From an Article By Lindsay Lambert Day This post originally appeared on LearnVest.
You don’t have to be an avid HGTV viewer to recognize the value in sprucing up your home before putting it on the market. In fact, a Coldwell Banker survey found that staged homes—those deliberately decorated with an eye toward enticing buyers—tend to sell in half the time that non-staged properties do. And with the home-selling season starting to heat up, it’s more important than ever that your parcel of real estate stand out from the pack. But hiring an expensive home staging service isn’t the only way to plant a “SOLD” sign in your front yard. Bearing a few key tips in mind, DIYers can primp and polish their homes into prime selling shape themselves—at a price that won’t break the budget. Ready to give it a go? Melissa Barronton, the owner of Atlanta-based fynHome Staging & Redesign and a professional redesigner who specializes in sprucing up homes for sale, shares six, simple home staging ideas—each clocking in at under $40.
Home Staging Hack #1: Roll Out a Welcome Mat “First impressions are everything when selling your home,” Barronton says. Plus, prospective buyers usually linger by the front door before the real estate agent opens a home for viewing—so an enticing entrance is key. The best bang for your staging buck? A new welcome mat, which can cost as little as $15. “A fresh, modern mat—selected in the style of your home—convinces the buyer to see more,” Barronton says. A little bit of green by the front door also goes a long way. “I recommend adding fresh plants to an entry area, which will signal to the buyer that the home is well cared for,” she says.
Home Staging Hack #2: Mount Mirrors in Strategic Spots Even the most handsome of homes have one: that dim hallway or small space where natural light goes to die. Your spruce-up solution: Hang a few mirrors. “They add extra light to rooms that look dark, and make rooms appear spacious,” explains Barronton. Bonus tip: Mirrors pack extra punch when placed next to—or directly across from—a window, since they’ll pull in more sun. But instead of simply slapping a big mirror on the wall, bring a real wow factor to a room by artfully arranging mini mirrors of all shapes and sizes. “Collages of small mirrors are very inexpensive to buy at home or discount stores,” Barronton says. “And when placed together, they’ll appear to double the size of a space.”
Home Staging Hack #3: Set Tables and Serving Areas for Entertaining Happy is the home that’s filled with friends, food and laughter. So give potential buyers a sneak peek of life as a host in your home—by setting the scene. “When I stage properties, we always set the tables and bar areas,” Barronton says. “It shows the property is primed for entertaining.” And it doesn’t have to be a fancy setup: Simply lay out cloth napkins, wineglasses and solid plates in the dining room. As for a kitchen island or breakfast table, opt for matching mugs and bowls to inspire the feel of family meals.
Home Staging Hack #4: Replace Personal Pics with Artwork Over the years, you’ve turned your house into a home by filling it with portraits and other family mementos. But remember that you want prospective buyers to envision themselves living in your home. “And that’s really hard to do when pictures of you are everywhere,” Barronton says. So swap those personal pics hanging on your walls for canvas artworks. “They will show up well in listing photos, and also create a focal point for your home,” Barronton says. Plus, you can typically buy paintings of landscape scenes, modern shapes or floral motifs for less than $40 a piece at hobby stores like Michael’s or at Bed, Bath & Beyond. Another smart staging suggestion? Swap family snaps for lush, aspirational travel images, which you can have professionally printed for pennies at your local drugstore. “I love to use travel prints to display a lifestyle to the buyer—without getting too personal,” Barronton explains.
Home Staging Hack #5: Outfit a Bathroom with Elegant White Linens Your toiletries are scattered across the counter. Your tub sports a novelty shower curtain. And your mismatched towels look like they’ve been through the wash one too many times. If this sounds like the state of your bathroom, there is a quick staging fix: After clearing some of that clutter, spruce up your washroom with fresh, all-white linens. “White towels, bath mats, and shower curtains can instantly update your bathroom,” Barronton explains. “They’ll give the room the feel of a luxury spa—without having to spend much.” You can take it one step further by creating spa-like displays. “I like to roll and stack bath towels on the tub, and hand towels near the sink,” Barronton says. “Adding an orchid, candles and special soaps can also amp up that spa feel.”
Home Staging Hack #6: Arrange Decorative Vignettes Decorative displays can lend a cozy, lived-in ambience to a house, so Barronton suggests assembling classy vignettes of colorful vases, lanterns, books, plants, baskets, and other decorative items atop dressers, counters and even bookshelves. Not sure where to start? Barronton recommends grouping items in odd numbers and varying their heights and shapes—while also keeping the pieces in the same color family. To cut costs, mix items you already own with ones you pick up at craft stores. “When well-constructed, these displays can give your home that glossy, out-of-a-magazine feel,” Barronton says. “And that really appeals to buyers.”
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