According to well-known real-estate commentator Barbara Corcoran, the industry magic number – that is, our average attention span and the amount of time it can take for potential buyers to decide whether they are interested in your home – is eight seconds, meaning first impressions can be critical.
After working across a variety of properties from both ends of the pricing spectrum, I have learnt a number of ways to style homes to look their best while sticking to a budget.
Here are my top seven tips for using staging furniture to maximise your sale price without breaking the bank.
My top 7 tips for home styling on a budget
1. Focus on the entry
When it comes to first impressions, the entryway to your home can be vital.
Whether they are aware of it or not, the first thing many people notice is whether a home ‘feels’ right. Consider how your home looks, feels and smells when a prospective buyer walks through the front door.
Some ways you could potentially boost the overall ‘feel’ include adding some fresh foliage to the console table, changing the orientation of your sofas so you’re not looking at the back of them or adding a floor lamp for some soft light.
2. Less is more
De-cluttering, I believe, is vital to creating beautiful marketing photos and a lasting first impression.
My tip is to keep in mind that blank walls can be just as important as hanging artwork. Many sellers think it’s important to hang art on every wall, but this can create clutter.
In my experience, creating one focal point within each room, such as using a piece of art that mirrors the colours you’ve used in the styling, provides a more open and aesthetically pleasing space.
3. Make sense of your floor plan
Changing your furniture can actually be one of the most cost-effective ways to increase your sale price. This is simply because the way we live in a home (focussing on comfort) and the way we sell a home (looking impeccable) are for many of us, completely different things.
Firstly, ensure rooms are styled the way they were designed to be used. If it’s a bedroom, get a bed in there. If it’s a formal lounge room, take the television out. Buyers need to be able to easily visualise how amazing it could be to live in your home if it is optimised to its potential.
Remove possible confusion by making rooms easy to understand and navigate. This could include removing oversized furniture, as this can confuse a floor plan. My rule of thumb is to use a chaise (a sofa with a backrest at one end) and modular sofa (made up of multiple pieces that fit together) in media rooms, with three-seater sofas placed in combined living areas.
4. Fill your home with light
It’s not a secret that many buyers are drawn to homes that are filled with light – as can be seen by marketing photos taken of homes with all the lights on. Investing in lighting could help to create an ambience that buyers remember.
You can pick up bedside lamps for as little as $15 or so from Kmart and when looking for a centrepiece, one of my personal budget-friendly favourites is a timber tripod lamp for around $99 at Target.
There are other ways to increase light without spending money. For instance, you could try trimming back hedges and trees that block window light, leaving your blinds or curtains completely open or hanging a mirror opposite a window.
5. Give it new life with paint
A new lick of paint on your walls could potentially instantly freshen up any space.
I prefer sticking to white paint, as it can modernise the space plus brighten a room by reflecting any light.
It can help to keep it simple and use one colour throughout your home, as this consistency could create a higher-end feel and avoid a scenario where a potential buyer is deterred by a bold colour.
6. Make your bedroom magazine worthy
A beautifully presented master bedroom can be the reason a potential buyer remembers your property after a long Saturday of open homes. My advice is to do a little research – find your inspiration from property stylists on Instagram or Pinterest and replicate to create a feeling of luxury.
As a starting point, I like to use fresh white linen, stand euro pillows upright, add colourful cushions (around three is my preferred number – don’t overdo it) and a throw rug. I’d also recommend adding one piece of art above the bed that ties the colours together.
I think bedside tables and lamps are a must and I like to remove all other furniture from the room, including dressers and televisions to open up the room and keep it simple.
7. Remember your home’s exterior
There is not much point in creating a beautiful interior if your buyers can’t find your front door or have a negative feeling before they even step inside.
Spend some time in the garden trimming trees and hedges, and make sure the pathway to your front door is clearly visible, along with your street number.
I find hiring a gurney to give the driveway and house a high-pressure wash can make a big difference to help it shine on open day.
Whether you style your home yourself or hire a professional stylist to assist, presenting your home in a way that highlights its potential and doing so within your budget may help you achieve a quicker sale and maximum value.
About Phoebe Shorter
Phoebe Shorter is a full-time professional property stylist and has personally staged over 300 properties for sale. She’s a part-time renovator, mum to three kids and the founder of Foxy Home Staging in Brisbane.
Cover image source: Foxy Home Staging