Staging the “Make or Break” Areas, Part 3: The Master Bedroom

The “make or break” areas of a house are the specific rooms that rank highest on buyers’ must-have lists and will often make or break their interest in placing an offer. Because of their importance, I’ve been covering the top three areas over three blog posts with 10 tips for staging each one. These rooms include the kitchen, living area, and master bedroom. When you’re staging your home for sale it is vital that these rooms are as attractive as possible to a wide spectrum of buyers so you maximize your chances for an offer. This doesn’t always have to mean spending a lot of money on renovations; sometimes, you just need to do a little redesign!

In this final post in the make or break areas staging series, we’re focusing on staging the master bedroom. This is the room in which buyers will be expecting to find peace and serenity. They want a space they can come to after a long day to unwind and relax. Try these 10 master bedroom staging tips to create a master bedroom worth making an offer for…

1) As always, declutter! One of the #1 turn-offs for buyers will always be clutter. Some sellers think, “Well, they aren’t buying what’s in the house, so why do they care?” But very few buyers can actually see past it. It makes every space seem smaller, cramped, and dirty. (Three words you do NOT want used to describe your house.) Make sure laundry and any other miscellaneous items are kept out of sight.

2) Keep the bed made. Take a little extra time to make the bed look as neat as though it were in a hotel room. Flatten out any unsightly creases in the bedspread, make sure it’s even on both sides, and keep the pillows straight.

3) Trade out a “loud” bedspread for a neutral one. You don’t want buyers distracted by the bedspread when they should be appreciating the room. Neutral colors always ensure that buyers will be able to imagine their own decorating sense in the space and they also make a room look larger and more relaxing. If you want to bring in a pop of color, do it in the accent pillows.

4) Decorate for both sexes. Keep the color palette and design choices neutral so that both men and women will be able to imagine themselves living there. You don’t want men to be turned off by too “feminine” a space and start calculating in their mind how much it will cost to redecorate.

5) Center the bed in the middle of a wall. Place an end table and a lamp on either side of the bed to create a balanced space. It’s best to match the items exactly but if that’s not possible, at least make sure that they are equal heights and have a style that compliment each other.

6) Make the bed the focal point of the room. Once the bed is centered and framed properly (as suggested in tip 5), you can add some interest behind the bed to really bring a buyer’s focus to it. The best way to do this is with either a nice headboard, a large piece of art, or 2-3 smaller pieces of art that when put together make a larger statement.

7) Consider window treatments to soften the windows. If you don’t have any window treatments up or if they are two taste-specific or outdated, you could consider framing them with some neutral curtains. It’s important to allow light into every room in the house while it’s on the market, so don’t look to cover them with dark panels. Curtains aren’t necessary and in fact should be avoided if your windows have nice wood work around them or shutters. In those cases, you want to showcase them.

8) Clear off all furniture tops. It’s best to leave only a few necessary pieces on the surface of furniture. For example: It’s ok to leave an alarm clock on nightstand with a lamp, but more than that and you risk it looking too cluttered.

9) De-personalize the space. This goes beyond just neutralizing the decorating. You should also remove family photos and any other personal objects that show that the space is lived in. Buyers need to be able to imagine themselves living there and if they see the current homeowner’s personal items around, it can be distracting and off-putting because they feel like they are invading someone’s personal space.

10) Organize the closet. Closet space is very valuable to buyers and an unorganized, cluttered closet can lead buyers to believe that there isn’t enough space to hold everything. Invest some time in donating anything you don’t want (this will save you time and space later when you pack to move) and organizing the rest by style and color. Keep the floor cleared, especially if it’s a walk-in closet and keep anything highly personal out of view.

I hope you have found all the staging tips from the last few posts about staging the “make or break” areas helpful. For a comprehensive guide to staging your whole house, check out my book Stageology: How to Stage to Sell which is available through all major booksellers nationwide. Good luck and happy selling!

Warm regards,
Megan

Staging the “Make or Break” Areas, Part 2: The Living Room

In my last post, I talked about staging the “make or break” areas of a house which are the specific rooms that rank highest on buyers’ must-have lists and will often “make or break” their interest in placing an offer. These rooms include the kitchen, living area, and master bedroom, so when you’re staging your home for sale make sure they are as attractive as possible. This doesn’t always have to mean spending a lot of money on renovations; sometimes, you just need to do a little redesign!

The living room is where family and friends will gather. Buyers want to know their is enough space not only for their furniture, but also for their loved ones. If you’re living room is dark, cramped, mismatched or cluttered, most buyers are automatically going to feel uncomfortable and won’t be able to imagine themselves living there. It must be an inviting space that makes people feel at home. The good news: this isn’t hard to accomplish! Try these 10 living room staging tips…

1) Clear out all the clutter! This is a tip that applies to every room in the house. Make sure all children’s toys are put away out of sight, as well as any dog or cat toys and bedding during showings.

2) De-personalize the space. Remove all family photos, artwork, crafts, etc because both you and the buyers want them to be able to imagine themselves in the home.

3) Don’t block a fireplace. They are a major selling feature for many buyers, so you should show off these beautiful architectural assets. If any furniture is blocking it, rearrange it so that the fireplace becomes the focal point of the room. During the winter months, light the fireplace during showings and place candles in it during the warmer seasons.

