Before & After

Staging is not meant to hide a property's faults. When expertly done, it lets the house sell itself. See for yourself in these before and after examples.

Don't Be Afraid To Angle. Even a small room can look larger by angling the bed. What do you put behind it?? In this room, we placed a screen, and hung a wreath for color. You can add a corner table with a lamp, or a plant, but make sure you add some height. We added a chest at the foot of the bed, to make buyers feel like they have room to store blankets and pillows, or have a good place to put on socks and shoes, or even a place for the family cat to curl up. It's all about making it feel like home.

Here's a perfect example of "less is better". Notice how dark and closed in this kitchen looks in the before picture, and then how open and inviting it appears in the after. We took out the dark area rugs to allow the rich wood floor to shine. We cleared off all clutter on the table and counters. We added a touch of green to the top of the cabinets, and put a taller center piece on the table. The change didn't cost a dime . . . Just a little time.

Everyone wants a spacious bedroom. This large room was so overloaded with furniture that it seemed small. Another deterrent was that it had more of a feminine than "couple appeal" because of the pink-toned area rug and small collectibles. We removed several pieces of furniture, pared down the accessories on the bed surround, took out the rug and rearranged the bedding. The addition of a chair and lamp allows the buyer to envision using this room for relaxation as well as sleeping. Once again, the change didn't cost a dime, just a little time.

This before and after addresses two problems: One is color; the other is the feel of "lifelessness" that vacant rooms ooze. To give it a wider buyer audience, we took out the blue carpet and border, painted the stark white walls a neutral tone, then added color and softness with roman shades and panels. With a few pieces of furniture, we turned it into a home office, giving buyers an idea of how this small room could work for them. Rooms with furniture are not only more inviting, but also appear larger than empty spaces.

Many people choose blue to live with, but blue is a hard color to sell. Changing it to neutral with paint and shower curtain immediately makes this room more appealing to a wider variety of people. Prospective buyers are not stymied by the bright hue, but encouraged to envision how this room would look with punches of their favorite color in towels and floral arrangements. They may even think "blue" but a different shade than it was. This dramatic change cost less than $50.00.
Come right in, sit yourself down. This home has a very open floor plan. The front door leads into the living room, which leads into the dining room, which opens up into a large kitchen. Openness is very saleable if prospective buyers are offered the perception of privacy by carving out intimate areas within large spaces. To do just that, we placed a screen at an angle to close off the view of the garage door, added an area rug for warmth, and placed furniture in an conversational arrangement around the fireplace. The dining area and the kitchen are still visible from the living room, but not intrusive to quiet time.
Large kitchen. To warm up this kitchen, we did several things: added greenery to the top cabinets, and shelves for cook books on the vacant wall. We replaced the blue counter top with a neutral color, and painted the white walls a warmer hue. We also removed a malfunctioning appliance garage, which freed up counter space and actually added to functionality. An island would be perfect in this huge room, but the sellers did not want to invest that much, so a table and chairs helped utilize the space.

Center room, lots of traffic. This remodeled room should be an easy sell; however, the front door opens directly into it, the kitchen is on its left, and the hall is to its right. With such a busy traffic pattern, buyers can be put off trying to figure furniture placement.

Most buyers cannot visualize "floating" furniture arrangements. They need to see it. We pared the conversational area down by drawing the furnishings toward the center, allowing passage from one room to another around the conversational area, not through it. With the front door at the back of the sofa and sofa table, you have the feel of more privacy.

Cold surroundings turned warm. Rooms filled with tile and porcelain have a tendency to appear cold. All we did in this bathroom was add a touch of color in the towel selection; put magazines in the built-in magazine rack, and a few large pieces in the built-in cubby holes.

Beyond the frame of view, greenery and candles were placed. Buyers do not always know why one home appeals to them more than another, but more times than not it is because it looks clean and inviting. Little touches as seen in this Before & After add value to a home and cost nothing.

Cluttered vs. cleared. The wonderful craftsmanship of older homes has great appeal for many people; however, an abundance of turn-of-the-century furnishings can be distracting. This home was filled with beautiful antiques, so much so that prospective buyers got caught up in the furnishings and were not able to see personal possibilities. By removing many beautiful pieces, the home's architecture took first place. Buyers were given room to imagine their own pieces in this elegant setting. This change did not cost the sellers anything. They were willing to set aside pride in their many priceless possessions to make this home more saleable.
Little Touches: A black and white room is classic. It transcends color fads . . . The important thing to remember when staging a black and white room is that is may seem cold if there is no other color. The before picture of this kitchen is proof. By adding a little color, the room comes alive. Colorful area rugs, dishes in the glass cabinet, and cook books above the sink make this kitchen appealing to almost everyone, even those people who didn't think they liked a black and white kitchen. And don't forget, when showing your house, be sure to turn on all the lights, even on a sunny day. Not only does it brighten the room, but it gives the feeling that the house is lived in.
Lifeless vs. Livability. Here is a perfect example of a well-done lower level room. It is large, well-lit, and neutral -- ready for the buyer to move in. However, it's lifeless. It gives no hint as to how the space would work in everyday life. The addition of "activity" makes it vastly more appealing. Bookcases with books to read; inviting furniture to sit on; plants to brighten the area all serve to make this room (and thus the house) a place you would want to own and have friends over for a visit. For staging purposes, family rooms are great places to incorporate a table with checkers or a chess board or a puzzle set out and begun. Help the buyer envision "happy times" in your house.
What makes the perfect bedroom? A place to begin and end your day, to gather your thoughts, to enjoy privacy. No matter the size, all bedrooms can make that statement -- it just takes a little time and imagination. Even though this room was large enough for a sizeable headboard and footboard as well as a dresser, it would not have appeared as spacious. So we did not add those items. Instead, we used artwork as a headboard, and a little footstool as a footboard.

We did have room for an overstuffed chair, but a small wooden rocker w/an afghan would have worked just as well. To add height, we placed a tall but trimmed tree. Turning on the bedside lamps added the final touch.
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