How to de-'80s your house
The 1980s may be making a comeback in apparel, but forget about it ever coming back for your house. Find out what you should nix in favor of these great replacement ideas.
Ditch the Nagel prints, unplug the neon lights and repaint those teal and salmon-colored walls -- it's time to bring your house out of the 1980s.
The '80s comprised a design era best forgotten, with too many flouncy touches, country kitchens and splashy "modern" looks ripped right out of a nightclub. This dated décor can cost you when you put your house up for sale, says Gail Mayhugh, a Las Vegas interior designer and home stager.
"If a prospective buyer views a property as a fixer-upper they're going to make a much lower counteroffer," Mayhugh says. "Or even worse, (they'll) just go down the block to one that has been updated and make them the offer instead."
A few simple updates can help move the focus onto the house's possibilities and away from what needs to be fixed, designers say. Here are some of the biggest red flags and what you can do to bring your home into this decade.
Color me dated
One of the easiest updates, designers say, is to remove the 1980s color palette from the walls of your house. The big paint color offenders from this era are:
- hunter green
- peach or salmon (particularly if you live on the East Coast); and
- that mix of dusty blues, grays and mauves.
"It's a big fat time stamp on your house," says designer Joseph Sacco of JS Interiors Group in Chicago. (See some of his design work in the photos below.)
And, it's distracting to buyers. If they're flashing back to "Miami Vice" and Members Only jackets, they can't really focus on the space itself, experts say.
Likewise, popcorn ceilings, bad sponge painting and paint-splash wallpaper are red flags that need to be dealt with immediately. And those ubiquitous wallpaper borders? Gag me with a spoon. Their time has come, too, designers say.
Bad mood lighting
Dated lighting is another big tip-off that you haven't paid much attention to your house in the past 20-odd years, designers say. Luckily, it's a relatively inexpensive thing to fix.
- Take out old brass and etched glass chandeliers from entryways and dining rooms and replace them with simple brushed-nickel fixtures or pendant lighting.
- Remove that track lighting with the big "eyeball" bulbs nested inside large cans. Replace it with half-dollar sized recessed lighting in several points around each room. In the dining room, you can place these lights slightly to the front of each chair at your dining table. It's a cleaner look than a heavy fixture and it puts the light where you really need it, says Tucson interior designer Diana Lynne Patterson.
- In the bathroom, experts say, rip out those rows of Hollywood dressing-room-type lights that ring the mirror. Replace with recessed lighting, a simple fixture or some sconces.
- And please, remove that neon. While it seemed cool and high-tech in the 1980s, it's better left on pool-hall beer signs now.
The bathroom atrocities from the 1980s don't end at bad lighting. Vinyl flooring in tiny floral or marble prints might have been sophisticated then, but now it's just tacky, experts say.
- Replace those dated floors with large ceramic tiles or laminate flooring that's easier on the eyes.
- Rip out the old wallpaper and put in new paint or natural fiber wall covering such as bamboo or sea grass, Sacco says.
- Update your medicine cabinet, replacing damaged or dated units with something simple and sleek. Or hang a simple framed mirror and put in a separate cabinet or shelf with space for cosmetics and toiletries, Patterson advises.
- If your countertop tile is in bad shape, Sacco suggests having it reglazed for a fraction of the cost of replacing it.
- Brass or Lucite faucets with the "H" and the "C" for hot and cold should also go, Mayhugh says. "It's amazing what a new faucet will do," she adds. And it's a cheap fix, too. A simple faucet can be found at Lowe's or Home Depot for less than $40. A new soap dish and other bathroom accessories will help to complete the makeover, Patterson says.
- The '80s eyesore that will cost a little more to fix is the wall-to-wall mirror in many older bathrooms. This job requires breaking the mirror, fixing the drywall and repainting. But eliminating this holdover from the disco era is a nice way to update a bathroom, Patterson says.
- Getting rid of glass-block walls is high on some designers' wish lists, too. But some people, including Patterson still work with them.
