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Home Staging Tips

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Staging Ideas

Making small changes to your home can make it appeal

to the largest number of potential buyers!

Look at your house from a buyer's perspective, and make minor enhancements to show off your home’s beauty and strengths.  Following are many ideas you can put to use in getting your home sold for the highest possible price in the shortest possible time.

1.  Make an entrance.

Make the front door inviting.   A welcoming entry helps to set the tone for the rest of the house.  Potential buyers often drive by before deciding they want to see the inside of a house, so make sure the front-door area looks nice.  Sweep the walk and entry area, buy a new doormat, add some pretty potted flowers, replace the door chime and front door knob if they’ve become rusty or worn.

2.  Clear away clutter.

Put away personal photos, knickknacks, boxes -- anything that will distract the buyer from concentrating on the house.  People won't buy a house if they can't see the square footage, so clear it out and clean it up.  Clutter gives the perception that there's not enough storage in the house.

Take it one room at a time.  If your bookshelves are overflowing, clear them off and start over. It's okay to have empty space around your books and knickknacks.  Inexpensive baskets strategically placed are great for added texture and visual interest.  Books stacked vertically serve as pedestals to show off special objects.  You can also remove the dust covers from hardbacks and group them by color, turning a cluttered shelf into a cohesive and attractive addition to the room.

Get creative about storage and organization.  Retailers like Bed Bath & Beyond and Target sell functional rolling bins designed to slip under a bed and hide everything from household supplies to kids' toys.  And if you can't get rid of it or hide it, then show it off with style…places like IKEA and Target (even Home Depot, Lowes and Michaels Arts & Crafts) sell colorful and inexpensive fabric, basket-weave, canvas, cardboard, or melamine magazine holders and storage baskets.  Lined up on a shelf, they look a lot cleaner than stacks of magazines everywhere and add a unified visual element to the room.

Make "less is more" your mantra.

Don't forget that a cluttered look can also come from too much furniture.

Remove extra, unwanted furniture and arrange remaining pieces in a way that creates smooth traffic flow.  Good furniture placement can help show off a room and makes a huge impact as a buyer walks through.  Take a hard look at what you have and ask yourself what you can live without.  Rule of thumb: If you don't use it regularly, lose it.  While you're doing this sometimes-painful pruning, remind yourself that every square foot you free up is prime real estate!

3.  Float furniture.

Giving your furniture some breathing room makes a room look larger.  There's a common belief that rooms will feel larger and be easier to use if all the furniture is pushed up against the walls, but it's simply not true.   When people are allowed to see the perimeter of the room, it creates the illusion of a larger space.   

Arrange furniture to showcase your space.

So instead, furnish your space:  Float furniture away from walls, reposition it into cozy conversational groups, and place pieces so that the traffic flow in the room is obvious.  In most cases, this means keeping the perimeters clear.  Not only will this make the space more user-friendly, but it will open up the room and make it seem larger.

If you're nervous about doing something that’s out of your comfort zone, try an area rug on an angle first, then move the couch and see how it looks.  But just try it!   If the new arrangement doesn't sit well with you, you can always put things back the way they were.  But chances are, you’re really going to like your new look!

4.   Let the sun shine in.

Take down old, heavy drapery and put up something light and airy, like the pretty texture but soft sun-filtering quality of linen.  This allows natural light to shine into a room and makes a closed-in space seem larger.  Simple sheers on a tension rod are great for screening an unattractive view and providing a bit of privacy while still letting in lots of light and making a room look larger.  Or in a large room with outdated drapery and neutral color tones, try adding curtains that have an interesting texture or a splash of color, coupled with a good-looking curtain rod and finial set, and you’ll add a whole new, updated look to your room!

Other window treatment tips: If your windows are narrow, extend the curtain rods a foot or so on each side to suggest width.  If your ceilings are low, hang rods at the ceiling line and consider window treatments with vertical stripes to create the illusion of height.  If your windows are short, add curtain panels that run to the floor to give the illusion of a much larger window.  And if a room is completely devoid of curtains altogether, adding simple yet good-looking drapery and hardware (that doesn’t have to be expensive) can go a long way in adding warmth and texture to your space.

5.  Create that special ambiance.

Great lighting design is one of the things that make staged homes look so warm and welcoming.  A combination of overhead, floor, table, and accent lighting makes for great ambiance.  Having a whole mix of lighting not only provides good illumination and but also makes the room much more interesting.

To remedy bad lighting and make your home more inviting, increase the wattage in your lamps and fixtures in dark areas, install dimmers on the lighting that’s too harsh (dimmers are great because you can vary light levels according to your mood and the time of day) or simply change their bulbs to a lower wattage, and add inexpensive but good-looking lamps (found at Target, Walmart, TJ Maxx, Marshalls or Bed Bath & Beyond) to dark corners and accent tables.

