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Staging 101

When I purchased my condo six years ago, I remember almost immediately knowing it was exactly what I’d been looking for.

Something about the space instantly felt right – partly because the homeowner had done an excellent job of allowing me to envision living there.

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Here are a few tips to encourage that same instant reaction from your potential buyers. They’re also great ways to edit and de-clutter your home in time for spring:

Colour – Unless you have a large condo with a lot of natural light, dark colours inevitably make a space feel smaller. I’m all for playing with colour when making a home your own, but when it comes to re-sale it’s extremely hard to beat a bright, neutral colour that makes your home look and feel larger.

When in doubt white is a great choice in that it truly creates a blank slate for potential buyers. BM Chantilly Lace is a personal favourite if you want something crisp, modern and gallery like. Grey is another great option given its popularity. BM Abalone is a colour I use often given its versatility in most spaces.

Contrast – When making changes to your home it’s important to consider how things will contrast one another. If you have dark flooring, go with an off white area rug or a light sofa to brighten the space. If your walls are light, add saturated artwork to draw attention and create a focal point. Contrasting light and dark throughout your home with paint, furniture and accessories can help play up existing finishes and is a sure fire way to create visual interest.

Edit – Less is definitely more when it comes to staging so I always encourage clients to make their homes magazine ready. This isn’t realistic for most of us day to day but it’s a great way to envision your space differently.

Remove truly personal items, de-clutter countertops and flat surfaces, hide small appliances, minimize accessories, simplify display areas.

Try and look at each room with fresh eyes – just as you would if you were entering for the first time. What’s your first impression? What draws your attention? Is your impression how you want potential buyers to perceive the space?

Extend this practice into sometimes forgotten areas like showers, closets, drawers etc. For one it’s a great way to purge and prep for your upcoming move and secondly almost every nook and cranny will inevitably be seen. Allowing space – especially in closets and storage areas – also helps them seem larger. Space in general allows potential buyers to picture their belongings in your home.

When in doubt, take photos of your space. I do this all the time when contemplating different design options. There’s something much more objective about looking at your space through a camera lens or on a screen and it may point something out you could have missed otherwise.

Lighting – Whenever I’m prepping a space for a photo shoot I always ensure all potential light sources are turned on – even if it’s being shot during the day. Lighting, although often overlooked, is key to how someone sees and experiences your space. If you’re blessed with lots of natural light you may be able to forgo this rule but good lighting makes everything look better.

If a particular area of your home appears darker than you or a potential buyer might like, and you don’t want to replace existing light fixtures, try using a higher wattage incandescent bulb for a brighter warm glow. LED or florescent options are great as well in that they generate a lot of bright white light for especially dark areas.

Scale – This is by far the best tip I can provide when it comes to staging but it’s also the hardest thing to gauge. Scale is something we see and perceive subconsciously but don’t always think of when purchasing furniture, art etc. Having the wrong sized area rug is a common faux pas in most people’s homes and it has a dramatic impact on how big or small their space feels. I’m a big fan of using regular sized furniture in condos for this very reason as well. Smaller furniture often makes a space feel smaller whereas using something big has the opposite effect.

Staging your home is a great way to appeal to potential buyers. By being objective and a bit ruthless, you’re much more likely to encourage multiple offers.

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