5 Key Design Ingredients That Makes A House Sell

The Nashville real estate market is absolutely booming right now. Houses are selling faster than people can build them. They’re selling so fast that if a house actually makes it to market, then something’s not quite right. In a housing boom like this, it’s easy to overlook the essentials that makes a house a high quality piece of real estate that can sell in any market.

We’re in the business of designing the highest quality of homes that will stand the test of time. We thought it’d be a good idea to pass along the key design ingredients we incorporate into all our projects.

The 5 Key Ingredients

In order of appearance, here is what we’ve found to be the most successful elements to include when designing a house. Design isn’t just about the square footage or the look. A successful design addresses the empathy of the human psyche. In essence, a house is about faces not spaces. What I mean by that is that a house isn’t anything if it’s not designed for your lifestyle, your family or the friends you host. A house is a gathering place for people. It’s also a place to find respite. The human soul needs all kinds of nourishment, which is why a house needs to be thought through with the end user in mind, you.

Alright alright, enough with the deep stuff. If we could put a finger on the objective elements of what makes a great home, we’d say it comes down to 5 key ingredients: layout, curb appeal, materials and finishes, bedrooms and outdoor spaces. Let’s break those down so you understand the why behind the what.


Above all else, layout has got to be the biggest driver of your home’s sellability. Here’s a list of questions to run through as you design your new home (or newly remodeled home):

  • Does it have an open floor plan?
  • Is the kitchen large, elegant and built for entertaining?
  • Is there a large space to gather? (i.e. living room adjacent to your beautiful kitchen)?
  • Where is the master suite located? (Hint: it’s almost always an easier sell to have it on the main floor)
  • How 'suite' is the master suite (large bedroom, dual sinks, standalone tub, large shower, fancy walk-in closet)?
  • Are there lots of windows that let natural light pour in?

Curb Appeal

Next in line, in order of importance, is the curb appeal. You’ve probably heard this many times, but may not know what that actually entails. Questions to ask yourself:

  • What’s your initial impression (first two seconds) when you look at the front of your house? You can probably sum this up with the type of grunt you give. Que your best Tim the Toolman Taylor. A great design for a front façade usually has a grand entrance (aka a covered porch and a gorgeous front door), a play with different gables and peaks, lots of windows, and a mix of siding materials and finishes.
  • How’s the front porch and door look? Charming? Or underwhelming? Make it look inviting and a place you’d want to read the newspaper in a comfy rocking chair (if there’s room).
  • What are the facade materials? It might be brick, but is it actually a good color? What’s the paint color? Nothing too wild. It’s safe to go with neutral colors that are either bright or warm.
  • How’s the landscaping? Is it a jungle or a well tamed garden? If there’s no green, be sure to add some. Keep it simple with swatches of a few hardy plants.

Materials and Finishes

This is probably the most obvious reason as to what makes a house sell. Although I will say that there is a reason why this is ranked #3 on our list. Materials and finishes are generally something people can change on their own time. But if you buy a home with a butt ugly front façade or a layout that didn’t even work in 1942 when it was built, well, then, you’re looking at a big investment to change it or you’re stuck. Regardless, materials and finishes are important. Questions to run through as you do a self-assessment are:

  • What are the floors like? And it what condition? Hardwood floors are timeless and as long as they’re well kept, it makes for a quick sale. Tile is good too, as long as it’s not dated and the grout is clean. Carpet, unless brand new and high quality, is generally not a selling point.
  • How do the cabinets and built-ins appear? Are they made with a high quality material? Most people today can sniff out Ikea kitchens and cabinetry, so tread lightly. Ideally, stay away from it.
  • What material are the countertops? Stone or Quartz is usually best, but there are exceptions. No MDF countertops, period. I don’t care how cheap it is. It sells like it looks.
  • Is the paint a neutral color and either bright or warm?
  • Are the ceilings neutral? Or are the fantastically detailed? No popcorn ceilings, ever.

How ‘Suite’ Are The Bedrooms

Home buyers today are a bit more picky than previous generations. No longer is it acceptable to have 1 shared bathroom for 3 bedrooms. Every bedroom should at a minimum be attached to a Jack and Jill bathroom. Ideally every bedroom should have an ‘en suite’ bathroom. A walk-in closet is almost a requirement nowadays too.

Outdoor Space

Like we mentioned before, the human soul needs different kinds of nourishment. People want fantastic indoor spaces as well as outdoor. Shoot for at least one high quality outdoor space, preferably two. An inviting front porch, a screened-in back porch is almost a necessity here in the south, and a deck or patio for grilling and sunbathing. If you have a pool, it should be inground, well-kept and have no issues. Contrary to popular belief, most buyers don’t want the headache of a pool.

Stick to these 5 key ingredients when designing your next home and you’ll have no problem when it comes time to sell. Be sure to check out our INSIGHTS page to find past articles we’ve written that might be helpful too. Click here to go to INSIGHTS now.  Take care and talk soon!