Prepping your home for sale can feel completely overwhelming. It's like magnifying the stress of tidying up and making your house "guest ready," tenfold. Because you've got to make it look good, really, really good, for guests you don't even know. They're not your family or your friends. They are prospective buyers, and they are coming to examine your most intimate quarters and decide if they can see themselves living there, too. Setting the stage for this encounter properly is important; it can make a huge difference in netting you a successful sale.
Home staging is all about making the most of your particular space and highlighting its best features without spending a ton of money, or making major changes. In those ways it's not unlike what most of us are striving to do in our homes on a regular basis. That said, the differences between styling to suit your lifestyle, and staging to sell, are real, and entirely worth considering.
Stylists Nicole Schiller and Michelle Goode of Los Angeles-based Niche Home Styling, refer to home staging as a "different beast," from decorating for living. The key, they say, "is to remove your emotions and attachment from the staging project." The pair advocate stripping each room down to the bare bones and starting with a fresh neutral palette for a backdrop. From here, a house is elevated from basic to brilliant by adding in what they call the "life layer," a carefully considered collection of pieces that both beautify the space, and infuse it with a sense of home. Your textiles, artwork, vintage heirlooms, books and plants…the stuff of real life, but way less of it, arranged way better than how most of us actually co-exist with all that goodness.
The result is a look that tells a home's story—one that plays up the best qualities of a space and inspires a vision people can really buy into. And baby, that look—the one that reads somewhere between our real lives and our aspirational ones— is a look that sells!
If you're getting ready to prep your home for sale, to rent it out on Airbnb, or just sell yourself on staying put, read on. We've got advice wrapped up in 5 solid tips from the pros at Niche Home, on what to keep in mind, and how to do it.
1. First Steps - Declutter, Simplify, Clean, Paint: It's best to remove all personal items such as family photos, taking each room back to it's bare essentials and neutralizing the palette. If your house is painted different colors, now is the time to paint it white, or another crisp neutral. Pull your couch off the wall, create a story with the books on your shelf and several unique objects that you may have collected over the years. We ask our clients to remove heavy draperies and clean their windows to let the light in and lift the energy of a home.
2. Neutral Base + Life Layer: Start with a neutral base, a light colored sofa, a natural fiber rug, a white duvet – these things provide the perfect stage for touches that complement the style of the house. Indoor plants fill an awkward corner, but they also add life and color. The "life layer" is what we use to describe a key element in transforming a project from a furnished house to an aspirational home. This layer is comprised of vintage finds, textured throws, unique decorative pillows and eclectic objects; these curated items can bring a home to life.
3. Accentuate the Positive: The trick is to divert one's eye away from the less than favorable elements by drawing their attention to other unique aspects of the house; intriguing them with art on the walls, and creative furniture placement. A fresh coat of paint and area rugs go a long way to making a room more appealing. We try to focus on the good features of the house, be it architectural or light. The idea is not to hide unfavorable aspects, but to create a look that is in harmony with the style of the house and also the demographic it is being marketed to. Staged homes are more likely to sell because they allow the potential buyer to imagine living in the space and be inspired by what is possible, instead of turning away at the door because they can't even imagine how anyone could live with the outdated carpet there!
4. Less Personal < More Broad Appeal: Remove your personal style from the equation. Educate yourself on the demographic of the potential buyer and of the architecture of your home and furnish to suit. Look at current decorating trends and consider if updating your throw pillows and/or bedding may help your home appeal to a wider demographic.
5. Less is More: On this point, and in staging. Leave a little space for the potential buyer to imagine themselves in the home.
Thanks Nicole & Michelle for sharing these great tips!