4 Design Fails that Can Ruin a Rehab

Christina El MoussaBlog, DIY, Flipping Houses, Real Estate Business, Rehabbing, Staging and Design0 Comments

There are certain design fails that can really ruin a rehab. Avoid these and you'll be on your way to house flipping success!

There are certain design fails that can really ruin a rehab. Avoid these and you'll be on your way to house flipping success!If you’re familiar with our work or our show on HGTV, you probably already know that I do all of the designs for the houses that Tarek and I flip. Because I’m always researching design trends and better ways to work with home layouts, I’ve seen a lot of great designs along the way. I’ve also seen some terrible fails, and I’ve learned a lot over the past few years.

Some design fails are obvious. You’d never put orange shag rug in a rehab house, and you probably cringe at the thought of faux wood interior walls. Those unfortunate, dated styles are easy to pick out, but what about the subtler design fails that might seem like a good idea at the time? Here are a few that can really ruin a rehab.

Unattractive Flooring

If you’ve read our blog or watched our show, you know that I’m not a stickler for hardwood floors. There are a lot of really beautiful and very realistic-looking laminate flooring options out there. However, you really have to be careful when you choose one of these options. You don’t want to go with something that looks fake or tacky just because it’s cheap.

If you have to choose between a less-expensive flooring option that’s unattractive or a more-expensive option that will impress your buyers, it’s always worth it to pay a little bit more. Oh, and do I need to mention that linoleum flooring is a big no-no? It never looks right, and it bubbles and peels. Don’t do it.

Failing to Consider Proper Lighting

Your buyers are going to be bringing their own desk lamps and floor lamps to the house after they move in, and it’s not your job to decorate for them. However, if you have a house that doesn’t get a whole lot of natural light, you really need to think about the light fixtures you install, especially in the kitchen and bathrooms.

If people see a cave that they’re going to have to lighten up with a bunch of new fixtures and lamps, they’re not going to be very impressed. Light up your rehabs whenever you can.

Trying to Update the Windows With Snap-On Window Grids

This isn’t ultra common, but I’ve seen it enough that I want to point out how tacky it is and how much you really need to avoid it. Some people try to give windows a new, higher-quality look with snap-on grids that make them look like they’re divided into panes. It’s a nice thought, but it always looks terrible in reality. Don’t do it or you’ll have your buyers wondering what other corners you cut in your rehab.


Finally, choose quality, professional stagers and let them do their job. Over-staging is really easy when you don’t have a lot of experience, and it can make the space look and feel too personal or too busy. Either way, it makes it harder for buyers to imagine themselves living in the house, so avoid it. Really, unless you have a background in home staging, just leave it up to your stagers. And if you’re not sure about which stagers to hire, just talk to your realtor about the best staging services in your area.

And now you know four home design fails that can ruin a rehab. Avoid these, and you’ll be on your way to house flipping success!

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