Now that your home is pre-staged (clean and packed), it’s time for the next step of staging a home for sale. This is essentially interior designing your home. Look to magazines for home decor ideas or online at Pinterest. Your home should feel like a vacation rental or guest house to any prospective buyer.

Fresh Paint

One of the least expensive ways to stage your home and attract buyers is by painting your interior walls in warm, neutral tones. At this phase, you have taken down personal photos and artwork and it’s time to patch holes and small cracks with spackling. Purchase a putty knife,  spackling, and a small pack of 120 grit sandpaper to smooth out the edges before painting.

Neutral paint helps buyers imagine their own furniture sitting in the space. It also allows for any buyer to see themselves living in the home. A bachelor might not identify with your daughter’s lilac colored walls and a family who has modern furniture may feel displeased by your yellow living room.

Fresh paint also helps the room look clean. Most buyers want a fresh start in a home that doesn’t need a lot of care right from the start. Paint wood colored trim, fireplace surrounds and paneling white or off-white. Consider painting a brick fireplace a lighter color as well. Kitchen cabinets in natural oak will look great with white paint and new hardware. Even though your buyers may prefer a different color in the long run, whites and neutral tones will suffice until they can take on that painting project.

Furniture

In the average home, most rooms have too many pieces of furniture which tends to make a room look smaller. Oversized furniture can have the same effect. Finding the right balance to fit the room size can be a challenge. Staging also involves placing the furniture within a room so the “walk through flow” makes sense.  Call it feng shui or design, rooms should feel as if every piece of furniture was purposefully purchased and set in place.

Rooms should only include the essential items needed for their function. If you have extra chairs and accessory furniture in a room, remove them. Remove extra leaves in a table in the kitchen or dining room to make the room seem larger. Remove extra chairs from the tables as well. Arrange the furniture within the room so that the larger pieces go on the larger walls. If the room is rather large, consider pulling the furniture into a smaller rectangle at the center, anchored with a rug in the middle.

Real estate agents and appraisers won’t count rooms without closets as bedrooms, so turn your “bonus rooms” into offices, dressing rooms, sitting rooms or the like.

Re-hang Artwork

Now that you’ve packed away personal artwork, it’s time to rearrange and rehang your remaining decorations in a way that works for each space. Artwork should be hung at gallery level or eye level. Around 57” off the ground is where you want the middle of the art to be. Use a measuring tape to find the center of the wall or center over a piece of furniture. If you don’t have one framed piece that makes sense on the wall, you can use the rule of 3’s and group items that work together. Any odd number works to hang art together, but too many pieces feels overwhelming. Call a friend who likes to decorate and ask for help and a second opinion.

Knick-Knacks

Fake plants and flowers should be removed, especially if they have collected dust. Fresh flowers should be used instead for photo shoots and showings. Items on shelves that are too small for the space should be replaced with those that are appropriate. Remove stacks of books on shelves, leave only ones with muted colors in small, neat stacks. Think about decorating with the white space or negative space (the back of the shelf itself), the opposite of how we normally look at things. You are trying to showcase the built-ins rather than the items on the shelves. Consider going from room to room to find the right items. Remember, less is more.

KITCHEN

Remove extra items from countertops in the kitchen like small appliances. Leave the block of knives but make sure the knives are a complete set. A vase with utensils is okay, but only with a few items. Remove items above your cabinets as they tend to make the walls look shorter.

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