Set the stage
Nine tips to make your home look its best at all times from four Toronto-area stagers
Ever walked into an open house and thought “Wow”? That space was probably staged to elicit just that reaction. Staging techniques are intended to showcase a home in its best light — an uncluttered, spacious retreat — to attract the largest number of viewers. But what if you aren’t selling? Here are nine style secrets from four Toronto-area stagers that will help your home look its best. Make a great first impression “A great home is perceived by its curb appeal,” says Patrick Fornasari, lead designer and owner, Studio Linea Home Staging and Redesign. “Planters symmetrically positioned at the main entrance dictate a sense of order and neatness.”
One or two colours in the planters look best, but colourful greenery can also add a touch of the season, notes Fornasari. Thinking of painting your door? Red is out. Black is in, says Ella Zetser, president, The Last Detail Home Staging. Create a welcoming entryway Prospective buyers get their first impression when entering the house. Friends and family members have the same feeling, says Fornasari. “The passage should be kept clear and, if space allows, a sleek console table accessorized sensibly and complemented by large artwork or mirror may be used. It’s even better if you have enough space to position a bench or settee for practicality.” Afresh coat of paint never hurts After a few years of living in a room, the walls can become aged, dull and worn. “By applying a new coat, the room becomes fresh and alive,” says Nancy Bakuska, president, Home Decor Staging and Interior Design. She suggests choosing a colour from a prominent piece of furniture, a piece of artwork or your pillows. “Neutral colours are a definite for staging but homeowners should use a colour that they love. Be sure to buy a tester (a small amount of the colour) and paint a larger square on the wall. See what it looks like in the day and a night. Make sure you like it in all lights.” Update your lighting Light fixtures have become a substantial part of room design, notes Bakuska. “Light fixtures should be big and bold. They are like a piece of art.” Consider a chandelier in modern brushed nickel or crystal for a more traditional appeal. Fornasari often sees recessed pot lights replacing the traditional hanging light fixture. “I love their modern feeling, form and function, however, installation is expensive. I often opt to replace a few light fixtures, especially in visible areas. Lighting strongly affects how we perceive a room; it really creates ambience and harmony a space.” Play with furniture placement Don’t assume your mover put your furniture in the right place when you moved in all those years ago, says Debra Gould, president StagingDiva.com. “Experiment with rearranging it to see if you can have a better traffic flow and a focal point in each room.” Still too crowded? “Look at the preexisting furnishing and decor to see if the furniture feels appropriately sized for the space, if large elements are balanced against smaller ones,” says Fornasari. “If you have the full set of a sofa, loveseat, two generous chairs, a large coffee table and you feel the conversational area is pretty much cramped, eliminate the loveseat and use the two chairs side by side.” Show the bedroom some love Ever notice how the beds in staged homes look serene and inviting? Replicate the look at home by updating your past-prime bedding with a light-coloured duvet cover, co-ordinating sheets and accent pillows. “If your bed is in the middle of the wall, put nightstands of the same height on either side,” says Gould. “They don’t need to match exactly, but the height must be the same.” Add a co- ordinated blanket at the end of the bed, place a reading lamp on each nightstand and hang a piece of art over the bed for a finished look. Change the artwork over the sofa Staged homes rarely have bare walls. Neither should yours. “Stop looking for the perfect piece of art and put something up,” says Zetser. If using framed art, ensure the matting and frames are cohesive in style. Canvas art is also an affordable option, says Bakuska. “Make it large. Very large. At least two-thirds the length of your sofa.” Rethink your sofa Why do some homes seem so bright? Look at the furniture, says Zetser. “Most staged homes have light-coloured furniture.” However, this might not work for homes with small children. Choosing a less-expensive couch and changing it out every three to five years will keep the room looking fresh, she adds.
If a new sofa isn’t an option, a few new pillows can be a quick and affordable update.
“For $30 each, they look great and totally change the look of a room,” says Zetser. Edit, edit, edit Staging your home is all about decluttering and neutralizing. That’s not to say you have to lose the things you love, but Fornasari suggests removing distracting items that don’t relate to the decor scheme such as that tiny vase with artificial flowers positioned on a coffee table, magazines or literature piled up on a side table, a busy patterned area rug, a tiny piece of artwork above the sofa (scale and proportion) or small frames with family photos scattered along the wall (grouping photographs works better).
Staging is about decluttering and neutralizing. Remove distracting items that don’t relate to the decor’s scheme.
Staged homes rarely have bare walls. Neither should yours
Replicate the look of a staged bedroom by updating your past-prime bedding and adding accent pillows.