What I did to make inexpensive updates:
- Replaced track lighting and inserted pendant lights which fit in the old tracks.
- Painted Kilz primer over the paneling then another few coats, and it looked presentable.
- Used attractive wood horizontal blinds from Ikea that masked the 80s sliding doors
- Replaced dated ceiling fans
- Painted extensively
- Replaced carpet with wood laminate and tile
The article makes a good point about the cost effectiveness of just changing out some tile, carpet and light fixtures. You can do a lot with a little effort and money.
We are now considering purchasing a 1980s era rancher which has not seen much updates, still includes a popcorn ceiling and even popcorn WALLS in some places And my favorite feature, the intercom system which still works! Yes, it needs work but many buyers can't see past the minor uglies, and the fact that the house has been well maintained due to being in the same family for many years.
The problem with this article is that the return on your investment is going to be low. A kitchen remodel can run you 10,000 and up. The pictures show massive remodels that will cost you another mortgage. I love how they recomend changing your dining room lighting as a way to sell your home. What they described will cost you about $2000: Electrical re-wiring, fixtures, and drywall repairs. "Want your house to sell? Repaint everything, remodel the kitchen and bathroom, and buy new furniture!!!" If that was an easy option, you might as well take that money and buy a home that you like, remodel it while it is empty, move in, then sell your old home at leisure. Or remodel the old home while it is empty.
The two schools of thought here, sell for profit vs. make a house a home, apply to two situations. The days of flipping any old house are gone. Now if you can buy a foreclosed, and neglected home, and remodel it while fixing the roof, the kitchen and the bathroom, you can still make some cash. I find it funny that the silly 00's attitude (my house is an ATM/stock portfolio/gold mine) still underlies these home improvement articles. If you are buying a house to live in it, buy what you want, and when you want to move, concentrate on things that make it sell, don't believe that the price will double with a modern bath.
It's so asinine!
De-80's your house!
Why not De-90's your house?
Or even De-2000's threw 2008's.
Every decade some person is gong to deride the past decades.
Such horse manure.
I think a home should reflect the person personality and should be a welcoming place to come home to. I also think the home should reflect the home style (i.e., bungalow, traditional, modern, victorian, etc.) Your home is where your heart is. However, being a Realtor you should be prepared to make changes to your home when it goes on the market. Neutral colors, accessories and de-clutter is a must in order to sale your home at marketable profit. You should also pay close attention to your landscaping. If you don't want to do a lot of work play it safe and use to outrageous colors on your accessories and not on your walls.
I really enjoy seeing the "before" and "after" pics for the mny projects. However, it is
very difficult to really visualize what has been done when the "after" photo is not taken
from the same angle and vantage point as the "before".
I agree with both responses. As an Interior Designer and Fashion Merchandising major, it is important for the home owner to be comfortable in their space. When it comes time to sell, it does have to appeal to the masses. The masses prefer cream colors and this helps them to visualize living in the space. If you want to add color, throw in some pillows, vases, and art for color.
Sooooo sad!! I know the fashion/design industry will likely never stop touting 'current trends,' but doing so is such a dis-service to the soul of humanity. I CANnot change the colors or 'feel' of my home based on trends. I love what is pleasing to my spirit and to my eyes. If it were teal, peach, or mauve, then those colors would remain in my home whether they bespoke of being up-to-date or not.
A person's/family's home is for THEM. It's a place of joy and comfort and happy chaos and respite and peace and all those great things. To make guests feel glad they visited, a home has to be hospitable, but trendiness is no part of hospitality. Should a person/family feel pressured to remain 'current' (and your article perpetuates such pressure), they've succombed to a shallow and demeaning lie that says they have to keep up with the fashion/design folks' new ideas. are there inherently 'bad' colors? 'good' colors? 'bad' fabric patterns? 'bad' preferences? no, there aren't. Friends, be at peace in your home and create an atmosphere that does for you what YOU need and desire. You matter FAR more than any trend.
Thank you for allowing my comment.