If you’ve seen home renovation programmes or walked around a show home, you’ve probably marvelled at the perfection. Interior design is used strategically and everything is arranged with intention, so it’s easy to imagine your life in that house. Home staging for an impending sale is a crucial step which can feel overwhelming. If you are wondering where to start or how to decorate a house for sale, start by looking at show home brochures or online inspiration such as Pinterest. Simply put, the key to a swift sale is knowing how to make your home more appealing to buyers. So, if you are keen to sell your house quickly, follow our ten tips to ensure potential buyers are left daydreaming about a life in your house.
1. Revise Your Lighting
Used well, lighting can completely transform a space but unflattering lighting can taint even the most stylish rooms. Therefore, a little thought and strategy goes a long way when it come to lighting a home successfully.
Begin by reviewing the lightbulbs you are using. Are they cold and harsh or soft and atmospheric? Lighting in a room should consist of layers – the base lighting in the overhead light, and lighting accents through lamps and accent lights to add depth and mood. Warm lighting (yellower tones) is associated with cosiness and winding down, while cooler lighting (whiter tones) imitates daylight and can help energise you. Harsh, fluorescent lighting should be avoided as it reminds people of clinical environments and can devoid a room of personality.
View each room and decide on the lighting based on the mood you are aiming to create. For example, choose cool, soft bulbs for overhead lights to recreate natural light during the day and gentle, warm bulbs for floor lamps and desk lamps for the evening.
2. Clean and Clear
Before a viewing, give your house a deep clean from top to bottom. Grubby spots take minutes to sort but left neglected could impact a buyer’s decision, so be thorough or hire a cleaner if you prefer. If you are short on time, read our blog post on spring cleaning your home in a day. Check bathroom or kitchen sealants for mould as nobody wants to live in a damp environment! And while you’re there, replace any old shower curtains or bath mats, ventilating well after cleaning. Remember to launder any washable soft furnishings such as bedding, cushion covers, curtains and banish any smelly pet equipment or shoes. If your floors have seen better days, consult our Rug Cleaning Guide to ensure your rugs and carpets are smelling their best. Opening windows throughout the house is a great way to eliminate musty smells and leaves a fresh canvas for adding scents.
3. Make Scents
Research has proven the power smell has over our mood and emotions. Certain scents can stimulate feelings of positivity while others can be off-putting, so choose the fragrance for your home wisely before a visit from prospective buyers.
Experts recommend scents associated with cleanliness. Your deep clean should help with this, so avoid choosing a complicated fragrance which could confuse the viewer, and stick with simple fragrances such as citruses, pine, basil, cedar, vanilla or cinnamon. Candles provide an easy way to spread scent throughout the house, and simultaneously create a luxury and sophisticated feel. Alternatively, try a few drops of essential oil in a diffuser, but be careful to diffuse oils in a large, airy space to avoid overpowering the viewer.
Putting thought into textures and accessories can help associate your house with a lifestyle to impress prospective buyers. However, there’s no need to break the bank with these inexpensive tricks. Our guide to using texture in interior design can help you create the right look for your home, and simple touches like stacking a few upmarket magazines on a table, or arranging towels in a neat and stylish manner can work wonders for the look and feel of your house. Similarly, tweaks such as a table runner, place mats, clean napkins and cutlery on your dining table will help visitors imagine living in your house.
Take a leaf out of Marie Kondo’s book and bid farewell to clutter. Not only will this make packing so much easier when it comes to moving homes, it also changes the vibe of a house in an instant making it look bigger and lighter. Work room by room with a bin bag for rubbish and a box for a charity shop. Discard outdated foods, medications, cosmetics, and broken items beyond repair. Box up duplicates of items you own – kitchen utensils, books, DVDs, etc and take them to a charity shop.
The things you wish to keep should be organised into containers or storage boxes and either shut away or displayed neatly. By the end of your decluttering session, everything in your home should have its own place. If prospective buyers are tidy by nature, they will feel right at home while less organised viewers will feel motivated by the tidiness they could achieve in your house.
6. Nurture Flow and Neutrals
A neutral house enables visitors to visualise how they might make it their own. If you have busy wallpaper or bold paint, now is the time to freshen up the walls with soft and inviting shades. Forget white walls which can look harsh, and skip the dated Magnolia. Instead, embrace mid grey, latte, ‘greige’, pale duck egg, stone, or even muted mauve tones for a modern blank canvas. Most importantly, balance consistent hues throughout the house to maintain a cohesive flow between the rooms and check you’ve not made any of these seven rug mistakes. Clean white paint can help refresh sanded skirting boards, coving, door frames, and any other woodwork which has lost its lustre. In addition, remove family photos or anything overly personal to help achieve a neutral feel and allow prospective buyers to imagine themselves living in your house.
7. Sprout New life
When removing personal photos or accessories your house may stop looking ‘lived in’. So, combat a sterile environment by adding pops of colour or points of interest through flowers and plants. Try placing a vase of fresh cut flowers on the dining or dressing table. Succulents add a modern and Scandinavian edge to bathrooms or hallways, and larger indoor plants such as a Fiddle Leaf Fig inject life and energy into bedrooms or neutral living spaces.
8. Make an Impression
Research has proven that first impressions are made in just seven seconds! Therefore, your house has a matter of seconds to make viewers feel welcome, comfortable, and at home. Because buyers form an opinion of your house before you’ve even opened the front door, focus on tidying the exterior, trimming any hedges or lawns, tending to plants, sweeping your porch and adding a clean doormat to the doorstep. For more tips on creating a good first impression, read our blog post on decorating your hallway to wow guests. Consider the weather and the season and what your viewers’ immediate needs might be. For example, in winter months, you’ll want prospective buyers to immediately feel warm, so follow these six steps to creating a warmer home.
9. Show the Potential
Are there awkward or unused spaces in your house that seem like a shame to left underutilised? Seeing rooms from a fresh angle can help you get creative with your home’s quirks. Review how you use your space and brainstorm new ways to arrange furniture to open up a room or make use of a neglected corner. Perhaps a broad windowsill could become a window seat or reading corner. Look for ways to add vertical storage or add shelves under the stairs for extra efficiency. Remember to show off the character of your house by being intentional with every area – after all, a spruced up forgotten nook could be what seals the deal! For ideas on how to reinvent rooms, draw inspiration from these three easy ways to freshen up your bedroom or give your entire home a new lease of life with our guide to modernising a house on a budget.
10. Final Inspection
On the day of your viewing, go through the house room by room. Make all the beds, empty the bins, and remove and wash any cups or glasses from bedrooms. If the viewing is during the day, pull curtains back and raise the blinds to let natural light in. If the viewing is in the evening, draw curtains and set the right lighting. Half an hour prior to the arrival of the buyers, light scented candles or activate your diffuser to allow enough time for the fragrances to waft through your house. Leaving all doors open creates fluidity between rooms and keeps the house ventilated. Double check that all surfaces are clean, floors are clear, bathrooms are clean, magazines are neatly arranged and any last minute vacuuming or dusting has been completed. The refined interior of your house will speak for itself and this will help you relax throughout the selling process.
If you are still looking for ideas on how to decorate a house for sale, why not browse our selection of rugs by room?