And don't depend on just one or two fixtures per room, either.  It's just as important to layer lighting as it is to have sufficient wattage.  So go for ambient (general or overhead), task (pendant, undercabinet, or reading), and accent (table and wall) lighting.   A fun idea: uplight!  You can buy inexpensive ones at home-improvement stores and hide it behind a potted plant, place it on top of a kitchen cabinet to illuminate decorative objects, or use it to highlight special pieces of artwork -- it creates great drama and interest!   Another great idea:  Place mirrors, silver or glass bowls and candlesticks, or other reflective objects near lamps to bounce light around the room and make the room come alive even more.

Also, replace outdated light fixtures.  Wall sconces, recessed lighting or pendant lights are good alternatives to that single old-fashioned overhead fixture.

6. Make an impact with color.

Invigorate your rooms with a splash of color.  A little paint can go a long way in making your home sellable.  Painting is the cheapest, easiest way to give your home a new look.  Even if you've always had off-white walls, take a chance and try out a quart of paint in a warm, neutral hue.  You can always paint over it if you don't like the color.   And these days, neutral goes way beyond off-white to include a range of colors from warm taupes and honeys to soft ocean blues and mossy greens.

Even deeper colors are enjoying a resurgence.  Don't be afraid of dark colors in a powder room, dining room, or bedroom.  A deep tone on the walls can make your space more intimate, dramatic, and cozy.  And surprisingly, it can even make a small room seem bigger because there's no delineation of the corners.

Choose your color from an inspiration piece -- from a pillow, chair or sofa fabric, area rug, or piece of art that has a color in it you love!  The background color is often great for walls, and you can pull out the other colors (from the inspiration piece) for accents around the room.

You could also try painting an accent wall to draw attention to a dramatic fireplace or a beautiful set of windows.  Either paint the wall a contrasting color, such as a mocha brown flanked by rich olde world gold walls, or a more intense version of the paint used in the rest of the room, like a deep basil green that will play off soft sage walls. If you have built-in bookcases or niches, experiment with painting the insides a color that will make them pop -- a beautiful Georgian brick red to accent and highlight the dark woven baskets and decorative pottery displayed within, for example.

If it’s not in your genetic code to go for more color on your walls, you can still add some pop and personality to your room with richly colored accessories, pillows and throws.  This way when seasons change or you're ready to look at something new, you can easily switch these things out, and still have a lot of fun with color.

7.   Punctuate with black.

Using white-painted furniture is a tried and true tactic for freshening a room, but don't forget its opposite:  black.   A coat of satiny black paint can revive tired furnishings and lend a chic, dramatic flair to just about any space.  Painting an old piece black immediately updates it.   It has a graphic quality, provides contrast, and makes a real impact.

And not only does black work with every other hue, but it also makes surrounding colors pop and melds with any decor from vintage to modern.  The key, as always, is moderation: Use black in touches with your accent pieces…in picture frames, lampshades, accessories and small pieces of furniture.

8.  Make your art stand out.

Most people like to hang their art in a very predictable high line circling each room.  Placing pictures, paintings and prints in such a stereotypical way can actually make your special artwork seem almost invisible.  Instead, try having some fun and mixing things up a bit.  Creative display makes the art stand out more and shows off your space!

So break up that line of art.  Vary the patterning and grouping by:

·         hanging a row of art diagonally, with each piece staggered a bit higher or lower than the next.  This is great for directing the eye toward an architectural feature like a window or arched doorway.

·         triangularly -- with one picture above, one below, and one beside -- a nice accent for a table-and-chair vignette.

·         in a vertical line (perfect for accentuating a high ceiling).

Hang pictures on different planes so that your eye goes up and down as it travels around the room -- it creates interest on your wall.  Try hanging things a bit lower than you're used to, as well, so that wall art relates to furniture groupings rather than floating (and getting lost) in its own space.

9. Give yourself permission to mix things up.

We get used to our interior surroundings as we move through the routine of our daily lives, but they can become stale and stagnant.  If a sofa has been in the same spot for five years, move it!  If a rug has always been on the perpendicular, angle it!

Move furniture, artwork and accessories between rooms when the mood strikes…have fun with it!  When you move things to new spots, you appreciate them again and give your home a whole new look without spending a dime.

10.  Reclaim your lost spaces.

Take that unused space on the third floor or in the basement and turn it into something you've always dreamed about having…an exercise room, a meditation space, a reading nook, an art studio, a sewing room, or a family game room.

If you have a room that currently serves only to gather junk, repurpose it 

into something that will add to the value and your enjoyment of your 


Pack up your unused “stuff” into boxes and put it into storage.  Or, better yet, have a tag sale or donate your “stuff” to charity.  Now you can get to work creating your dream space.   The simple addition of a comfortable armchair, a small table and a lamp in a stairwell nook will transform it into a cozy reading spot.  Or drape fabric on the walls of your basement, lay inexpensive rubber padding or a carpet remnant on the floor, and toss in a few cushy pillows. You’ve just transformed the space into your new meditation room or yoga studio.

