How to sell your home and make a faster, more profitable sale
Staging the living room before you place your house on the real estate market will help sell it faster and for more money.
For many, the living room is the most important room in the house; a place where family and friends spend time relaxing, visiting and entertaining. Your home staging should reflect these kind of activities.
As a former Realtor, I saw how dirty carpets, outdated light fixtures and even unmatched kitchen appliances made many buyers think twice about buying a place.
Most people just want a move-in ready house. Despite what you see on TV, very few buyers are looking for a fixer-upper.
Buyers WILL keep a to-do list and use it to negotiate the price of your home down.
Staging the living room with neutral colors, sensible furniture arrangements and colorful accessories will add value to your home.
The shape and architecture of a room can often guide you successfully in placing your furniture. Before you begin moving heavy furniture around, take a moment to reflect on the shape and architecture of the room.
Is it a perfect square or a long rectangle? Do you have an L-shaped living room? Are there awkward corners or angles? Can you find a focal point(s)?
Where are the traffic patterns? With proper space planning, there should be enough room for people to travel comfortably in and around the furniture and through the room.
It’s important to establish traffic patterns before you begin staging the living room. Watch out for door swings and windows; you'll need room to open and close them.
You'll need a comfortable 24” of space in which to maneuver in and around furniture.
A focal point is a feature that captures your attention as you immediately walk into a room.
It can be a stunning view, a lovely fireplace, even a striking painting. A focal point can also be bad, as in a crumbling brick fireplace or view of an overgrown jungle in the backyard.
Your goal is to enhance and draw attention to these special features so that buyers will want to move right in. Often, a spectacular focal point will outweigh a negative feature in a room.
Furniture and accessories should be arranged to draw attention to focal points. Emphasize striking or lovely features to distract home buyers from focusing on the flaws in your home.
Quite often a room will have multiple focal points. How do you know which one to highlight? Where does your eye go first when you enter a room?
Look for the predominant focal point-- it may be the largest and most dramatic element in a room. If your living room is large enough, you can arrange furniture toward two separate focal points.
Common living room focal points
When staging the living room, it's important to draw attention to the best feature. If it's a gorgeous fireplace, you're in luck, because buyers love them!
Beautiful windows or French doors can speak for themselves. No need to hide them under window treatments that can detract from a gorgeous view or an outdoor entertaining area.
Sometimes a room just doesn't have a focal point, so you'll need to create your own. This can be done with color, accessories, artwork, and furniture placement.
I'm not a big fan of highlighting a big screen TV as a focal point in living room design, but since most buyers want them, the big screen TV is here to stay.
These days, interior decorators and home stagers are placing flat screen TVs over a fireplace, above a console table or on it as a design element. Or, you can hide the TV inside an armoire, entertainment unit or in a room specifically designated for television viewing.
When staging the living room, select warm, neutral paint colors. Neutral colors work best when you have a house for sale because both men and women prefer them.
Neutral colors are the easiest to decorate with because they work successfully in all room designs.
Neutral wall colors provide an excellent backdrop for any color and pattern you place against it, whether its furniture, draperies, artwork and accessories. Added color simply "pops" against a neutral canvas.
Here are a few neutral paint colors that most people love; beige, taupe, ivory, coffee tones, honey, butter, golden, wheat, blue-green, mossy green, brown, blue-gray and gray.
Gray is a sophisticated color and very trendy at this time. Gray complements all other colors and serves as an excellent backdrop for almost anything you place in your room.
Light neutrals and earth tones have the widest appeal among home buyers and will complement most people’s furniture.
To make a room appear bigger than it is, or to tie an open floor plan together, paint walls the same color as the adjacent room. This will create a seamless transition from room to room.
Classic home interior design begins with one main color and one or two accent colors. Find one main color you like; the draw color cues from a favorite fabric, area rug or a painting.
Natural light is the preferred form of lighting in home interior design. Natural light makes everyone feel good by infusing a room with sunny warmth and a feeling of spaciousness.
When staging the living room, focus special attention on the window treatments. Are they shrouded in dark heavy draperies?
Dark colors and heavy fabrics can oppress and close in a room. Drapes and curtains with tassels, swags and ruffles are also outdated and fussy.
Are you covering a beautiful view that buyers might miss? Your goal is to let in as much natural light as possible. Pull back window treatments all the way, or simply remove if you have pretty windows.
For small living rooms, hang window curtains that are the same color as the walls. This will create the illusion of a larger room.
If you have a spectacular window with a great view, simply leave windows bare. Bare windows let in maximum natural light, making a space seem more open by extending the room into the outdoors.
A living room requires enough overall ambient lighting to make it comfortable on the eyes. Typically, the living room is a multi-task area that also requires task lighting for activities like reading or sewing. A good rule of thumb is to have 100 watts per 50 square feet.
If you need more light, remember that floor and table lamps are functional accessories. You may need to have at least two in the living room to balance light. Select contemporary lamp styles with white or beige shades for optimum light.
Trying to sell your home with dated light fixtures is a huge mistake. Home buyers are very sophisticated in their taste these days and updating light fixtures may seem like too much work for them.
Installing modern and stylish light fixtures is one of the most cost effective facelifts you can give your home.
Buyers respond positively to a well-lit house, and beautiful interior lighting will add value to your home, meaning more money in your pocket.
An area rug will add color, pattern, texture and warmth to your living room design. A large area rug will unify furniture and define separate spaces.
Center an area rug under a conversational grouping of furniture, or use two area rugs to define two separate spaces in one room. Good rug sizes for groupings: 6’ by 9’ rugs or 5’ by 8’ rugs.
Be sure that the rug is large enough to fit the front legs of your sofa and chairs, as pictured above. It’s best if all furniture legs fit on top of a rug, large area rugs can be very expensive.
A rug running under furniture just makes a room feel larger.
If you place an area rug over wall-to-wall carpeting, don’t be surprised when buyers want to look underneath. They’ll think you're trying to hide a stain!
For area rugs that cover most of the floor, leave at least 1 or 2 feet of flooring showing between the wall and the rug.
If an area rug goes all the way to the wall, it'll create the illusion of “shrinking” the space.
Float furniture away from the walls. Despite what our instincts tell us, moving furniture away from the walls will actually make a room feel larger!
Furniture should be arranged in conversational groupings. Place a sofa across from another sofa, or two chairs (of equal visual weight) facing or perpendicular to a sofa.
If you have a fireplace, center the furniture grouping toward it. When you enter the living room, the fireplace should be the first thing you notice.
If your focal point is a lovely window, face furniture toward the window where the view can be appreciated while sitting.
A large oblong-shaped room can be staged into two separate areas. Place separate area rugs to define each space as its own "room."
You might stage it with a conversation grouping on one end and media viewing on the other. Or you could just stage it into two separate conversational areas.
If your living room has more than one focal point, arrange your furniture accordingly. Each separate area can be assembled and directed toward its own focal point. An L-shaped sofa works really well in this situation, as you can place it to face in two directions at once.
Now for the fun part...adding the accessories! The accessories you use in your staging should tie the room together and enliven the space.
Typically, when you accessorize your home, you decorate according to your personal style and taste. The opposite is true when staging your home for sale.
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