Maximizing Your Home’s Value with Strategic Improvements in Finishes


The finishes in a home—things like flooring, cabinetry, lighting fixtures, and paint—may seem minor compared to the “bones” of the home, but they have an outsized impact on perceived value. 

The right finishes can take a property from drab to dramatic, while outdated or low-quality finishes can turn off potential buyers. With the housing market fluctuating, strategic improvements in finishes are one of the most effective ways to maximize your home’s resale value.

Finishes encompass all the elements that add aesthetic appeal to a property, a symphony of form and function. This includes floor coverings, wall treatments, cabinetry, countertops, tilework, paint colors, molding, lighting, and more. It’s not just about choosing high-quality materials but also about ensuring a cohesive Solidshape design that enhances the overall feel of the home. 

Thoughtful consideration of these details, from sleek countertops to lustrous flooring, can dramatically elevate a property, making it not just a space, but a place where memories are made and cherished. With Solidshape, the daunting task of selecting the perfect elements becomes a seamless experience, ensuring that every corner reflects personal style and uncompromising quality, transforming houses into bespoke homes for families to enjoy.

Even modest homes can fetch higher prices when outfitted with finishes that appeal to today’s buyers. With careful research and planning, you can identify and implement the specific finish upgrades that will pay dividends when it comes time to sell. 

Read on to learn how maximizing your home’s curb appeal and perceived quality through strategic finish improvements can unlock hidden value and boost your return on investment.

Understanding the Market

Before investing in finish upgrades, it’s essential to understand the current trends and buyer preferences in your local market. Housing markets vary widely, so what’s hot in one area could fall flat in another. 

Start by analyzing recent sales data and speaking with real estate agents acquainted with your neighborhood. Look for patterns in which types of finishes and features sold quickly at top dollar. Pay attention to comments in listings about newly renovated kitchens or bathrooms, as these are key selling points. 

Also note any lingering evidence of undesirable finishes to avoid, like worn carpet, outdated appliances, or oak cabinets. Don’t rely on national trends alone—let the competitive properties in your immediate vicinity determine the must-have finishes for your target buyers.

Be willing to adjust your finish improvement plans based on this market research. The overarching goal is choosing finishes buyers want most, not personal favorites that won’t provide a worthwhile return. With a data-driven approach, you can zero in on the finishes that maximize appeal and value.

Kitchen Finishes

The kitchen is the crown jewel of any home—and it should shine accordingly. Modern, gourmet kitchens can add tens of thousands to a home’s value, while outdated galley-style kitchens can be a liability. 

Granite or quartz countertops will wow buyers much more than laminate. Natural stone has an enduring high-end look, while quartz rivals granite on aesthetics but exceeds it on durability. For a lower-cost option, recycled glass, concrete, or butcher block offer depth and character. 

Replace dated oak cabinets with fresh painted or stained maple or birch cabinetry and updated hardware. Soft-close hinges and drawers, along with pulls that align with the overall aesthetic, modernize kitchen functionality.

In terms of flooring, tile and high-quality hardwoods or vinyl plank withstand heavy use best. Just make sure the new flooring flows seamlessly from the kitchen into adjacent rooms. 

A mosaic, subway, glass, or marble backsplash becomes a focal point behind the counters. Stainless steel appliances fit most design schemes, but alternative finishes like black stainless, white, or matte are also on-trend. 

Other impactful but affordable kitchen upgrades include new faucets, pendant lighting over islands, and recessed lighting. For a full kitchen overhaul, don’t neglect the often-overlooked elements like the sink, garbage disposal unit, and water filtration system.

Bathroom Finishes  

Along with the kitchen, bathrooms boast some of the highest ROIs on finish upgrades. Modernized bathrooms with spa-like finishes can truly escalate a home’s value. 

Starting at floor level, natural stone or porcelain tile flooring exudes elegance. Define the shower and tub area with eye-catching patterns or borders in complementary tile colors. 

For the wall tile, larger format tiles and muted earth tones are preferable to dated bright whites. Marble or quartz vanity countertops elevate the sink area, paired with a unique vessel, undermount, or wall-mounted sink basin. 

Match the faucets and shower fixtures to other metallic finishes like cabinet hardware for cohesion. Upgraded toilets, lighting, mirrors, and ventilation fans complete the functional updates. Don’t neglect the finishing touches like the window treatments, towels, and accessories that pull the look together.

Flooring Throughout the Home

After the kitchen and bathrooms, continuous flooring throughout the main living spaces helps a home present as crisp, updated, and well-cared for. 

Hardwood floors never go out of style, whether in traditional oak or contemporary ebony. Engineered hardwood stands up better to moisture issues than solid wood. For a less expensive but attractive option, luxury vinyl plank mimics hardwood extremely well. 

Wall-to-wall carpet works for bedrooms, but utilize higher-end Saxony or frieze rather than low-grade builder’s carpet. Match carpet textures and colors from one room to the next for seamless flow. If your floor plan has multiple stories, unifying finishes on staircases also enhances continuity.

Whatever the material, refinished floors or new flooring should run throughout the public living areas. Mismatched floors give an unfinished, patchwork feel. Consistent flooring conveys pride of ownership and a move-in ready impression.

Wall Finishes and Paint

A fresh coat of neutral paint is one of the easiest and most affordable finish upgrades to instantly modernize a home. Stick to versatile, light neutrals that flow from room to room. Accent walls in bold colors or creative finishes add character without overwhelming.

