| Homeowners

The recent release of Pantone’s “Colour of the Year” got us thinking about home décor trends. While we LOVE “Viva Magenta” in all its vibrant glory, a lot of people don’t. In fact, we’re pretty sure that as fun and lively as Viva Magenta is, it’s highly unlikely to become the paint chip everyone reaches for at the paint store. Home décor trends come and go as quickly as the latest fashions. One of the most confusing aspects of interior design is deciding if something is a fad, a trend, or destined to become a classic. We figured homeowners planning a reno could use a little insight on what direction to take – trendy or classic? Since we’ve got the scoop on how renovation trends impact home values, we thought we’d share some renovation tips for 2023. Here’s our take on the types of renovations most likely to raise home values instead of puzzled eyebrows!   

Is It a Fad, a Trend or a Classic?

What’s the difference between fads, trends, and classics? A fad is fleeting and lacks staying power. It often is specific to a smaller, very particular group of people, which is why it tends to die out sooner. Think ice bucket challenges and slap bracelets. However, if a fad starts to gain legs and catches on with a wider group of people, it lasts longer, and suddenly it becomes a trend. A trend is broader, has mass appeal, and therefore lasts longer. Think Crocs (ugh) and actual Uggs. Trends also tend to come back again, unlike fads that fade into oblivion and, if we’re honest, become an embarrassment! Although trends eventually die out, it’s over a longer period. They’re at least decade worthy. If a trend survives, it can become a classic. The perfect example? The Little Black Dress. 

Looking for more home decor and renovation tips for Toronto homeowners? Check out these blogs next:

Trends on Their Way Out

As with all good things, trends come to an end. If you’re looking at renovations in 2023, we’d avoid the following design choices:

  • White Kitchens: Yep. It’s D-Day for white. White kitchens look drab to today’s home buyers, especially compared to the “natural organics” we’re seeing right now like blues and greens. Natural woods, especially oak and walnut, are also popular.   
  • Stainless Steel Hoods: The “exposed” fan is a really dated look already turning buyers off. Customized hoods, or hoods that match your cabinets, are more along the lines of what home buyers find appealing. 
  • Black Cabinet Pulls: Brass is the new black when it comes to hardware. In fact, it is also the new stainless steel, copper, and any other kind of metal. It’s on everything from light fixtures to faucets and cabinet pulls to towel racks. 
  • “No One Lives Here” Look: This is an oh-so-out-of-date Kim Kardashian interior that is so overly minimalist it makes a home feel cold and uninviting. It pretty much looks like no one lives in the house, which is a huge turn-off for most buyers. While there are always exceptions to the rule, that ultra-modern look is just too stark and cries out for personality. 
  • Too Open Kitchens: The open concept, open shelves, open everything kitchen is going out fast. First, people are way too busy to maintain perfectly neat stacked white dishes on open shelves. Second, we all have way too much stuff and open kitchens take up precious storage space. Instead, people love pantries and sky-high closed cabinets that take over the bulkhead space. 
  • Modern Farmhouse: When you see top HGTV interior designers trading in their shiplap walls and ceilings for something less farmy, you know the modern farmhouse is on its way out. We would also advise you to proceed with caution when considering the latest wall treatment obsession, that mid-century/70’s wood slat look. It’s cool, but likely a little too edgy for the average home buyer.  

These trends had a good run, but it’s time for some new ideas.  

Hopping on the Trend Bandwagon or Going Classic?

Classics are timeless, but that doesn’t mean they’re your safest bet. The problem with classics is they tend to lack relevance and feel out of touch. Therefore, trends have more appeal, especially if you catch them on their way in as opposed to on their way out. The trick is to embrace trends that modernize without dating. Some examples you can consider include:

  • Blue or Green: Blue or green kitchens are the new white. They create livable, calming spaces and work beautifully on kitchen cabinets and backsplashes, as well as on bathroom tiles and vanities. 
  • Black Bathroom Accents: Now, despite us saying black is out for kitchen hardware, there is a leaning towards pairing black metals with glass, especially in bathrooms. So, it’s a matter of how and where you use black metal that counts.  
  • Sustainable Materials: With the environment on everyone’s mind, sustainable materials count. Also, people like the idea of kitchen makeovers sans wasteful tear-outs. Instead, the pretty (professionally) repainted cabinets reign supreme. Reduce, reuse. 
  • Uniqueness: Interesting objects used to create unusual but not too out-there features infuse space with uniqueness. This might be something like using a beautiful piece of antique furniture as a bathroom vanity or a kitchen island. These special touches create a more “curated” feeling to your home as opposed to that cookie-cutter kitchen everyone else has. As long as these touches feel organic, not forced, you can gain some extra points for creativity. 
  • Outdoor spaces: Expectations for better outdoor spaces are very high on people’s lists these days. Homeowners love the idea of a quiet oasis in the heart of the city. The more livable the space, the more usable it is and the more square footage buyers gain.  

We should point out that trends aren’t all about décor. Buyers also want more storage space, functionality, smart home integration, and higher-end appliances.  

Does the idea of a DIY home renovation sound like a nightmare to you? Check out The not-so-handy person’s guide to DIY home projects right here.

Design Choices: Trend, Fad, or Classic?

If you’re worried about making design mistakes, a good rule of thumb to follow is:

  • Choose classics for things you don’t ever want to worry about changing such as your hardwood floors or your staircase.
  • Choose trends for things you are okay with changing in say 10 to 15 years, such as your kitchen or bathroom. 
  • Choose fads for easy-to-replace items like light fixtures, cabinet hardware, paint colors, and accessories. 

Today’s renovations are kind of like brides:

  • Something old: Your classics, like hardwood floors.
  • Something new: Your choice of fun and flirty fads like painting a wall in brilliant Viva Magenta.
  • Something borrowed: Your repurposed, carefully curated original touches like an island made of an old dresser and 
  • Something blue (or green): Like your kitchen cabinets, bathroom vanities, and tiles. 

Très romantique, but true. 

Trends make homes feel updated and relevant. The trick is not to mistake a fad for a trend. We can help you avoid investing in upgrades people won’t want to pay for and make smarter choices that increase ROI. 

If you’re looking for the best Toronto real estate team to guide you on your real estate decisions, call The Christine Cowern team at 416.291.7372 or email us at hello@christinecowern.com. We’d love to work with you!