Home staging can be a frustrating process for independent clients. They don’t want to embark on expensive, lengthy renovations and décor changes just as they’re preparing to leave—but as any professional home stager can tell them, they’ll need to do some investing if they want to attract buyers.
Home staging isn’t all about price, though. Anyone who’s been in the home staging business for a few years knows that a few smart, simple tricks can turn a buyer’s reaction from ehh to amazing!—without a hefty price tag or a major time commitment.
Test out these 6 super simple quick fixes on your next job. A little creativity and a quick trip to the nearest hardware store can go a long way!
1. Lighten up
Lighting can make or break a room—that’s something every design professional knows! So if you’re looking to boost the wow-factor of your client’s home, why not start here?
It could be as simple as switching out the bulbs in existing lamps and fixtures. Incandescent bulbs might not be your most energy efficient bet, but they definitely lend a beautiful, warm glow to a room. Fluorescent light bulbs, on the other hand? Not so much.
A room without enough lighting could also use a quick facelift. Add in a few lamps or change up existing fixtures—they don’t have to be expensive—to transform a poorly lit room.
2. Change something small
If your clients’ home looks like they haven’t redecorated since they moved in ten years ago (because, let’s face it, you know they haven’t), a few small changes can freshen up the space. Think temporary accessories like pillows, throws, mirrors, rugs, or lampshades.
You can go high-end with any of these décor items, of course, but it’s also not too difficult to find nice, inexpensive alternatives. Plus, a well-placed rug on hardwood floors can save your clients from a pricy (and inconvenient) refinishing.
Of course, this goes for repairs as well. Torn screens, leaking faucets, peeling wallpaper edges, nicks, dents, scratches… On their own these might be barely noticeable, but together they add up to a house that seems ever-so-slightly run down. Few of these fix-ups will cost much, and most of them will be pretty cheap. They’re small enough for clients to tackle one at a time as they lead up to showing their home.
3. Move, rent, or borrow furniture
Okay, your clients’ “junk room” is super convenient for them—but a room piled with boxes and heaped with homeless possessions doesn’t look that great. Each room should have a clearly defined purpose, but that can be tough to stage when your clients have a room they’ve been ignoring or using for storage.
Staging that room doesn’t have to mean furnishing it from scratch, though. Decide how that extra room is going to function—Office? Bedroom? Sitting room? Then take a look at your clients’ other rooms. Can your clients furnish and decorate the extra room with things they already own?
If not, buying brand-new furniture isn’t the only option. Ask them if they have any friends who could lend them attractive, appropriate basics like tables, couches, beds, chairs, or shelves to flesh out their space. If they’re still coming up short, look into rental companies. Borrowing is definitely cheaper, but renting is still easier—and less expensive—than shopping for all-new furnishings.
4. Rearrange the furniture
Does the bedroom feel ever-so-slightly off? Rather than rushing out to repaint it and buy all-new accents, try rearranging the furniture. You could try…
- Symmetrical arrangements
- Pulling furniture off the walls
- Facing beds towards windows
- Arranging furniture to maximize natural light
- Highlighting built-in features like French doors or fireplaces
- Putting extra furniture in storage
- Arranging furniture for effective traffic flow
Still stuck scratching your head? Go through our interior decorator’s checklist to figure out what’s getting you stuck.
5. Hardware update
No, we’re not talking about your computer. A kitchen or bathroom in desperate need of a facelift can really benefit from some new hardware. Your clients will have to dish out a little for new drawer pulls, towel hooks, or other fixtures, but it’ll still work out way easier—and cheaper—than a full-scale reno.
A trip to the hardware store, an hour or so with a screwdriver, and voila—suddenly that washed out kitchen or bathroom looks like a whole new room. And hey, if your clients aren’t in a hurry, they can skip the hardware store altogether and just shop online. Check out the hardware section of Schoolhouse Electric for some classed-up modern inspiration.
6. Add something special
Home staging isn’t just about making a house look its best—it’s about helping potential buyers envisions themselves living there. Even a beautifully styled house won’t stick if the buyer can’t picture it working for them.
Once the house has been cleaned, the clutter tidied, the furniture rearranged, the hardwood floors waxed, and the rooms re-painted, give the whole place a boost with some careful details. Cut flowers are the standard, and they work for a reason—a tasteful arrangement can work wonders for an otherwise empty side-table. But that’s not your only option. You could also include:
- Bowls of fruit (fresh fruit, that is—no mushy apples or bruised bananas, please)
- Dishes of colorful candy
- Place settings arranged round a kitchen or dining table
- Tasteful seasonal décor
- Potted plants
- Coffee table books
Simple? Yes. Effective? Definitely! A few well-placed accessories give a room a generic “lived in” feel without too much personality, helping buyers imagine their own families moving in.