In our house the living room is really living, dining room and kitchen. It’s an old house, built in 1927. I think at some point a previous owner opened up the wall between the kitchen and the living room. It’s not completely open because the range is right behind the bar, but it’s open enough to make the living space feel like one big room.
To get the space ready to show our first step was to paint it. Years ago I painted my entire house light blue. The walls had been a taupe color made the house look dark. I realized that not everyone likes blue so we decided to repaint with a more neutral color from Sherwin Williams called Repose Gray. This is what it looked like right before the painting commenced and right after.
In the before shot there is a lot going on between the colorful oriental rug, the plaid pillows and the toile dining room chairs. When you are preparing to stage your house it’s mostly about subtracting things that will turn buyers off. This room definitely had too much for many people, and definitely too much furniture to maneuver around.
In the second photo you can see the first step was to clear the room and repaint. Once most of the furniture was out I realized how much larger the room looked. Your goal is to make a buyer feel like they could visualize their furniture and personal things in your space. To make that happen you have to take away a lot of your personal things, like photos and artwork that may not be appealing to everyone.
For example, in our living room we had a giant thumb print hanging over the fireplace. This piece of art means something to us because it has sentimental value. My husband is a huge Elvis fan. There is an artist in Dallas who gained access to Elvis’ personal archives and he photographed many of his items and sold limited prints of them. Will a buyer like this artwork? Probably not.
I put everything away to get ready for painting. Clearing ALL clutter is a big part of the staging process. It doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It can be a golden opportunity to go through things and purge what you don’t need. Moving is the ultimate fresh start so I recommend not boxing up everything just because it’s there. Take a little extra time and sort into piles as you are packing, one pile to give away, one pile to throw away and one pile to take.
I cleaned the wood floors with Rejuvenate, which made a big difference. I called to get them professionally cleaned, but it turns out this only works if you have been cleaning your floor with a waxy project, which I had not. I dusted the shelves and decluttered them and cleaned the windows. With much less in the room it’s easier to see what isn’t clean. When you live in a space certain things become invisible to you, so that’s why it is nice to have a realtor or many friends and family come and tell you what they see that a potential buyer will notice.
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