• 2021 Home Design Trends for Pre-Sale Renovation

What’s In, What’s Out and Which Updates Will Attract Buyers

Design trends come and go, and a home that looks lived-in and out of date generally takes longer to sell. Why? Today’s buyers are looking for homes that look and feel new but don’t come with the steep costs of new construction. That’s where Curbio’s pre-sale renovation expertise comes in. We know what’s in, what’s out, and which updates will attract buyers and achieve the highest return.

Kitchen Design: What’s in and What’s Out

White kitchens with shaker-style cabinets continue to sell homes, but duotone kitchens with statement islands are increasing in popularity. Granite countertops are here to stay, and quartz is being used more and more. Oil-rubbed bronze accents, which have previously been very popular feel stale, but, luckily, swapping out metal hardware is fairly easy. White, subway tile backsplashes are still popular, but we’re using patterned tile to add texture and color to some kitchens. Stainless steel appliances aren’t going anywhere, and smart appliances, while popular, aren’t getting returns for sellers.

What Curbio Suggests

To appeal to home buyers, swap out dated countertops with granite or quartz and replace oil-rubbed bronze hardware with brushed gold, muted brass, brushed nickel, or chrome. Keeping kitchens white or even a light grey and sticking with white subway tile for backsplashes remains the safe bet. Where necessary, add colors and patterns with unique backsplashes, statement islands, and thoughtful staging. A deep, navy color is particularly popular amongst statement islands, and dish towels, bowls, and wood cutting boards are common elements for staging.

The Breakdown: What’s In

Bathroom Design: What’s in and What’s Out

Basic bathrooms are out. Spa-like touches are in. Self-care is trending and people have become a bit obsessed with tubs. Also popular: furniture-style vanities to replace dated, cabinet-style vanities. Minimalistic subway tile remains a solid choice for bathrooms, but modern tiles with colors and patterns show signs of falling into favor. Finally, bathroom hardware trends mirror those in the kitchen, which means oil-rubbed bronze is out.

What Curbio Suggests

Not all pre-listing home improvements add value to a home. Renovate and stage with the self-care trend in mind, but don’t overdo it or you won’t see a return on your investment.

Freshen up showers and shower-tub combinations by reglazing the existing tile or re-doing the tile surround. If the return is there, replace dated tubs with modern, soaker tubs.  Swap floor-mounted vanities with furniture-style cabinets that have granite or quartz countertops. If the floors are dated or damaged, replace them with tile or luxury vinyl tile. Finally, replace metal accents with those on-trend: brushed gold, muted brass, brushed nickel, and chrome

Don’t skip the bathrooms when staging! Accessorize with shower curtains, loofas, soaps, lotions, live plants, and wood accents. Take staging a step further in the master bath with a stool for bath oils, candles—and maybe a wine glass.

The Breakdown: Bathroom Trends


Self care is trending, and with it comes modern, furniture-style vanities and a focus on staging.


Each of these free-standing tubs (installed by Curbio) is a vision of luxury.

Walls and Floors: What’s in and What’s Out

When it comes to walls and floors, continue to keep it simple. Neutral wall colors and clean, consistent flooring are key in selling homes quickly.

What Curbio Suggests

To appeal to a broad set of home buyers, stick with a warm neutral palette throughout the house. You can add pops of color with artwork, accessories and furniture. Select one type of flooring for the majority the house—especially if it’s open concept. Use water-resistant flooring (tile or luxury-vinyl tile) in rooms likely to get wet, and reserve carpet for bedrooms.

The Breakdown: Curbio’s Choices

Paint Colors

Revere Pewter


Wind’s Breath

Agreeable Gray

We used Agreeable Gray in a project in Northern Virginia. This color makes rooms feel cool and contemporary, without seeming too trendy.

See the complete renovation.

Floor Finishes

Stick with hardwood floors (left/top on mobile), or luxury vinyl tile (right/bottom on mobile) in most areas. Curbio can re-finish hardwood that’s in good shape, which can result in a much higher ROI for sellers.

Exteriors: What’s in and What’s Out

Clean, low-maintenance outdoor living spaces are in. Anything that takes time and effort to manage is out. Attractive landscaping adds curb appeal, but the majority of today’s home buyers don’t want to spend their free time weeding the garden, trimming trees, and cutting back shrubs.

What Curbio Suggests

To draw in home buyers, update the landscaping so they can imagine themselves enjoying the home’s outdoor spaces without spending too much time maintaining them. Choose evergreen, perennial, and native plants that look great and don’t require special care. Refinish wood decks and clean up gardens and patio areas and stage with a portable fire pit and colorful outdoor furniture to create a welcoming gathering place. For curb appeal, a fresh coat of paint on weathered exteriors will do a world of wonders, and a brightly colored front door will catch buyers’ eyes.

Curbio keeps up with design trends that appeal to today’s home buyers but only chooses improvements and materials that will attract a broad set of buyers and result in a high ROI for sellers. See some of our favorite projects, and submit a request for an estimate to get started on the pre-sale renovation process for your sellers.