Monthly Archives: June 2010

Home Staging 101 – Five Powerful Tips

Selling your home? If you look at it as product for sale and not as your home, you’re more likely sell it quickly and profitably.  Why?  Because you’ll be able to detach from thinking of it as yours.  You can then remove personal items and arrange your home to attract the widest amount of buyers.  And don’t worry, you can bring all the great memories and personal items to your next home! 

The key to effective staging is for you to detach from thinking of your home as your home and instead think of it as a product to be sold.

Here are Five Powerful Home Staging/Decorating Tips:

1-   Walk up to your front door.  Open it. What’s the first thing you see?  That’s what prospective buyers will see when they open the door.  It’s their first impression.  It can’t be changed.  Make sure what you see is not cracked, crooked, worn, smelly, dirty, or personal.  In other words, no chipped paint, ill-placed artwork,  tattered carpet, flowers in need of a water change, smudges on the mirror, or photos of your last family reunion.

2-   How much natural light does your home have?  Homes with lots of natural light sell quicker and at a higher price because people feel more energized and comfortable in the space.  Make sure that all window treatments are open except if there’s an obvious unsightly scene outside.  Turn on all the lights when you have a showing but avoid using flourescent lights unless you don’t have other options.  If you’ve got a dark house you create more light by painting the interior walls yellow, cream or beige.  And remove all clutter and superfluous furniture.  Add accessories in these colors:  red, bright orange and yellow. If it’s practical, install sky tubes which allow natural light from above and are less expensive than sky lights.

3-   Can you navigate easily through rooms and hallways?  The furniture arrangement in each room must allow for lots of room and for ease when walking through the space.  Remember that buyers are going to check out every room and will usually open closets.  Make sure it’s easy for them to get there.  You may have to rearrange furniture, but do what you need to in order create a good traffic flow through the space.

4-   By now most people know that personal family photos should not be on display when showing your home.  But that’s not all.  Remove animal skulls, deer antlers, animal-skin rugs, bones, mounted fish, photos of mounted fish, and anything else that’s no longer with us.  You don’t want to turn off anyone that has an aversion to these type of dead things.  Also trophies, swords, knives, and aggressive images are best removed.  Conversely, religious icons should be put away prior to showing your home.  You don’t want to limit buyers who may have judgments against certain religions.

5-   In each room, look up and look down, open all closets and cabinets and assess the dirt situation. Then clean, scrub, vacuum, polish, dust, wipe, sweep, and deodorize as necessary.  No time?  Hire a cleaning service to do it for you.  It’s very important that buyers feel immediately comfortable in the house.  Picture yourself  checking into a hotel and finding dust bunnies under the bed or fingerprints on the mirror.  It leaves a bad impression and you don’t feel comfortable.  The same principle applies here.

Good luck with selling your home and remember that these tips can be used even if you’re not selling your home.  They’re good Feng Shui!

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Home Staging 101 – Paying Attention to Outside Details Pays Off

Selling your home?  To enjoy the highest price and the quickest sale possible remember that every detail of your home’s appearance is important.  Buyers are possibly making the biggest investment they’ll ever make.  They want to make sure they’re making a good choice.  The key to creating an appealing home is to pay attention to every detail.  If you’re not typically detail-oriented and haven’t noticed things like cobwebs in the corner of your front porch or chipped paint on a door frame, you’ll benefit from getting another pair of eyes to help you.  Sometimes we’re simply not able to see all the flaws a buyer might notice.

The most important thing to remember is that you only have one chance to make a good impression.  Once an impression is made and first impressions are made within seconds the buyer will either be excited about the house or will be hesitant.

The very first impression a buyer gets is driving up to your home and walking to the front door.  Here are ten important details to address outside your home:

1- The yard needs to be in pristine condition.  This means grass mowed, flower beds weeded, and all dead plants removed or cut down.

2- If your home needs exterior painting, get it painted.  If you have a wood deck, get it power washed.  Clean your gutters. Certain types of roofs can be power washed.

3- Whether your mailbox is on the street or on your front porch, ensure that it’s clean.  Replace it if it’s old and worn.  Don’t leave your mail in sight waiting to be picked up. Buyers need to be able to see themselves in the home and if they see your  mail it may hinder their vision.

4- Regardless of the size of your yard make sure that the front of the house has color.  The best colors to perk interest are fire colors – red, orange, purple, and pink.  Add color by planting flowers in beds and in pots placed on either side of the front door.  Ensure the pots are look new. 

5- Clean your front door thoroughly.  Consider changing the hardware and kick-plate if they are tired-looking.

6- Place a thick, colorful welcoming door mat outside the front door.  It needs to be in perfect condition.  Fire colors in the mat are helpful – especially if your front door is beaten-up.  The doormat will divert a buyer’s attention from the door.  Avoid personalized doormats.  Remember that you’re trying to appeal to all buyers and if you have a mat with an expression like “Wipe Your Paws” you may turn off people that don’t like pets. 

