Living room ideas: 5 tips to stage your living room
It’s no secret that we are in a seller’s market. And with homes skyrocketing from the market and many sales above list price, you might be tempted to put your home up for sale without upgrading your home décor. After all, why bother when so many buyers are already clamoring for a low supply of homes?
The reasoning is simple: “No matter how hard the market, selling a home is all about presentation, and staging is your number one marketing tool when taking ad photos,” says Barb. Schwarz, decorator and interior designer in Hawaii.
Staging is the process of preparing a home for sale so that it looks its best and appeals to the greatest number of potential buyers. This usually involves adding or rearranging furniture to showcase a home’s best features. And that’s more important than ever, says Manuela Ferguson, a home stager based in the Washington, DC, metro area.
“We’re in the age of TikTok and Instagram, where homebuyers are more visually observant than they’ve ever been,” she says.
Staging can be so effective, in fact, that 31% of listing agents said they stage all homes before they put them on the market, according to the National Association of Realtors’ 2021 Home Profile. Staging. The survey also found that 23% of agents reported a 1% to 5% increase in dollar value offered by buyers over non-staged homes, and 18% said staging increased. increased the dollar value by 6% to 10%.
It’s not a small chunk of change. Even catching just 1% more for a home worth $300,000 would mean about $3,000 more in the seller’s pocket at closing.
However, you don’t need to stage your home from top to bottom to make your home stand out, says Ferguson. According to the NAR survey, buyers’ agents said the living room was the most important room to stage, followed by the master bedroom and kitchen.
“The living room is where people congregate, and people are spending more time at home with their families than they have in the past because of the pandemic,” Ferguson says. “All of the real estate agents I’ve worked with since the pandemic began want the show staged.”
As Warwick, New York-based home staging and decorator Karen Gray-Plaisted says, “If the room you’re having guests in is beautiful, buyers will be like, ‘This is the house I want to live in.'”
Staging only the living room can also help you reduce your costs considerably. According to HomeAdvisor, interns typically charge $150 to $600 for an initial design consultation and $500 to $600 per month per staged room when furniture is rented. (Full staging of a 2,000 square foot home typically costs around $2,000 per month.)
Ready to transform your living room? These staging tips — many of which can be applied to other rooms in your home — will make it appealing to the masses.
1. Declutter and depersonalize
Clutter and personal items can distract buyers and prevent them from considering living in your home. “Family photos, golf collection, magazines, books – get it all out,” advises Hawaii home stager Barb Schwarz.
But don’t just throw all your stuff in a closet or garage; you want those spaces to be clear as well. Instead, consider renting a storage unit. While prices can vary depending on size and location, a small storage unit (5 feet by 5 feet) costs an average of $60 per month to rent, according to storage market Neighbor.com.
It can also be a great time to sell, donate, recycle, or throw away items that you won’t want to take with you to your next home.
2. Apply a new coat of paint (but choose a neutral color)
If your living room walls are in need of a facelift, a lick of paint can go a long way.
Gray-Plaistet recommends choosing a neutral shade. “Aggressive colors, like red and orange, don’t photograph well,” she says. (You can add pops of color through accessories and artwork.) Traditionally, an off-white or gray works well, but Gray-Plaistet suggests following the latest trend: “Grey is out. Beige is in fashion,” she says.
Plus, a fresh coat of paint isn’t a big investment — painting a 10-by-12-foot room costs an average of $200 to $800, HomeAdvisor reports. DIY painting can cost between $100 and $300.
3. Maximize existing furniture
To reduce staging costs, see if you can rearrange the furniture in your living room or bring in furniture from another room to make the space more welcoming. “A great set designer will look at your furniture and see what works well and what doesn’t,” says Sam Jernigan, owner of Renaissance Design Consultations, an interior design firm in Northern California. “Perhaps a lounge chair can be moved from your den to your living room.”
4. Make your hardwood floors shine
Many home buyers swoon over hardwood. In fact, homes with wood floors sell faster and for more than homes without wood floors, according to a survey of real estate agents conducted by the National Wood Flooring Association.
So if you have hardwood floors in good condition, don’t hide them with carpeting or oversized furniture. And if they do need a good cleaning, be sure to use a wood-specific cleaner – some all-purpose cleaners can strip the protective coating on top of the wood.
5. Consider hiring a professional director
Even if you have an eye for interior design, paying a stager can be beneficial. Professional decorators follow the latest design trends, and many provide the staging furniture, which means you don’t have to select and rent furniture on your own.
You can ask your real estate agent to recommend a stager. You can also research intermediaries in your area through the Real Estate Staging Association.
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