Tips & Tricks

Putting Your Home Center Stage: Tips for DIY Home Staging

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We love the TV show House Hunters, where couples tour three houses on the market and they have to decide which one will be their next home. This is one show where it’s impossible NOT to talk (or even yell) at the TV. “Stop complaining about the mustard yellow walls! Just paint over it!” or “An acre of land for just $150,000! Honey, come check this out!” But if you’re planning on selling your house, House Hunters is also a great way to see how to – and how not to – present your home to buyers. Here are some DIY home staging tips that you can follow to appeal to the largest number of buyers.

When Staging Your Home, Edit the Furniture

The more furniture you crowd into a space, the smaller your home appears. Extra bookshelves that line the walls, curio cabinets in every corner, and large couches with a giant coffee table can will shrink an average 300 square foot family room. Or maybe you have a different problem, and your living room has to serve as the playroom, office, and living space. This will confuse buyers as to the real function of this room. Removing unneeded furniture will open up the space and will show what its purpose is by how you stage it.

One way to place your furniture correctly to make your home feel spacious is to follow basic staging rules for furniture placement:

  • The sofa should be about seven feet from the TV.
  • Keep 14 – 17 inches between a coffee table and couch.
  • Allow for 3.5 feet to 10 feet between seating options like your couch and loveseat or couch and chairs. Any closer and you’re invading personal space, any farther and it’s hard to hold a conversation.
  • For dining sets, there should be 36 inches between the back of the chair and the wall so that other guests can freely walk behind and to allow for the chair to be pulled back to sit in.

With DIY home staging, one key idea is that less is more. While you may not want to get rid of Grandma’s antique buffet or your husband refuses to dispose of that ugly old lounger for his new man cave, consider renting a temporary storage place if you’re between selling your old home and buying your new one. Then, stay focused on bringing in potential buyers by letting Dolly take care of getting your furniture to and from storage. When you use Dolly, we’ll provide the manpower and moving truck so you can easily hold onto the excess items that you want to keep for your next home. Or maybe you realize that your furniture is too big or too tired and it’s time to get something more modern. Dolly can pick up and deliver your new furniture, too.

Follow the Basic Rule of DIY Home Staging: Declutter & Downsize

Too much stuff makes it look like the home doesn’t have enough storage, and one of the goals of home staging is to optimize your home to look as efficient and beautiful as you can. Packing up out-of-season clothes, organizing your closet, removing excess appliances from the kitchen countertop, tossing broken toys or donating ones that your kids have grown out of, and neatly placing kitchen pantry items away demonstrates how well your house functions, and that there’s room to grow into it for a potential buyer. Downsizing and getting rid of excess clutter is a lot of work, but it will help you get the best price for your home, which ensures you can have a fresh start in your new one.

A key reason to ensure you’ve put the work into your home staging is that it allows your potential buyers to picture themselves in your home. So as hard as it may be, remove the family portraits, personalized trinkets, and anything too funky or unique that can turn off buyers (we know that a giant deerhead is a trophy, but he’s not the best greeter for your guests). And while your child may love Frozen, and that mural your sister painted is adorable, it might be time to “Let it Go.” If a family with three boys attends your open house, the youngest son may be turned off from this room while the parents may see another burdensome project that needs to be tackled.

Low Cost Updates Go a Long Way When Selling Your Home

And speaking of projects, most buyers want a turnkey home (projects equal a lot of time and money). To get the highest price for your house, try a few of these simple and budget-friendly updates to elevate your home staging:

  • Thoroughly clean every nook and cranny of your home. No one wants another person’s moldy shower and while you may love your dogs, unpleasant pet smells aren’t the best way to appeal to buyers.
  • Paint with neutral colors that aren’t necessarily gendered. Whites, beiges, and soft greys will not only help your home to look fresh and clean, but it will brighten the room, helping it to appear larger.
  • As the popular realtor saying goes, “Kitchens and baths sell houses.” Consider doing the demo yourself, or try refreshing the cabinets, to save a few thousand bucks. Peruse your local hardware store to see the latest cost-effective innovations on the market. For example, vinyl tiles can looking surprisingly like hardwood floors for just a fraction of the cost.
  • We all have that stylish friend whose house looks like it was pulled from a magazine cover. Get on her good side quick and ask her to come over. Let her be brutally honest with what works and what doesn’t in your home. She probably has some great ideas on how to arrange the furniture or decorate your bookshelves to make your home really stand out. (And be sure to give her a gift card to help show your appreciation. After all, it would cost a lot more to hire a decorator and you just may get a higher offer on your house if her advice helps it looks polished and modern.)

Getting your house ready to put it up for sale isn’t easy, but the time and effort you put into staging will help it to sell quickly and competitively. One last tip is to remember that Dolly is here to help. Let us do the heavy lifting when it’s time to put items into a storage unit, take donations to Goodwill, or when it’s time to load up everything and move into your new home. At Dolly, we’re here to help you every step of the way!

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