7- If space allows, create a vignette with patio furniture or add a porch swing to help buyers imagine themselves sitting outside. Remove any patio furniture that isn’t in mint condition.  Oftentimes, patio furniture can be spray painted to look fresh.

8- Clean the windows and sweep the front porch.

9- A winding pathway to the street is the most desirable but if you have a straight path to the front door put potted plants on either side or plant flowers on either side to create more of a natural feel.

10- If practical, place a fountain in the front yard or by the front door to add energy, character, and a sense of peacefulness.  One of the easiest ways to is to buy a bubbling fountain in a large ceramic pot and place convenient to an outdoor electrical outlet.

And if you’re not selling a home, use these ideas to improve your enjoyment of your home while you’re living in it!

Feng Shui Tips for Decorating Large or Small Rooms.

Whether you’re decorating a large or small space, to create coziness and appeal the primary design principle to focus on is balance.  A room must exude the right energy to feel balanced.   By its nature, a large room exudes “yang” or expansive energy.  A small space room transmits “yin” or constrictive energy.  It follows that yang energy needs to be balanced with yin energy and yin energy with yang.  The correct furniture, colors, and accessories are the key to creating balance.  If you don’t feel comfort and relaxation in a space it’s because the yin/yang energy is out of balance.  When good Feng Shui is coupled with good design, an environment is naturally cozy, relaxing, and beautiful. 

Small Spaces.  If you’ve got a room that feels cramped or constrictive:

  1. Use the same wall color throughout the space.  A light color is best because it creates an open feeling.  Yellow, warm beige, or white works well.  Yellow is also the best color for illuminating dark areas.  
  2. Paint the ceilings white or the same color as the walls.
  3. Use European furniture which is smaller in proportion than “regular funiture-store” furniture.   (Look at IKEA’s selection for an example).
  4. Add mirrors to create the illusion of space.  A mirror reflects light from outside if placed opposite a window.  A whole wall of mirrors can open up the space in a dramatic way.  
  5. Don’t block natural light.  
  6. Hang drapes a few inches higher than the top of your windows to create a feeling of height.
  7. Avoid clutter, use decorative containers to stay organized and don’t display a lot of chotchkies (aka knickknacks).  A few well-placed items evidencing your style and flair are plenty.
  8. Choose pieces of art that relate to each other.  Use similar frames for each piece (or no frames).  The over-all feeling should be cohesive and light. Art containing fire colors (red, orange, purple-pink) or wavy lines transmits an energetic quality which counteracts feeling constricted in the space.  Landscape scenes and photographs open the space up.
  9. Use monotone, natural fiber, or non-fussy area rugs to add a finished quality to the room and to create separate areas.

Large Spaces.  If you’ve got a room that feels empty or like a mausoleum:

  1. Break the room up into several areas to fill up the space and create visual interest.  When you’re in a large empty space you’ll feel exposed making relaxation difficult.  Create several areas within the room that serve different functions.   For example in a living room the first area can be a conversation area with a couch, two chairs, a coffee table, and two or three small side tables with table lamps.  The second area can be a reading corner next to a window with an overstuffed chair, an ottoman, a table and good reading lamp.  And a third vignette can be a game area using a round table with chairs on either side and a  floor lamp nearby. 
  2. Use thick, earth and fire color (brown, yellow, beige, red, orange) rugs in each area in the room to further delineate each area.
  3. Use furniture proportionate with to size of the room. Generally, wood is best.  
  4. Hang artwork at eye level or a few inches above, especially if ceilings are high (above about 12 feet).  The art will pull your eye towards it and minimize the length of the wall.
  5. Paint the ceilings the same color as the walls or in a slightly darker shade. 
  6. Hang drapes even with the windows.
  7. If you have built-in bookshelves, arrange them to create visual interest.  Don’t simply line books up in a row.  Add framed photos, ceramics, and accessories.  You’ll create energy and soul.

Have fun and remember that if something intutively feels wrong, it can be corrected by applying principals of balance.  If you don’t know exactly how to remedy the problem experiment and see how changing things affects the way you feel.

Feng Shui 101 – Creating Coziness and Comfort

Do you find yourself drawn to certain places in your home more than others? Is there an area where you feel particularly relaxed?  Maybe it’s a nook in the bedroom or a reading chair in the living room.  Odds are, its architectural features and its interior décor are in balance.  Balance in a space signals safety and security which you feel on an unconscious level.  When you feel safe, you can relax.  Balance is the essence of Feng Shui. When good Feng Shui is coupled with good design, an environment is naturally cozy, relaxing, and appealing. 

 What makes a room cozy and comfortable? 

1.  Size of the room.

2.  Ceiling height.

3.  Proportion of windows to walls.

4.  Amount of natural light.

5.  Outside noise.

6.  Floor plan.

7.  Furniture Placement.

8.  Interior Décor.

Although some of these qualities can’t eliminated, Feng Shui Design Principles can significantly change the feel of a room.  Your choice of wall color, furniture arrangement, lighting, and furniture placement can transform a cold and uninviting space into a cozy, beckoning nest.  

Next time….using Feng Shui to balance these areas.