When decorating a house to sell, it’s important to eliminate distractions, but how far past the line between “lived in” and “deserted” should you go?
Decorating to sell, otherwise known as home staging, and decorating to live are two entirely different things.
This dining room in a Victorian-era home is filled with the owner’s treasured items, but it has too many distractions for a potential home buyer to focus on the room itself.
Here are the simple changes I would make to transform it before putting the house on the real estate market. Total time to complete the home staging project for this room, approximately 30 to 60 minutes. You could make these recommendations or even do these things yourself during a home staging consultation:
- Reduce the quantity of items in the china cabinet by about 50%. Carefully arrange the remaining glassware to allow the remaining pieces to stand out better. This will make everything feel less crowded.
- Eliminate the small painting on the middle wall, it’s an unnecessary distraction and contributes to the busyness of that corner.
- Remove all the items from the top of the china cabinet except three of the empty blue vases of different heights. I would choose the three currently in the “second row.” This new group of three should be carefully arranged with the two taller vases behind the shorter turquoise one (all placed in the right rear corner of the china cabinet). Use the taller vase that currently has the peacock feathers in the center of the table instead. Replace the feathers with fresh cut flowers (see next point).
- Have nothing but an arrangement of flowers or a flowering plant in the center of the dining table. Nothing over-sized since the table is quite small. As an alternative, use the taller candelabra that’s currently on the china cabinet in the center of the table, and fill with blue candles.
- Lower the art over the side board by about 6 inches and eliminate the lamp (assuming there’s another light over the table which we can’t see in the photo). If there is no other light in the room, I would still lower the painting even if it is partial obstructed by the lamp. Consider replacing the lamp with something with a smaller shade.
- Remove the two smaller items from the sideboard, so there is nothing left but the lamp and the decanter holder. If the lamp is removed, it could be replaced by the tall blue vase or the candelabra (depending on which of these two is used in the center of the table.
- Remove the cloth runners from the dining table and the sideboard. They do not enhance the furniture and add to the distractions.
I’ve never been to this house in person, these are just the changes I would recommend based on the photo this client sent me. I would love to see an after shot with these suggestions implemented to be able to show you the difference these small changes can make to the overall effect.
The 7 changes I’ve recommended here to eliminate distractions are typical of what I do during a paid home staging consultation. My starting rate for these is $700 so I can make $10,000 a month just from home staging consultations.
Often home staging is as simple as using what the homeowner already has in new ways and knowing what to keep and what to eliminate. To learn more about what you can do when decorating a home to sell, including what design pitfalls to avoid, how to find the focal point in each room and more, check out the Staging Diva Ultimate Design Guide: Home Staging Tips, Tricks and Floor Plans.
Debra Gould, The Staging Diva®
President, Six Elements Home Staging
Home Staging expert Debra Gould also known as The Staging Diva knows how to make money as a home stager and has taught over 7000 other men and women to do the same. She is president of Six Elements Inc., an internationally recognized home staging company that is frequently profiled in the media in both the US and Canada. Debra Gould developed the Staging Diva Home Staging Business Training Program to create opportunities for others to grow their own profitable home staging, real estate enhancement businesses.