Tuesday, September 20, 2016

6 expert open-plan home staging tips

A Property24 reader asks:

The critical first step is to get rid of the clutter that typically builds up on kitchen counters, the dining room table and floors.

I have an open-plan home that I’m trying to sell, but I’m at a loss for ideas on where to begin with the home staging. How do I stage my house so that it appeals to buyers? 

Here's how we respond:

Open-plan homes have become popular in recent years as they appeal to our more integrated way of living and socializing. They enable us to combine activities like cooking with supervising homework or entertaining guests.  

Well-designed, open-plan spaces can be attractive and spacious, and bring a sense of calm into our busy lives. The downside of open-plan living is that it tends to become cluttered because the living, dining and kitchen spaces are integrated. Everything to do with our daily lives is in open view and can easily pile up. If not thought through carefully, the way that furniture is arranged can also detract from the benefits of open-plan living.  

The key to an attractive open-plan living area is to create spacious but well-defined zones that flow easily into each other.

When getting your home ready for sale, it is important to accentuate the positive features of open-plan living while addressing and minimizing some of the more challenging aspects. Home staging is effectively putting your home ‘on the stage’ to show off its best features. Sometimes it is hard to separate ourselves emotionally from our homes, but if you want a good and quick sale, it is important to step back and look at your home from the buyer’s perspective.

Here’s how to stage your open-plan home so that you maximize its appeal to potential buyers.

1. Declutter

Open-plan is all about spacious living and clutter detracts from this impression.

The critical first step is to get rid of the clutter that typically builds up on kitchen counters, the dining room table and floors. 

While it may be hard to do so, one important element of home staging involves depersonalizing your house by removing personal items like photographs and fridge magnets.

Decluttering applies to all rooms in the home, so the solution is not to declutter the living area by cluttering up other rooms in the process. The whole home should have an open, uncluttered feel about it. 

View decluttering as preparation for the move to your new home. Aim to keep just the things that you love, need and use. 

2. Add more storage

Clutter build-up may be an indication that you do not have enough storage space in the home, so this could be an opportunity to introduce new pieces of furniture to accommodate those things that you wish to keep. 

Buy versatile furniture like a room divider cum storage unit that can be used from both sides, and can also be used in your new space. More storage will help you put things away during show days too.    

3. Create zones and improve flow

The key to an attractive open-plan living area is to create spacious but well-defined zones that flow easily into each other. Take stock of how your living area currently functions.

Neutral or soft tones such as cream and pale green are more appealing to most people.

Experiment by moving furniture around and even removing some furniture items to create a simpler and more open feel. This is especially important in smaller homes where open-plan living areas can feel cramped and overstuffed with too many pieces of furniture. When it comes to open-plan living, less is definitely more.

Use carpets and furniture like sofas or low storage units to divide the area into distinctive zones. At the same time, there should be continuity between the spaces in terms of the style of furnishings to create an integrated impression and flow.

4. Depersonalize

While it may be hard to do so, one important element of home staging involves depersonalizing your house by removing personal items like photographs and fridge magnets. This will enable potential buyers to look at the space more objectively and imagine how they could use the space for themselves. This will also add to the minimalist and spacious feel you are trying to create.

5. Neutralize

Many of us love bright colors, but color is highly personal, and bold paints can put potential buyers off. Neutral or soft tones such as cream and pale green are more appealing to most people. Again, they enable potential buyers to identify with the space. Repainting a room is a cheap way of transforming a space quickly.

6. Inside-outside flow

Lastly, create a good first impression by ensuring that the open-plan feel of the house starts with the exterior of the house. Make sure that the garden and entrance to the home are neat, attractive and cleared of clutter, likewise the garage. Ideally, the open-plan feeling of the space and flow should be carried through the whole property from inside the home into the garden.

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