Staging your furniture properly will help your home show better on the real estate market.
Unfortunately, home buyers often judge a home by its furnishings.
Stained, out-dated, or just plain ugly furniture can create the impression that the house itself is outdated and hasn't been well maintained.
Let's face it, plenty of us have furniture that has seen better days and wouldn't look good under any light.
Some people ask, "Why not just show an empty house?" Unfurnished homes can feel cold and stark, and many house hunters are puzzled by undefined spaces. Rooms can appear smaller without furniture, as well.
In addition, empty homes have a tendency to linger on the real estate market far longer than a staged one.
Take heart, though... if your furniture is past it's expiration date, there are a few affordable home remedies that can help.
When it's time to stage your home for sale, select furniture that is neutral in color and style.
If you inherited grandma's cabbage rose sofa in mauves and greens, or have furniture that is simply worn out, don’t despair! A slipcover may be all that's needed to neutralize a bad pattern or color.
Note: Some furniture is beyond hope... shape is important. Even a slip-cover can't hide the shape of an ill-formed piece of furniture!
If your furniture is too "taste-specific", like a heavy Victorian chair with creepy clawed feet, you may want to put it into storage, (or have a yard sale!) and rent some modern furniture while your home is on the market.
Taste specific: Not to everyone’s taste!
You don’t need a lot of furniture pieces in a space, just enough to let buyers know the function of a room.
Most of us can't afford new furniture, but there are a few things you can do to disguise flaws and give your outdated furniture a fresh new look. Below are some options.
Slipcovers are essential in the home staging world! They hide shabby, stained fabrics, and can unify a room of mismatched furniture. Slipcovers are the most cost-effective way to update a room when staging your furniture.
I use them in my own home as well. I like to use dark slipcovers in the winter and lighter in the spring for a refreshing seasonal change.
Throwing an old horse blanket over a couch or chair won't cut it when you're trying to make a home sale. Slipcovers should be clean and unwrinkled.
My favorite source for buying slipcovers is surefit.net. This company has a wide selection of slip covers in many colors and styles and gets your order out fast.
Other sources for cheap slipcovers: overstock.com, JC Penny, Walmart, K-Mart, Fred Meyer, Target, Amazon, and IKEA.
Watch the instructional video below showing how to put a slipcover on a sofa. Video by PotteryBarn.
When buying slipcovers for staging your furniture, avoid wild patterns and bright colors-- stick to neutral colors like, linen, flax, loden, sage green, coffee, and cream.
The downside to using slipcovers is that every time you sit down they become wrinkled and untucked.
Sure Fit sells a product called, “Tuck Once,” a grip that you stuff between the cushions and arms of the furniture to keep the slipcover in place. You need more than one though, and they are a bit spendy.
An alternative, (and one that I use) is to tuck rolled up magazines deep between the cushions. T-shaped upholstery pins will secure extra fabric for slipcovers that are too loose.
Slipcovers can also be used to hide ugly or taste specific dining chairs. You can get covers for just the back, or for the entire chair.
Here's a project for those who enjoy sewing; Make a slip cover to go over the back of worn out or too taste-specific dining chairs. Simply make a pillow-case like envelope out of a neutral colored fabric. Add a sash to each side and tie a bow around the back. Save money by using old sheets or curtains for this project.
Sew a slipcover to go over an entire chair. Follow the detailed instructions on the video below by simple sewing.
Renting furniture doesn't have to be expensive!
All you need are a few well-placed pieces of furniture in each room to indicate the purpose of each room.
Furniture Rental Source services EVERY state in America, including Alaska, Hawaii, and parts of Canada.
Select your furniture online and Furniture Rental Source will deliver and install it in your home. You can also order bed linens from this company, and they will make up your beds!
Cort is another good furniture rental company, but this one services 65 countries worldwide!
Or, select furniture you can lease to own, at Easy Home Furnishings. They'll deliver the furniture and even set it up for you.
IKEA has showrooms located all over the U.S. that you can visit, or order furniture online. They offer a large selection of attractive and affordable furniture.