4) Arrange furniture in conversational-style seating. Sometimes the best seating arrangement does not face the TV! Sometimes this is a necessary sacrifice because your motive is to sell your house as fast as possible and arranging the furniture around the TV will not always offer the best flow.

5) Let the light in. Nothing should be blocking the windows, so make sure the curtains and blinds are open so that plenty of light can pour in. Add extra lamps to illuminate any dark spaces and make sure they’re turned on during showings.

6) Group accessories by color. Keep your accent colors only in pieces that could easily be removed like lamps, books or vases so the space remains as neutral as possible to appeal to the most buyers.

7) Arrange accessories and knick-knacks in odd numbers such as 3, 5 or 7. These arrangements are most pleasing to the eye. Try not to have groups higher than 7 because they can become distracting to buyers and risk looking like clutter. Personal collections are wonderful to display in your own home, but when you’re selling you must de-personalize and de-clutter as much as possible.

8) When staging bookcases, always take the paper covers off the books. You will be amazed by how much this simple step greatly affects the overall look of your shelves being neat.

9) If your furniture is worn or has a “busy” pattern, invest in some neutral slipcovers. This is an easy, low-cost fix to make the overall look of your living room more appealing to buyers.

10) Consider bringing in an area rug. This can help pull together a large or awkward space to give it some much-needed warmth.

Stay tuned for bedroom staging tips! For a comprehensive guide to staging your whole house, check out my book Stageology: How to Stage to Sell which is available through all major booksellers nationwide.

Warm regards,
Megan

Staging the “Make or Break It” Areas, Part 1: The Kitchen

There are certain rooms in a home that rank most important to buyers and will often “make or break” their interest in placing an offer. These rooms include the kitchen, living area, and master bedroom. That means they should be three rooms you really focus on staging for sale and make as attractive as possible. This doesn’t always have to mean spending a lot of money on renovations; sometimes, you just need to do a little redesign.

Let’s start things off with a room that is always at the top of a buyer’s list: the kitchen. Most kitchens won’t need a complete overhaul to get it sold. (Talk to your real estate agent about this to better assess how much work you may want to put into an outdated kitchen before putting it on the market.) With a little bit of staging and redesign, you can turn a drab kitchen into one ready to be sold. I’ve included a before & after of a kitchen I recently staged to illustate all the tips. So here we go, 10 kitchen staging tips:

1) Never over-accessorize a kitchen. Keep kitchens very basic. Always clear everything off the counters except a couple of items, like a bowl of fruit or a cookbook on a stand. Even if your kitchen is small or does not have a lot of counterspace, clearing off the counters will give the illusion of more space.

2) If you have glass-front cabinets, only have minimal items displaying. It’s best to place any mismatched items such as mugs in a cabinet with a solid door. Space out glasses and sparse pieces like a decorate bowl. You can also leave a few cabinets empty to give the illusion that there is more storage space. Full cabinets make it seem like there is not enough storage in your kitchen no matter how much storage you may actually have.

3) Removable islands can be a great feature – if they fit correctly! These island additions (sometimes made specifically for this purpose, or an alternative option like a dining room table) can make an L-shaped kitchen look better by offering more counterspace, but choose wisely! As you can see in the photos, the homeowner had an big, clunky table in the middle of the kitchen that dwarfed the space and made it look cluttered. We replaced it with a sleeker table that served the purpose of an island without crowding the space.

4) Remove all magnets, notes and photos from the refridgerator. This is another matter of decluttering and opening up as much visual space as possible.

5) Don’t leave dishes on the counters OR in the dishwasher. Dishes – clean or dirty – on the counter will make the kitchen look it’s cluttered and lacking sufficient counterspace. You also don’t want to leave them in the dishwasher because believe it or not, buyers always open the dishwasher and peak inside for some reason.

6) Wipe down and organize the interior of your cabinets. Buyers will open cabinets and look inside to see how clean they are and how much space there is. If it isn’t neatly organized, buyers could easily get under the impression that there’s less space inside than there actually is.

7) Clean out and organize your pantry. Get rid of any expired food and organize it so that colors and shapes are arranged well. Buyers will also be judging the size of the pantry, so clearing out as much of the clutter and organizing it in a way that is pleasing to the eye will definitely make a difference.

8) Clean the entire kitchen! Wipe down the counters, cabinets, fridge, sink and surrounding areas, the microwave, oven, cooktop, and the floor. (Make sure you do the inside and out of some these things because buyers WILL look inside.) Your whole house should always be clean while it’s on the market to be ready for showings, but the kitchen particularly needs to be spotless because this is where buyers will be imagining preparing food. You don’t want them to be turned off by dust and grime.

9) Polish the hardware (including the faucet). If it’s really worn out or outdated, consider replacing it.

10) Grind a lemon, lime or orange in your garbage disposal. The citrus scent will get rid of any odors stuck in your garbage disposal and put a nice, pleasing scent in the air.

Stay tuned for staging tips for the living room and master bedroom! For a comprehensive guide to staging your whole house, check out my book Stageology: How to Stage to Sell which is available through all major booksellers nationwide.

Warm regards,
Megan