One of the panels we attended at the Inman Connect Real Estate Conference in New York a couple weeks ago featured Vern Yip from HGTV's "Deserving Design." He was fantastic to listen to and had a lot of great tips for showcasing a home to really appeal to its buying audience. Here is his presentation (you can skip ahead to 11:45 to get to the tips): Design Tips to Sell Homes. You can read the transcript of the presentation here.
And here are his "Best Ideas for Staging Your Home":
1. Present an optimal space plan
Optimize every room with a space plan that keeps rooms open and easy to negotiate, while showcasing how to utilize unusual spaces. Moving furniture around doesn't cost anything! This is so critical because not everyone who enters a property has the ability to envision how that property can be fully utilized. Sometimes people just aren't visual people, that's not what they do. Presenting an optimal space plan is the first and most critical portion of really showcasing what makes a property special.
A couple of examples:
- Take an awkward nook in a bedroom or kitchen and turn it into a home office.
- Use a dining room table as a place for meals and a desk for projects. In Urban Oasis New York, Vern used a table that seats six, but also served as a desk complete with pedestals for storage and electronics. He points out that it also serves as a prep surface for the open layout kitchen - all to show viewers how to optimize square footage in a small apartment.
- Hide a laundry unit behind doors in the kitchen, or a hall closet, or a bathroom closet.
It's really about showing people how a space plan can improve their space and what they're actually getting.
2. Stick to a monochromatic scheme
A monochromatic room with minimal contrast looks bigger because the number of visual breaks is minimized. When you diminish contrast you actually expand the visual plane. Neutral colors in tans, warm grays, taupes, and shades of warm white have the most flexibility for adapting rooms to anyone's style and have the broadest appeal. A fresh coat of paint is the best investment when staging a property for sale.
In one unit from the show Selling New York there were some serious architectural elements in the living area. Everything in this unit is painted a warm white color, even some of the furniture is white. So the structural element blends in with the environment. You can accent it if you want, but painting it the same color as the wall diminishes it so if somebody doesn't necessarily like it, it fades into the background.
3. Incorporate organic elements
Real elements will make a property look well cared for and add an appealing sense of life, vibrancy and vitality to a space. They don't have to necessarily always be fresh flowers or plants. A couple of examples:
- Instead of fresh flowers, Vern staged three clear jars with different kinds of hard candy in the entry area of the Urban Oasis New York Unit (he also mentioned "candy is questionable as to whether or not it's organic, but again it's injecting that sense of life to a space").
- A bowl of apples is a great way to go. They can last three to four weeks, are relatively cheap, and they give a lot of life to a space.
- One of Vern's favorite tricks: Monstera leaves in a vase (placed on a nightstand or bathroom counter looks great). They are a couple dollars each and last for several weeks.
4. Edit to showcase a space
Editing is free and an invaluable tool for expanding the visual volume of a room while also making it look neater, cleaner, and more expensive. When it comes to accessories, fewer items with higher individual impact offers the most bang for your buck.
People have a natural tendency to just accumulate stuff. Before going on the market it's important to go through a home and really edit down your belongings so that a potential buyer can visually understand what's happening in the property they're looking at.
"This is a bedroom from Urban Oasis New York. It's not the world's largest bedroom, but we've done the monochromatic color scheme and we've really pared it down. We put one large, central bed there, we have these pedestals on either side showcasing these keystones from a demolished brownstone here in Manhattan, and these pedestals also have niches so that they serve as night stands. Fewer things, really substantial things. More meaningful things, but fewer things really help showcase the property."
5. Place visual emphasis on highlights of a room
Whether a space has a fantastic view, a tremendous volume, or incredible floors, the highlight of a room should always be underscored dramatically! This is so important because every room has highlights, it's really up to you to now find out what those are and highlight them.
If, say, the highlight is an unobstructed view - put low furniture near the window and keep a monochromatic scheme to not distract the eye from the view.
6. Remember secondary spaces
Finish and accessorize auxiliary spaces. Bathrooms, guest rooms, and home offices should be treated as primary spaces and showcased with furniture, accessories, and organic items to illustrate that a property has many possibilities.
Everybody thinks about the living room, everybody thinks of the dining room, everybody thinks about the master bedroom. But you have to think about the secondary spaces as well if you really want to sell a property.
A couple of examples:
- In bathrooms: include artwork on the walls, place fresh towels in a basket, put a plant on the counter.
- In guest bedrooms: make sure there are fresh linens on the bed, put lamps on the side tables, add an organic element to a dresser.
So those are your tips today on how design can really help sell a property. Of course, if this all sounds like way too much work for you to handle before you sell your home, staging is a great option to showcase your home for the market. We work with a fantastic stager who will come in and make a detailed list of what needs to be done to make your home look fantastic.