Gone are the days when all you needed to get buyers to come take a look at your home was a “For Sale” sign out front and a bit of curb appeal. Long gone, actually. Ancient history!
These days, potential buyers will scroll through hundreds of listings online before they ever schedule a showing, meaning your home needs to really stand out if you hope to get someone to actually set foot inside your door.
We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again: It’s all in the photos. This means before you, your agent, or (preferably) a professional photographer starts snapping shots of your soon-to-be former homestead, you have to get the place looking especially photogenic. Sometimes it’s as easy as moving a piece of furniture; sometimes it’s a little more complicated. There’s an art to staging a home for its photo op.
Take a look at these listing photos, before and after the owner made some major changes. Our experts identify just what they did right—and how you can do it, too.
Living room: Make it light and bright
The changes in this living room make a huge difference in the appearance of the listing photos, and Courtney McLeod, principal of Right Meets Left Interior Design in New York City, agrees.
“The living room looks much better without the dated furniture,” she says. “The window treatments look clean, modern, and fresh.”
Designer Maryline Damour of Damour Drake in Hudson Valley, NY, noticed the furniture first, too.
“A smaller space doesn’t necessarily need smaller furniture to feel larger; pieces with exposed legs give the illusion of more space, rather than furniture that sits directly on the floor,” she explains. “In the living room, the new sofa, as well as the pedestal coffee and dining tables, allows the eye to see more of the floor and makes the space feel larger.”
She notes that swapping out the painting for the mirror above the couch was a clever trick, “especially if it reflects the view outside.”
“Buyers like light and bright open areas,” says property stylist Karen Gray-Plaisted, of Design Solutions KGP in Warwick, NY. She adds that the first thing you should do to make any room buyer-ready is to figure out how to let in more light. “Here they framed the view with the curtains, removing the unsightly air conditioner.”
Kitchen: Declutter, declutter
It’s hard to sell a home if the buyers can’t picture themselves in the kitchen, so it’s important to spend some time in this room—no matter how small a space you’re working with.
“A really easy way to make a big statement is to declutter counter space. By getting rid of the wine rack, removing chunky pieces, and adding smaller items, this ‘after’ design is much more streamlined,” says McLeod. “Adding the lighter bar stools was a nice touch by adding more space, while keeping the room functional.”
“The kitchen benefits from some simple fixes that help this area feel bigger than it is,” says Damour. “The more streamlined lighting fixtures help to visually expand this room.”
Bedroom: Tone it down
The bedroom may have undergone the biggest change of all, according to these photos, and the experts agree.
“The wall color in the bedroom needs to speak, unconsciously, relaxation,” explains Gray-Plaisted. “Red is an aggressive color when selling—stay away. Neutral soft blue, greens are better for bedrooms. Color is just as personal as the clutter. Neutral tones always help sell better than taste specific colors.”
Damour agrees that the color change was essential.
“This is aided by furniture that can be seen through, as well as large-scale artwork and floor-to-ceiling curtains that make the space feel bigger than it is,” she says.
The walls aren’t the only major change in the room, though.
“Ripping out the carpet was a smart move, as a hardwood floor with a large area rug is always a good idea,” says Damour. “The new window treatments frame the view, and the added greenery is a nice touch, as well as adding balance with side tables on both sides of the bed.”
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