Home Staging on a Budget

Home staging is the art and science of preparing a home so that it looks as attractive as possible to prospective buyers. Interior design has a huge and often unexpected impact on how desirable a property is to a viewer. Ultimately, the goal is to have a prospective buyer walk into the house and immediately want to own it.

Staging a home can have a dramatic difference on its entire character. Home staging isn’t just about cleaning and removing clutter, it’s about creating an entire feel and ambiance that makes someone who walks through each room think “This house looks and feels great! I’d love to live here!” A staged home looks not only more attractive but also more spacious, more vibrant and more alive.

Staging a Home Yourself

You don’t need to spend a lot of money hiring a professional home stager who will charge between $500 and $5,000, depending on the size of your home and other factors. If you have a good eye for interior design, you can save yourself money by staging your own home and you may find it to be a fun and rewarding way to see your living space transformed before your eyes.

With a little inspiration and creativity, you can stage any house yourself to make it a true work of art. In spite of the benefits of home staging, many home sellers are reluctant to change the interior of their house to make it more desirable to buyers, and this gives anyone who does decide to stage their house a huge advantage over other sellers.

You can effectively stage a home no matter its size or what style of furniture and home accessories it currently has. The key to creating beautiful interior spaces is to arrange the large items of furniture is such a way so they are effortless to look at (i.e. everything looks completely natural in its place) and then to arrange small items and accessories around the furniture to create the desired effect. One of the best ways to get ideas is to look online for photos and design blogs and then make some notes on what you think you could apply to your home. There are too many good websites to name here but even just a Google image search can give you plenty of ideas.

Using Small Details to Transform a Home

Naturally, there’s no point in spending a lot of money staging a house just to sell it. Home staging is about making high-impact but low-cost changes to the small details in each room. For example, changing sofa cushions and adding an attractive table lamp and two accent chairs next to a side table can completely change the character and feel of a living room. In a bedroom, changing the bed covers to a subtle shade such as vanilla or teal and adding matching side tables can make a huge difference to how the room feels. A table runner and candles can add elegance and sophistication to even the humblest of dining rooms. It’s these details that can truly transform a house. None of these changes are hugely expensive and can be the difference between a property selling in 6 weeks and 6 months.

Very often, you can make more out of less. Small details such as changing old curtains for some luxuriant satin designs, adding patterned rugs or even some fresh flowers to a table can make a huge difference. You may find you don’t need to purchase many additional items at all. By just rethinking the way your home is currently arranged you can come up with many new ideas.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that home buyers are more likely to buy a property that has been staged than one that’s empty. Most buyers like to see houses that are loved and well cared for. Vacant houses can feel lifeless and cold, despite appearing larger by being empty.

Home Staging Doesn’t Hide Problems

Unfortunately, many homeowners are under the impression that staging will effectively hide problems a property has (especially older neglected properties). Trying to make buyers unaware that problems exist usually backfires. Buyers may be unaware of problems for a short while, but a property inspection will make that short-lived.

If a building has structural problems or even serious health hazards such as lead pipes or asbestos ceiling tiles, staging is not going to be a solution to those problems. Homeowners may even need to get rid of any pests or bugs that may have infested the home by hiring a professional pest control company. Once any major issues with the property have been resolved and cleaning has been completed, you can get to work on staging rooms to bring out the best in each. Staging a house is only going to effectively speed up its sale when any serious issues have been resolved first.

When in Doubt, Go for Simplicity

Simplicity and minimalism are always attractive qualities, and this is even truer if you are working with limited space. A cluttered room is hardly ever attractive, and the more items in a room, the less attractive it appears to someone who’s never seen it before. If you have small rooms to decorate, less is definitely more. Simple, neutral colors and designs are usually the most effective. This doesn’t mean that you have to decorate every room with dull gray; light shades and subtle patterns can often speak louder than bold colors and strong designs.

Vibrant color can be used in moderation to bring some spice and uniqueness to rooms. Bright curtains and rugs can be used to make drab rooms come to life, but just make sure any strong colors you use don’t contrast. The last thing you want is room to look like an explosion in a Sherwin-Williams warehouse! Simplicity can be harder to achieve in interior design, but it almost always makes a room look more attractive.

All in all, you can stage just about any home beautifully without spending much money at all. The old saying “creativity over capital” is as applicable to interior design as much as anything else. By making some simple changes to how furniture is arranged, replacing some accessories and adding some new details, any room can be given a powerful “wow factor”. You only have one chance to make a good first impression, and that first impression can often be the most important.

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