By Charlene Storozuk, guest contributor
One thing that occasionally gets overlooked when preparing a home for sale is furniture layout. I’ve been in many homes where I’ve felt that something wasn’t quite right about a certain room as soon as I entered it. Not anything obvious, but more of an indescribable sense of confusion for lack of a better word.
If you’re planning on selling your home, here are some questions you should ask yourself about your current furniture layout:
• Does the room look off balance?
• Is the flow of the room disrupted?
• Does the layout impede pathways?
• Is the focal point of the room concealed?
• Does the room feel “boxed in” rather than open?
• Is there too much furniture in the room?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you might want to take a look at your furniture placement. This is where a professional home stager can help you.
At a recent staging consultation that I carried out, there were some issues with furniture placement. The space in question was an open concept living room/dining room/kitchen. If you take a look at this BEFORE photo, you’ll see that some changes were needed.
Now let’s ask the questions about this space:
Question #1: “Does the room look off balance?” Although you can’t see it from this photo, the dining area was directly behind the sofa. This area was comprised of a small round table and four chairs along with a small dining hutch. The living area was weighted down in comparison with too many pieces of heavy furniture, which made the overall space look off balance.
Question #2: “Is the flow of the room disrupted?” The large sofa split the space between the living and dining areas in half, making the room look smaller and broken up.
Question #3: “Does the layout impede pathways?” The pathway to get from the dining area to the kitchen was tight due to the length of the sofa. As well, the pathway between the sofa and loveseat to reach the seating area was cramped.
Question #4: “Is the focal point of the room concealed?” Absolutely. In this case, the focal point of the room was the fireplace. With the current furniture configuration and the large TV, the fireplace did not take main stage.
Question #5: “Does the room feel ‘boxed in’ rather than open?” Yes, you can see this from the BEFORE photo.
Question #6: “Is there too much furniture in the room?” Yes, from a staging point of view there was too much furniture in the space. While living in a house and not considering selling, you’re obviously going to arrange your space to suit your needs as was the case here. Due to the amount of entertaining the home owners did, they required more seating. However, now that they were going to sell, they needed to make some changes.
So here’s what we did…
We removed the sofa, moved the loveseat over to where the sofa previously was, and brought in a chair that was being used upstairs in the master bedroom suite. Fortunately, this chair matched the loveseat so we were in luck. While we were at it, we removed the TV for good measure in order to also help open up the space and make the fireplace the main attraction.
Once the TV was gone, we brought in a glass console table that was previously in the basement to help ground that area, yet not detract from the fireplace.
Now take a look at the AFTER photo …
In the AFTER photo you’ll see how the space is more open, there’s flow, and the fireplace now takes its place of prominence as it should. This photo was taken before any styling took place. You can see how different the space looks already and that’s without any decorative accessories, an area rug or small glass tables.
The way your furniture is arranged while you are living in your home should be configured to suit your needs and to work with your intended purpose for the room. However, remember that if you’re going to sell anytime soon, you should always ask yourself some important questions about furniture placement.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Charlene Storozuk is the owner of DEZIGNER DIGZ, a professional home staging, interior decorating and redesign firm based in Burlington, Ontario Canada. She is certified as an International Staging Professional, International Design & Decorating Professional, Professional Colour Consultant, and Feng Shui Design Professional. Her work is published in the book “FabJob Guide to Become a Home Stager,” 2009 edition. Storozuk is recognized as a local leader in the home staging industry. She founded the Halton & Hamilton-Wentworth Real Estate Staging Association Chapter and served on the association’s Executive Committee for two years as Regional Vice-President, Canada. Storozuk is a past recipient of RESA North American Leadership Awards for Chapter President of the Year (2007) and Regional Vice-President of the Year (2011). For ideas on how to bring “WOW” Factor to your home, follow her HIP TIPZ Series for daily home staging, design and decor inspiration. HIP TIPZ can be found on the Dezigner Digz Facebook Fan Page and on Twitter: @dezigner_digz .
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By Patti Stern, PJ & Co. Staging and Interior Decorating
The early spring home selling-season is kicking off. There’s no time like the present to start decluttering and transforming your lived-in home into a show-worthy property to make a positive impression on potential buyers. That means attending to the most important details that will create mass buyer appeal and increase your home’s value.
“A seller has to try to be objective by looking at their home as a product or some other commodity that one would purchase,” says Lisa Gallagher, a real estate professional with William Raveis, Newtown, Conn. “You have only one chance to get it right so present your home in the best possible light.”
Indeed, 95 percent of homes that are staged by professional home stagers sell, on average, in 35 days or less and for close to the asking price – versus 140 days for non-staged homes, according to a study by the Accredited Staging Professionals (ASP), a national staging trade organization.
