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Selling Your Home | Minimum decorating for Maximum effect

Ive been asked, once I get the house de-cluttered painted & cleaned, how do I choose what to put back up and what to leave packed up in boxes? Do I rehang pictures, or leave the newly painted walls empty? Keep items on the shelves and bookcases or leave them empty? The answer is a little of both (actually more no than the yes).

The reason vacant homes are staged is that it shows buyers what fits & where. Staging gives the house some personality and warmth. Additionally, it gives the seller a chance to showcase areas of the house that might beoverlooked. Its definitely a balancing act. Here are some rules to deciding how much and where. Ask yourself:

  • What am I trying to accomplish by adding the piece?
  • Do I want to call attention to an area for a reason?
  • Am I trying to show that this area has a specific utility?

For instance:

What am I trying to accomplish by adding the piece? You may want to call attention to the decorative fireplace mantle. Or, to show the entry foyer is large enough to fit a bench or desk

Do I want to call attention to an area? Is there an interesting niche in the hall I dont want people to miss? Or, I want to show that this long blank hallway is actually a great gallery wall.

I am trying to show this area has a specific utility For instance a bookcase or a specific place a TV fits into. Or, and alcove which doubles as a home office.

Once youve established whats necessary, step back and take a good look. Or have your agent or a friend whose taste you admire come by. You can always add items if the place still feels a bit sterile.

Some tips:

NOTHING SHOULD BE HUNG CROOKED! Buy a level! Regardless of its value, any art looks cheap if hung crooked. And even poster art can look great if hung as if its the original.

Screen Shot 2016-11-18 at 3.31.18 PM

Try to hang all the art in each room so that the top of each piece is the same height. Aprox 6 +- off the floor is pretty good for average size pictures. Lower for smaller and higher if the piece is very large.

If you have a long wall and are hanging multiple pieces, spread them out on the floor against the wall first. See how the spacing looks before you make holes.

All books shouldhave theirbindingthe same direction. Screen Shot 2016-11-18 at 3.24.21 PM

Dont fill the entire shelf with books. Use a combination of books and display pieces (framed photos, items of art, a plant etc.)

Wall cubes are a great way to display multiple like kind objects in a way that can make them seem far more valuable than they might be.

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If you are fortunate enough to have recessed or track lighting, which is adjustable, make the best use of it by focusing it in the direction of artwork or areas you want buyers to notice.

Use just enough personal items to make your space looks lived in. Not so many that they take the focus off of your home.

Screen Shot 2016-11-18 at 3.28.47 PM

Make sure area rugs do not impede on the operation of doors or have patterns and colors which over power the room, which could make it feel small.

Finally, if you are unsure of how your home turned out, take some of your own photos. Just to see how the spacephotographs. Does it look crowed or confusing? This may help you decide if its ready to have professional photos taken.

Brian Back has been with Gibson Sothebys International Real Estate since 1992. His real estate experience began in 1987 and has led him to become involved in both residential sales & development. He specializes in both established and emerging neighborhoods in and around the city of Boston. In addition to his real estate experience, Brian holds a degree in interior design from the Art Institute (Ft. Lauderdale Fl.). He knows first hand what it is like to be a customer having both developed and sold many properties in the city of Boston and surrounding neighborhoods.

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