Practical tips for staging your home
In the era of HGTV and Pinterest, home staging has become a widely accepted part of the home-selling process. Its lure lies in its claims to dramatically boost sale prices and slash time spent on the market, not to mention garnering more online attention from buyers owing to how great staged homes look in photos.
But, for many home sellers, staging is still a bit of a mystery, bringing to mind foggy notions of copious throw pillows, bowls of citrus fruits (what does a person do with so many lemons?) and oh-so-chic but completely befuddling table settings for two.
If you’re not in a position to spring for professional services and the thought of DIY staging makes your palms clammy, rest easy. At its core, staging is all about emphasizing your home’s best qualities, not dressing it up to be something it isn’t.
Here are a few of our favourite no-hassle tips for staging any home.
Tip 1: Make the space look bigger
Your house is your house, so you can’t invent space if it simply doesn’t exist (unless you’re pulling down walls, but that’s a topic for another post). But what you can do is maximize the space you’ve got by minimizing everything else. The intention? To create lots of room for easy movement, to give buyers a clear view of the house itself, and to avoid causing them to wonder if their own furnishings will fit.
A common problem area is the living room.
Is oversized furniture taking up most of the wall and floor space? Consider moving larger items, such as sectionals and recliners, into storage, the garage, or to a friend’s house. To show that the space is still comfortable, you could leave a love seat or a pair of chairs with a coffee table – just ensure that the furniture you choose to keep in sight isn’t shabby.
Then think about the optics of the room: dark or dim rooms can look small and cramped, so be sure to brighten things up. Heavy curtains or bulky window dressings can be replaced with inexpensive sheers, and covering darker wall colours with light neutrals will make the room feel more open.
Tip 2: Depersonalize
Your home inevitably becomes a reflection of you — your tastes, your daily habits, your life story. While you might have great taste and enviable daily habits (don’t we all?), a well-staged home is arranged and decorated in such a way that nothing about the current owners distracts buyers from imagining themselves living there.
The goals it to try to remove evidence of … well, you.
Not sure how to start depersonalizing? Envision the display areas in furniture stores: everything looks comfortable but nondescript; there’s a hint that people could live there, but nothing that says who lives there. There are no family photos giving the current owners a face, no notes or drawings stuck on the fridge, no toothbrushes and cosmetics on the bathroom counters, and there may be only a small handful of neutral décor items here and there (re: bowls of lemons).
Besides the trappings of your everyday life, you’ll also want to avoid showing off your unique tastes, since buyers may not share them. Keep your paint colours simple and classic – which doesn’t necessarily mean white or taupe, but rules out colours your friends would delicately describe as “interesting” – and minimize any overt themes you might have created (farm-themed kitchens and princess-themed bedrooms come to mind, though kids’ rooms are a little more forgiving when it comes to depersonalization). Let your buyers focus on the house and all its possibilities, not on the frills you fancy.
Tip 3: Wake up tired décor
Until this point, your staging shouldn’t have cost much more than a little elbow grease and a few cans of paint, but small investment on handful of décor items can ensure that your home conveys freshness and potential to new buyers.
A little can go a long way
Even if you’re on a budget, some well-placed items can spruce things up. If your sofa is a little drab, a beautiful new throw tossed over the back and some fresh throw pillows – you knew there’d be pillows! – can lend it new life. Dated kitchen cabinets? Swap out your old pulls for a more modern style – it’s a small change that packs a big punch. Even the bedrooms can benefit from a few dollars spent: worn or faded blankets can be replaced with new, inexpensive comforters to make the rooms seem fresher.
To bring a little energy and fun to your home, accent pieces are a great impermanent way to introduce pops of colour; think a vase of fresh flowers on the counter, some on-trend placemats, or a bit of innocuous artwork. To create a simple motif, just ensure that the accent colour occurs in three to four different places around the room. In no time, your home will look put-together and be camera ready!
Though interior design may not be your ‘thing’, the principle behind real estate staging is simple: it’s about making your home as appealing as it can be to the widest possible audience. By opening up the space, depersonalizing, and investing in some fresh décor, you’ll make it easy for buyers to see all the possibilities of living in your space and calling it home.