Almost everyone is familiar with Home Staging and the difference it can make when selling your home. Not everyone can afford to have a professional Home Stager, however, it is possible to make a difference just with items you already own. The first step is to clear everything off of your kitchen counters, move it all into another room altogether. Then scrub your counters, appliance surfaces, windows and floors until they look new again. I’ve discovered my gas stove grates and kitchen sink grates can run through a dishwasher cycle and come out clean. Be sure to check your own appliance manuals for cleaning instructions. Prospective home buyers do open drawers to look for the quality of cabinetry and to look for any drawer organizers. Unfortunately, that means those have to be purged and wiped clean as well. Fewer items in drawers and cupboards gives the appearance of larger storage.
Once you have a truly clean slate, you can start planning a more artistic presentation of your kitchen’s items by bringing them back in a few at a time. Stand mixers look fabulous next to two large glass jars with lids, one filled with sugar and one filled with flour. Tidy up your baking utensils by grouping all clean (perhaps buy new) wooden spoons and white spatulas in one container. A quick decorators’ trick is to group in odd numbers, 3 or 5 is more attractive to the eye. A cookbook with a pretty cover looks nice resting by a set of vintage glass mixing bowls. Line up three large glass jars (with lids) with different cereals and scoops. This is a stack of affordable white dishes from HomeSense and crisp white napkins next to some mason jars. Pretty and simple.
A vase of flowers can add color and a fresh scent. The Peonies above came from Safeway but you may have some in your garden this spring. They were put in vintage mason jars, but regular glass jars can look just as pretty. Lightly scented flowers are so much better than room air fresheners, please try to avoid these as most people find them too strong and offensive and it makes visitors wonder what odor the home owner is trying to mask. However, if your candle passes the “gentle fragrance” test, feel free to light that then blow it out just before the showing. On that note, a simple open jar filled with white vinegar can often do the trick, as does opening up windows and doors to clean out cooking smells. If you’re feeling energetic, bake some cookies before showings.
Another way to find tons of inspiration is on Pinterest, simply type in “Home Staging Kitchen” and you’ll find any number of easy ideas any homeowner can manage. Often the counters are left completely bare (yes, box up or put away those extra items in your cabinets) then fill a few large glass containers with fruit. A cluster of bright yellow lemons add cheer and color to a home and bring to mind “fresh” and “clean”, all great thoughts for a prospective home buyer. A wider, low bowl can be filled with Granny Smith apples, a white bowl adds a nice bit of contrast.
Here’s a photo of what NOT to do, but I will admit this is often the state of my kitchen island at the best of times. We love our veggies! Just think how pretty this would look with just those tulips and one or two candles. Fewer items gives your kitchen the chance to shine.
Small appliances are a necessity of life, but when selling your home, keep them to a minimum (1 or 2) and make sure they look shiny clean. Don’t forget to shake the crumbs out of your toaster and wipe it clean. Better still, put it in your pantry. Kitchen fridges are a magnet for photos and personal items, all must be moved to a scrapbook so that they can travel with you to your new home when you sell yours. Buyers are often making the single largest purchase of a lifetime on their new home.
With today’s plethora of Home Staging shows these same buyers often have high expectations of the houses they’re visiting. While those expectations may not be realistic, it can only help to try to make your home look like the home of their dreams. You’re not selling your house, you’re selling them a “dream”, they need to be able to imagine themselves living in your home. When your Buyers own home is cluttered and then they walk into a beautifully decorated house, those Buyers can’t help but imagine how awesome it would be to leave their mess behind and move into your home!
Some home stagers go as far as setting the kitchen table with placemats, dishes, glasses and decorative items from HomeSense, if you’re not up for that, a simple table runner and vase with flowers can be sufficient. Set the chairs back from the table, not pushed in tight, it gives your space a sense of ease.
Finally, here is a great video that shows you with time-lapse how you could stage your home. While this video is not filmed in this country, many of the items bear an uncanny resemblance to our IKEA and Crate and Barrel shops. Not a big investment to buy a fresh set of tea towels to fold on your counter. Just make sure you don’t let anyone in the family use them! Your everyday tea towels can go into a covered laundry bin during showings. I do think they’ve gone a bit too far with the number of items in their makeover, but some of them could look great in your home!
I hope I’ve inspired you today, even if you’re not listing your home to sell you should try a few of these ideas. It’s a wonderful feeling to come home to a kitchen that looks fabulous.
If you are thinking about listing your home in the future and would love some suggestions to get it photo ready, just give me a call at our office 403-245-0773, I’d love to pop by.