How to create an interior that will last (and make your house sell-able)

I am no stranger to houses and the housing market {no joke, growing up I lived in a new house every 1.5 years on average}, and still today there are far too many times when my husband and I go to see a perfectly good house and then leave asking 'WHY?'. 

Your home can be reduced to a de-valued, un-sell-able mess because of some truly awful decisions. Take note and don't be one of them.

The following tips are my personal opinion, but they are what I believe in.

1. Think ahead.

Yeah, it's simple, but are you going to be living here for the next 50 years? No?? 
Then put down that emerald green banana leaf wallpaper, now. Because that's like, so 2013.

2. Neutral carpet, neutral walls, neutral curtains.

These are the things that the next owner is going to be inheriting. And maybe your red+green+yellow groovy triangle curtains won't go with their shabby chic decor. Don't get me wrong - a patterned curtain can be the star of a room - but if you're really thinking sellability I would keep it neutral or at least classic.

Here's an example from our office when we moved in - greenish walls and cobalt curtains. Not entirely sinful for an average house around here, but... blerch.

After a whole lot of mental juggling to find where I could steal some cream curtains from without paying a cent (the parents' house in the end) we've ended up here:

 While it wasn't totally necessary at least I now know that when we move out of this place and go to find tenants, they'll be happy knowing this room will accommodate their own style and furnishings.
{And not feel so depressing.}

3. Keep it consistent

You have no idea the number of places out there with bizarre changes of colour or style halfway through a room. I've been eyeing a house lately that has vinyl floor on one half of the dining room, and carpet on the other, split diagonally. I would need some serious rugging to cover that seam up.
Choose something and be consistent. I don't believe you can go wrong with hardwood floors in most rooms, and carpet in bedrooms / certain living areas.

If you are going to lay tiles, for the love of all things that are attractive, do not work a pattern or pictures into them unless it is amazingly classic. Those things are permanent.

Here's an example from our living room when we moved in - we got off lightly indeed by having only one fugly dirty coloured wall in the room - but many of you were not so lucky, judging by the horrible combos I have seen out there!

It's not a biggie, but we did have to repaint this whole area including the fireplace in order to keep it consistent, and boy does it make a difference. 

Now we can actually use the walls as a backdrop to our things. Important.

Think consistency and think symmetry. If you are getting all asymmetrical on me with permanent fittings, I'm going to have to walk away. And also we can't be friends anymore.

4. About kid's bedrooms...

Keep your head on - they are children, but they don't NEED a fluro green room with hot pink ceiling. And really, you are going to be the one forking out (and getting shoulder cramp) from repainting it in 2 years time. The best children's rooms that I have seen have a neutral backdrop, with plenty of colourful accessories for decoration.
They key here is to keep things changeable.
That means you can switch everything out (rug, bedding, artwork, curtains) whenever you please - just don't go crazy on the permanent stuff.
I always hear people say 'oh, we can just easily repaint it' but I don't know how many man-hours those people have spent behind a roller and a cutting-in brush. Painting is hard. And tiring. And messy. And you have to move EVERYTHING before you can start. Save yourself a headache and just don't go there.

Here is my teenage bedroom from my parents' house. Let it be made eternally clear that we moved here when I was 18 and it was already painted this shade of purple.  {Previously I'd been living in a student flat with a rat infestation... I would have taken anything}.

Every time I was in here I felt physically cold and the purple reflections on everything was just not okay.

Bedroom before and after - purple to neutral by Amy MacLeod

So I did what any interior-obsessed person would do and painted it behind my parent's backs when they went overseas.

Bedroom before and after - purple to neutral by Amy MacLeod

Notice how the wall colour is more neutral but the room actually looks brighter and more fun than it did with the purple walls, because I could introduce colour without clashing the wall colour? Let this be the eternal proof that your kids don't need crazy coloured walls.

And because our house at the time was a veritable treasure trove of disgusting colour choices, allow me to show you a couple more of these *lovely* kid's bedrooms.

Bedroom before and after - blue to neutral by Amy MacLeod
{cookie-monster blue, constantly looked cold and dark in spite of facing the sun}
 After another secret painting session:
Bedroom before and after - blue to neutral by Amy MacLeod
{light, welcoming, sunny and fresh}
And lastly... just one more... the piece de resistance...
Tween bedroom before and after - fluro green to neutral by Amy MacLeod
WHO THE $%&*


BUT... luckily I toned this one down a LOT for my tweenage brother at the time.

Neutral tween bedroom before and after
Sure, it's boring and cheap, but at least it's not butt-ugly.

FYI, the purple and green rooms have never before been featured on this blog. They occured before Five Kinds of Happy and aren't amazing, but they make my point, right? Neutral always wins.

That's it.

Just remember the key points - keep it neutral, consistent, and don't do anything crazy like that fluro green number above.

What heinous decor crimes have you experienced??? I've seen a concrete sofa INBUILT into the floor. I'm not kidding. But I'm not going into that as it was an unspeakable evil.



  1. Hahaha I love the look of the last room, definitely NOT cheap or boring. I think it's a pretty awesome retreat for a teen. One thing I hate seeing is a jacuzzi. I hate them so much (don't know why) so for me, they're the most heinous interior crimes!


  2. It's such a fine line I follow in that, I don't want to do anything that would bring down the value of my home, but I don't want to feel like I live somewhere that is soooo not me. I tend to infuse my personal touch through my furniture and accessories, but if there is something I REALLY REALLY want to do I usually give myself a break, because generally speaking, everything I do is for resale.


Thanks for your comment. You are awesome!