11 Expert Tips to Make a Small Home Feel Larger

As a professional home stager in Pasadena and Los Angeles, one of my primary jobs is to make smaller homes feel larger, or at least, feel as large as they really are.

Here’s a list of my expert home staging tips for making a small home feel larger. You can use these tips whether you are staging your home to sell or if you are planning to stay, but just need some help dealing with smaller rooms. These tips will work with either vacant or occupied homes:

1. Pare down what you need to have in a smaller room to the essentials. Do you really need a chair in your bedroom, or can you sit on the bed to put your shoes on?

2. Clutter makes a room feel smaller. Lots of smaller items, like your Hummel collection or your bowling trophies displayed on every horizontal surface, eat up visual space. Only display 3-5 items at a time. Store the rest and rotate them out of storage throughout the year. Not only will the room feel larger, but each item displayed will stand out more.

3. Use fewer pieces of furniture. Its better to have one larger dresser than 2 smaller ones.

4. Use appropriately sized furniture. Having a large sectional in a small family room will highlight how small the room is.

5. Cooler colors recede, so painting a room a pale blue, green or gray will make it feel larger.

6. Show more hardwood. The larger the expanse of hardwood, the larger the room will look. See how the room looks without an area rug.

7. Try using one larger area rug instead of several smaller rugs.

8. Use fewer patterns on upholstery and bedding. For instance, use a solid color blanket or bedspread on a bed in a small bedroom to make the room feel larger.

9. Strategically placed mirrors make a room feel larger.

10. A well lit room feels larger.

11. Minimize window treatments. The simpler the better. Shutters, blinds or simple drapes (no flounces, ruffles, strong patterns or complicated valences) take up less “visual space”.

These home staging tips work if you are staging to sell or just want to make the home you are living in feel larger.

If you need some help figuring out how to make your home feel larger, consider hiring a professional home stager for a home staging consultation. You’ll get some expert home staging and interior design tips. Its the best home staging “bang for your buck” and it’s a great investment in preparing your home for sale, or making your home more livable if you are planning to stay.

Why Charging a Flat Fee Can Flat-Line Your Home Staging Business

The pricing structure (and items you charge for) you set up for your home staging services can either make or break your business. Good for you to follow your heart and get into a career you enjoy, but if you’re doing something you love and not making money, it’s not a business – it’s a hobby.

Even if you’re the best home stager in your city, if you charge a flat rate for your services, you could end up broke faster than you think. In fact, you could be setting yourself up to “flat-line” a business that could otherwise be extremely profitable.

Charging by the square foot or setting a flat rate per room is a common mistake that has ended more than one home stager’s career. Why? No two spaces are ever the same. It could take more time for you to stage a 900-square-foot condo than a 3,000-square-foot detached home. Why should you charge the same rate for both?

When you’re elbow deep in a project and realize it will take hours more to complete than you originally estimated it’s too late. By charging a flat rate instead of by the hour, you will have successfully undercut yourself!

There are several scenarios you’re likely to find yourself in if you do any amount of home staging at all. In these classic time-sucking situations, your flat rate couldn’t possibly compensate for the amount of time that’s wasted:

o Your home staging client has to tell you the entire background of each piece of furniture or art work in their home and why they love them all.

o Your staging consultation is interrupted dozens of times by a client that’s constantly taking phone calls or breaking up fights between screaming children.

o You find yourself elbow-deep in a project only to learn that the client has changed their mind about using your services.

o You end up in the midst of heaps of clutter that would rival an Oprah ‘hoarder’ episode, spending hours to go through your clients’ beloved items.

If you have the proper hourly pricing strategy in place, none of these time-suckers will matter. In fact, if clients like these are eating up your time, you’re making more money by charging hourly. However, if you charge by the square foot or by the room you will find yourself working for nothing much of the time. I’m sure you didn’t go into business for yourself to lose money.

If you don’t charge by the hour for your home staging services, you really need to reconsider your pricing strategy before you burnout from all the extra work you must do to make ends meet or your business flat-lines.

Why Home Stagers Are Busier Than Ever Helping Homeowners Try to Sell Their Homes

Home staging has become more popular as houses are sitting on the real estate market longer and longer and homeowners are trying to get their properties sold. Home staging is a business where a person certified in staging services prepares your home to look better by either rearranging the items that you already own or filling up an empty home to make it look more appealing to prospective buyers. With the real estate market at a near stand still having your home look better than others in the neighborhood at the same price point is imperative. Some of the tips in this article will include getting rid of personal items and extra furniture and putting them in mini storage buildings with roll up doors for later use in your new home.

