How to Stage Your House to Sell
It's no secret that we've listed our house to sell. In fact, we are in the middle of our open house as I'm writing this blog! (Side note, why is this so nerve-wracking? lol)
And can we all agree that it is not an understatement to say that I LOVE my home. I mean I dedicated an entire blog and Instagram account to it. And along the way a lot of people grew attached to my home as well in the best way possible.
So when I started making changes to my home in preparation to put it on the market I had a lot of questions asking me WHY IN THE WORLD WOULD YOU CHANGE YOUR HOUSE? hahaha! Lots of people mourned when I repainted my door back into a solid rectangle as oppose to the arch. (I was flooded with 😭 emojis hahahaha!)
Before we proceed, I'm putting up a disclaimer. Unlike other blogs, all the pretty before images are WAY nicer and by a pro, aka my partner in crime, Janet Kwan. The rest of the after photos are by yours truly shot on my iPhone with minimal editing. So look past that and focus on the words and reasons WHY we did this to our beloved home.
When selling a home, we are trying to depersonalize and help potential buyers see themselves in the space.
I know WE love my house the way I decorated it, that's probably why you swiped up on my blog post or visited my Instagram page because YOU like the decor. But when we're selling, we don't know the leanings of the buyer so we try to be as neutral and dare I say, as generic as possible.
Let's deconstruct my house as an example, I think this could be a fun activity for us.
I painted over the arch door to a rectangle because it was not everyone's cup of tea. We aren't trying to be unique here, we want to fit in when selling a home. So back to a square it is... or rectangle. You know what I mean.
Here, you can see that I have decluttered all my accessories from the counter and even took down the artwork. I left minimal touches of relevant bathroom decor out so it didn't feel so cold. The goal was to let our marble counters shine and do the work!
Minimizing clutter on your counter (even if it's beautiful clutter) helps potential owners see the potential for their own personal items and can make a small space feel more spacious!
After consulting our realtor we decided to swap our dining room with our living room because it made more sense for the flow of the house. We had it set up for our living situation where we hosted a large amount of people frequently. This is unusual and highly unlikely for the typical buyer so we created a more traditional flow not the main floor.
We took down the beloved basket gallery wall and opted for a fairly large mirror instead. This decision was made for two reasons. First, the decor leaned to a more bohemian sensibility which is too niche to appeal to a large audience. Second, the mirror helps to reflect light in the space and mimic a window where there isn't one.
TIP: Mirrors are a great staging prop because they can be stylish, reflect light and make a space feel larger.
If you're a plant lover the second picture will appeal to you. But do you know what a common refrain I hear from internet strangers all the time when they see this picture? "I can never sleep under plants for fear of bugs!"
I am not offended when I hear this because I know that it's not true. I take care of my plants. I fight pests and any plant parent would tell you that they examine their plants regularly to look out for bugs. BUT not everyone is a plant lover and you don't want potential buyers to look at this room and think that!
Plus, the hanging plants deter from the window and we want to showcase the view to the park. A good rule of thumb is to par any excessive collection of anything. You might love your collection of tea spoons hanging on your wall, or proudly display your crystal sculptures around the house but less is more when showing a house.
(PS: We took out the majority of our plants and they're living with their "grandparents" for the duration of the showing so even the sunroom has been thinned out.)
I got a huge reaction when I shared our "naked" guest bathroom because I had "de-peached" it. It's a famous bathroom, perhaps THE most famous room in the house. If this surprises you, don't worry you're not alone lol.
The bathroom is super eye catching BECAUSE of the peach accents but we want to draw the buyer's eye to the actual bathroom. If you have decor competing with the actual room, it's time to take it down because it isn't the accessories you want to showcase but the actual room.
Let's talk about the kitchen shelves. I LOVE styling these open shelves but styling for your own enjoyment or even for a photo is drastically different when you're showing to sell the house.
You might look at the image on the right and prefer that one because it looks warm, inviting and homey. But the point of styling minimally on the left is to only have relevant kitchen items on the shelves to show how utilitarian it is for any home chef.
TIP: Use see through glassware when styling to sell because clear glass feels more airy and makes it look less cluttered!
Same here, we pared down anything that was bulky and made this corner feel lighter by taking a few elements away.We want every corner to be functional even this spot right here but we still want it to feel clutter free.
We are suggesting a usable nook, not display everything that can hang on this peg rack.
The Woman Cave made a huge transformation. This room served an entirely different purpose for our family of two that hosts a lot. It was a spot for sharing, counselling and quiet time.
A potential buyer with a family of four is not looking for a retreat, they are looking for a bedroom, so we styled it as a neutral teenager's room with a day bed and a desk set up.
We bought that daybed for $80 bucks on Facebook Marketplace and styled the bedding with pillows I already had in a neutral palette. The desk was just Ikea legs and a table top that we put together for under $50.
A lot of people asked me if this was necessary, and my response is yes, because unlike you dear reader, your potential buyer might not have the imagination it takes to envision a space that could be usable. Your furniture will help the buyer map out how they will use your home, so the power of suggestion with a few choice pieces will help with that!
Take this nursery for example. K and I do not have children nor are we expecting any but we borrowed a crib at the behest of our real estate agent. (Side note: listen to your realtor! You are paying for their expertise in selling your home so take their advice and do the homework they assign. They're trying to set you up to sell your home for the best price possible!)
It took a bit of coordination and a full afternoon to assemble and clear out this room but it was necessary. We want to appeal to growing families as well and through the
visual cue of a crib, we hope to paint a picture for young families telling them that they can put roots down in this home.
Here is the part where I want to acknowledge that staging your home on your own is a lot of work and deeply emotional. For most of us, home is our safe space and our haven. We have created a beautiful and comfortable environment bespoke to us so it might feel almost offensive to take down or rework your home to cater for someone else.
But know that this is all to help you sell faster and hopefully for more than you were going to initially get without any staging.
My realtor brought up a good point and said that staging a home also helps with the grieving process of moving away. You strip your home of your personality to help buyers see themselves in it but it also puts a little distance for yourself so that you know it's time to move on. I found that to be true and I hope that staging this home helps the next owners to fall in love and treat their home with as much love as I gave it.
And if you're reading this and are in need of staging a home I'm going to rattle off some more things for you to consider when preparing your home for sale.
Have you decluttered your home? I'm not just talking about the things you do see. I'm talking every cupboard, drawer, closet, surface and pantry you have throughout the home. We want to show off the storage that your home has to offer. And chances are, if you've decluttered and appear to be well organized, it gives a really good feeling that you're a great home owner and take care of your house. So declutter!
Cleanliness is next to godliness they say. But honestly, you want to have a clean home when you show it off, put your best foot forward. Dust those baseboards and fans, shine up the floors and furniture.
For most of us, we are "nose-blind" to our home. What I mean is, we can't detect any smells when we walk into a familiar space because our nose no longer registers it. To be on the safe side, I would clean all the fabric, rugs, curtains, carpet in the home especially if you smoke or have pets.
TIP: A non-toxic and cost effective way to do this without simply masking the smell is to throw down some baking soda and leave it sit for awhile before vacuuming it up.
I stay away from simply burning a candle or baking something pleasant because that doesn't solve the problem. Plus, you never know if your potential buyer may have sensitivity towards fragrance.
OK! You've reached the end of this blog post about staging my home. I hope I was able to shed some light on why it's important to do so. Take it from someone who loves their home and didn't stage it the first time we tried to sell it. I'm not an expert but I learned a lot from my realtor and it is vastly different from staging for a photoshoot or styling for an advertisement. I found it fascinating and wanted to share the knowledge with you!
I hope you found that helpful and thanks for reading as always.