Once you’re ready to list your home for sale, it’s time to stage! Avoid these four common mistakes and get your home ready to fly off the market.
Staging Like You Live
The way we live in our homes should be drastically different from the way we stage our homes for sale. It is normal to live day-to-day with a few dishes on the drying rack, high-use items occupying surfaces, and personal items and photos decorating each space.
With staging, the goal is not to show others how you live comfortably in your home, but instead to show them what it would be like to live there. At a certain point, it’s impossible to completely de-personalize a home: your furniture, paint, flooring, and design choices all say a lot about you and your tastes. However, clearing away photos and personal touches is a great start to staging.
Keeping in mind that suggestions and choices around staging are in no way criticisms of your lifestyle or home can help remove the emotional hold-up that many people experience while staging. It’s common for people to think they should prepare for staging the way they’d prepare to have a guest over: cleaning up, putting a few things away, and making everything tidy. In reality, it’s better to keep things much more minimal than anyone would want them for everyday life!
An unfurnished room generally appears smaller than a furnished one, but an overcrowded room looks the smallest of all. “Overcrowded” means something entirely different when staging than it does when arranging a room for living purposes. For example, a nice large dresser or wardrobe might fit fine in your bedroom and be exactly what you need to keep clothes organized. However, removing bigger pieces like these and keeping things minimal will go a long way in helping each space appear as large and bright as possible.
In sitting areas, plan to clear out about a third to half of your furniture. In everyday life, you need that furniture in order to have space for everyone as you sit and entertain, but narrowing down to just a few pieces will keep the room feeling open and large for staging.
In the kitchen, in the bathroom, and on any coffee table or surface, keep items to a minimum. Choose a few more polished possessions to keep on display, and store the rest.
Accentuate counter space by putting away the appliances and utensils that live on that surface in your everyday life. Reducing clutter helps a room feel more spacious and clean! Place a small plant or decorative fruit bowl along the countertop to add a bit of life and color.
Think of clutter in terms of wall hangings and refrigerator magnets, too. Clear off the fridge entirely, since those personal touches can be off-putting and appear disorganized even though we may see our own differently! Clear off walls aside from a few accent pieces over couches and larger furniture. If possible, leave or add accent mirrors to give the appearance of a larger room.
It’s common for children’s rooms and rec rooms to sport bright, fun colors, but often these show up in potential buyers’ minds as something they’ll have to “fix” as soon as they buy. If you have the time and budget, painting rooms in neutral colors can help potential buyers imagine your staged home as their own and prompt them to make an offer. Greys, dark blues, and shades of white are generally safest. Bold or busy artwork can also be stored in order to help spaces flow together and avoid distraction.
In each staging decision, aim to accentuate light, space, and any custom features of your home itself. Keep things neutral otherwise to avoid distracting from the true treasure: the house!