Have you ever walked into a home, took one look at the teetering piles of stuff, grubby walls and ugly furniture and wanted to run away screaming? A badly styled home – whether it’s for sale or everyday living - is not a pretty sight.
If you’re selling, value-wise it’s definitely worth styling your home beforehand according to leading real estate agent John McGrath.
“Most people spend between $3000 to $8000 on professional styling and my gut feeling is that it adds between 5 to 10 per cent sale value,” he says.
A survey of LJ Hooker agents also found that property styling added between 7.5 per cent to 12.5 per cent in home value.
Property stylist Leah Fotofile of The Beholder Styling + Design says getting a professional in is always a good idea.
“A stylist approaches a home with fresh perspective and no emotional attachment, they are able to look at homes through the ‘buyer’s eyes’,” she says.
“Stylists understand buyers and stage homes with a focus on creating an aspirational space that encourages a new emotional connection between the buyer and the property, creating a space they can envisage themselves living in.
“Research shows that once there is an emotional connection with the buyer and the home it increases the perceived value of the property and therefore drives up the price the buyer is willing to pay.”
However if you want to save the cash, you could always style your home yourself. The beauty of this is that you also get to keep all the stuff you buy!
By doing this yourself, you probably only need to spend between $500 to $1000 on décor. So if your home pre-styling is pegged to sell at $1million, for just $1000 worth of updates you could potentially add around 10 per cent value to the final sale price – an extra $100,000!
Even if you’re not looking to sell your property, and simply want to give your home more pizazz, or want to embrace the minimalist look, then the following suggestions are a good styling template with which to start.
1. Declutter all rooms
If you’re selling a property get ruthless – we’re talking rooms stripped back to the bare bones. You don’t have to get rid of everything (although if you’re messy there’s no harm in a good slash and burn) however you need to hide excess stuff out of sight. “We all know that first impressions matter,” says Richard Metzger from State Custodians Home Loans. “So a tidy home is a must.” Importantly, remove all photographs and overly personal touches. “Personal décor can sometimes detract from the features of a home,” cautions Richard, “particularly if it is not to the potential buyer’s taste.”
2. Make your lounge room feel spacious
The lounge area needs to shine and be roomy. If your sofa is an eye-jarring purple or is grubbier than a compost bin, hire a couch or buy a new one. Get one in white, beige or grey which you can dress with colourful cushions and a throw. Neutrals are also the favoured shades for the walls. “Neutral colours allow the buyer to more easily imagine they could live there,” says Richard.
An armchair or two situated nearby will complete the room’s ‘talking space’. A good artwork, which has colours that reflect some of the accent pieces, is also essential. A bright abstract print has more universal appeal. Don’t get something avante garde like a nude, or graffiti painting. Finish the property off with a few knickknacks such as a vase, candle or ornament on a mantelpiece or small coffee table
3. Create a serene bedroom
Ditch the daggy old doona for a start. A classically staged bedroom usually features all white fitted sheets, top sheet, doona cover and pillows to create a tranquil blank canvas. For a queen-sized bed, the doona cover should be king-sized so it can hang all the way down around the sides. Position four pillows – all in white pillow cases – at the head of the bed. You can then arrange two large cushions vertically against the pillows. Position two smaller cushions against these and perhaps finish with one accent cushion. At the foot of the bed drape a colourful throw. Install two bedside tables with two identical lamps. Even if you live alone, buyers still want to envisage how the bedroom will look for a couple.
“Crisp white is a great choice for bedding because it gives the room such a clean, inviting look,” adds Jules Sebastian, stylist and ambassador for online retailer Ozsale. “If you start with a white base then you can dress up the cushions, the headboard and the throw in lots of combinations. It’s a classic look that won’t date.”
4. Make sure the kitchen and bathroom scrub up
These two rooms often “sell” a house, so it’s vital they’re styled. The number one priority is to clean these rooms thoroughly. There’s no bigger turn off than stray hair, bread crumbs or mysterious stains! Display-wise the kitchen needs little more than a bowl of green apples, a cookbook, a few herb pots or mortar and pestle. Remove towels, shower curtains and everything else from the bathroom. A small utensil holder or potted plant on the vanity will do the trick.
5. Add eye-catching pops of colour
When choosing art, or accents make sure they pop with colour as this will draw in the buyer emotionally and add the finishing touch. Soft blues and greys create a feeling of relaxation so they’re good for the bedroom. Meanwhile bright colours such as red, orange and yellow will energise living areas. Greenery and flowers will also add freshness and help create a connection to the outdoor areas.
“Seeing a well-styled home will engage the senses and emotional response a buyer has to your home,” says Richard. “This is the key to achieving a great sale price.”