A Family Home Stuck in the ’70s Gains $400K in Value

As one of the most populous U.S. cities, Phoenix is experiencing a sizzling real estate market. Much like the year-round weather in this bustling state capital, demand for housing is hot and getting hotter, with home values rising almost 30% in the past year alone.

In May of last year, savvy buyers picked up this funky fixer-upper for $657,500 and upgraded the ’70s-style interior to turn a significant profit. After implementing some much-needed changes to bring the home into the 21st century, they listed the property and sold it for a whopping $1.1 million in January of this year.

The home’s before and after listing photos illustrate how smart renovations and sleek home staging helped with the successful sale of this Southwestern gem.

If you’re contemplating selling your home, this sale is a good example of what you can do to boost your property’s resale value. From modern design touches to big changes to flooring, here’s what caught buyers’ attention.

Kitchen and dining room

A busy mishmash of patterns and dark wood cabinets made this kitchen and dining room area an overwhelming eyesore. But a complete makeover brought this space into the modern era.

“Opening up the transition space between the kitchen and dining room creates a natural flow from room to room,” says Shelby Greene, a California-based studio production designer for Living Spaces.

Removing the wallpaper and the bulky ceiling fan was another excellent upgrade to this space, says Green. Also, the additional cabinetry provides extra storage and adds value to the home.

Green’s favorite addition, however, is the cut-out counter area that lets homeowners see into the living room. It brightens up the space and makes it more conducive to entertaining.

Main bedroom

The built-ins and wallpaper in the before photo make us question whether this space was a bedroom or a kitchen. Thankfully, the upgrade turns this odd in-between space into one that’s completely relaxing and worthy of the title “main bedroom.”

“This instantly elevates a room and is an inexpensive way to transform a space from looking tired and dated into something fresh and contemporary,” says Sanel Konyar, a London-based celebrity interior designer and founder of Interior Kollection, an online interiors emporium.

“Faux fur rugs on the floor add a warm, homey feel to the room and elevate the functional wooden floor choice,” adds Konyar.

Green also notes that the outdated tiles have been replaced by wood flooring that is carried throughout the house, creating a better overall flow.

Main bathroom


The main bathroom started out cramped and uninviting, but now it looks and feels like the perfect place to unwind.

Stark lighting and busy wallpaper made this room unappealing, but white paint turns it from blah to brilliant. Elegant bronze fixtures tie the whole bathroom together and add a touch of warmth to the neutral space, says Konyar.

She adds that the free-standing bathtub is a lovely touch and notes the use of sand-colored tile to evokes a hint of the natural world.

Green points out that the changes aren’t just aesthetically pleasing; they’re also practical and make the room appear much bigger.

“Reconfiguring the layout and allowing space between the tub and shower makes the space look less crammed,” she explains.

Removing the dropped ceiling above the mirror also opens things up and adds more height to the vanity area.

Living room

“I’m so pleased that they retained the walled fireplace feature and made it the focal point for this room,” says Konyar.

While the room looks vastly different, the furniture choices are a slight nod to the retro origins of the home, adds Konyar. Instead of an outdated mess, the space looks fresh, light, and airy.

The low ceiling in the living room in the before photo makes the space seem smaller. A good way to offset a low ceiling is to switch up the room’s color palette. The previous owners removed the heavy brown tones of the hardwood floor and wood wall paneling and chose a clean off-white color for the walls. This new color also modernizes the stone fireplace.

Dining room

Tearing down walls doesn’t always mean you’ll achieve a better aesthetic, but it’s a win in this case. Once sequestered and closed off, the dining room is now part of the conversation.

Konyar says the addition of a statement light fixture introduces an essential focal point to the dining room. Now, it looks like a place you’d want to spend time in, as opposed to the previous dining room, which looks like a neglected space.

The flooring upgrades make a significant impact, too.

As Green notes previously, consistent flooring throughout the home brings everything together. This is especially true in the kitchen and dining area, where the lighter-colored floor makes the space appear larger.

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