Must haves you don’t necessarily need

Home renovation is experiencing as big of a boom as the housing market these days. Some of this boom can be attributed to homeowners having more equity in their homes. Other people may want to renovate rather than move because they want to stay in their neighborhoods but don’t see much available on the market.

Home improvement shows and designer magazines can demonstrate some really innovative – and impractical ideas at times. They can also lead the way in changing the way people decorate their homes. I’m pretty sure most MetroTex Realtors have had their share of clients searching for a house with ship lap on the walls or a kitchen island with a waterfall top. It’s certainly true that the Old World Tuscan style of heavy, ornate wood built ins and hand troweled plaster walls look that was popular a few years ago is quickly losing ground to a lighter, more streamlined style. It’s interesting to watch which “must haves” from just a few years ago are quickly falling out of favor.

Once an absolute must, jetted bathtubs in the master bath are among the big design changes in updated homes. People are ditching the massive built in look in favor of free-standing soaking tubs with a more sculptural or tailored design. Some homeowners are taking the once-radical step of ditching the bathtub entirely in favor of a large luxurious shower. Not long ago most Realtors would have cautioned that not having a tub in the master would negatively impact resale value, but we are beginning to see a definite shift in attitude in favor of better showers. Just keep in mind that having a tub somewhere in the house is still highly desirable for many people.

Stainless steel appliances are another big investment that a lot of people have been making over the past several years. Unfortunately, a lot of people didn’t care for the fingerprints and smudges that came with the glossy trend. Enter the new stainless steel colors of black, slate, bronze, and copper. Other trends for appliances include matte finishes and bright retro colors.

While granite countertops are still popular among many homeowners, they’ve become so ubiquitous that fashion-forward thinkers are looking to other options. Other stones like marble, soapstone and engineered quartz are gaining ground on granite, as are custom counters made out of concrete or wood. Take care to choose a surface that works with the way you live. All surfaces need their maintenance and some hold up to wear and abuse better than others.

Another big player in the Tuscan look was the use of wrought iron light fixtures, doorknobs, balusters and other hardware. While wrought iron is still popular, the use of other metals is perfectly on trend. Choosing good quality fixtures is far more important than the color. If you’re mixing metals, try to keep them in the same design genre or mood so that the look flows from room to room.

If you’re considering spending money on renovations, take the time to visit a variety of showrooms and design websites to find a look that suits your lifestyle. Consider hiring a designer to help you pull the look together. Ask your MetroTex Realtor for reliable references.

The MetroTex Association of Realtors represents more than 17,000 area real estate professionals across North Texas. If you’re interested in buying, selling, or leasing a home, begin your search at