Other sources for discount furniture: biglots.com and overstock.com.
If you don’t mind a little diy painting or staining, buying unfinished new furniture is a great alternative. Here are a couple resources in the United States;
www.furnitureunfinished.com. This company services ALL the states in America, plus Canada.
www.unfinishedfurniture.com. This business services only the contiguous states of the U.S. (Sorry, Alaska and Hawaii.)
If you want to stage a bedroom, but can’t afford a new bed and mattress, here's a great home staging tip;
Get a couple cheap inflatable mattresses and just stack them up. Place them on top of a platform, or buy some inexpensive bed risers to raise the bed off the floor.
Bed risers and inflatable mattresses can be found at Walmart, Target, Kroger, and other home supply centers.
Don't make the mistake of putting the mattress on the floor, as the effect will be sloppy, and will scream, "dorm room decor!"
Once you cover the bed with lovely linens in neutral tones, nobody will ever know it’s not real. (Unless they sit down.)
The cheapest way to furnish your home for is to borrow furniture from a friend! Or, rescue a piece of furniture you found at a garage sale, flea market, second-hand store, or the online classifieds, like Craig’s List, by giving it a brand new look.
Refurbishing old furniture is a great way to breath new life to into pieces that would otherwise be too worn out or outdated for your home decor or home staging purposes.
Maybe you already own a piece of furniture in need of some rehab. Create that shabby chic look that is so popular, or have fun adding new hardware to update a drab piece of furniture.
Strip ugly paint off to expose beautiful wood grain below. If you get down to the grain and find that it's not so pretty, paint the piece instead of staining it. Choose a fun color and turn it into an accent or focal piece.
When I was a kid, I rode shotgun whenever my mom went antiquing. We often brought home promising pieces of furniture in dire need of TLC. We refurbished armoires, dining tables, chairs, old treadle sewing machines, coffee tables, dressers, and more. We sold most of the finished pieces for much more than we originally paid, but kept some for our own use.
Avoid pushing furniture against the walls when staging; this creates “shouting” areas instead of cozy conversational areas. Pushing furniture against the walls will also make visitors feel like they have arrived in a doctor's waiting room!
Instead, create “floating” conversational areas that are more visually appealing and make rooms seem more spacious.
When staging your furniture in the living room, furniture should be arranged in cozy conversational areas and facing your most prominent focal point.
These days the TV is often a competing focal point and finding the right placement for two focal points can be difficult. Interior designers have solved this problem by placing the TV above another focal point, such as a fireplace.
What if the focal point is a large window with a stunning view and facing a different direction than the TV? Interior decorators often deal with this by placing an L-shaped sectional sofa in a room. Placed correctly, the L-shape sofa makes it possible to face two focal points at once.
Another solution is to create separate seating or activity areas; sort of like having two rooms inside one room. You might arrange a cozy furniture grouping in front of a fireplace or in a nook next to a lovely window, as in the photo above. An arrangement like this suggests a comfortable place to visit and have coffee.
Watch the video below by About.com for tips on arranging furniture, focal points, traffic flow and area rugs.
Sofas and loveseats are the largest pieces of furniture in most living rooms and help to anchor a room. They are often a problem because of their size or bulky shape.
As a rule, end tables shouldn't be too high or too low, no more than 2 1/2 inches higher or lower than the arms on sofas and chairs.
If the legs are showing on your upholstered furniture, avoid putting a “leggy” end table next to it. Try adding a piece without legs, such as a chest, a trunk, or a drum shaped table.
A console is typically placed against a wall or behind a sofa. They are useful for staging accessories like lamps, plants, candles, etc.
Try to keep this table three to five inches lower than the back of the sofa, and about 3/4 the width of the sofa. This is not a hard and fast rule, just a guideline.
Leather or upholstered ottomans are a versatile piece of furniture and extremely popular in home decorating right now.
Ottomans come in a variety of colors and sizes, serve as coffee tables, extra seating and even storage (if the top lifts off). These multi-functional furniture pieces will fit comfortably in any home decor style.
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