In a new series on our blog, I’ll be looking to answer frequently asked questions people have when selling their homes. The first one that comes to mind is, ‘What’s the most important room to stage in my home?’
While I used to have mixed feelings about this question as it could imply resistance to staging, I’ve since realized it’s an honest question that deserves an honest answer, so here it is.
The truth is it’s best to think of a home holistically. Individual rooms are important, but Buyers will decide how much a home is worth to them on the sum of the home’s parts.
Staging helps unify a home by giving every room a distinct purpose, accentuating its assets, and downplaying its shortcomings. Think of staging a home like putting together an outfit. Why bother wearing a tie if you’re going to leave the house in track pants?
Staging works best when it approaches a home as a unit and decisions are made based on how each room will flow into the next. Consider the target demographic of the Buyer and make decisions based on what might appeal to them most. Office or nursery? Playroom or workout space? The way a home is staged can drastically shape how it’s perceived and who it appeals to. While there may not be a lot of inherent value in having a home office, if the Buyer views an office as a must have, having an attractive one in your home adds perceived value. Translation? More money in your pocket.
Don’t love my ‘look at the whole home’ answer? Alright, then how about: start by staging the primary living space.
The primary living space in any residence should always be a showstopper. Consider the MLS listings you’ve seen in the past. It’s hard to sell a home without seeing the living room or living/dining combination, and the appearance of that space has a direct correlation with how many people click on that listing, come to your open house, and place an offer on your home. Kitchens and bathrooms sell homes for sure, but staged living rooms have a massive impact on how buyers feel about their future home. It’s the place where they will entertain and spend most of their time outside of the bedroom. Staged living rooms can bring boring or awkwardly shaped rooms to life with appropriately sized furniture and rugs, lighting and accessories. They’re often the first rooms potential Buyers see after entering and have the largest footprint and windows in a home- a feature that can greatly benefit from stylish treatments from a designer. Living rooms are also rooms that get a lot of use and that almost always requires some de-cluttering on the part of the owner, and professional help through staging. Poorly thought out and unattractive living rooms are hard to ignore and thus are good places to start if you had to choose just one room to stage.
Next up? The master bedroom. It’s another essential room to target when you’re looking to list your home for sale. It’s safe to say that most people buying a home will sleep in the master bedroom, and while they can make excuses for the oddly shaped and poorly laid out room their kin will occupy, they won’t be as forgiving when it comes to their own bedroom. Master bedrooms require appropriately sized furniture at the very least. King size beds are great but only if you have room to walk around them. Elegant end tables and lamps and bedding and decor that inspire can do wonders for helping people envision themselves sleeping in your room. (You can read more about making your bedroom drool-worthy here).
Another obvious answer to the question of what to stage first is the room that requires it the most!
If one room in your home has become a catch-all, hoarding space, then that forgotten and abandoned room is definitely the best place to start. We’ve all seen a guest bedroom that collects leftover furniture or the home office that stores an exercise bike and a drum set. I’ve heard these rooms referred to as ‘the room of broken dreams and good intentions’. Rooms that were created with the intention of crafting or working out but have since been abandoned like the activities they were created for are depressing. Spaces that don’t have a clear purpose in anyone’s home should be re-evaluated before the home receives the close-up treatment from a photographer. Staged homes tell the story of a stylish, functioning space that’s ready to welcome a new owner. Unstaged homes with purposeless rooms tell the story of a home that’s fallen on hard times. Always consider your ‘forgotten room’ as a great starting point and opportunity to add value to your home. Nooks can make offices, dens the perfect nursery, and bedrooms, well, should look like charming bedrooms. There’s no point in fussing over getting new lamps for the living room if Jimmy’s childhood bedroom has become a dumping ground. Any room that at a glance cannot be easily identified for its use needs staging.
The takeover from this month’s FAQ: there really isn’t one answer for every home. The most important thing to remember is to make every space have a function and then painting the picture of a beautiful life lived there. Finding the one room to concentrate on is most important for people who hire staging companies because staging can be expensive. Fortunately, UPstaging services are included at no additional cost to clients of the BREL team, so our clients never have to decide between a stylish bedroom or a show-stopping living room.
We look forward to helping your home become the envy of others.
Kiel has been a member of the BREL team for three years and a designer for UPstaging since its founding in 2019. As a McMaster alumnus in Communication and Design at George Brown, he soon made his life-long dream of spending other people’s money…err.. we mean decorating… into reality with the BREL team! When he’s not staging homes he can be found searching the Junction for vintage furniture and unique accessories.