11.  Accessorize to make a real statement.

Now that you have your furniture placed, your rooms dappled with color and your art hung in an interesting way, it's time to layer in accessories for the finishing touch.  When it comes to eye-pleasing accessorizing, three is the magic number -- though one and five work well, too.  And rather than setting your trio of accessories out in a row, imagine a triangle and place one object at each point.

Mixing the right accessories can make a room warm and inviting...

a place you really want to hang out in!

Scale is important, too, so in your group of three, be sure to vary items by height and width, with the largest at the back and the smallest in front.  On a coffee table, for instance, you might have a threesome of chunky mahagony wood pillar candles (all different heights), a glass hurricane filled with river rocks, and an art book.

For impact, group accessories by color, shape, texture or some other unifying element.   Another hint: The eye naturally "reads" the room from left to right, so putting a striking object in the far right corner will automatically draw your gaze there and make the room seem bigger.

12.  Have your home filled with good smells.

People never forget smells when they walk in the door.  Try your best to remove odors caused by pets, smoking and cooking.  Before an
open house, open up all of the windows and air the house out.  Boil cinnamon sticks, bake cookies, bake bread, light your Yankee Candle jar -- do anything you can to have the air smelling fresh and clean.

13.  Perform any needed repairs.

Take a good look around your home and see it from a buyer's perspective: oil door hinges, fix loose spindles in handrails, touch up nicks and dents in walls, etc.

Deferred maintenance -- for example, bricks falling out of the mortar in your front porch landing – sends a red flag to buyers.  It costs you less to fix it than buyers might deduct from their asking price.  So do the math, and fix it yourself.

14.  Clean your house top to bottom.

Take time to make bathrooms shine, wash the windows, and clean kitchen appliances, especially the stove cooktop and oven.  Don't forget under the sinks!

15.  Clean the carpeting.

Unless it's extremely worn, you may be able to avoid replacing carpeting before you sell.  Buyers often prefer to choose their own new carpet or opt for hardwood floors.

16. Bring some outdoor cheer in!

Staged homes are almost always graced with bountiful fresh flower arrangements from a local florist.  You can get a similar effect simply by raiding your yard.  Take clippings of branches or twigs and put them in a large vase in the corner of a room to add height -- it's a great structural piece that doesn't cost anything.  It's also an easy way to incorporate seasonal greenery.  Budding forsithya clippings announce the arrival of spring, summer blooms add splashes of cheerful color, blazing fall leaves create warmth on chilly autumn days, holly branches heavy with berries look gorgeous in winter, and airy feather-grass plumes add elegance and texture any time of year.

A well-placed floral arrangement adds color, style and cheer!

Get creative!  Don't be scared to try something different.


*  content was developed with aid of hgtv marketplace

Feng Shui Staging Tips

Make an impression on buyers by improving your home's energy!

Feng shui has thrived in China for hundreds of years, but this design philosophy has only recently made a splash in real estate.
 Feng shui, which translates literally as "wind-water," promotes well-being by rearranging how chi, or energy, flows through a home.  The concept has gained popularity in the United States during the past 30 years, and now frustrated home sellers are using feng shui to make their homes more appealing to potential buyers.  Could feng shui help sell your home?  Try these seven tips and find out.

Make your front door welcoming.  Energy enters your home at the front door, so invite it in!  Make your door stand out by painting it a color that contrasts with your home, adding a new welcome mat and flanking the door with plants.  Choose plants with rounded leaves as sharp leaves can appear aggressive to buyers.

Create a "room of first impression."  Buyers generally decide whether they will buy a home in the first eight seconds they spend there, so you want them to see the best room first.  Create a clear path to this room with a runner rug or with eye-catching art and accessories.

Don't let energy go down the drain.  If the first thing buyers see when they enter your home is a bathroom, keep the bathroom door closed.  Toilets and drains take energy from a room, so keep the toilet lid down and cover drains while not in use.

Rearrange furniture to improve chi.  A furniture arrangement can make or break the flow of energy in the room.  If the back of a sofa faces the room's entrance, energy bounces right out.   Facing a comfortable sofa or love seat toward the entrance of the room will improve energy flow and make buyers feel welcome.

Remove clutter and depersonalize.  There's one rule that's consistent in all home staging: Ditch the clutter.  Clutter prevents energy from flowing through the home.  So clear out knickknacks, photos and other personal items.

Provide support.  Large furniture such as beds and sofas need a solid wall of support behind them, so don't place these pieces in front of a window.

Invigorate the senses.  Stimulate your home's energy with sound by adding a wind chime to the front right corner of your house.  This is the buyer's area of the home, so this accessory might call in your home's future owner.


*  content developed with aid of hgtv marketplace

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