If you spend any time on the internet, you’ve probably seen TikTok-influenced aesthetic trends. An aesthetic combines personality traits with design and fashion to create a sense of style that permeates your entire life and reflects you.
If you know you are a millennial, landlocked coastal grandmother, you already have a color pallet for your living space (pastels and stripes with navy accents, if you were wondering). Maximalists know they need to basically wallpaper their entire home with cool posters and beautiful framed prints. Fans of witchcore lean toward the gothic look with dark colors and ornate furniture.
Brace yourself for a big ol’ but.
Two things can be true at once: Incredibly whimsical and unique homes are beautiful and get a lot of attention on social media. They are also expensive to design and decorate, not always the most functional, and can be very hard to sell.
A super unique or trendy home needs a buyer who either loves the look or wants to make extensive renovations. Waiting for a buyer who is the aesthetic version of your soulmate means risking a major shift in the housing market, or possibly lowering your asking price to attract more buyers.
The average American moves nearly 12 times in their life, so statistically speaking, you will need to sell your home. But that doesn’t mean you must live in a bland house to preserve it for a hypothetical future homebuyer. Some aesthetics naturally lend themselves to classic homes a home stager can work with or are easy to transition into a more universally appealing style when it comes time to sell.
Other aesthetics don’t always play nice when you decide it’s time to sell your house, as they might obscure your home’s good bones.
So, how should a homeowner with their heart set on a certain whimsical aesthetic proceed?
- Live in a boring beige box, never touching the walls to preserve the home for future residents.
- Spend loads of money transforming your home into a whimsical wonderland, then spend more money remodeling your home when you decide to sell it.
- Spend loads of money transforming your home into a whimsical wonderland, then sell it as is with a lower asking price.
- None of the above.
If you chose #4, you’re right. You can strike a balance between enjoying your aesthetic, having fun with whimsical home design, saving money, and not turning your life into an episode of Fixer Upper when you move into and out of your home.
How much sweat equity is whimsy worth?
Even if you’re in your forever home, you need to decide how much time, money, and effort you want to invest into decorating your home.
If you think you can manage a high-impact project for maximum whimsy, keep in mind that even supposedly easy projects take a lot of effort to complete (and undo if you need to change it back). They can also be costly, depending on what needs to be done.
Making your home whimsical should be fun and make you happy, so you just need to determine if you want the work of a renovation before making any changes in your home.
Some whimsical renovations add value to your home…
There are a few aesthetics that don’t require HGTV-level renovations and inject whimsy into the home. If you’re a homeowner who isn’t afraid of a project, consider a timeless renovation:
- Built-in shelving
- Window seats and benches
- Adding in a fireplace
- Tasteful wainscoting
- Wood paneling
Everyone and their Coastal Grandmother have fun styling a fireplace mantle. Dark Academia lovers may use the window seat to curl up with their favorite collection of moody poetry, while Plant Moms could use the great light and horizontal surface as the perfect spot for their giant bird of paradise.
If you’re wanting to make a whimsical change to your home, prioritize projects that make life in your home more enjoyable and serve as neutral bases for your future whimsy.
…While others will not.
It’s fun to look at the bizarre houses owned by the rich and famous, but not everyone wants to live in an eternal man cave. Hobbit and fairytale-themed Airbnbs are fun for a weekend but aren’t always practical to live in.
Here are some home alterations that look beautiful and fun in a home, are having their moment on social media, and can make selling your home harder than it needs to be.
- Mouse houses: Using the smallest of furniture to create teeny-tiny built-in dioramas in the walls for whimsy-loving rodents can make home shoppers think about unpleasant household pests. Plus, they’ll have to fill the large holes to remove them.
- Statement lighting: It might speak to you on a deep, personal level but have different things to say to a home shopper. If you’ve replaced overhead lighting with dark sconces, buyers might not be able to see themselves in your home (literally and figuratively). Go with a lamp instead and take it with you when you move!
- Custom wall murals: Even beautiful ones mean homeowners must decorate their new space around the wall. For a home shopper to love your wall murals as much as you do and actually want to live with them, they need to have furniture to match. Likely, they’re not keen on buying all new furniture before move-in.
Ultimately, if a buyer doesn’t love the look, they’re thinking about the challenges that might come with renovating, decorating, or maintaining the home, and may decide it simply isn’t worth the hassle.
Balance Whimsy with Practicality
Luckily, you’re not out of options.
What Happens in the Bathroom can Actually Stay in the Bathroom
Bathrooms, especially powder bathrooms, are great spaces within your home to go bold with aesthetics. Because they’re small, can be closed off from the rest of the house, and the homeowner won’t have to match furniture, a bathroom totally you isn’t much of a challenge when selling.
Color lovers rejoice! There are plenty of alternatives to traditional wall colors. Camel tans, coffees, and warm-toned browns at any level of saturation give a more exciting take on beige that still works with a range of furniture options.
Sage green and powder blues are starting to get treated as neutral colors, and are beautiful options that work in a home the way a cool-toned gray would. Saturated blue-toned grays have the same moody effects as charcoal or black paint without potentially negative goth connotations.
Warm off-whites have a number of more fun replacement colors. Pale golds, tans, and peach play nice with all types of home decor and still give your space an extra sparkle of whimsy.
When it comes down to it, wall art is one of the best ways to inject high amounts of whimsy into your home. You can decorate with meaningful pictures and perfectly customize your style or aesthetic. No matter what brand of whimsy you subscribe to, there are a plethora of beautiful pictures to find, and you can swap out prints whenever you want a change.
Gallery walls and large-scale framed art accent your home’s good bones. Whimsical prints with good accent lighting and high-quality frames tastefully transform funky corners and nooks into beautiful statement spaces.
Unlike brash paint and statement wallpaper and fixtures, a whimsical and thoughtful art program in your home shows your personality without forcing a homebuyer to take on a renovation project.
Expressing Yourself Through Decor
We are in a golden age of whimsical home decor. Between vintage shopping, making your own art, incorporating nontraditional items as decor, and a push toward more unique decor lines by big box stores, it’s easy to incorporate.
Decorative objects are the most obvious ways to nail your dream aesthetic without making any expensive or difficult changes to your home. They spark joy when you live in your home, are easy to swap out when you want a change, and can be moved around (or hidden) when you’re trying to run an open house. Whimsy is not an automatic death knell for your home’s resale value. If it’s done well, you can design a home that’s entirely yours and appeal to buyers when it’s time to sell.
After graduating in 2016 from The University of Texas with a degree in English, Sanda Brown became a content writer for the BDX with a focus on website copy and content marketing.
At the BDX, Sanda helps write and edit articles on NewHomeSource.com, writes website copy for builders, and manages a team of freelancers that work on additional content needs.