Mirrors plus plants and inoffensive curtains at the ready when staging your home for sale

Yorkshire home stager Rachel Smith reveals her tips on how to prepare your home for sale for Spring

By Sharon DaleTuesday, 1st March 2022, 11:01 am

It may not feel like it but it’s almost spring, the season when thoughts turn to new beginnings and, traditionally, when homeowners put their properties on the market. While the last two years of housing market activity have been anything but normal, estate agents are predicting that there will be a flurry of new instructions later next month.

With this in mind, we asked the brilliant home stager, stylist and declutterer Rachel Smith, founder of Wakefield-based Clutter is the Enemy, to give us her tips on how to prepare your home for sale: She says: “Why wouldn’t you want to make your house look better, sell it quicker and for more money because someone’s fallen in love with it? Home staging is for everyone so why don’t more people do it, especially as the way we look for a house has changed in the last few years?

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“In this ‘swipe left/right’ society we no longer read the words carefully, we look at pictures, and if we see anything we don’t like, we swipe on past. This is not great news for brightly-coloured feature walls, rooms with no purpose, clutter, or empty houses.”

Mirrors plus plants and inoffensive curtains at the ready when staging your home for sale

*So how do you make people stop and look at your home? The trick to home staging is to analyse who your target market is and think about what they are looking for and above all remember: you are not just selling a house, you are selling a lifestyle. You also need to take into account that styling your property to sell it, is not the same as styling your house to live in it and therefore less is definitely more. In fact the whole house should definitely be less you and more the next people who will live there. While you are selling the space, not the soft furnishings, it’s worth remembering that the majority of people don’t have vision, so it’s hard for them to see past things and it’s hard for them to visualise where they would put their furniture in an empty space.

*Each room should have a clear, distinct single function and one that appeals to your target market. It should also be furnished accordingly, unless it is a room that would naturally have two functions, such as a kitchen/diner or a lounge/diner. The hallway is the window to the soul of your home and should set the tone for what is to come so try and keep it as clear as possible. Potential buyers don’t need to see your collection of coats and shoes, they just need a signpost to where they could put theirs. It’s also an idea to have a mirror in the hallway so the buyer will see themself entering the house – this can be quite a powerful moment. A mirror will also bounce light around and make the space seem brighter.

*Kitchens are easy. You just need to make sure they are spotless, hide the clutter and use the odd accessory and a couple of plants to soften the edges and bring a bit of colour. If there is room for people to sit, whether it’s at a table or just a breakfast bar, then make it obvious. You don’t have to go as far as setting the table as this often looks contrived, but you should make it obvious how much room there is around it. So don’t push it up against the wall.

*A lounge, family room, or snug should have at least one sofa and one chair, depending on the size of the room. Rugs, coffee tables, ottomans and footstools look

nice and are practical for everyday life, but can also make a room look smaller so should be used with caution. Always have a mirror over a mantel and some pictures. The latter are desirable in any room as they add a homely touch but they need to be generic enough to appeal to a wide audience.

*Bedrooms should have a bed, matching bedside tables, and matching lights as standard. Anything else you care to add could be a bonus but is not necessary and may start to make the room look smaller again. Bedding should be modern and good quality and four pillows will make a difference on a double bed (two on a single). Cushions and throws will help here too. Never underestimate the effect a well-made bed can have; it shows care and attention and indicates that you’ve taken good care of the house.

*Bathrooms are pretty much the same as kitchens: all you need is to ensure they are extra clean and that there are a couple of plants to soften the edges. However, do not assume that piles of towels make it look like a spa. It will just look like you haven’t got anywhere else to store your towels.

*All curtains and blinds should be as plain and neutral as possible and certainly open as wide as possible. Swagged curtains are a no-no as they will immediately date a house and will stop quite a lot of the natural light coming in.

*Finally, plants, plants, plants. Plants are the answer to everything in home staging. Nothing says home, or “I take care of my property” more than lots of houseplants. They also add colour, vibrancy, and life, even though they might not all be real

*For Rachel’s blog and her services visit www.clutteristheenemy.co.uk.

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