Home staging is a critical element in many successful home sales, whether the staging is performed by a seller still residing in the home or by a professional staging firm dressing up a vacant property. As in any endeavor, excess can occur in staging and has the potential of doing more harm than leaving the space empty. Here are three simple guidelines home sellers can follow to reduce excess staging and present their home in the most positive light possible.
Avoid Clutter. De-clutter typically tops the list of recommendations REALTORS® make to sellers when preparing a home for viewing. The same advice can be followed when staging. If large kitchen counters are a selling point, why clutter them with staging items so they appear small? In the photo below, this staged kitchen has the usual formal place settings that go with seating in kitchens and dining areas, but the added gift basket on the island and plants on the counter make the surfaces appear small and cluttered.
In the early days of motion pictures, movie sets where sometimes constructed to fit the physical attributes of main characters (some in Hollywood say this practice still goes on). If the director wanted the leading man to appear taller, door frames were fabricated slightly smaller and counter tops, tables and chairs were made shorter than normal. Staging items should provide similar proportional contrast. Smaller items can make surfaces, such as counter tops and islands, appear larger.
Balance Decorative and Functional. Homeowners often purchase kitchen appliances, installed and counter top, to match in style and finish with the room’s general design scheme. Staging items should fit in a similar fashion and should also be functional. Leave seldom-used gadgets and appliances in the cupboard. Daily-use items such as toasters and coffee makers placed on counter tops illustrate functionality of the space. The kitchen shown below has only one non-functional staging item – the plant on the island. In contrast with the previous photo, few items would need to be moved to free up space for preparing a large family meal or spending an afternoon baking cookies.
Feature Wide Open Spaces. Avoid the temptation to fill a room with furniture when open space can highlight its size. As shown in our kitchen examples, it’s best to also stage other rooms with items that represent a balance of functionality and décor without clutter.
Home staging should highlight the best features of a home and lead potential buyers to imagine themselves living there happily. Limiting home staging choices to reduce clutter and illustrate functionality will, along with effective marketing, help to produce more competitive offers.
About Real Living with Broker John™
Each week Real Living with Broker John™ provides innovative tips and information regarding all aspects of owning, buying and selling real estate. John Souerbry is Broker/Owner of Cordon Real Estate, a full service brokerage in California’s San Francisco Bay Area (CA BRE 01370983). Contact John with questions or comments regarding Real Living or real estate in Wine Country, East Bay and Silicon Valley.
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