If you’re thinking about giving your home a facelift before sell (or resale redesign as we like to call it), you should know that there are a handful of updates that can make a big difference in the amount of time it will sit on the market and the final sale price of the home. These upgrades can significantly enhance a home’s market value and leave you with a handsome return on investment. Some can draw buyers in who fall in love with it (perceived value) and therefore shorten your home’s time on the market, without necessarily inflating the price tag. 

Your home is your biggest investment, and selling it ‘as is’ is handing money to the buyer, money that could be multiplied in your own pocket. Turning a property from ‘fixer-upper’ to ‘move-in ready’ attracts people looking for (and ready to pay for) their forever home.

Warning: Not all renovations are created equal. 

When doing any renovations with the intention to sell, you have to consider both actual value and perceived value, as well as what the area and comps can support.

If you’re selling your home and you’re eager to know the top resale redesign renos with the best ROI, as well as how aspects like perceived value influence buyer decisions… don’t skip this one.

5 Cosmetic Resale Redesigns With the Best ROI 

The facts are the facts. Homes that are outdated, worn, or ‘eclectic’ sit for longer and sell for less. 

But we aren’t even talking about major structural changes here. Cosmetic improvements or ‘no demo renos’ are tremendously impactful in a resale redesign. Focusing your efforts on big-impact areas to give potential buyers ‘wow’ moments means better ROI. Plus profit. Plus a faster sale = less holding costs. 

According to the Appraisal Institute of Canada, these are the top five renovations with the highest return:


kitchen redesign

Aka, the heartbeat of a home. The kitchen plays a huge role in romancing potential buyers. It can also increase your home’s value by a whopping 20%. Even investing in a minor kitchen refresh—think cabinet facelifts, new fixtures, etc—can result in an impressive return. 

For my resale clients, I always recommend these kitchen improvements: 

  • Re-face and/or paint cabinets
  • Replace/add kitchen backsplash
  • Upgrade hardware on doors and drawers
  • Remove window drapery
  • Upgrade sink faucet
  • Replace outdated appliances
  • Replace laminate or dark granite countertops.
  • Bonus: Built-in breakfast nook

* Potential ROI: ~Upwards of 75% (HGTV)


Next, we have the second space most likely to add value to your home—the bathroom. Bathrooms (especially the master bath) hold lots of sway in buyer decision-making. Even minor tweaks can recoup a considerable return. 

When it comes to bathroom resale redesign, we suggest:

  • Upgrading fixtures
  • Upgrading/painting vanity
  • Replacing and/or painting (enamel) bathtubs
  • Retiling/regrouting shower tiles
  • Updating mirror(s) – goodbye builder slab
  • Retiling floor 

* Potential ROI: ~62% (Remax)

ensuite bathroom before
ensuite bathroom after


You’ve probably heard me refer to paint as ‘Gold in a Can’. And I mean it with my whole heart. A fresh coat of paint can work wonders and is one of the most budget-friendly yet transformative upgrades you can do in a home before selling. 

Pro tip—When it comes to resale redesign, stick with more neutral colours. They do a better job of creating a canvas for buyers to project their dreams onto. 

* Potential ROI: ~60% (Remax)

Removing Carpet

These days, buyers more or less expect hardwood flooring (or Luxury Vinyl Plank that looks like hardwood). It adds to the whole “move-in ready” trope, whereas carpet could make them turn around and sprint the other way. 

Hardwood’s timeless charm makes it an attractive feature, and when it’s refinished, it accentuates the quality of your floors and highlights its durability. 

staged living room

* Potential ROI: Upwards of ~100% (Remax)

Cosmetic Upgrades

Cosmetic upgrades are light  ‘renovations’ that impact perceived value. This means that they will not have an actual ROI attached to them, but that buyers will not see ‘flaws’ and will be more likely to offer more and not negotiate money for ‘busy work’ that needs to be done. Some examples are:

  • Removing popcorn ceiling
  • Replacing heat register covers
  • Replacing electrical cover plates
  • Updating light fixtures and ceiling fans
  • Replacing/painting all doors 
  • Touching up baseboards and casings
  • Updating window treatments

The Importance of Perceived Value in Resale Redesign

Getting inside the mind of a potential buyer requires understanding a bit of psychology. 

More specifically, the concept of perceived value. 

staged bedroom

When selling your home, you want a potential buyer to walk in and immediately think, “Wow, I could really see myself living here.” It means tapping into their emotions to make it possible for them to actually visualize themselves making their morning coffee in your kitchen or getting ready for bed in your bathroom. You want them to value your house higher than others on the market, not just for what it is, but for what it could be to them.

Perceived value is just as important (if not more important honestly) than actual value. So how do you make sure your resale redesign hits on both? 


We’ve already talked about it, but it’s worth reminding you that you don’t have to remortgage your home for giant updates—just be strategic! Focus on areas that offer significant visual and functional improvements without the need for structural changes. 


Staging makes your house look like a place where anyone could see themselves living. You want to clear out your personal items so buyers don’t feel like they are in someone else’s home, but you also want to keep it cozy, clean, and inviting. Good staging shows off the best ways to use each part of your home and gives a sneak peek of the awesome life the buyer could have there. 

We can help you sell your home for more money, faster, with our occupied staging service!

bathroom before
bathroom after


Your house has its own identity and style and vibe. It’s essentially a brand. 

And that brand is a huge selling feature for real estate marketing.  

When you’re selling your house, you want to show off what makes it special and make it look really good so people want to share it and talk about it. You want to make it look so great that the right people—the ones who will really love what your home offers—can’t wait to see it in person and are ready to make a good offer because they see its true (market value and perceived value) worth.

We work with realtors (the one you already hired or one we recommend) to put together a marketing plan to sell your home. We love to do this at teh very beginning of the project to ensure that our joint expertise can guide the project in the best direction.

bedroom staging

Successful resale redesign requires a thoughtful strategy to ensure your investments pay off in both appeal and increased home value. Understanding where to focus your efforts and which updates are in demand among today’s buyers will make your home more attractive to a broader audience (while keeping your budget in a good spot!).

Sometimes, the best investment you can make is in professional advice. Consulting with an interior designer that’s familiar with market trends can provide specific insights into which upgrades are worth your time and money, as well as offer guidance on how to maximize the perceived value of your home with current design trends. Contact Unshelf Design today!