Thursday, 2 June 2011

This is why you hire a home stager.

I'm one of those nosey guys that likes to peruse the MLS listings on a somewhat regular basis. It's not that I have any plans to purchase a home - if anything it's just kind of fun to see how other people live, where they focus their energy and what they spend their coin on when it comes to decorating and furnishing their place. As well, I'm also the guy that likes to critique their space - regardless of whether it's nice or not, I'm bound to come up with a comment or idea or something else that I'd like to change.

Today's victim really isn't that bad, but at the same time, I'm going to show you a home that isn't fully living up to its selling potential. With a few tweaks and a couple cans of eggshell paint this place could have looked amazing...instead it's looking kind of meh.

From the outside we're not looking too bad! Nicely trimmed hedges, cut grass, clean yard, safe, but not bad exterior colours -

But enter the living room and we have a few problems...

This living room is suffering from a serious case of "no personality."  Okay, so we've got a couch, loveseat, TV, a couple of poorly hung pictures and an ugly brown feature wall. Oh and lets not forget about the red panel curtains. How is this room supposed to entice a potential homeowner? I wanna see lamps! I wanna see a coffee table, area rugs, etc. I don't care if you have to rent them, borrow them or steal them (okay don't steal). When I'm a potential buyer I want to be able to visualize myself enjoying this room. Right now this room is basically saying "we ran out of money; deal with it."

Below I have a couple of great example of family rooms that was professionally put together. By adding different furniture pieces and an area rug, the designer has worked to help potential homeowners not only visualize what they could do with their own furniture in the space, but they've helped to draw the viewer's eyes upwards with the air work and by placing the flat screen higher up. As well, you can quickly see how it's the little things like the candle sticks, vases and throw pillows that have helped tie the space together.
Next, let's take a stroll into the kitchen. For a home that I'm assuming was built in the late 80s or early 90s, the kitchen looks like it has held-up fairly well. It's clean, it's neat, it's boring as hell. Though I'd love to see this kitchen with the cabinets painted and drop ceiling removed, it can get pricey when you're not sure what's hiding behind the panels and grid.

For this particular project I'm going to tell these folks to keep the cabinetry as it is. However, that paint colour is doing nothing for the space. It's never a good thing when your walls and your cabinets end-up blending into one and other. I'm thinking that something like Benjamin Moore's 'Branchport Brown' would add a bit of life to this space. As far as browns are concerned, it's a good 'neutral' and will help to give the this space a bit of character.
Punch up the space with a few new accent pieces, some fresh white tea towels, toss in some whiteware, get rid of the nasty dollar store window treatment and you'll have a space that's worthy of showing clients.

In any home the master suite is supposed to be a call, quiet, inviting space. An escape from the real world. Someplace where an individual can come at the end of the day and feel at peace. When I caught my first glimpse of this home's master suite I got none of those feelings. If anything, this space is making me panicky and has me wondering just how many coats of paint it would take to cover that eggplant.

Nothing about this space makes me want to kick back and just relax. The furniture looks cramped and compressed into one part of the room, it's far too over-sized for the space and way too bold. I'm going to suggest a neutral pallet for the wall, classic wood tones for the furniture and bedding that doesn't look like something out of an Amsterdam brothel.

How about we start with a low bureau style dresser - with mirror hung above; heck, while we're at it, the sconces don't look bad either and would be an improvement over what are currently in the space.
Next, this room needs a dose of softness - both in the form of bedding and also in a bed that while still stately won't scare those coming into the space.

Perhaps a side chair with a throw on it....the perfect place to curl up at the end of the day (or to throw laundry on if your name is Dan Mitchell). Something classic, but cozy. A bit like this guy -
And lastly some light and airy nightstands to keep the space looking large.
And while you're out shopping for pieces for the master suite, I suggest that you pick up similar pieces for the guest bedroom. Shudder (that bed frame, paint colour and duvet need to be banished - never to be seen again)...

And last but certainly not least, we have what looks like it's the master bathroom. This space has a lot going against it. A nasty colour, a wonky layout and a shower curtain with fabric suitable for something from the Liberace house of crap. Where to begin?

When you have a space like this, the best thing to do is to go neutral. Not only will it open up the space and make it feel that much larger, but it will keep the occupant from feeling like they're hanging out in Barney the Dinosaur's bathroom.  For this room, I'm going to suggest Benjamin Moore's 'Cloud White.' It's white with a bit of kick to's warm and inviting as opposed to cold and stark.

When it comes to spaces like this, an individual can add colour through towels, in the form of art, etc. That said, we're trying to sell this space so we want to keep it as neutral and inviting as possible. My picks? Either white or gray towels...the softest ones that you can find. Nothing says luxury and 'spa-like' like white towels.

When it comes to accessorizing with art in a space such as this, less is definitely more. One print, photo or art piece is all you need.

And there you have it. A few more tips, suggestions and reasons as to why it's soooooooo important that you take the time to refresh your space to appeal to those who might eventually be signing on the dotted line!


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