Why We Need to Abandon the Idea of Resale Value and the Generic Home

Welcome to the quick rant of someone who’s about had it with the home renovation industrial complex…

Anyone who’s ever been a homeowner has heard the term, “resale value.” That bathroom is great for resale value. Pick out the white quartz with the gray veining because it’s good for resale value. Definitely paint the entire house white — it’s great for resale value.

And, as someone who’s in the middle of a renovation, it’s something I’ve heard our contractor and friends bring up again and again and again.

Y’all, forget the f’ing resale value.

Unless you plan on moving from your home in the next year or two, design it for yourself. I am so tired of hearing people ask me, “Are you sure that’s good for resale value?” 

No, wallpapering my entire room in blue and white toile was not good for resale value. At all. People hate it (just ask my Apartment Therapy commenters). But I love it. And I live in it. The future buyer of my house in 2045 doesn’t matter right now — in fact, they’re probably in middle school at the moment.

Seriously, Abandon the Idea of Resale Value

And it comes up with everything. Choosing kitchen cabinets? Your contractor will advise you on resale value. Tiling a bathroom? Is that tile you picked ideal for resale value? Will buyers like that color of floor someday? Will that color of cabinet alienate them? Will they absolutely hate those light fixtures?

It’s infiltrated every decision anyone makes for their homes. Is anyone decorating their own home for living in anymore? Everything is for the gaze of some vague, yet-to-be-identified buyer when you may possibly decide to sell your home someday in the future. And they’re all pushing towards the same generic cool look. One minute, it’s gray floors and gray walls. The next it’s wild veining. Then it’s farmhouse bathroom tile. Even the maximalist decisions seem to be driven by some resale-focused idea of what’s cool (William Morris — unfortunately now #1 in flippers and Airbnb designer’s hearts when they throw in an accent wall to impress the general public).

Look, if we planned on selling our house in the next two to three years, sure, we might make some more bland decisions. We’d stop for a second to decide whether a wallpaper or a door color might resonate with someone else in the near future. But we’re not — and most people aren’t. Thanks to HGTV, they’re making decisions not for themselves, yet they’re in homes they’re going to live in for the next few decades. Living in a home designed for someone else. For years. Y’all. Is this what the interior design world really wanted to create?

abandon the idea of resale value



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