Mark Shanaman


Staging a home to sell

Staging your Berks, or Chester County home to Sell quickly


Remove Clutter

The most important thing you can do to prepare your home for sale is to get rid of clutter. Make it a rule that for every new item that comes in, an old one has to leave. One of the major contributors to a cluttered look is having too much furniture. When a professional stagers descend on a home being prepared for the market, they often will take away as much as half the owner's furnishings. You don't always have to remove that much, but take a hard look at what you have and ask yourself what you can live without.

Furniture Placement

There's a common belief that rooms will feel larger and be easier to use if all the furniture is pushed against the walls, but that isn't the case. Instead, furnish your space by floating furniture away from walls. Reposition sofas and chairs into cozy conversational groups, and place pieces so that the traffic flow in a room is obvious. Not only will this make the space more user-friendly, but it will open up the room and make it seem larger.

Furniture Rotation

Give yourself permission to move furniture, artwork and accessories among rooms. Just because you bought that armchair for the living room, doesn't mean it won't look great complimenting the sitting area in your bedroom. Try placing a little-used dining-room table in front of a pretty window, top it with lamps and other accessories, and put it into service as a beautiful writing desk or library table.

Room Transformations

If you have a room that serves only to gather junk, repurpose it into something that will add value to your home. A simple addition of a comfortable armchair, a small table and a lamp in a stairwell nook will transform it into a cozy reading spot. Drape fabric on the walls of your basement, lay inexpensive rubber padding or a carpet remnants on the floor and toss in a few pillows and you created a new meditation room or yoga studio.

The right amount of Lighting

One of the things that make staged homes look so warm and welcoming is great lighting. As it turns out, many of our homes are improperly lighted. To fix the problem, increase the wattage in your lamps. The rule of thumb is a total of 100 watts for each 50 square feet. Don't depend on just one or two fixtures per room, either. Make sure you have three types of lighting: ambient (general or overhead), task (pendant, under-cabinet or reading) and accent (table and wall). This is a very important aspect of staging your home and should not be overlooked.

Make your rooms Bigger

To make a room appear to be bigger than it is, paint it the same color as the adjacent room. If you have a small kitchen and dining room, a seamless look will make both rooms feel like one big space. And make a sunporch look bigger and more inviting by painting it green to reflect the color of nature. Another professional staging trick: If you want to create the illusion of more space, paint the walls the same color as your drapery. It will give you a seamless and sophisticated look.

Neutral and Appealing Colors

Painting a living room a fresh warm neutral off white color tones down any dated finishes in the space. These days, the definition of neutral extends way beyond beige, from warm tans and honeys to soft blue-greens. As for bold wall colors, they have a way of reducing offers, so go with neutrals in large spaces.

Stager Wall Hangings

If your home is like most, the art is hung in an eye level line encircling each room. Big mistake. Placing your pictures, paintings and prints in such stereotypical spots can render them almost invisible. Art displayed creatively makes it stand out and shows off your space. So break up that line and vary the patterning and grouping.

Odd Numbers are lucky Numbers

Mixing the right accessories can make a room more inviting. When it comes to eye-pleasing accessorizing, odd numbers are preferable, especially three. Rather than lining up a trio of accessories in a row, imagine a triangle and place one object at each point. Scale is also important, so in your group of three be sure to vary height and width. The largest item should be at the back and the smallest in front. For maximum effect, group accessories by color, shape, texture or some other common element. This will give your home that WOW factor and set it apart from the competition.

Fresh Natural Elements

Staged homes are almost always presented with fresh flowers and pricey orchid arrangements, but you can get a similar effect simply by raiding your yard. Blooming magnolia clippings or Daffodils herald the arrival of spring, summer blooms add cheerful color, bright gold, red and orange fall foliage warms up your decor on chilly autumn days and holly branches heavy with berries look festive in the winter.

Peaceful and Inviting

Create a relaxing bedroom setting with luxurious linens and soft colors that will make a potential home buyer want to stay and hang out. An important bedroom staging trick: If you don't have the money to buy a new bed, just get the frame, buy an inexpensive air mattress and dress it up with neutral-patterned bedding. Most importantly remember to declutter, by cleaning out your closets. You're showing off your closet storage space, which sells houses. Closet storage always ranks high on the buyers' priority list.

Resurface and Renew

If you have old cabinets and you can't afford new, just get new doors and drawer fronts. Then paint everything to match and add new hardware. And instead of replacing the complete dishwasher, you may be able to get a new front panel. Check with the manufacturer to see if replacements are available for your model. If not, you may be able to repaint the panel with a high quality appliance paint.

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