How to Style Your Home for an Open House
If you are selling your home, you will want it to look its best when you hold an open house. If you can afford to hire a professional stager, do it! Their skills can do wonders for your home’s apparent value. But if that’s not within your budget, don’t worry — just follow these room-by-room tips to help your listing stand out.
Erase Your Personal Touches A well-maintained home that appears lovingly cared for and thoughtfully styled will maximize your home’s appeal. When a potential buyer walks in, you want him or her to feel an instant connection with your home — even to envision themselves living in it. For this to happen, your house should not be infused with the distinctive sights, sound, and feeling of your particular family. So start your styling process right by following these steps.
Remove all personal belongings. This is particularly important when it comes to family photos, children’s artwork, piles of mail, work papers or projects, as well as random items of clothing that may be lying around.
Clean meticulously. A sparkling home will show your pride of ownership and reassure the buyer that the home has been well maintained.
Remove odors. Get rid of smells from food, pets or smoke, as these scents may turn off a potential buyer.
Do your best to make your listing feel as move-in ready as you can. If possible, pack some of your items and move them to another location, or stack them neatly in a corner of the garage. Don’t hide your boxes in closets, as buyers will look in all spaces and open all doors. Once you have followed these steps, it’s time to style your home for showing.
Entryway The entryway and path to your front door are where a potential buyer will get a first impression, and it should be a pleasant one. So mow your lawn, trim overgrown hedges, rake leaves, power-wash sidewalks and siding and plant vibrant and healthy flowers and plants. You may also want to replace old welcome mats. If your space is small, an arrangement of succulents or plants in a large pot, as shown in this photo, can add cheery color and textural interest to your entry.
If you have a large porch and some extra furniture, consider creating a relaxing outdoor sitting area where buyers can imagine spending warm summer evenings.
Living or Family Room
In these rooms, less is more, and more is mess. Keep the living or family room simple, open and spacious by removing excess furniture. Furniture should match or be complementary; otherwise, it will look like it was thoughtlessly placed in the room, so I recommend removing any pieces that don’t go well with the others. Decorative pillows and a colorful throw can do wonders to give a sofa in good condition a more inviting look, and can even bring a more polished appearance to a tired couch.
If possible, remove the television so there is less visual distraction in the room. Large artwork may give the room a more formal touch, whereas clusters of smaller frames, as shown here, will feel more casual. If you don’t already have some nice pieces, I recommend purchasing some of the affordable options available at discount stores or online. Plants can also help make a room feel fresh and welcoming — tall plants can bridge the space in rooms that have high ceilings, while smaller plants can enliven a coffee table.
A beautiful and functional kitchen adds a wow factor that can sell a home. Often, a kitchen remodel can offer a great return on investment when selling. But not everyone has the budget or time to remodel, and that’s OK. You can still present your kitchen well by cleaning it thoroughly from top to bottom, including grease on cabinets and crust on stovetops. Be sure to clear items like toasters, blenders and dish racks from countertops, and remove pots from burners. Take magnets and papers off the refrigerator. Style countertops with pretty bowls filled with colorful fruit or vases filled with flowers.
Bedrooms It’s not unusual for bedrooms to be multipurpose nowadays, and as a professional home organizer, I see many exercise areas and offices within bedrooms. But for an open house, a potential buyer may have a hard time getting a feel for the space if it serves too many purposes. So style bedrooms designed for grown-ups with an obvious focus: restful, restorative sleep.
Create a look of luxury in a true bedroom by fluffing blankets and pillows. Add some decorative pillows and shams to make the bed look more inviting. Clear nightstands and tops of dressers of clutter, and then add back a few decorative items such as small vases, modern jewelry boxes or vases with fresh flowers. Artwork on the walls will give the room a warmth and personality — but don’t go overboard with the number of pieces you hang.
To make your closets appear as large as possible, remove many of your items of clothing, shoes and accessories, leaving behind just a small number of pieces. I would suggest keeping a monochromatic scheme, or clothing of similar lengths, to keep the style visually sleek.
For children’s closets, select clothing within the same age group for a more uniform look. If your closet is small with limited lighting, consider painting the walls white or a light color to brighten up the space. If you want to take things one step further, use only one color of hangers and space them apart evenly.
Bathrooms As with the kitchen, a well-styled bathroom can leave a great impression on a potential home buyer, and it starts with decluttering and clearing countertops. I recommend also decluttering the cabinets below the sinks, perhaps keeping your daily essentials in an attractive basket. New towels, shower curtains and rugs can freshen the look of a bathroom and add style for a relatively low cost. A decorative soap dish with a fresh bar of soap plus flowers in a vase may be all you need on the countertops.