s not typical. Decorate your home, life is too short to live with white or beige for some future home buyer.

  33. Thank you, thank you, thank you for finally saying what I’ve thought for YEARS! A house is a HOME first, an investment second. It’s where you live, not where you deposit your savings account. Buy it, love it, live your own life in it. Then, if you choose, sell it. But during the time you live there, make it your own. You and your spouse/SO/children will have wonderful memories of a unique home where you can all enjoy being your unique selves. Thanks again, Kristi!

  34. I totally agree Kristi. If you move often for you career, the leave your home neutral and clean for a quick sale. If you are staying put, enjoy your home and make it your own. I love being able to do what I want in my own home. Others don’t have to like it but if my husband and I do,isn’t that the point of “making it your OWN”? While I love HGTV real estate shows, they are not realistic and most of it is staged for the viewers. Enjoy your home!

  35. I 100% decorate for me! Chances are most of the population will like what you have done, just not for themselves.

  36. I feel that this is all driven by real-estate agents and their industry! more money in everyones pocket.And it seems there are different methods as to what part of the country you live in. Some parts of the country you have to totally neutralize and stage everything to prepare for a sale. Other parts of the country, no staging happens at all.But I never feel like the homeowner is considered very much and they are sold a bill of goods as to what is going to sell the best. But in reality, it is what will sell the best and FASTEST for the realestate agent.And remember these shows on HGTV are sponsored by all these companies and industries.There is usually a motive behind it all, not always for our benefit.

  37. Preach it! I love a space that makes a STATEMENT. That’s why I come to your site, it’s so unlike the rest of the blogs that use the same rug, same paint colors, same open shelving in the kitchen. Your place is full of personality and it’s inspiring.

  38. I love your kitchen! I love your sliding doors! You have a great decorating style and I applaud you for all your hard work.

    Now, as a Realtor, I just need to add this. There are buyers out there that simply have no ability to see what that red wall would look like in another color. All they know is that they do not like that red wall, or the purplish master bedroom. Those are the people that are the majority of buyers looking for a new home. And not being able to imagine a different color, they pass on a great house with a red wall and purple master. No matter what the agent says, it’s stuck there in their minds and they can’t get it out. I know, I’ve worked with buyers like this many more years than I like to admit. But they are out there, and they are many! They just can’t help it – they don’t know how to paint, how to pick out flooring, how to make the house theirs.

    Fortunate are the homeowners that can do what you have done. And, honestly, I can’t think of anyone that wouldn’t just love your kitchen. I want it.

    Just trying to help those understand that not everyone has the knack or foresight like your readers do. Personally, I want my house to look like ME, so that’s what I do. And for those that know how to make it work for them, congratulations! We are the lucky ones!

  39. I think people are far too intimidated by real estate agents’ blatherings and HGTV’s mantra. Since when is it my responsibility to make a real estate agent’s job easier? After all, I’m paying that person to sell my house. If they can’t do that, then they aren’t the right agent for the job. Personally I am not the type of person who wants to move frequently. And by frequently I mean 5 years or so. So why would I want to never have a home that reflects “me”? With that reasoning I can wait forever to get the living space I want. I’d rather buy a lesser house that I can afford to make attractive to me than to buy more than I can afford and then live with bland or icky choices that someone else made. I really feel that all these real estate dos and don’ts belong to the era of rampant suburb expansion and constantly trading up in house values. I don’t want to support those motives and never have wanted to. I value a well appointed space and interesting rooms. I create those to reflect my interests and tastes. That’s one reason why I admire and read your blog, Kristi. You get it that a wonderful home is created, not acquired like a burger at a drive through.

  40. I totally agree with you, Kristy! But did you have to post that picture of the red kitchen? Now I’m going to have to have multiple long “discussions” with my husband!

  41. Kristi your kitchen is gorgeous and you should be so proud of yourself for the beautiful job you did. We are in the process of renovating our upstairs – 3 bedrooms and a full bath. We hired contractors because at our age it would take forever to get it done. I am hoping when it is finished that we will put our home on the market and get the hell out of Connecticut. I have lived here all my life and since my husband and I are both retired now we could sell our house here and buy one down South for cash and even have some money to enjoy what is left of our life. I am doing what I want upstairs and if a new buyer doesn’t like it, let them do it over. This is still our home.