Staged homes also show better in photographs.
“Homes that are prepared for market and look good on the Internet, usually sell the quickest,” Gallagher says. “Time is money and less time on the market means less stress and frustration for the seller.”
While some homes may require more work than others, the following represent our top staging “do’s and don’ts” that are essential in getting your property ready for sale.
PJ & Co.’s Top 5 Do’s in Home Staging
1. Focus on curb appeal. Make the best first impression by sprucing up the lawn and landscape.
- Remove dead or overgrown shrubs.
- Touch up any peeling paint, and power wash the outside if needed.
- Repair any cracks in the driveway and walkway, power wash steps and railings if necessary.
- Look at the outdoor lighting. Is it time to repair or replace?
- Add welcoming touches to the front door including seasonal plants and a fresh welcome mat.
- Ensure that you have a prominent, working doorbell and the front door is freshly painted.
2. Declutter and neutralize.
Look at each room objectively and start packing.
- Remove anything that will distract buyers from seeing your property, including personal collections (yes, the sports memorabilia room has to go!), a wall of family photos, newspapers, books and magazines, etc.
- Consider donating outdated furniture and household accessories to a local nonprofit.
3. Refresh walls, rugs and windows treatments. When was the last time your seller painted? Are their imperfections or scratches on the walls? Is the current paint color dated? If so, consider adding a fresh coat of neutral paint. The same applies to area rugs and carpeting. Be sure to have them professionally cleaned and, if dated, consider replacing. If you have hardwood floors under the carpeting, you’ll find it worthwhile to remove and refinish the floors to use the hardwoods as a selling-point. As for window treatments, remove any outdated or specific styles and replace. Or if you have great windows — make them stand out by removing all window treatments.
4. Brighten and add warmth.
It’s important that the home feel light and bright. Open the curtains wide (or replace as indicated above) and let in as much natural light as possible. Also, replace any light fixtures that are outdated and make sure all existing lights are working.
5. Make it shine. Clean, dust, vacuum, and deodorize. Think: aggressive spring cleaning!
We often suggest to our clients that they have a professional service clean the property from top to bottom including walls, ceilings, and baseboards. Dirt eats equity and the more your home shines the better for prospective buyers. Windows and mirrors should be free of fingerprints and hardwood floors should shine.
Scrub bathrooms and kitchens so they sparkle. Don’t forget to dust lampshades and curtains.
Top 5 Don’ts in Home Staging
1. Don’t be emotionally attached. As soon as your sellers makes the commitment to sell, they need to look at their end goal. Are they downsizing, moving to be near family, or a warmer climate? It’s important for them to emotionally detach from selling their home. Any negative remarks you gather as their real estate professional from home buyers, sellers need to be able to use as constructive criticism and be willing to do what it takes to get their “product” sold timely and for top dollar.
2. Don’t be afraid to team up. Selling a home can be overwhelming. Just packing and decluttering is a monumental task and that is why using a professional home stager is an investment in getting your property sold. A professional stager (not a decorator) is an expert who can look at the home objectively and provide proven methods to help enhance your clients’ home showings.
3. Don’t leave anything broken. Everything should function correctly and be in working order. Sellers need to make sure they repair leaky faucets, cracked windows, loose doorknobs, broken tile, and replace light bulbs that don’t work.
4. Don’t invest in major renovations.
Now is not the time to gut the kitchen with a complete makeover. Keep it to the essentials in giving the home a basic cosmetic fix. Painting goes a long way in providing a modern “facelift” to a home, including kitchen cabinets and bathroom vanities. Updating a home by adding new flooring, if needed, a new bathroom vanity and light fixture, and making any necessary repairs will be worth the investment to get the house sold.
5. Don’t buy all new furniture. Rearrange and put away excessive pieces to simplify and make the room appear larger. Update or hide imperfections with new throws and pillows. However, if your sellers are already planning to purchase updated furniture for their new home, they may want to consider buying sooner for selling purposes too.
For more examples of interior decorating and home staging, visit www.pjstagingdecorating.com.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patti Stern, principal, interior decorator and professional stager of PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating, has been decorating and staging homes since 2005. She and her team provide turnkey, full service home-staging and interior decorating to clients across Connecticut, New York, and Massachusetts. She also developed an award-winning staging program for luxury home builder, Toll Brothers. Stern has been featured in Connecticut Magazine, the Hartford Courant, Danbury News-Times and on NBC Connecticut and FOX TV. She is a regular contributor to REALTOR Magazine’s Styled, Staged & Sold blog. To contact, e-mail Patti Stern at firstname.lastname@example.org
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