One of the keys to successfully flipping a house is knowing what trends local buyers are looking for in a renovated property. Not only do these popular choices in materials and design typically translate to fewer days on market, but they are proven to deliver a solid return on investment in the DC metro area.

To determine what trends you should consider for your next property rehab we compiled features and materials across 50 DC-area properties that we have funded so far in 2019. In no particular order, here is a list of the top features included in successful renovations:

Colored Trim Work Along the Stairs

Colored Stairwell Trim DC Style

Bright white is the time-honored hue for wainscoting and other trim work, especially on older stairwells that might not have the best lighting. It’s time to take that trim into the modern era by adding some personality with color.

Shades of blues and greys are dominant in the market now, giving a splash of color without being an over-the-top accent that may turn off potential buyers. If you want to blend the old and new color trends, try painting just the panels of the wainscoting leaving the rails and stiles a traditional white (or vice-versa for a contemporary take on the classic feature). Or for a look that has a bit more personality, try long horizontal boards with a fun Whichever style you choose, the good news for this trend is that it takes just a little trim and paint to make your staircase stand out.

Patterned Tile in Bathrooms

Patterned Tile Floor Style DC 

Patterned floor tile is in vogue, surpassing more monochromatic and simple tiles from years past. Try an intricate design to make a statement or use a splash of color to offset an all-white bathroom. If you have a more traditional-styled vanity or bathtub, patterned tiles could be a great accent to hammer home the modern revival of Victorian-era style.

 No matter what color or material you choose, a patterned floor updates the look of a property and works in all types of homes from historic row houses to on-trend urban condos.

Lighted &  Illuminated Mirrors

Lighted Bathroom Mirror Style DC

Modern mirrors have simple designs and high-tech features. Lighted mirrors eliminate the need for extra lighting like sconces that can clutter a smaller bathroom. In-mirror lighting provides the most flattering light for getting ready in the morning or applying makeup – after all this design has been in use for smaller makeup mirrors for decades). In addition to front-facing lights for lighting up your face, other “illuminated” styles feature softer backlighting to make mirrors look like they are floating on the wall.

 Combine in-mirror lighting with coordinating accent lights for a stylish yet practical ambiance that works for buyers looking for their own personal spa as well as those who need the added convenience to prep for a night out in DC.

Accents on the ceiling

Accent Ceiling Paint DC Style Trends

Making an impact in unexpected places continues to be popular, and real estate investors are turning plain ceilings into major wow-factors more than ever before. This historically underutilized space provides the perfect canvas for creating a design theme in an otherwise unimpressive space. Here’s how to get the look:

Here are the most popular styles and tips on implementing them:

Traditional Create a coffered or tray ceiling with accent paint or wallpaper on the raised sections
Farmhouse Cover the ceiling in reclaimed wood planks
Eclectic Use bold color combos like Pantone’s Color of the Year, Living Coral (16-1546) with crisp white trim (careful not to paint it with your own taste in mind, but rather what is popular and particularly what has been used in a recently sold comp)
Industrial Add metal beams or varnished plywood panels screwed in with galvanized zinc screws


Brass hardware 

Brass Fixtures in Kitchen DC Style Trends

Move over oil-rubbed bronze! Brass is the new hot hardware for bathrooms and kitchens. Whether it’s a shiny cup pull on a drawer or matte bars on a cupboard, brass is the new go-to metal for 2019 renovations. This look pairs especially well with grey and blue cabinets which are also trending. This is great news in the Washington DC metro area because many older homes were originally fitted with brass, particularly on windows and doors.

The good news for buyers is that cabinet hardware is easily swapped out and takes next to zero DIY skill, so buyers can change up the look and feel of their kitchens and baths easily.

Blue kitchen islands

Blue Kitchen Island DC Style Trends

Islands continue to be popular in kitchens and as mentioned above, painting the island blue is a modern trend that somehow feels traditional. Whether it’s a deep navy or distressed periwinkle, blue islands provide a focal point and contrast with traditional cabinetry. 

This look pairs well with white cabinets as well, so that you don’t need to feel like you’re too “out on a limb” with your paint choice since the rest of the cabinetry can remain a time-tested favorite.

Quartz countertops

Quartz Kitchen Counters DC Style Trends

Kitchen remodels used to have granite counters as a standard option, but styles are changing and quartz is taking center stage in higher-priced markets like the DC-area. It’s a durable option that doesn’t have to be babied like marble and resists stains better than granite or concrete countertops, yet still feels like stone.

Modern technology allows quartz to be made in a range of colors and patterns with a precise, non-porous finish, so the look of the kitchen won’t be limited to the slabs on hand in the stone yard. Due to its durability and the simple fact that you can find quartz to match just about any kitchen design theme, all signs point to quartz being a rehab material that’s here to stay.

Mixing round and rectangle tiles in the shower

Mixing Tiles Bathroom Patterns DC Style Trends

Subway tile is a classic look for a bathroom, and this year it gets an update by mixing the blocky rectangles with the curves of rounded tile. A 2019 trend that’s been catching on in locally is juxtaposing large, rectangular wall tiles with smaller penny rounds or irregular river rock tile on the floor and accent areas. It’s a budget-friendly option for giving a basic bathroom a luxury feel provided by the use of complementary elements.

 Round and rectangle shower tile ideas are limited only by the imagination, but here are a few to get your creativity started:

  • Make the shower into a showcase by adding a border of gorgeous sealed travertine circles. 
  • Highlight built-in features by covering the wall above a bench seat with an iridescent fan tile.
  • Tile the shower floor in river rock or pebble tiles.
  • Add contrasting penny tiles to the back of a niche to kick an otherwise underwhelming bathroom up a notch.


Tiling the shower is a small project that can pay off big and don’t be afraid to experiment in small spaces.