By being bold rather than boring and creating one amazing room, you can make potential home buyers fall in love with your abode

Last week, I gave you three tips on how to get that home sold — and fast. This week, I’m winding down this topic with my two favorite and most important pieces of advice. But first, let’s recap what was covered last week:

Tip No. 1: Do a drive-by of your house. Make sure your home has the curbside appeal it needs to get people to take a closer look.

Tip No. 2: Set your home apart. If your home or condo is identical to your neighbors’, look for affordable, easy solutions that can make it unique and appealing.

Tip No. 3: Less is always more. Edit, edit, edit! Showcase the space, not the clutter — and that includes unnecessary pieces of furniture.

Now for my last two tips:

Tip No. 4: Go bold but basic. We’re talking color! When it comes to paint or accessories, the rule for making a space appealing to potential home buyers is to stay neutral. No matter how much you love pinks and purples and tangerines, the potential homebuyer may not.

But what you don’t want is blah and boring. So go neutral, but make it pop. Make it interesting and sophisticated by having some bold strokes of color. How? An accent wall that could be chocolate or sage green.


These colors can make a statement but are still considered “safe” for potential home buyers. Then sprinkle in some metallics like gold and silver — they’re neutral too, but also great splash accents that tie in with all of your neutrals.

Tip No. 5: Create one unforgettable room. When home buyers are shopping for a home, on any given day they may see six or more homes. What’s going to make them remember yours?

Pick the room that has the most potential to be amazing, and make it AHMAAAZING! If it’s an outdoor barbecue space, can you add a TV and create an outdoor entertainment area? If you have a small room with no windows, can you turn it into a game room with a card table, or create the feeling of a home theater with an affordable popcorn machine in the corner and a comfy, cushy sofa? Take what you already have and kick it up a notch so the potential home buyer thinks, “OMG! I LOVE THIS!”

This has worked with many homes I’ve redesigned, decorated or staged for sale. Of all the homes a potential home buyer might see, what’s going to set yours apart is when the husband cannot get out of his mind the unforgettable outdoor barbecue area. Or the wife will say, “I just fell in love with that powder room!”

For many people, a major kitchen or bath remodel is out of the budget. That’s why this tip is so important. The space you transform could simply be a small corner, an unused room or part of an outdoor area. Look closely at that space and think of ways to make it unique and memorable.


This photo is a perfect example. When I designed this home in Hawaii Loa Ridge, there was a covered outdoor space that was really too small to be anything, but too large to be nothing. It had a big drain in the middle of the floor. The former homeowners used it as storage, so there were ladders, paint cans and other things strewn about.

It also had incredible views, which meant incredible potential. By simply adding a tranquil faux finish to the wall, affordable interlocking decking material that hid the drain, a flea market chandelier, some teak benches and drapes to frame the view, this very small space became an outdoor meditation room and oasis that people still talked about after leaving the home.

No matter what your price point, try this tip. You can’t do this with every room, but you can focus on one room and make it amazing. Then, no matter how many homes potential buyers look at, they’ll want to come back to yours.

Cathy Lee is president and designer of Cathy Lee Style and Cathy’s Marketplace, a furniture and accessories showroom with design services at 1110 University Ave. in Moiliili. Lee’s interior design work has been featured in local and national publications, on HGTV and in her DIY design workshops that teach homeowners the basics of style. To find out more, go to


Photos courtesy of Cathy Lee