“Staging,” (a new meaning for an old word), is the practice of making your home so inviting to others that they fantasize freely about living there themselves.
Whatever you’ve heard, it’s not just about baking cookies.
If you’re a homeowner wanting to sell while demand and price are high, it’s a good concept to know.
Staging starts at your front gate, but it doesn’t end there. Here are five components to consider:
1. Get those large plastic toys out of the yard and pop in a few petunias. Nothing provides more impact for less money than bright, blooming flowers. If you possess a garden bench, all the better. Leave your garden hat and gloves there if they’re not too decomposed. They lend humanity to the scene, inviting the prospective buyer to visualize herself sitting on that bench, sipping ice tea and enjoying the ambiance on a sunny spring afternoon (something you probably rarely managed, but there you are). Containers of blooming plants welcome visitors up the stairs or garden walk, and into the house.
2. Your living room will of course be clean, scrubbed and free of clutter. Fresh flowers and candles on the mantel never hurt. Go outside and come in again a few times, to see your home as others see it (smelling good never hurt, either).
3. Here’s the bad news: They will look in your closets. Make sure the linen closet smells good. You can do this with scented drawer liners, or more inexpensively with sheets of fabric softener tucked between the towels—but go for the outdoorsy scents and avoid the cloying baby powder brands.
4. Police the bathrooms. (Hide all those shampoo and conditioner bottles). Ditto the bedrooms. Excess stuff detracts from neatness so much that the eye doesn’t know where to light. Try instead for a color-coordinated look with one strong focal point. Replace stuffed animals with throw pillows that match the wallpaper, for instance. (Better yet, you won’t have wallpaper. It can be a deal-breaker for the unimaginative prospective buyer).
5. Clean up that garage! Cover up or get rid of the oil stains on the floor and invest in cheap storage in which to stow your paint cans or that collection of old plumbing fixtures you intended to do something with, someday. Stash the motorcycle. And of course you’ll also clean up after the family dog. If you’re an unrepentant collector, rent a storage shed for the duration, but get things out of sight. You want the whole place to look bigger. Embrace simplicity. If you don’t visualize easily, visit a few model homes and take notes. Ask yourself what it is that works; what engages your senses and makes you think, “Yeah. I could live here!” Now you’ve got the idea. And if you want to bake cookies and put on a fresh pot of coffee, go ahead. Or cinnamon buns—men like cinnamon buns.
What time did you say you’re having your open house?
About Mary Lynn
Causes Mary Lynn Archibald Supports
Battered Women's Shelter, SPCA, Healdsburg Animal Shelter, Nature Conservancy