Most Toronto home sellers and real estate professionals understand the value of home staging. That’s why an ever-growing number of sellers and real estate professionals turn to professional home stagers like us for a quicker sale and for top dollar.
Our secret? A list of optical illusions and psychological tricks that draw buyers’ eyes to all the right places. Yep, you read that right, we have all the tricks up our sleeves and everybody loves it (because it works)! It sounds deceptive, but it is not. Here are some of it.
1. WE DO NOT LEAVE ROOMS EMPTY
Some home sellers will empty out the rooms and remove all furniture to make it look bigger. While initially, it seems like a smart solution, it is actually not. Here’s the twist; Emptiness can actually make rooms look smaller.
The truth is, without furniture pieces potential buyers don’t have a point of reference to gauge the size of the room. I have seen numerous buyers walk away from a vacant property because they think their own furniture won’t fit. The trick here is to use the right-sized pieces and the right kind of furniture to establish function in order to help buyers visualize the size of the space. This can strategically be done by understanding the correct style and the right size of furniture that goes with the space.
2. WE VISUALLY OPTIMIZE SPACE THROUGH PROPER FURNITURE PLACEMENT
Everything is set up to look visually pleasing starting from the main door. You see, you only a few steps from the main door to create that overwhelming feeling that say’s “welcome home” to buyers and that could be achieved by proper furniture placement.
As the saying goes, it’s not just the tools in your toolbox that get the job done, it’s how you use them. Think of your furnishings as tools that, when used correctly, will serve a functional, spatial and aesthetic purpose.
3. WE KEEP ALL FURNITURE AND ACCESSORIES CONSISTENT
Consistency in furniture style provides a sense of continuity and calm that prospective buyers expect and will remember.
This means that if the living room is contemporary, the rest of the home should also be within the contemporary style. Don’t hop from contemporary to traditional to eclectic. Carefully consider both the style and finishes of the house and stick to it.
4. WE HIGHLIGHT FOCAL POINTS
A focal point is where your eyes rest first in a space. It is the first thing that you will notice when you enter a room. Typically a room with a great focal point looks finished, balanced and can be quite stunning.
Walk into any well-staged home, and you’ll notice great accent accessories positioned near the room’s best attributes. For example, a grouping of three vases near a gorgeous fireplace or a large plant near a window with a view or the use of beautiful art to highlight an accent wall.
5. WE USE THE ‘RULE OF THREE’
Another go-to trick is to arrange accessories in odd numbers. Don’t ask why this works, it just does. There is something visually pleasing about groupings of 3 or 5. To add more interest, use coffee table books or stacked magazines to vary the height.
6. WE DITCH UNNECESSARY PIECES
Keep in mind that the objective of staging is generally to make each space look larger. At the end of the day, we are selling the space and that’s why we never include dressers in the bedrooms and other “arbitrary” furniture unless it is a very large space. (If you need a place for your stuff, consider renting a storage unit or organizing nonessential items in clear plastic bins in a closet or garage.)
7. NO TV’S
Televisions can be boring as a big black box that eats up a lot of wall space.
Big flat screens can make a room feel smaller and cramped. Consider art to mimic the TV instead. Unless it’s a separate family room or media room, then it’s fine. A big no to televisions in the living room and bedrooms for sure.
8. WE BOOST NATURAL LIGHT AND THEN ADD SOME MORE
Nobody wants a gloomy or a dark room. We are all programmed to go where the light is. That’s why “light” and “bright” are keywords that describe what most home buyers are looking for their next home.
And if you notice, a well-lit room feels bigger, lighter and happier. It creates a positive feeling to any room which is important when showcasing your home for sale.
9. WE USE COLOURS AND PATTERNS TO MAKE ROOMS FLOW
We love incorporating colours; it doesn’t have to be grey or beige all throughout. We use some splash of colour here and there. Weaving the same pops of colour throughout your home allows your space to flow cohesively from one room to the next. Incorporate similar hues across rooms in pillows, artwork, and accessories. Generally, we recommend dedicating 60% of a room’s space to a single colour, 30% to a secondary colour, and 10% to an accent.
Colours and patterns are a fun and easy way to bring life to your interiors. It can be something as simple as a new chair, a rug and some pillows to completely change the look of a space.
10. WE USE MIRRORS TO CREATE THE ILLUSION OF SPACE
Designers universally agree that mirrors make small rooms appear bigger by reflecting light. But more importantly, I believe that when a buyer catches a glimpse of himself in a mirror, it creates a subliminal suggestion that heightens the emotional connection.
11. CREATE THE ILLUSION OF HIGH CEILING
Making your ceilings appear higher than they actually are is not just a single step. It’s a combination of optical tricks that create the illusion of height, and curtains are a huge step towards accomplishing this. Purchase curtains that are a bit longer than your windows require, and then hang them a few inches above your window. Hang window treatments as high as possible. Floor-to-ceiling curtains elongate a room.
12. WE INCORPORATE NEGATIVE SPACE
The negative space or blank space heightens the feeling of anticipation and expectation for buyers, keeping them interested and longing for more.
There’s a psychological basis for this is the openness allows the function to become perfectly clear for buyers as they navigate each room. They are able to start appreciating design choices and truly focus in on its aesthetic or the individual design elements much sooner.
The bottom line is staging a home is all about showing your home at it’s best possible light. While these tips and techniques may be overwhelming for some, you don’t need a degree in psychology to use these techniques in your own home.
Remember, you are selling the space (so make it as spacious as you can) then add a little pretty and follow these tips.
Toronto-based, award-winning Interior Stylist, Red Barrinuevo is an Interior Decorator and Principal of Redesign4more, servicing clients in Toronto and the GTA. The firm’s known for enhancing and creating stylish yet functional spaces through their creative home staging, interior styling services, and design services. www.redesign4more.com.