Lifestyle Real Estate

The 3 Biggest Turnoffs for Home Buyers (But Wait, Don’t Renovate Just Yet)

You can tweak them without spending a fortune.
Lydia Geisel Avatar

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs.

There are plenty of things we’re all able to look past when house hunting: ugly light fixtures, bad paint colors, peeling wallpaper. These details don’t stop us from seeing the potential. On the flip side, there are some features that we can all agree are major turnoffs and might even prevent us from closing on a place, says Opendoor’s 2022 trends survey, which polled close to 1,000 U.S. home buyers this past fall. 

The top red flag? An outdated kitchen, according to 71 percent of the respondents. They also listed old-fashioned bathrooms and dingy wall-to-wall carpeting as other hindrances (66 percent and 59 percent, respectively). This puts sellers who haven’t revamped their spaces in more than a decade in a tough spot, but never fear: We’ve seen clever homeowners in the past make archaic kitchens, bathrooms, and carpeting shine without investing in a major remodel. Take a look.

Ugly Wood Cabinets? No Problem

blue apartment kitchen
Photography by Belle Morizio; Styling by Julia Stevens

For less than $15 and a weekend of work, Madeline Scalzi, a New York–based creative and TikToker, changed the look of her tiny space by covering up her cupboards with chic blue contact paper. It’s helpful to have an X-Acto knife on hand if your fronts are curved like hers (cut a slit along the center of each of the four sides and use your fingers to smooth down the edges of each slit toward each other). A neatly organized spice rack and an antique rug don’t hurt either. 

Blah Bathroom Tile, Buh-Bye

green tile around tub
Photography by Sara Toufali

Deliver some color to a sad white or greige bathroom with yet another stick-on product (this time, temporary decals). Sara Toufali used Bleucoin’s genius stickers to turn her teeny tub setup into a spa-worthy nook. Complete the picture with tons of plants and large-scale art. 

That Carpet That Grosses You Out? See You Later

Instead of letting the gray-silver carpet in her home get to her, Katherine Ormerod invested in huge shaggy rugs to cover the majority of the surface. She continued to draw the eye away from the ground by incorporating slivers of punchy wallpaper and bold primary-hued artwork. It’s a disappearing act—though no real magic is required. 

Lydia Geisel Avatar

Lydia Geisel

Home Editor

Lydia Geisel has been on the editorial team at Domino since 2017. Today, she writes and edits home and renovation stories, including house tours, before and afters, and DIYs, and leads our design news coverage. She lives in New York City.