  42. Thanks for this post! I am ashamed to admit that I struggle with decorating for others or resale and not always for myself. But this coming up year its going to be all about me!

  43. Kudos to you, Kristi, for having a healthy perspective about making your house your home. I absolutely agree. And your kitchen and you are flat out amazing.

    I also concur with Gilmore Gal. A good portion of the population needs some assistance envisioning how a property would work for them. It is the wise seller who understands that buyers may be put off by certain colors when seen out of context (aka without furniture, etc).

    I personally would appreciate seeing more owners who actually did upgrades to their homes. Hey, I’d be happy if people just made sure everything was fully operational before they put their homes on the market. My husband and I have been shocked at how many people do little to nothing to prep their homes for sale, e.g. sell it in “as is” condition. And price of home isn’t as much of a factor as one might expect. A number of people haven’t touched anything since the day they themselves bought the house. We are totally perplexed by this.

  44. I had a house that took two years to sell. There are some choices that make a house harder to sell, not because people do or don’t like a particular finish, color, etc., but because it makes it hard for potential buyers to see a house as ‘theirs.’ That said, if neutralizing your house is what it takes to sell, then do it when you’re selling, and enjoy your house as is in the meantime (I had to repaint my terra cotta dining room beige, and I don’t know if it helped it sell or not,but I loved it while it was terra cotta).

  45. I totally agree. When we moved into our house it had been freshly painted a very flat cream, EVERY ROOM!!! I love color and have painted almost every room to suit my personal taste. You’re kitchen is beautiful. Great job.

  46. My parents have bought and remodeld many old houses. They just could not stand the thought of the old house falling apart. they leveld floors and replaced windows and moved walls or stairs. They remodeld kitchens and bathrooms. They did things as inexpensivly as possible. their plan was (1) SAVE THE HOUSE (2) PROVIDE AN AFORDABLE HOME FORM SOMEONE. So they did not use fancy stuff to keep the cost down and they used things that appealed to them. Their houses were sold before they even finished the job or advertized. But no matter what; when the new owners moved in they replaced the new carpet they had just put in and repainted the walls. So, my parents just would paint the walls with a primer and let the people put in what ever carpet they wanted.

    5 years ago when I remodeld my kitchen I wanted blue formica counter tops. My mom said what if you get tired of blue conter tops? I said I have lived in this house sence 1980 and have enjoyed my blue conter tops all this time and still want blue conter tops so I do not think I will be sorry I did what I wanted to do.

  47. I kind of agree with this… But with the cost of everything here in Australia you will find that most of the houses are pretty neutral, and people are happy to settle on this and just put their own touches with decor. It is very expensive, and buying a house and then redoing kitchens and bathrooms really isn’t in a lot of peoples budgets, I believe this would decrease the value of the house because you would have less interest. I will add colour with paint 🙂 I love orange and would love to do an orange wall in our study nook 🙂 but I will be keeping my kitchen and bathroom neutral

    1. I love orange as well and my bathroom is orange. A lot of people don’t like it but hey I live here they don’t. I feel as if it is my show piece.

  48. I could not agree with you more. It is YOUR house and if you have to sell, then the buyers can make it THEIR house.

  49. I totally agree when it comes to decorating, but for remodeling I’m not 100% sure. If it were just US (2 people + 1 cat) forever in our house, I’d want to combine our two small bathrooms into one larger bathroom (~95sqft). But for a 3 bedroom place, 1 bathroom is a stretch for most. We don’t have any plans to sell our house, but we do think it’s likely that we’ll end up renting it for periods of time when we’re traveling in the not too distant future, so think we’ll likely err on the side of keeping 2 bathrooms, even if they are small.

  50. I worked for a home builder for many years and, being obsessed with numbers and human behavior–I’m an economist by education–I always enjoyed watching how people decorated their homes after closing on them and moving in. During the real estate boom, when everyone was talking real estate investment, I read a very interesting article in the Wall Street Journal that quoted numbers of a fairly large study on home improvement. The most interesting fact? Most home improvement projects are done within the fist six months’ of purchase. This proves to me that people customize their habitat as soon as they get their hands on it. The other interesting fact? On average, Americans buy new appliances every seven years. The second statistic is an aside; the first is pertinent to your entry: yes! Please decorate for yourself! This, of course, comes form someone who painted the entire first floor red. And, no, I’m not interested in resale; the next person can paint it whatever color they like. Once a food delivery guy liked the red so much he asked for the name of the color and proudly showed me a picture of his living room on his phone, done in the same red, a few weeks later. His wife also asked about resale…. arrrrggh.

