Stage fright?

Having just put my house on the market, I consider myself pretty well-educated in the importance of staging a home.  It is essential to a quick sale.  In this case,  a picture is worth a thousand words.  Which rooms are more appealing to you?

These guys:

Or these bad boys:

Now, granted, the rooms in the second photos more accurately depict how we live. But when you are selling your house, that's the opposite feeling you want to evoke.  Instead, you want your house to look impossibly perfect, almost hotel-like.  You want people to feel the same thing they feel when they crack open the new Pottery Barn catalogue: your goal is for people to want to capture the feeling they get when they walk in your house, and of course, buy your house too.  Staging is the key to this!

How to stage? It takes effort.  Here are some tips that I employed when I staged my house.

* Enlist the help of a friend whose design style you admire and trust.  This friend needs to be honest with you and be willing to tell you if your room looks too cluttered or the colors are wrong, etc.

* Stop looking at your house as "your house" and instead focus on it as an investment. Detach.  Sure, you may love the lovely deep burgundy and green florals in the dining room. But will most buyers? Probably not.  Go neutral.  Taupe is your friend.

* Reduce, if not eliminate, personal photos.  You want people to walk in and imagine themselves in the space ... that is hard to do when they're staring at you and your loved ones' mugs.  The easiest ways to do this is to hide the photos or just buy some cute patterned scrapbook paper and place the paper in place of photos in the frames.

* Keep your surfaces clear.  While you don't want totally bare counters and table-tops, edit down those accessories.  This can be hard, so grab some magazines or even a Pottery Barn catalogue for inspiration, and try to copy how their rooms look.  You need to tread the line between too stark and too cluttered.

* Send pictures of the rooms to your friend as you go along.  And be prepared to spend a few weeks, minimum, getting the house ready.  It takes time, and what's true in life is true in home: you only get one chance to make a first impression.

* Keep your home "gracious" in appearance.  Fluff the pillows, get stains out of upholstery, put a fresh coat of paint on your trim, bring in a pretty new bedspread, put fresh flowers or a bowl of lemons or green apples on your table.

* Clean clean clean clean clean clean clean. And then clean some more.  Scrub your floors, carpets, windows (the glass and the window sills), tub & shower, furniture, inside and above the fridge and freezer, cabinets, sink.  Clean everything.  Your home cannot possibly be "too clean."

I hope this is helpful! I'm still living through the process (as of today, we have not sold our home, but it has only been on the market for 2 weeks).  Next week, I'll give some tips on surviving showings.

What about you? Got any tips that I missed here? Please share!

See you swoon,

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