Don’t Paint Everything Cream!
by ZoŽ Beaudro
Home staging, or Property Presentation as it’s also known, is not just about remembering to paint the front of your house, tidying your front lawn and brewing fresh coffee before prospective buyers come round. As a home staging consultant, I help people to see their house in a new light. I advise on and carry out de-cluttering, repairs, redecoration and dressing of houses ready for viewing. It works because a buyer will buy the best home at the best price that meets his/her needs.
Prospective buyers look round houses with their eyes peeled for faults. They want to find any reason they can not to buy your home, or to be able to offer a lower price. Some know they are doing this, but for many it is subconscious. As a vendor, you need to ensure that you give the potential buyers as little reason as possible for them to find fault. You need to stimulate their senses and help them visualise how they can use the space to suit their own needs. Declutter, and depersonalise!
Painting everything cream and stripping the house of its personality is not the answer. No one will get excited over a bland house. I create balance and harmony. I do use colour – but I present the home’s personality, rather than the owner’s. We all get emotionally attached to our homes, but sometimes changes need to be made to enable us to move on. These changes can really be quite simple and a home staging project could take anything from a day to a week. Budgets are often quite small, and I think creatively to ensure every penny goes a long way. Remember that the goal is to sell your home so you can move on to the next stage of your life. I can help you do that with the minimum amount of stress! Houses will become harder to sell as the market becomes tougher. It is hard to think of spending money on the house you are leaving, but you will make a return on your investment, shift your house and not miss out on the home you are hoping to buy!
Here are some of my top tips for staging your home:
Clear your house of clutter
We are all hoarders to some degree! Take one room at a time, or even a drawer at a time, and sort through every bit of paper, every ornament and every item of clothing. You’ll be amazed how much you throw away! Have four piles: items to keep in your home until you move, items that can go into storage until you move, items to go to a charity shop or sell at a car boot sale, items to skip. Hire a skip if necessary for a weekend. We use 20% of our belongings, 80% of the time. You will make a huge difference if you remove excess clutter for your home, and people will be able to see the house instead of all your stuff!
Clean the house
Your house needs to be spotless. Have your furniture and carpets professionally cleaned, remove cobwebs from the ceiling corners, remove dust from under the bed. You’ll be amazed where people look. No one wants to see crusty washing up littering up the kitchen. If the place is messy, many will not be able to see past this and will immediately close up their minds to the house. Ensure the house smells nice. Walk outside and in again to check the smell. If you are a smoker or have lots of pets, you might need to work harder to shift the smell!
I do not mean that you should make your house bland. However, if you are living in a house with swirly carpets and gaudy walls I advise that you change them. More and more people want to move into a house and having nothing to do. They don’t want to think, I’ve got to change the carpets throughout, or I need to redecorate every wall. Your personality will pervade the entire house, and you need to remove it. After all, the house is not going to be yours for much longer! You might have fantastic artistic taste with a beautiful bold mural on one of the living room walls. Unless everyone who walks in is an equally artistic person whose style exactly matches yours, you are going to put someone off. Paint the walls in soft, muted colours. I recommend the range from the Little Greene Paint Company. Have neutral flooring, and use accents and accessories to provide extra colour, texture and interest.
Tidy the front of the house
Ensure that the front of the house is attractive and inviting. Are your rubbish bins visible, do you have peeling paintwork and rotten windows? Is your hedge trimmed? Do you have any colourful hanging baskets or pots? Does any of the guttering need replacing? You need to entice people in, and many people will drive round the front of the house before even booking an appointment to view with the agent.
Ensure your hall is inviting
Create as much light as possible in your hall. If you have an ugly radiator, use a radiator cover. Put some greenery in the hall, and perhaps a mirror to reflect light. Paint the walls a warm neutral so people feel cosy. If you have wooden floors, lay an attractive runner to break up the floor.
Use accessories and artwork wisely
Don’t clutter every shelf up with accessories and hang artwork randomly around the walls. Use architectural features to guide you into how to hang your artwork and choose a careful selection of your accessories and position them to create maximum impact. They should coordinate or complement with your décor.
Create a feature in every room
Many rooms have natural features. For example an original fireplace in the living room, or a beautiful bay window with fabulous window dressings. However, sometimes you need to be more creative if the house lacks architectural features. Always dress the dining room as a dining room and not a dumping ground. A table with a large bunch of flowers in the middle could be the feature in the dining room, a sumptuously dressed double bed in the master room can be the feature there. Allow one feature in each room to dominate, don’t have several features competing for attention.
For more information and advice on home staging, whether it’s to sell your house or just see your home in a new light, then please ring 0117 9428478 to arrange a free initial consultation. I can also help property developers prepare their homes for sale or rent.
Zoë Beaudro is an Interior Designer who specializes in Property Presentation. She was trained in Property Presentation by Ann Maurice, the original House Doctor. She describes her natural interior décor style as fresh and simple, happily mixing the old and the new with a love of fabrics and furnishings. However, for her property presentation she always has her eye set on what will make the particular house in question sell and works to create change so that the owner can achieve their goal, move on and receive the maximum return on their investment.