10 Tips from a Home Stager

January 25, 2011 § 1 Comment

Whether you’re preparing your home for the market or just yearning for spring, here are some suggestions we stagers use that might give you or your home a jump-start:

1. Box up what you’re not using currently. This process is the hardest if you’ve been in your house a long time, and it may require someone to help you go through everything and decide what to keep, throw out, or give away. That person may be a family member or a professional organizer. If you’re feeling overwhelmed at Step 1, there’s help for you. Ask your Real Estate agent for a referral.

2. Be clear about the original function of each room. If your home office has taken over the dining room table, it’s time to reclaim the room. Move the computer to a spare bedroom or finished basement. At least for now!

3. Neutralize your walls. Neutral doesn’t have to be beige, but light and bright are preferable to dark and moody paint schemes. You will optimize your room size by lightening up the walls.

4. Edit your bookshelves, entertainment units, and china cabinets. Keep out only enough items to display. It’s okay to leave some shelves empty! Space sells! And see number 1 above if you’re overwhelmed.

5. Box up all your family photos and other items of great personal value. This applies to sellers only, obviously, but it’s very important to remove family, cultural, and religious identifiers so that you reach the maximum number of potential buyers. If you’re not moving and you’re just spring cleaning, use this opportunity to group your family photos and feature them where families gather, in the family room area.

6. Highlight key selling features of your house. If you have a beautiful view of the backyard, remove heavy window treatments. If you have a newly restored hardwood floor, roll up the scatter rugs to unveil it. If you have a great fireplace, make sure it’s not hiding behind the sofa.

7. In the kitchen, store all unused appliances and remove artwork and magnets from the refrigerator. Generally a nice coffee maker is fine to leave on the counter during house showings, but again space sells. This time it’s horizontal space on the counter. So toaster ovens, knife racks, dish drainers, and cutting boards go down below.

8. Clean, Clean again, and then Clean one more time. Since kitchens and bathrooms can sell houses, make sure you spend extra time cleaning them and ridding them of all odors and their sources. Squeaky clean and fresh-smelling are the goals. Buyers may overlook the dated Formica in the guest bath, but they will definitely remember the litter box tucked behind the door.

9. Maximize light and create a comfy feel. Open all window shades and turn on the lights for a house showing.  Arrange furniture in conversation groupings away from the walls. Make sure Person A sitting on the sofa does not have to shout across the room to talk with Person B in the chair by the fireplace. You’ll be amazed at how a room can be transformed by simply moving a piece of furniture a few feet forward or to the right.

10. Accessorize. Hang fresh white towels and a new shower curtain in the bathroom, place one large accessory on the coffee table (more effective than lots of little items), and fill a large bowl with fresh fruit for the dining table.

After reaching number 10 on this list of tips, you can kick back and enjoy your  clean and organized house. If you’re selling, you are now ready to throw open the doors to potential buyers. If you’re staying, congratulations. You have a fresh start!

Consider Your Home’s Roof Color: A Major Design Statement

May 31, 2007 § 385 Comments

Not too long ago, roof color was black — or a shade of black. Today, coordinating roof and house colors or choosing a new roof can be quite a project. So many choices and expensive ones at that. It is important to make a wise decision to avoid a long-term design disaster.

If you’re due for a new roof, congratulations! You now have a chance to select your roof color from the myriad choices that are available. Here are a few guidelines and considerations:

Traditional Shingle Roofs

  • Gray or blue house.  Stay with a traditional roof color like dark gray or black. That way your roof will blend with your house and make the whole structure seem bigger. Any other roof color will stand out too much and make the house look chopped up.
  • Cream, tan, or light brown house. Consider the many brown roof options, some of them with a mixture of browns that really make the house look updated and terrific. A brown roof will blend with the cream or tan and make the house look bigger. Black and gray roofs just look ordinary. A brown roof looks like you actually planned out your entire color scheme.
  • White house.  Dark gray and black are traditional, but they work. Blue is also a terrific option. Red or green metal on a white farmhouse give a traditional country look. Bottom line on a white house: you have lots of options.
  • Red, green, or yellow house.  You can go either way, a brown or a gray/black roof. I prefer a brown roof for red and green house colors and a black roof for a yellow house.

Of course, the same suggestions apply if you are stuck with your roof color and are looking for a paint color for the house.

  • Black/gray roof.  The ideal house colors are gray, blue, white, and yellow.
  • Brown roof. The ideal house colors are cream, tan, brown, red, green.
  • Green roof and other colors. You can either use the roof as an accent color to the house or try to blend it by using a lighter tint of the roof color on the house itself.

Nontraditional Roofs

What about metal roofs? They’re all over Colorado, Upstate New York, and other areas of the world where snow on the roof is a major factor in the winter. Metal roofs come in a rainbow of colors, from red to green to brown to purple. If you have a metal roof, you are making a design statement (whether you mean to or not, of course) and you can treat it as an accent color, kind of like picking a front-door color. However, if you do not want to call attention to your metal roof, choose a natural roof color like dark charcoal, bronze, black, or brown instead of a color like blue.

What about terracotta roofs? These are traditionally seen on Mediterranean style homes and are a definite design feature. Keep the house color neutral to highlight the beautiful roof and the other architectural elements that are undoubtedly present.

Other nontraditional roof materials. Just like a thatched roof on an English cottage, a nontraditional roof is a design feature of the home. Hopefully, you want it that way. Choose a house color that makes the roof look like you planned it as a feature.

Regardless of what kind of roof you have, make sure you consider it when making house color decisions.

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