  51. One more YES from the Amen corner! Love what you are doing with your remodels and decor, it’s stunning! Definitely a “wow” house, to be enjoyed!

    I’m planning to paint my craft/sewing room floor, and then add a splotchy, Jackson Pollock-like paint effect, so then when I have a paint drip in there, it’s not as noticeable. 🙂 It will make the room fun to work in, and if I get tired of it, it’s just paint – we can change it.

  52. I agree with you Kristi. I decorate my house for me. If and when I sell the new owners can redo it themselves. We repainted, removed carpeting and even sheet rocked our family room. I love my house and wouldn’t go neutral for resale value.

  53. I’ve been following you for a while and I love your work! This is my first comment on my favorite post thus far!! I am surrounded by people who’s main concern is what others will think/like. It drives me insane! I am me. Why should I have to conform to boredom to please people who aren’t living my life?

  54. In our first house, I did everything for resale, and when we went to sell, the realtor made us do all kinds of things anyway to “make it sell faster, better.”

    In the second house, I did everything as I wanted to–painting things red wherever I wanted, and the like. I did it “my way.” When we went to sell, the house looked like a model home with more dramatic color choices. Not only did our home end up sellingl at the top price per square foot for the neighborhood (when the market was down), but we also rejected an early offer because we were unwilling to move out earlier than we needed as requested by the prospective buyer. Our realtor thought we were nuts rejecting the offer, but that same buyer came back a week later and offered full price on our terms.

    Interestingly, the buyers ended up “neutralizing” almost everything later, at great cost to them, and then struggled to sell it when they put it on the market.

    In my third house, I do anything and everything I want. People want clean, well cared-for homes, and they see that more than anything.

    Good taste trumps all, would be my thoughts on the matter. Kudos to you, Kristi. Go for it!

  55. I agree with you Kristi on this matter especially since you live in the house now and probably will for many years to come .It seems absurd to decorate according to what you think will sell best and from what I’ve seen you doing in the house, i don’t think anyone will mind a well done and designed home considering this is your profession in the end. Great work so far. Love the palette even it may seem too daring for some but at least it speaks of your personality instead of the boring beige.

  56. Yep! I could not agree more. Kristie you may or may not know this, but my blog name is a result of basically what you wrote about. I can not even begin to tell you how many times people around me would judge another persons decorating style and even gossip about it. Gossip! Seriously, grown women being completely petty about another person decorating taste. I would hear this crap from these “adults” only to hear my middle school daughter complain about her peers with the same petty mentality. Yuck! Talk about toxic behavior!

    I personally think a person should decorate their home in a way that is pleasing for them and those who reside there (children, etc.). One should not live by what their neighbor, co-worker, or family might think. And definitely don’t style your home just because something is “in”. Fads come and go so fast, I personally would get mental whiplash trying to keep up. If someone genuinely likes a current trend, then do it. But do it for you and not because a magazine or TV show said to.That is NOT living. Besides, the way I see it, if is their house and their mortgage, then by golly that person should style it they way they envision it.

    End rant. 😉 Yes, I am passionate this and it looks like I am not the only one. lol Kristie, keep on decorating for YOU! I am lovin’ what your mind comes up with. 😀

  57. Yes!!! This is something I’ve struggled with since moving into our “forever home”. After having that mentality and holding back with my other five houses because they were all short term, it’s hard for me now to let loose but I’m getting there. We got a great break with our last owners purchasing lots of our furnishings, too so I can really go all out in creating new looks and not feel guilty about buying new furniture. What the heck am I waiting for? 🙂 Thanks for this post and all your others. You are an inspiration to so many!

  58. i’ll tell you what… If I was looking for a home and found yr finished version- I would buy it in a second. So amazing finishing touches and elegance!!!!!! Keep it up girl!!

  59. After years of catering to the whims of landlords, I am thrilled to have my own home where I can do whatever I like. As soon as we moved in, I immediately removed all the cabinet doors in the kitchen (I love open shelves!) and painted the kitchen purple.

