Thursday, January 6, 2011

Details that Make the Difference

When you stage your own home to sell it, you might be thinking in broad strokes. Should I paint the walls? Change the window treatments? Get new carpeting?

Once you've made some major decisions and tackled the jobs of removing clutter and deep cleaning, it can be the little things that make the difference between a beautiful homestaging job and a fail.

The details -- both large and small -- that you'll add to your staged rooms are important pieces of the homestaging package. Once you make them part of your decor, they will work their magic on buyers.

Adding killer details is easy. The truth about details is that they don't need to be expensive or time-consuming to add. They are like the jewelry you add once you are all dressed to go.

Let's look at how to add these flourishes and what they can do.

Create that high-end look 

Most details are small. But little things make a big difference.

There is a whole category of finishing touches that decorators and fashion designers know about. These are the dressmaker details that get added or incorporated into a garment or accessory. These are the tassels and tiebacks on draperies, the piping or fringe on a pillow, the edging or trim on a lampshade, or the nailheads on an upholstered chair seat.

These touches create the layered look that gives distinction to a room, making it look interesting without being arresting. They are what make a generic piece of furniture look custom or expensive. They give your ordinary rooms a quality appearance.

Examine your rooms to see if there are some tantalizing touches here and there, some details that convey the impression that someone took the time to add something special. Here are samples.

  • Finials on top of lamps
  • Bobeches on candlesticks
  • Cabinet knobs and furniture pulls
  • Drapery rods and rings
  • Crown moulding and chair rails
  • Napkin rings on oversized cloth napkins
  • Ribbon on a front door wreath
  • Slight distressing on a vintage piece of furniture
  • Soaps piled in an apothecary jar
  • Sphagnum moss covering the soil in potted plants
  • Matting around a framed print
These curtains were added for their old-fashioned charm, but they
didn't hide the view of the water outside. The floats above add authenticity.
I discuss in my eBookDIY Staging Tips to Sell Your Home Fast and for Top Dollar, how crucial it is in a staged home to avoid tiny stuff. Tiny stuff distracts, looks disjointed, and can be stolen. The trick to using details in a staged home is to make them part of something large.

Surprise potential home buyers 

Other decorative elements are considered details because they aren't obvious at first glance.

Examples might be a clean and organized area under the kitchen sink. Or a lovely little bistro table and chairs in a hidden corner of the backyard. Or a full-length mirror in the master closet.

These kinds of extra added attractions are considered details because not everyone would have thought to put seating way out there, prettied up a utilitarian area hidden behind cabinet doors, or bothered to tuck a mirror where you really need it.

Good professional stagers know quality doesn't have to do with fancy furniture, elaborate chandeliers and overblown fountains. It has to do with exceeding expectations. How can you surprise -- in the best way -- people who come touring your home?

These larger details are what will make the difference between an ordinary home and a memorable one.

A closet is a perfect place to deliver a nice surprise a person on a home tour. I once staged a farmhouse pantry by lining the shelves with home preserves and pickled this and that. I know exactly the reaction the buyer would have when she spied it: "When I live here, I can put up my own jams and jellies!"

A barren corner of this yard easily became a sunny herb bed when it was time to sell the property.

Outdoor spaces are also areas that can be staged with large, unexpected details. I like to see outdoor solar lights that turn on when the sun goes down. Buyers often check out neighborhoods at different times of the day.

Another outdoor treat to tuck away is a small garden of container shade plants alongside the house or garage.

Sometimes a spic-and-span garage can be the bonus surprise on a home tour, when it is stripped down and empty, ready for the next man of the house to use and enjoy.

What neglected or empty area of your home can be turned into a surprise? Is it a closet or a or staircase landing or a dormer area?

Once your home is decluttered and depersonalized, it may slide into that no-man's Land of Bland. Look over your rooms with a critical eye and ask yourself if there are enough details to capture the imagination and love of a potential buyer.

Whether you believe that God is in the details, or the devil's in the details, it boils down to the same thing. They're powerful, so give them the attention they deserve.





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