Buying a Home? Put These Items on Your Must-Have List
Major design trends change cyclically and with major global events that alter our way of life. In 2020 and 2021, most people had to start spending far more time at home and as a result, new ideas took center stage in home design. Harsh lines and sterile colors started to go out of style in favor of cheerful shades and comforting curves—and that’s not all. Open concept has easily been the most-wanted floor plan for decades, but as entertaining large groups took a back seat to the need for privacy, that design has gotten a run for its money from more traditional floor plans with more walls and separate spaces.
In the last few years, those features that maximize our living space for efficiency and comfort have come out on top, and they have staying power. If you’re shopping for a home in The Bahamas, add these items to your must-have list for an ultra-modern aesthetic, a boost in home value, and improved function for life in 2023.
1. A backyard oasis
The backyard has evolved beyond basic—and it’s Zillow’s top must-have home feature for 2023. We’re not talking about a fenced rectangle of lawn anymore. Instead, we’re seeing extensions of the indoor living space into a full-blown outdoor retreat. The National Association of Home Builders reported a “large jump in the demand for exterior amenities, such as patios, decks and porches” as well as “walking paths and other outdoor spaces connected to the home.” Open-air entertaining spaces with firepits, built-in grills, bars, and even full outdoor kitchens have spiked in popularity—and as we move into spring, you’ll want to make sure you have one to get maximum enjoyment out of the nice weather. The addition of cozy outdoor seating creates the perfect spot for guests or solo relaxation, while a screened-in or covered patio will protect you from bugs and the elements.
Part of the appeal of a backyard oasis is to surround yourself with nature without leaving your property. You can create a lush, lively outdoor haven by working with a professional landscaping designer, or you can get creative and plan your own. Best practices include growing plants that are native to The Bahamas, thrive in our area, and provide visual interest all year long. That means including some plants that bloom in spring, others that blossom in late summer, and some that provide that dazzling color show in the fall. Crotons provide color throughout the year while seagrapes and silver buttonwood shrubs provide great privacy barriers. Many homeowners are also planting edible gardens — lots of fruit trees (citrus, mango and avocado) and banana.
Next, consider outdoor lighting options. If you’re shopping for a home with your backyard oasis complete, ask about this feature during the tour. For outdoor entertainment especially, exterior lighting plays a major role in mood and functionality. Look into different styles to match your aesthetic, and consider options that run on solar to reduce energy consumption.
If you’re home shopping, your must-have list isn’t complete without a spectacular backyard oasis or the space to create your own. This feature helps you enjoy your entire home and property, and most importantly, improves your quality of life. Additionally, Realtor.com shared that if you plan to sell your home in the future, homes with a beautiful backyard sell faster and for more money than homes without.
2. At-home privacy
Open-concept floor plans shot to popularity in the 1970s and have ruled home design since the 1990s—but there is a drawback. Open floor plans don’t lend themselves to privacy, and with more people working and schooling from home than ever before, private spaces have become a necessity. If you need a place to make calls, study, do art, work, or work out without sound or interference from people in other rooms, consider a closed or partially closed floor plan. You’ll lose that straight-through sightline, but in return, you’ll gain more peace and quiet.
Another benefit of a closed floor plan is compartmentalization for your design. You don’t have to worry if each room coordinates with all the others, which means you can explore more than one color palette. You can also allow each member of your household to decorate their own spaces with their own tastes in mind—without disrupting the aesthetic of the rest of the home.
3. A flex room
Another nod to the need for privacy and functional spaces, the flex room has become a top desired feature for buyers in 2023.
What’s a flex room? It’s a room in your home that can be used for a variety of purposes. You can utilize the space in a more traditional way as an office, guest room, or den. Or you can get creative and turn it into a home theater, crafting space, game room, home library—the possibilities are endless! The purpose of the flex room is to act as a versatile and functional space in the home that fulfills an assortment of needs.
While you’re buying now, you want to think about functionality, style, and your current needs—but don’t forget the potential payoff of these features if you decide to sell down the line. In 2016, Consumer Reports shared that having a flex room can boost the value of your home by 4 to 6%. Since then, the desirability of this feature has only increased, making it more valuable still.
4. A laundry room
Why is having a laundry room so valuable? Because it will help you keep your home clean, organized, and as stress-free as possible. No more piles of dirty clothes waiting to be washed or clean clothes waiting to be folded. Laundry and everything related to it lives in one spot, so the chore doesn’t occupy more physical or mental space than necessary.
Adding a laundry room to your must-have list? Make it nicer by going beyond the utilitarian basics. According to research by Arm & Hammer, the average person spends about four hours and 48 minutes per month doing laundry—or nearly 58 hours a year! To make your time spent in the space more pleasant, paint it in a soothing color you enjoy, add shelving and organizers, and spring for the smart appliances.
5. A statement kitchen island
While stunning chef’s kitchens with large islands have been at the top of buyer must-have lists for years, the kitchen island has taken on new importance in 2023. More recently, kitchen islands are now being designed to accommodate dining and entertaining activities in the kitchen in addition to a formal dining room. With this trend, you'll find boldly colored kitchen islands topped with materials we haven’t seen before and lots of flexible seating.
6. Curves, arches, and natural elements
In 2023, we’re moving away from cold grays and whites, harsh lines and angles, and artificial materials. Warm colors, natural materials like stone and wood, and built-in elements that incorporate living plants continue to rise in popularity. Large French doors and picture windows that bring the outside in have become more desirable as buyers look to connect with nature. Similarly, look for organic forms and curved shapes in upcoming architecture. Arches, round windows, and curved doorways are all fair game. You can double down on this aesthetic with round rugs and soft, curvy furniture.