Home & Style

Make These Choices If You’re Renovating to Improve Your Home’s Resale Value

We surveyed 200 DC-area real-estate agents to find out what buyers want in newly remodeled homes.

Illustration by Claire McCracken.

Is improving resale value one of your renovation goals? We surveyed nearly 200 of Washington’s top-producing real-estate agents to ask what local buyers prefer in newly remodeled homes. Here’s what they said.

Preferred overall design style of most buyers:

Transitional: 42% (82)
Traditional: 27% (52)
Contemporary: 23% (45)
Midcentury modern: 3.5% (7)
Other: 3.5% (7)
Coastal: 1.5% (3)

Preferred kitchen cabinet color:

White: 87% (170)
Gray: 5% (10)
Other: 5% (10)
Natural wood: 2.5% (5)
Blue: 0.5% (1)
Black: 0% (0)

Preferred bathroom cabinet color:

White: 62% (122)
Gray: 16% (31)
Natural wood: 11% (21)
Other: 6% (12)
Blue: 2% (4)
Black: 2% (4)
No response: 1% (2)

Preferred kitchen countertop material:

Quartz: 79% (154)
Granite: 12% (24)
Other: 5% (10)
Marble: 3.5% (7)
No response: 0.5% (1)

Preferred bathroom countertop material:

Quartz: 62% (121)
Granite: 18% (36)
Marble: 15% (30)
Other: 4% (8)
No response: 0.5% (1)

Which is the better use of extra square-footage in a primary bathroom?

Double-headed shower: 59% (115)
Soaking tub: 40% (79)
No response: 1% (2)

Preferred finish for fixtures and hardware:

Nickel: 53% (103)
Matte black: 27% (53)
Bronze: 10% (20)
Brass: 9% (17)
No response: 1.5% (3)

In the kitchen, do most buyers prefer . . .
Shaker or slab-front cabinets?

Shaker: 70% (137)
Slab-front: 29% (57)
No response: 1% (2)

Island or peninsula?

Island: 97% (190)
Peninsula: 3% (6)

Apron-front or under-mount sink?

Under-mount: 59% (116)
Apron-front: 41% (80)

Stainless-steel or white appliances?

Stainless: 96% (188)
White: 3.5% (7)
No response: 0.5% (1)

Most desired feature in a finished basement:

Guest suite: 56% (109)
Playroom: 14% (28)
Gym: 11% (21)
Other: 10% (19)
Second home office: 9% (18)
No response: 0.5% (1)

This article appears in the October 2021 issue of Washingtonian.

Senior Editor

Marisa M. Kashino joined Washingtonian in 2009 as a staff writer, and became a senior editor in 2014. She oversees the magazine’s real estate and home design coverage, and writes long-form feature stories. She was a 2020 Livingston Award finalist for her two-part investigation into a wrongful conviction stemming from a murder in rural Virginia.