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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Do-It-Yourself Home Staging Tips for Selling a Fixer-Upper or a Problem Home

Problem: No Large/Master Closet                                                                               
Solution: Make One
Solution Execution: No or a small master closet is a deal breaker for many home buyers. If you find yourself losing prospects because of the lack of master closet space in the home you’re selling, consider creating a “nook” of space that would make sense as a master closet. Remember: It doesn’t have to be a full-fledged, functional master closet, it just has to help prospective buyers look beyond the problem of not having a master closet and envision what they could do to solve the problem.
1. Decide which room can best be converted into a closet or which area can be best separated from the master bedroom with a divider. Does the house have an extra room, study or loft near the master bedroom, or is the master bedroom large enough where some of its space could be used as a closet?

If the house does have a room near the master bedroom that can be converted into a master closet without devaluing the home, you are in the best situation for solving this problem. If not, then you’ll have to get a little creative with where you can take space away without throwing off the entire aesthetics and flow of the room. If going with the option of creating a room within a room, you want to be able to separate and enclose the closet space with curtains or a room divider so assess the foundation of the room. Is there a section of the bedroom beyond what looks like a wide doorway where you can install curtain rods? Or do you have to look into a room divider? What is going to be best for the room’s layout and design style?

2. Invest in one or two rolling, clothes racks from The Container Store or Home Depot along with some shelving that is easy to assemble and does not have to be installed or cause damage to any walls.

3. Rest a large full length mirror against a wall and use a dresser or small end table to offer more storage.

4. Place a rug down in the middle of the space or where you may designate the “changing area” like in front of the mirror. Rugs placed strategically will break-up a space nicely.


Problem: Dark Room(s)/Not Enough Natural Light  
Solution: Make “Light” of Everything Else
Solution Execution: If you’ve exposed all the natural light a room offers by opening blinds and removing objects blocking windows, and the room is still too dark, you need to add light-reflecting items and updates and remove light-absorbing items. 1. Paint the room white or light.

2. Switch out dark furniture with furniture in another room that is lighter in stain or in its fabric. If not, can you cover tables or dressers with a light lace or linen?

3. Add a white rug to the center of the room.

4. Decorate with white accessories. To create light in a dark room with accessories, use a few and stick to white. Remove clutter, papers, stuffed animals, personal perfume bottles, pictures in frames, electronics, etc., and stage the room with a few large white candles (holders not necessary), white pillows, white drapes, white lamps, etc.

Problem: Small Master Bathroom                                                                               
Solution: Extend Bathroom into Adjacent Closet (The following staging technique does not work unless the master bathroom in question has a linen or other type of closet attached to it that can be utilized to give the bathroom a larger appearance without devaluing the home.)
Solution Execution:
1. Remove the door leading from the master bathroom to the closet and remove any hinges/hardware from the doorway.

2. Plaster and paint over any holes or scratches left from the door hanging hardware.
3. Place a rug or runner in the walkway and over any floor transitioning like opposite flooring or seams to make the transition from the master bathroom to the closet "flow" and so the two spaces appear to be one.
4. If the closet was meant to house clothing, remove all hanging clothing.
5. Accessorize the extended space with neatly folded/stacked towels, candles, linen or cloth storage bins, baskets, etc.

6. Create a vanity with a mirror and stool/chair. If there is a shelf in the closet, scoot a chair under it and rest a vanity/mirror on top of it.

Problem: Outdated Kitchen
Solution: Paint Cabinets and/or Remove Cabinet Doors
Solution Execution:
1. Use a combo paint/primer to paint cabinets. Choose your color with purpose. Light and dark hues have individual, distinct advantages.

2. Remove cabinet doors on some of the “top” cabinets. Be sure to place your best china or matching dishes in the cabinets without doors.

3. Add/ or replace handles/hardware.

4. Spray paint outdated handles/hardware. If the gleaming gold cabinet knobs over-power any upgrade you could ever make to your kitchen, remove them, lay them on a tarp outside and spray away.

Problem: Stained Kitchen Countertop
Solution: Cover with a Heavy Granite or Marble Tile
Solution Execution: Using a stone tile to cover countertop imperfections is not only an extremely cost effective way to solve this problem but the addition is usually an appreciated upgrade.
1. Obtain an appropriate in size slab of stone. Visit a home improvement store and browse the flooring and countertop section. You may be able to snag a sample of the piece you like...or just purchase what you need a la carte.

2. Stage the stone itself. You’ll need to “decorate” the slab ever so minimalistically with a few items that make it seem like a purposeful, functional piece of your countertop. Items to stage your countertop tile/slab with:
-Knife block
-Bowl of fruit
-Coffee pot
-Tea kettle
-Napkins in napkin holders

Problem: Unattractive Wallpaper
Solution: Paint Over PaperSolution Execution: Painting over wallpaper with a combo paint and primer in a hue at least a shade darker than the wallpaper is an easy method for updating a room with outdated, unappealing wallpaper. Just be sure the paper isn’t ripped or peeling anywhere. Also, if the wallpaper is overlapped with a wallpaper border, you MAY want to choose a dark paint color as it will camouflage the seam.

Problem: Small Backyard
Solution: Create Dimension but be Unique
Solution Execution: How can you compartmentalize your backyard with items or ideas that people will think are unique? Everyone WANTS to think of their backyard as a serene place where they can sit and sip tea or meditate. Again, you just have to create the illusion.
1. Create a sitting area with stepping stones leading to it.

2. Place some pretty potted plants and flowers around.

3. Trim hedges. If you have hedges in your backyard, trim and shape them like they determine your front curb appeal.

Problem: Outdated or Unattractive Bathroom Sink
Solution: Create a Spa-Like Theme
Solution Execution:
1. Fill the bottom of the sink with 2 inch or larger stones (smooth in texture and of different shapes and sizes).
2. Roll up some white towels and stack them on a shelf or in a basket placed on the back of the toilet.

3. Scatter some white and/or cream candles in a vanilla, Jazmin or other spa scent.

Problem: Small Common Room
Solution: Edit Furniture Pieces and Arrange to Make the Room Seem Bigger
Soluction Execution:
1. Remove small end tables and extra footstools.

2. Group furniture pieces in a conversation setting. Don’t push the couch against the wall trying to create space. Think of your routine when you walk into a hotel room that you’ve reserved for a five-day vacation you haven’t been able to afford or take time off for in several years. What might your first five minutes in the space look like? Hopefully it’s: Open the door and scan a spacious, open floor-plan that makes perfect sense and smells great. You walk around the room or rooms probably plopping on the couch and the bed and checking the bathroom and kitchenette to ensure it is up to your standards. What you don’t want is: Open the door and say, “Oh...Smaller than expected.” Then walk around tripping over tiny, wobbly furniture and knocking over knick-knacks with your luggage. YOU WANT potential buyers to feel comfortable and inspired in the space you are selling.

3. Hang the T.V. - If you have a flat screen, hang it on the wall. Mounts are inexpensive and DIY ready with easy to follow installation instructions.

Read my post on Minute Staging - Must Do Home Staging Tactics That Cost Nothing and Only Take a Minute.


  1. Thanks for great ideas. I love the image of kitchen..It looks really nice.

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