Decorating To Sell

Modern Kitchen design with open concept and bar counter

Appeal to Buyers 

When preparing to sell your home, think about how your personal decorating style may affect prospective buyers. You want your home to be clean and clutter free and as neutral as possible so prospective buyers can visualize how their furnishings will look in your home. This is what we call decorating to sell. And keep in mind, there is a difference in how it should look when it’s on the market. 

Neutralize your home

Paint in a palette that wont jar potential buyers and that allows your personal belongings to blend into the background. Do this by lightening and brightening your colour scheme in small, inexpensive ways. 
Repaint walls in neutral colours, white, off-white, beige or gray. Not only will a new coat of paint freshen your rooms, but painting all rooms in a similar neutral colour scheme will make your home seem more unified and spacious. Painting dingy woodwork can also help lighten up a room. Cover dark chairs or sofas with crisp, neutral slipcovers to let them blend into the background (right). Add colour with accessories such as pillows, vases of fresh flowers or a small area of rug.

A little space, a lot of room

A key to decorating to sell your home is to maximize space while minimizing your possessions. The first step is to keep your furnishings sparse to avoid the look of overfilling the room. Put a few pieces of furniture in storage and remove some of your knickknacks and accessories. 
Then arrange the room to best utilize the remaining furniture pieces and accessories. The first step toward good furniture arrangement, whether the room is large or small, is to find a focal point. The focal point might be a fireplace, an entertainment centre, a picture window, a painting or a favorite piece of furniture. Experiment with different arrangements until you find the one that makes your room look the most spacious and appealing. 
Create a feeling of spaciousness with mirrors or metal surfaces. Move the eye upward with tall plants, artwork, pedestals or vertical stripes. Adding a planter or basket of dried flowers to the top of an armoire or breakfront will have the same effect. 

Create an entry

What does your home say when prospective buyers walk in the front door? Since your front entry is your homes first visual impression, you want it to be as inviting as possible. 
Even if your home doesn’t have a distinct entryway, you can create one that is warm and welcoming using a few suggestions from the pros: Establish a focal point with a plant, print or decorative lamp. You might add attractive storage with a wall shelf or a table artfully arranged with a few well-chosen collectibles or flowers. Or just hang a picture or mirror on the wall, and put out a decorative throw rug. 

Let the light shine in

A home that’s awash with natural sunlight is desirable to prospective buyers, so open your curtains, raise the shades and let the sun shine in! Move large furnishings away from the windows if they block the light or view. And make sure windows are sparkling clean! 
Allow window coverings to recede into the background. If yours are old and dingy, or block light and the view, take them down. Replace with simple mini-blinds or shades. Or dress up windows with a simple draping of sheer fabric that lets the light shine through. 

Lighting for a brighter look

Proper lighting is a must for brightening your rooms. Be sure the lighting is adequate in each area for the tasks performed there, putting on make-up in the bathroom, food preparation in the kitchen, reading in the living room and bedrooms. Use the highest watt bulbs your fixtures will accommodate and add inexpensive strip lighting in areas that may be a bit dark. 
In addition, if you have a particularly nice feature or area, perhaps a plant or artwork, create a little showbiz with a spotlight on the subject. To create a special mood in one of your rooms, such as the dining room, install a dimmer switch. And when the home is going to be shown, turn on the lights, to show your home in its best light.

Merchandising tips 

  • Remove excess furniture and knickknacks 
  • Neutralize rooms with a fresh coat of paint in white, beige or grey 
  • Rearrange furniture in each room for a more spacious look 
  • Add a splash of colour and fragrance with a fresh flower arrangement. 
  • Put new logs in the fireplace 
  • Arrange candles and candlesticks on a coffee table or fireplace mantle 
  • Add inexpensive strip lights to brighten dark areas as needed
  • Clean window coverings or remove if they are worn. Install sheers. 
  • Install the highest wattage bulbs your fixtures will accommodate. 
  • Open draperies and blinds, turn on lights before every showing.


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