Use eggshell or satin finishes in living areas for durability and sheen, while flat or matte paint minimizes imperfections in bedrooms. Higher-quality paint grades provide superior coverage and a smoother finish.

For a textural alternative to painted walls, shiplap, beadboard, or tile add dimension. Wallpaper makes a comeback for interest in dining rooms, powder rooms, and as accent walls. Just stay away from large, dated prints. 

Properly prepping and priming surfaces is crucial for any wall finish to meet its full potential. Take time to caulk gaps, sand rough areas, remove wallpaper glue, fill nail holes, and clean walls thoroughly before painting or papering. 

Lighting and Electrical Finishes

Lighting plays a supporting yet crucial role in home staging by setting the ambiance and showcasing other finishes. The strategic placement of lighting fixtures, along with updated switches, outlets, and dimmers, improves both form and function.

Swapping outdated fluorescent fixtures for sleek LED recessed lighting elevates kitchens and bathrooms. Look for ENERGY STAR-rated fixtures for energy efficiency. Dimmer switches enable you to set just the right mood lighting in living areas. 

replace aging brass outlet and switchplate covers with modern brushed nickel or black for continuity. In bathrooms, install water-resistant covers and ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets for safety beside sinks and tubs. 

Consider smart home tech like motion-activated night lights, voice-controlled lights, and smart thermostats. However, also keep timeless appeal in mind. The overall lighting design goal is an effortlessly modern yet classic look.

Exterior Finishes and Curb Appeal

You truly only get one chance to make a good first impression on buyers. That’s why a home’s exterior finishes directly impact perceived quality and sale price. 

Along with landscaping, a fresh coat of exterior paint in an appealing neutral or deep hue makes a noticeable impact. Look at competing homes’ exteriors to determine the most preferred siding material in your neighborhood, whether horizontal lap siding, board and batten, or brick.

If your siding is worn, consider replacing it with vinyl, engineered wood, or fiber cement siding, which offer durability and visual appeal at friendlier price points than wood. 

While you’re re-painting or re-siding, don’t neglect accent details like shutters, trim, gutters, and fences. Upgrade aging exterior fixtures like lighting, mailbox, hardware, and house numbers for curb appeal. A new coat of sealant on driveways and walkways erases cracks and stains. 

A brand new, stylish front door makes an instant statement, as does a updated garage door. Fresh landscaping and stonework complete the pulled-together exterior aesthetic.

Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Finishes 

Energy efficiency is a key emphasis for today’s buyers. Incorporating green building materials and sustainable finishes into your improvement plans enhances your home’s long-term viability and can pay off exponentially. 

Replacing drafty windows and doors with ENERGY STAR-rated models keeps heating and cooling costs down. Look for sustainable cork, bamboo, and recycled glass flooring options that resemble high-end finishes. 

Low- or zero-VOC paints improve indoor air quality. Tankless hot water heaters save water and energy. Smart programmable thermostats optimize energy use while you’re away or asleep. 

Even small touches like water-conserving toilets, faucets, and showerheads make a meaningful difference. Buyers are willing to pay a premium for a home that promises lower utility bills and an eco-conscious lifestyle.

Budgeting for Finish Improvements

Even minor finish upgrades like paint and hardware accents can make a noticeable impact. But to truly elevate your home, you’ll likely need a finish improvement budget between 3-5% of your home’s total value. Spread across targeted kitchen, bathroom, flooring, and exterior updates, this should fund significant perceived quality increases without overcapitalizing.

Focus first on the projects offering the highest projected ROI, like kitchen and master bath overhauls. Comparison shop and scout sales to stretch your budget. Time projects to take advantage of seasonally lower costs for needs like exterior painting. 

Depending on complexity, tackle as much as you can via DIY projects, but don’t be afraid to contract installs for flooring, cabinetry, and other skilled trades. Paying professionals is well worth it for a flawless, polished final product devoid of the telltale signs of amateur work.

The Finishing Touch: Staging and Presentation

Even the most exquisite finishes fall flat if not properly presented to prospective buyers. Staging and decorating complete the overall aesthetic you’ve created through your strategic finish improvements and prepare the home for showings.

Work with a professional stager or interior designer to best accentuate architectural details and finishes. Reposition existing furniture and decor to showcase spaces at their full potential. Declutter shelves, tables, and closets to appear clean and spacious. 

Ensure all finishes are in flawless shape for listing photos and open houses. Touch up paint, fix scratches, replace burnt-out bulbs, and thoroughly clean the home. Stage rooms with the appropriate lighting settings and brightness to highlight finishes. 

The goal is to enhance the finishes you’ve carefully chosen and upgraded, not distracting from them. Keep décor minimal and neutral to let improved surfaces shine.


When preparing your home to go on the market, the finishes present an incredible opportunity to optimize buyer appeal and increase value. By familiarizing yourself with current trends, selecting strategic upgrades in key rooms, sticking to a sensible budget, and properly presenting finishes, you can maximize your return on investment when it comes time to sell.

Concentrate on cherry-picking attractive, durable finishes that balance both trendy and timeless. Work within your local housing market’s prevailing preferences, not national fads that may have a short shelf-life in resale value. 

With a well-planned, well-executed finish improvement strategy in place as part of your overall pre-listing home improvements, you’ll be able to leverage your property’s full market value and obtain the premium price you desire. Your home will catch buyers’ eyes and capture their imaginations—all while capturing value for you during the sale.