Clients often ask me about certain home projects they have in mind and whether I'd recommend them or not. While the answers aren't easy, it all depends on the situation. Is the seller doing the project to help sell the home, or is it a project to satisfy their needs? Here are a few projects that I've been asked about and my thoughts. Certainly, people will have different opinions....
1) Outdoor fountains - DON'T - Not everyone has a huge outdoor space and in most small yards, a fountain sticks out like a sore thumb. Save your money for something more worthwhile, like seasonal flowers or patio furniture.
2) Laminate counters - DON'T - I can't think of a single kitchen design where laminate would look better than granite, butcher block or a solid surface like Corian. Yes, laminate is cheaper, but in many cases, you can actually take value away from a house by installing it.
3) Painted brick indoors - DON'T - Painting brick can be a great option if you like a rustic style. But the paint isn't going to hide the brick, so if you don't like the way the brick looks, paint won't help. Instead, consider covering the brick with tile. Never keep a material you hate just because you think it has character.
4) Open kitchen shelving - DO - If you want your kitchen to feel closed in, sure, go with cabinets on all your walls. But if you have a small kitchen and want it to look airy and bigger than it really is, try at least one section of open shelves. They're the perfect way to show off nice plates and serving pieces -- or in my case -- china that I've barely ever used!
5) Fake plants - DO - Yes, fresh flowers smell amazing. But these days, faux greenery looks so convincing, most people can't tell it isn't real -- plus it'll last even if you don't have a green thumb. Put the fake flowers near fresh ones and no one will know. When I've listed homes in the winter time, I've recommended that clients put fake flowers in their gardens to add a little color. Buyers are amazed!
6) Glass Block windows - DON'T - A huge hole in the front of your house would look better than these 80's style windows. I've also found that many are improperly installed, which makes them a major safety hazard.
7) Skylights - DON'T - Skylight installation can run into the thousands of dollars, which seems pretty crazy when you can brighten up your space almost as well with a few new light fixtures, like lamps or pendants.