8 Key Design Lessons From Selling Sunset to Apply at Home

selling sunset living room

Courtesy of Netflix

Have you watched Selling Sunset yet? If you're a fan of all things real estate and home styling (and are hoping to pick up some key tips while enjoying some juicy drama), it's a must-watch! Or maybe you're a longtime fan and have already binged Seasons 1 through 4. While you wait for more episodes to be released, check out some of the key design takeaways we learned from the show, all of which you can implement in your own home ASAP. We also asked design pros to weigh in on the lessons we learned, and they share their comments below, too.

neutral bedroom in selling sunset

Courtesy of Netflix

1. Neutrals Are Always In

We see plenty of neutral furnishings scattered throughout the homes featured on Selling Sunset, after all, neutrals complement a wide range of architectural styles and design preferences. "Neutrality is never disappointing," Tennessee designer Tanya Hembree agrees. "When designing your home, whether luxurious, mainstream, modern, or traditional, neutral palettes are always the best backdrop to a great design."

2. When it Comes to Artwork, the Bolder, the Better 

While working together to stage a home in Season 3, real estate agent Heather heads to a gallery where she picks out a number of sizable, vibrant art pieces to hang throughout the various rooms that she and agent and home stager Amanza are styling. "A well-designed space is just simply not the same without art," Hembree states. "Art is like red lipstick to your outfit, it takes the look to another level. Abstract or bold, big, or daring, bigger is always better. Large scale and unique is what really makes a statement and elevates a space."

3. But Choosing Pieces Truly Speak to You Is Important, Too

We're looking at you, art collector Jason! Of course, there's no need to spend thousands of dollars to source artwork that is meaningful to you. Long Island designer Jennifer Markowitz said, "Art is incredibly personal, so there are no hard and fast rules here except to focus on collecting and featuring artwork that you truly love and inspires you. This way your home will always feel personal and special to you."

4. In an Open Floor Plan, Allow a Stunning Kitchen to be the Star of the Show 

Remember when Heather is showing a home and instructs the hired stager to allow the kitchen area to do the talking? "You can never go wrong with custom millwork and high end appliances to make a statement in the kitchen," New York City designer Rozit Arditi says. Adds Chapel Hill, NC-based designer Kristin Bartone, "We all know the kitchen is the heart of the home. Design with intention making the kitchen take center stage in your open floor plan."

One way to do so is by incorporating an island that can accommodate several people. "A central island has become an essential in the kitchen floor plan," Bartone says. "Additional seating options here like counter stools that wrap around the corner make using this seating option more social with not just the chef but the other guests as well."

selling sunset bathroom

Courtesy of Netflix

5. Sometimes, Simple is Best

Eclectic looks may not resonate with all members of a household—or with everyone touring a property for sale. Bold touches are generally kept to a minimum—viewers may remember how much Heather disliked the hired stager's more out-of-the-box additions, which included a real cowhide rug. "If you're looking for a design aesthetic that speaks to many, a simple and classic approach never disappoints," Hembree shares. "When listing your home or setting the stage for your new furnishings, simple is always best. Simplicity is peaceful, easy on the eyes, and healing for the soul."

6. That Said, This Isn't Always the Case

We will note that as a whole, though, given that many of us are styling our homes to live in, not to be staged for sale, a bit of flair is A-OK. "Eclectic design, when done well, can be universally appealing," Markowitz explains. "All it really means is adding some layers and depth to your design. If you have an all white kitchen, for instance, adding a beautifully ornate and colorful rug and maybe mismatching your cabinet hardware styles a bit can create that eclectic look without it feeling too mish-mashy. It can still feel simple and clean, but it has personality!"

southern california home

Courtesy of Netflix

7. Go Ahead and Play to a Home's Surroundings

The homes in the show reflect the nearby Southern California landscape and cultural vibe. No matter where you live, looking to your locale and home style when decorating is key. "A thousand times yes—you want to stay authentic and true to the home's surrounds and history (if applicable)," Connecticut designer Georgia Zikas says. "It will make the home feel cohesive with its environment."

However, it's also ok to veer off the beaten path slightly. "Do not be afraid to mix things up with interesting details," Zikas adds. "A Colonial-style New England home might look great with transitional design, but add in a French country armoire or a bohemian Moroccan rug for a bit more interest. You can keep the bones of the house and the overall design true to its location, but don't be afraid to add personalized design details that truly transform a house into your home."

8. A Statement-Making Light Fixture Can Have a Major Impact in Any Space

We see lots of fab lighting throughout the homes featured in the show, and Arditi agrees that such pieces are major winners. "Most people underestimate the power of a great light fixture," she says. Markowitz adds, "I love playing with different sizes and styles of lighting fixtures to add drama to a room. Chandeliers are great for this—and you can get them in modern finishes if you like."