Sam Follett is co-owner of home staging company Newfoundland Staging Co.
As a home stager, my approach to design and decor is different than my approach to most other design clients. The look and feel of the space is not necessarily about the homeowner, it’s about the potential buyer. The space needs to appeal to a market, rather than one specific taste.
Light coloured furniture and white bedding and towels may sound impractical for the average family home. These are items that may not be used as often with the average design client; however, staging allows us to design without the boundaries of everyday life. Home staging is for the eye, not for comfort or durability. This allows the home stager to play with palettes, textures and finishes that we may have stayed away from before. Staging furniture isn’t lived in, the beds aren’t slept in, the dogs aren’t on the sofas and the tables aren’t used for eating. It doesn’t need the same durability or functionality that is needed when designing for the lived-in home. The look and layout is what is most important.
When viewing a home for sale, the first impression is key. You have minutes to capture the potential buyer’s eye; therefore, it is important that the home is clean, fresh, modern and showcases the space to its fullest potential.
Keep it neutral. We suggest painting the home before we stage, and the colours we gravitate towards are calm and inviting neutrals. Not only does painting the home cover up a lot of wear and tear, it also makes the space look bigger and more modern. As a designer, I love and appreciate dark and moody colours and bold patterns; however, staging isn’t the place for those. It’s important to appeal to the masses and show that the house is “move-in ready.”
Keep away everyday clutter and personalized items in the home. When staging a vacant home, we don’t incorporate the client’s personal style or specific needs. A staged home’s furniture and decor will best showcase the home, not necessarily the taste of the homeowner.
What we call the “selling rooms” include the entry/porch, living room, dining room, kitchen, powder room and master bedroom. These rooms are a must when it comes to staging your home. The placement and layout of furniture is extremely important when staging, especially in larger rooms, open concept, small rooms or oddly shaped layouts. Furnishing a room actually makes the space look larger rather than the opposite. Staging an open concept space shows the client how best to utilize and divide the room. More than 80 per cent of home buyers find that home staging makes it easier to visualize the property as their future home. For example, staging a bedroom will show the client what size bed will fit and where to place it. Furnishing a dining room or eat-in kitchen will also show the client where the table is best suited and how many people can comfortably sit there.
Designing homes to sell gives us, the stagers, more creative freedom. It’s similar to styling for a magazine shoot. We make the space look beautiful, inviting, a place you’d want to call home. We usually start with a cushion, rug or piece of art and pick the other items based off that color palette. We often find inspiration in home design magazines, Pinterest and by following fellow home stagers and designers on social media. Staging a home to sell is a much quicker transformation than when you design for the owner. Some of our staging go-to items include white luxurious towels, faux plants, white bedding (including duvet), upholstered dining chairs and stools and large pieces of abstract art with soft hues. If you were to come to our warehouse and view the pieces we use to stage, you would notice they are all mostly light in colour, easy to transport, modern and on trend.