  60. Knowing I would move every few years made decorating far easier than in my forever home. I thought I would love having the freedom to choose whatever I liked, sadly a bigger pool of choice means a harder decision for me! After years of bland living I don’t even know what my taste is anymore!

  61. Amen, Kristi! I, for one, love your kitchen! I think it is stunning!! I’m a firm believer in decorating the way you want. The home we just moved to is not our final home, but that is not stopping me from putting my own stamp on it! Thanks for a great post! Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

  62. I’ll throw out another idea. Choose a decorating style that fits with the style of your house – if it has a defined style. Update that style or morph it to your taste, but use it as a starting point.

    My house is a former ranch renovated into a prairie/craftsman/bungalow/asian style — and filled with 1990’s air-brushed pastel wallpaper, mauve carpets and brass trim at every turn. It just doesn’t make sense. As my husband and I have slowly changed out the decor, we’ve tried to go back to the roots of the house…..either celebrating the ranch/mid-century beginnings or the current style….sometimes with a modern slant.

    Some examples:
    1. Our main bath is covered in pink tile with a newer dark wood vanity. We added more dark brown accents including an asian-flavor bamboo rug, and it’s jelling into a whole while preserving all that late 50’s/60’s pink tile. Although it’s not gone yet, the wall border and airbrush pastel wall paper will go.
    2. In our living room, we tore out cream and mauve Berber carpet, and a curved burgundy frame on one wall. We painted the pale pink walls in rich warm darker neutral and added a praire-style wall unit done in bamboo plywood and black-stained ash – backed with rust print fabric which matches the new warm rust colored rug. We left the rough cut marble fireplace and brass framed fireplace doors — and it works. People often mention how inviting the room is now — and it’s well-used.
    3. The kitchen is pickled pale wood with powder blue solid surface counter-tops. I brought in some orange accents in the chairs and decor to make it work until/if we replace the counter-tops. The 90’s lights and bright gold knobs will go – but there’s no emergency. Next project is replacing the ceramic tile navy and white floor with something easier on the feet – probably hardwood.

  63. I am starting to redecorate my apartment/condo (Blog will be active starting in November 2014 in case anyone wants to take a look) and already I am getting the “What about re-sale?” comments…
    If I ever decide to sell I am not going to target the ones needing a bathtub… I want a walk in shower, and those are the ones whom I will be selling to if I ever decide to sell this place, which is probably 20+ years from now and people expect me to live in a place where I have to be unhappy and uncomfortable because of a potential “resale value”? I have trouble NOW getting in and out of that tub for a “shower”, and I haven’t taken a bath in over 30 years and that isn’t about to change as I am obviously getting older!
    If someone wants a TUB then they can look elsewhere. And the potential new owner can pick up a paintbrush and paint over the black wall, not too difficult. If they don’t like my lighting fixtures, they can change them. If they want a curtain rod, then they can get some at the local HomeSense. (I have yet to decide what I want for the windows and I know it’s not going to be “normal” curtain rods)
    So the resale comments can stop. It doesn’t matter anymore.

  64. I agree, and thanks for the reminder (again) 🙂 I LOVE the red kitchen and this may be the impetus to finally update mine. I know red is ‘going out’ but I don’t care, I love it. I love your green, too, but I have plenty of green in the rest of my house. Planning needs to start…I did let a decorator friend talk me out of a colored vanity top for my new bathroom, but I’m happy with the results. I will keep the advice of someone above who said to customize if you’re planning to be in a place 5+ yrs. I have already been here 13 yrs and don’t plan on going anywhere soon!

  65. I agree. I live here not the future occupants. Also, I know that anytime I buy a house, I’m painting it and ripping out carpet. The location, layout, and “bones” of a house are what I’m concerned with, not how it is decorated. The worse, the better in my opinion.

    Since we know we have one more move in our future, I am making a few bold but neutral choices for our home. But, we are choosing these from materials we were considering anyway. Absolute Black granite for the counters and a medium hand scraped wood for the floor. We are changing the kitchen island and painting it but leaving the rest of the cabinets stained. These were concessions we could live with very happily.

    I love your green kitchen but I NEED the red one. One decision down for the next place.