Staging a home is the process of preparing and showcasing a residence to maximize profit when selling. It involves multiple steps, including cleaning, painting, making minor improvements, changing and or/arranging furniture, and giving special attention to interior and decorating. The goal is to get the home to look appealing to spark offers from buyers that go above and beyond what an un-staged home would get, and to sell quickly. While professionals can be hired to do the job, many sellers are interested in doing it themselves to save money associated with hiring a professional. Per Home Advisor, the national average for staging is $1,457, and additional furniture rental fees can add to that price. While staging looks easy, it can be complex and tricky. If done improperly, it can have the opposite effect and decrease a home’s value. Here are ten staging errors that one should avoid when decorating a home’s interior:
1) Choosing poor paint colors – Taupe, beige, light grays, and off-white tend to work best in homes for sale, as sellers generally gravitate toward light and neutral tones. Not only do bright neutrals make homes appear cheerful, but they can visually enlarge small spaces. Thus, avoid choosing dramatic colors, such as purple, red, or orange, as they may unintentionally darken your space or look too bold and taste specific and turn buyers off.
2) A lack of furniture – Empty houses generally take longer to sell than furnished, occupied, or staged homes. Some people mistakenly think that removing all the furniture from the home can make it look larger, but that simply backfires and makes it harder to sell. A study from the Appraisal Institute shows that not only do empty houses stay on the market longer, but they also sell for 6% less. Thus, staging a home with furniture is best.
3) Not enough sunlight – Homes with dark interiors are often harder to sell because they emit a dreary feel. In addition to lightening up paint colors, be sure that old and heavy window treatments are replaced with lighter shades that can be lifted to allow natural sunlight in, then pulled down for privacy at night. Also make sure the home has adequate lighting so that potential buyers can see all the great qualities of the home.
4) Mismatched styles – Home stagers carefully choose the type of furniture they use to showcase a home. In general, they try to match the style of the home’s exterior. For example, contemporary furniture works optimally in a modern style home, whereas a country home can best support rustic pieces. Going eclectic, which essentially means combining different styles, can often work in many homes. For this design, it’s important use similar textures or colors to pull the room together. The main goal is to find clever ways to unite furniture from different time periods.
5) Too much clutter – Rooms that are filled with clutter look busy and can be a huge distraction to buyers. And worst of all, clutter can drive buyers away or drastically reducing the sales price. Clutter has negative impact because it makes a home seem smaller and gives the impression that there no place to put things. Clutter may lead them to think that there isn’t enough closet or storage space. Also remember that people want to see the bones of the house, not the seller’s personal material items. To leave a positive impression on buyers, decluttering is a necessity.
6) Unfinished projects – A home in move-in condition is something most buyers want. Leaving projects undone leaves the door wide open to price negotiations in the buyer’s favor. And sometimes projects can add up and send buyers running out the door to never look back. As part of your staging process, complete necessary projects so that buyers can focus on the positive elements of your structure, rather than the distracting hole in the wall that needs to be repaired or the broken light fixture that needs replacing.
7) Weird furniture placement – It’s very important to put thought into where furniture pieces will go. Pay attention to the flow of the room and never block off pathways between rooms or windows and doors. If your room has a focal point that you want buyers to see, show it off. For example, create a cozy seating area around a fireplace to demonstrate that this is an area to kick back and relax. And, if you have a view, show it off by facing some furniture pieces toward the beautiful lake, mountain, ocean, or desert view. Attractive scenery is a great selling feature.
8) Using the wrong size furniture – It often works best to use furniture that fits the scale of the room. For example, a smaller room generally shows better featuring more compact pieces of furniture, such as a loveseat, whereas a larger room can better support a big sectional. Trying to squeeze a giant sectional into a small room can take up a lot of space and make the room feel tight. Homes that feel spacious generally sell faster than those which feel crammed. No one piece of furniture should ever dominate a room.
9) Too sterile – A home that lacks personality can take longer to sell. One that is warm and inviting is likely to sell faster. Regarding décor, it’s important to find a balance. Take down your own family photos so that new buyers can envision themselves living in the home. Instead, opt for some nice wall art that complements your style. For example, a painting of a deer is suitable for a cabin, a seascape for a beach house, and modern art for a contemporary style home. Keep the art tasteful and limit pieces so they do not become distracting. Also consider adding small touches around the home to include some couch pillows and throw rugs that can warm up a cold space.
10) Pushing too much furniture against the wall – Stagers get creative with furniture placement. Rather than push all the pieces of furniture up against the wall, they often angle a few pieces or do things such as place a couch in the center of a room. Not only does this add visual interest, but it also prevents the room from looking boxy. This can be particularly effective in a large room because it divides up large spaces and gives areas a purpose.
Staging can be a fun experience. The greatest goal is to create a visually appealing space to buyers; a home that is clean, bright, warm, uncluttered, spacious, and welcoming. This can be achieved by finishing up home projects, decluttering, cleaning, adding a fresh coat of paint, selecting furniture and placement carefully, and adding a few special decorations to warm up the space. To save money, it’s optimal to use furniture that you already own. Often, by rearranging pieces, and replacing personal items with a few neutral decorative pieces, it’s easy to spruce up a home without having to make a major monetary investment. The secret to staging is to be creative yet somewhat minimal so that buyers feel comfortable and at peace in the soothing environment that you have created. In fact, you may like your new space so much, that you might decide to stay put!
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