One of the first tips a home stager will have you do to stage your home is to have you remove anything of a personal nature in your home. This would include personal photographs that may be on many tables and the mantel on your fireplace or even hanging on your walls. Family photos or portraits can be a large distraction to the prospective buyer and they may spend the whole time looking at those instead of your house when going through your home. Any other personal items should also be packed up and put in storage.

The best way to try to picture how your home should look when you are trying to sell it is to have it like a model home. This includes having smaller scaled furniture and probably not as much furniture too. Usually, double sized beds are used in master bedrooms to give the room a larger appearance than if you had your king sized bed in there. It is about creating the idea of more space to the buyer and letting them think that they are getting more for their money. If you hire a home stager, you most likely will have to rent a storage space to put all of the extra items in.

Another big component in home staging is to make it look like it is clean and nothing on it is dirty or old. This may require repainting some of the rooms to give it a cleaner appearance and hire a cleaning service to do a big deep cleaning on your home. If a prospective buyer sees your house as dirty they will wonder how well maintained the property is if you couldn’t even keep it clean. Removing all of the clutter from countertops in the kitchen and eliminating the knick knacks also helps a great deal.

Along with a clean looking house, having it smell good is also another great trick when prospective buyers tour your home. Baking fresh cookies right before an open house is a nice touch and will leave the visitors with a good memory of your home. Also, put out fresh flowers in some of the rooms makes a nice finishing touch to the space.

10 Quick Tips On Curb Appeal

Curb appeal is the first impression of your home especially when you are trying to sell it. Make it count and woo in buyers to come inside. I know you are probably thinking curb appeal is the last thing on your mind. Why should you spend any time on the outside when the inside is good enough?

Because the first impression people make is the one they will stick with. Buyers make an opinion within 8-10 seconds of seeing the home. When they pull up to the home, the curb appeal is the first thing they see.

And if the outside isn’t taken care of, then what makes the buyer think the inside is well maintained? So here are 10 tips on how you can make a great first impression with your curb appeal

1. Mow the lawn – Tall grass is an indication that you no longer live there or don’t care. Either one is bad. If you had to move out before selling your home, have a lawn service come over weekly to keep the grounds maintained.

2. Mulch beds – If you have flower beds in the front of your home, rake up the mulch so it looks fresh. Make sure the mulch has not receded to the point of showing bare ground. Add more if needed.

3. Get rid of weeds – Weeding can be an almost weekly chore, but it makes such a difference if you have a beautiful garden. Weeds are like clutter in a garden. Pick them out to show off the plants and shrubs.

4. Power wash sidewalks/house – Hire out or rent a power washer to get your sidewalks and siding cleaned. It is the easiest way to freshen up the outside without painting. Just like you scrubbed those kitchen counters and stove, the sidewalk and siding need that same elbow grease.

5. Cut shrubs back away from the house – I’ve seen many houses where the shrubs are planted right next to the house and they seem to swallow up the home! Cut them back so that you can actually see the house. If you have tall trees in front of the house, lift the tree canopy by cutting the lower limbs so you can see the home as well.

6. Remove cobwebs and insect homes (wasp nests) – Walk around your home and sweep away the cobwebs. If you power wash your home, you may have already gotten them. Pay particular attention to any potential wasp nests under the eaves and remove them. Not only will it help clean up the house, but you don’t have to worry about getting stung later. If you have an infestation, call a professional to remove them right away.

7. Sweep/wash the porch – If you have a porch or an alcove to the front door, dirt and dust can accumulate here too. Make the front door area welcoming by adding a plant holder with a potted plant or a colorful chair.

8. House numbers need to be visible – Nothing is more frustrating than looking for house numbers. Be sure to put the numbers on the door or just beside it. Make sure your mailbox has numbers on it too. If there is no mailbox and your house is hidden behind some trees, add a post at the end of the driveway and screw numbers to the post. That way, there is no confusion on the address.

9. Front door stands out – You would be amazed at how many homes have multiple doors on the front of the house. Make sure there is a clear path to the front door and nothing hides it like bushes or potted plants. Give your front door a fresh coat of paint if it needs it.

10. Fix broken items (solar lights, steps, screen) – I see this all the time. Solar lights installed along the walkway but they are missing tops, fell over or have been stepped on by the dog. Fix them or remove them.

Again we are trying to woo the buyer into coming into the home. If they have to walk through a jungle to get to the front, it could scare them away. Polish up that curb appeal and you will be on your way to moving out quickly.