A well-staged home should speak of life in motion, not life in chaos. There are so many costs, decisions, and emotional challenges that accompany selling ones home that adding a home stager into the mix is not always the best option. Having to find and hire a qualified home stager adds to an already long To Do List, and not all of us are comfortable inviting strangers in to rearrange our personal space.
Used by home design shows and furniture stores (think IKEA), simply put, staging is the task of creating a universally appealing environment that has everything you need and nothing more. This is accomplished with simplified spaces that put the focus on the basic needs and comforts of home.
Here are 3 strategies to stage your home cheaply.
1. Simplify: Cluttered rooms can feel overwhelming to buyers trying to take in the house itself. Clear each room down to the basics. For example, in the bedroom leave only the bed, a table or dresser and a chair. In the dining room, try keeping only the table and chairs. In the kitchen clear off all countertops and leave only a few decorative or appliance items.
If you are planning on having a garage sale, do it now. Box and store the extra furniture and decorative items. This will greatly reduce the task of maintaining the house for showing, it will also spread out the task of packing and sorting into manageable chunks.
2. Clean, clean, clean: A clean house soothes nerves. That’s why many great mansions and hotels have all white kitchens and baths–it looks clean and controlled. Besides the sanitary appeal, a clean house says that it is cared for.
If you are planning on repainting the rooms of your house, consider using white or cream in an eggshell or satin sheen. This will help reflect light and bring an airy feel to each space. Also, white is a true neutral that leaves more options for potential buyers wanting to add their own decorative mark
Note: Ceilings are often neglected when repainting a room leaving a stark contrast between clean walls and a dingy ceiling. Painting the entire room, both the ceiling and walls, one color not only makes for a much easier and cheaper task, it also looks more professional..
3. Set the Stage: Movie producers know the key to a perfect set is lighting and focus.
Another way to think of staging is that you are trying to create moments in your potential buyers. Buyers that imagine themselves engaged in the activity of a room will experience an emotional bond with it. So you want to focus on and “cozify” whatever purpose a room has. Imagine, a lush bed of smoothed sheets and ample pillows in a softy lit room. Or, in the living room, a cozy reading spot or a conversational grouping of a couch and chairs. Having a casual display of a few items on the dining room table elicits more intimate emotions than a fully set, formal display. In the bathroom create a little still life of a hand towel and decorative soap on the counter. Draw the shower curtain in halfway and lay a towel over the side of the tub. Always place the most brightly colored items in your focal point. Use red to increase the draw of the eyes.
Although natural light is ideal during the day, pay attention to lighting when showing your home in the evening. Lighting is ambiance and filtered light works best. Turn blinds partway down to cast a soft glow into the room. Draw draperies to partially block large windows. Turn on all accent lighting, table lights, under counter lights, track lighting etc. If you have dimmers, set the lights on low. Aim for a consistent lighting level throughout the whole house.
Learning how to stage your home correctly will not just help in selling your house. By the time you’ve gotten it staged “just right” you will have a keen and experienced eye when searching for your next property.