To achieve a dramatic before-and-after feel, consider these five tips.

Everyone loves to see the great before-and-after photos of homes. Even major networks like HGTV, DIY, and the new Magnolia Network have made millions off the fact that everyone loves a great “before and after.

Witnessing the makeover of an entire home in person can often be even more exhilarating to experience. Taking an old space and transforming it with a dramatically new look doesn’t result from how much of a budget you have but from how creative you can get!

Here are some tips sure to create a real “WOW FACTOR” for your next renovation project.

Open Things Up

OK, let’s just get the obvious one out of the way first. Opening up any space will give your renovation a dramatically new look and feel.

Deciding whether to go in this direction will come down to your budget and whether it will give the home the feel it needs to sell fast. Any real estate agent will tell you an open floor plan is one of the most requested items on a homebuyer’s list. Gone are the days of formal living rooms, separate family rooms, and closed-off kitchens.

To remove a wall will likely require you to use a licensed engineer who can calculate what is needed to hold the weight of the roof. The added cost will be well worth the money when it comes time tosell the home.

Opening up the wall will give any home, large or small, the feel of a newer, more up-to-date design. The home will immediately feel larger and more inviting, helping to accelerate the sale of the home. As homebuyers view a home, they often tend to imagine how they will live in it. That new open floor plan could be the perfect design for any buyer who sees themselves cooking in the kitchen while interacting with their children or entertaining family or friends.

Weighing the pros and cons of using a good amount of your rehab budget to remove a wall comes down to what will benefit the home the most in terms of changing its look to turn a good profit.

Although most people think about taking down walls as the solution to opening up a floor plan, there are a couple other ways to achieve a more open floor plan. Focus on removing what is obstructing your view across or through a room. For example, consider removing low cabinets or large, low-hanging lights. Doing so can dramatically change the feel of any room, but without the cost of removing a wall.

Raising the ceiling height, if structurally possible, can create the feeling the room is more open too. Raising the ceiling can be costly, but even a small bedroom can benefit from having the ceiling height raised to create the feel of more space.

See the Light

Lighting is another way to really take a home to the next level. Can lighting, although it may not seem like the prettiest choice, can change the feel of any room in the house. By adding can lights to a kitchen or living room, the size of a room will seem to grow before your eyes! Although it is not a WOW factor in and of itself, can lighting will expand the whole room because it illuminates the room so well.

Bring on the Bling

Adding a little bling to the lighting throughout the house will help any home feel special. Including lighting in the stairwell, for example, makes any house feel that much more special. The items you choose to finish the overall design of a home is similar to accessorizing an outfit. Dressing a home up with a little bling can change the feeling of even a smaller, less expensive home and create a feeling that the home is more valuable than it really is on paper. Bling can take a dull design and bring it to that Wow Factor feel by just adding a little sparkle!

Freshen Kitchen Cabinets

With kitchens being the room in the home where the most money will be invested, new kitchen cabinets will always be a must for creating a dramatic before and after. Taking out old, dark kitchen cabinets to add new, crisp white cabinets always helps older homes establish a great Wow Factor! Not only will the home feel clean and new, but those bright white cabinets are sure to light up the kitchen and instantly create the feeling it is much larger.

On the opposite spectrum, however, is transforming an old, dingy-feeling kitchen by replacing dirty rundown, overused white cabinets with darker cabinets. Doing so will help create a real Wow Factor for any kitchen.

Often clients who wish to have a new look through a remodel find themselves stuck in a rut with that old look. Encourage them to head in a completely different direction. Instead of replacing old white kitchen cabinets with new white kitchen cabinets, help them feel like they got their money’s worth by giving them a dramatic new look. Creating a before-and-after Wow Factor comes from stepping outside the comfort zone of any house and creating a whole new look.

Create Access with Windows and Doors

Windows and French doors can eat up any budget quickly, but the dramatic effect they can have on any house can balance out the cost. Windows and doors are items that can take any house’s before and after to a new level. A room that didn’t have access to the outside patio can look dramatically different by adding French doors. It can also enhance the usefulness of the room. Adding a door gives even a small room a bigger feeling since now your ability to meander about goes beyond the four walls of the room.

If your room or budget cannot accommodate doors, adding a window might be an option. A new window in a room where one didn’t exist may give a room just the Wow Factor it needed. Rooms with views blocked by a solid wall are candidates for adding a nice large window. Adding a window creates Wow Factor and allows more natural light, which gives any space a warmer, happier feel.

Windows and doors are a great way to add much-needed curb appeal. They can make the outside of a house look more welcoming and interesting. French doors or a window, unlike a wall, inevitably help draw people by making them want to see more.

Creating homes with a dramatic before and after happens by making sure you add some kind of Wow Factor to your project. Whether it’s opening up a wall in the home, raising a ceiling, or adding a window to a solid wall that has a great view on the other side of it, giving a home a Wow Factor lines the home up for a dramatic overall before-and-after end result. There is nothing greater for a home renovator, house flipper, real estate investor, or interior designer than to hear a buyer or client walk into a house and say, “WOW!”

  • Michele Van der Veen

    Michele Van Der Veen, host of Good Day segments including Flip It, Decorate Like A Designer and Stage To Sell, started her career in real estate investing over 30 years ago. A published author herself, she has also been recognized and featured in international magazines for her unique approach to interior design. Acquiring a formal education from the Interior Designers Institute of California, Michele’s experience stems from building custom homes to flipping over 100 homes and working in commercial real estate development alongside her father at a young age. Not afraid to push the limit on her own designs/investments, she will often be heard reassuring her team about her decisions by saying “Don’t worry we are the comps!” For more on Michele’s work or to contact her go to

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