From Lois Flickinger, Owner of Lancaster Home Staging

The decision to sell your home and move can be both exciting and overwhelming. You may have lived in your home for a long time, creating many memories as well as acquiring numerous possessions. Fortunately, you can take your memories with you. Moving also is a good opportunity to sort through your belongings, pass family heirlooms on to your loved ones, and get rid of things that you no longer need or want. Preparing your home to sell is a big job. Working with a professional stager can ease some of that stress and burden for you and your family.

Increasingly, more homes are being staged prior to putting the house on the market. In fact, buyers are beginning to expect it, regardless of the house price. Most people now do most of their initial house shopping on the internet. For that reason, realtors and their clients want the house to be photographed in the best possible way to encourage prospective buyers to physically visit the property and make an offer. Staging helps to provide those fantastic marketing photos!

It’s important to understand that there is a difference between interior design/decorating and home staging. When decorating your home, you want to infuse your personality into the place you live. You want it to reflect your life and that of your family. Staging is using furniture and decorative accessories to highlight the house itself in a way that will appeal to the widest number of prospective buyers. We want the focus to remain on the features of the house, such as a fireplace, windows, woodwork, room sizes, an upgraded kitchen or perhaps a beautiful view or some other unique element. The goal is to have buyers walk through the house thinking about them living there, and not thinking about it being your home.

Staging tips and trends

Curb appeal:
Driving up to the house is a visitor’s first impression. Keep it positive by cleaning up the landscaping, power washing sidewalks, siding and porches. Add color with pots of flowers or bright cushions on porch furniture. Make the house inviting, but keep it simple! 

De-personalize and de-clutter:
Keep the focus on the house. People are distracted by family photos, knick-knacks, and collections. You don’t want to remove everything that’s decorative, just keep it simple. Pack up family photos, items that focus on you or your family, anything that is smaller than a softball and anything that is fragile or valuable.

Add color to the house with art, area rugs, pillows, and other accessories. Keep flooring and walls a neutral color. Painting can be one of the most effective and economical way to quickly update and improve a home. Prospective buyers probably have spent time and money preparing their own house to sell. They want a house that is ready to move into.

Let the sunshine in! A current decorating trend that is also great for staging is to minimize window treatments. Keep any drapes or blinds light weight, neutral, and simple. Remove valances and heavy drapes which can block light coming through the windows. Be sure there is good lighting in each room. Where possible, have a combination of overhead lights as well as lamps.

Less is more:
The house needs to be inviting. You don’t want rooms to feel bare and boring, yet they shouldn’t be crowded with furniture and accessories. Be sure there are comfortable walking paths within and between rooms. 

Add plants:
Plants (real or silk) add great natural color and warmth to any house. It shouldn’t look like a jungle, but one or two plants in each room can make a big difference.

Clean sells:
It is not possible to clean enough. In addition to the usual things you do, also pay attention to ceiling fans, vent covers, baseboards, and windows.

Decorating trends to avoid

There are some trends in decorating that can be great if you are staying in your home, but should be avoided if you are thinking about selling your house.

Mixing multiple metal colors for lights, door handles and hinges, cabinet knobs and handles, etc. in one room. It’s not necessary to have everything matching throughout the house, but too many different finishes can be overwhelming for some buyers.

Colorful accent walls: If an area of the house looks better with an accent wall, keep it in the same neutral color family as the rest of the room, but perhaps a shade darker. Adding a different color can be a good decorating decision, but not ideal for staging.

Wallpaper: Photos of rooms with wallpaper can stop potential buyers from coming to your house. We have all either had bad experiences ourselves or heard scary stories about how hard it is to strip wallpaper. Wallpaper is currently being used more in interior design, but is still something to avoid when selling your home.

At Lancaster Home Staging we have over a decade of experience helping people with all aspects of preparing their homes for sale, as well as arranging and decorating a client’s new home. In staging, there is a fine line between too much and too little in each room. The house needs to maintain warmth and remain inviting, without feeling cluttered and disorganized. It also needs to continue to be comfortable for you to live there while the house is on the market. We work with you to find a good balance and ease some of the stress of selling, downsizing and moving.