If you’re planning to stage your home before putting it on the market, you can’t just ignore a particular room because it presents a staging challenge or because you don’t think it’s as important as staging the kitchen or bathroom. The goal of home staging is to cause a buyer to make a strong emotional connection with your home--and who’s to say whether it’s a buyer’s dream to have a study in the attic or a craft room in the basement? It’s important to stage your home so it appeals to as many people as possible. This means you have to pay careful attention to every room in your house.
When it comes to rooms that are neglected in home staging, the attic, basement and laundry room make the top of the list. But that’s a mistake, according to home staging expert Debra Gould, also known as the Staging Diva®. “Since it’s important to romance buyers when trying to sell a home, it’s crucial to get rid of any ‘scary’ areas in the home,” she explains. Below Gould offers some of her favorite tips for staging these spaces.
There are several staging principles that apply to all of these rooms, and this checklist is a great place to begin as you address each space.
Start by clearing piles of stuff off the floor. Tuck items away neatly in closets and cupboards and put up new shelving if needed. Donate or sell anything you don’t want to move, and put large items in off-site storage.
If the room seems dingy, brighten up the space by giving the walls a fresh coat of paint. And don’t forget the basement floor--even an unfinished basement looks better when the concrete floor is painted!
Get rid of any dark, scary corners so the space looks more inviting to potential home buyers.
Put up blinds or curtains
Hide the drab, ugly view by putting up window coverings. Make sure blinds or curtains are translucent enough to allow some light to pass through them.
If you have a usable attic to work with, show buyers how much storage they’ll have when they buy the property. Don’t hide all your stuff in the attic while the house is on the market. If necessary, move your extra belongings into storage or donate unused items to charity.
TIP: If there’s a dusty old carpet on the attic floor, consider replacing it with laminate flooring to dress up the space. This can be installed in a few hours at a relatively minimal cost compared to the perceived value.
You never know what a prospective buyer may have planned for the basement. If you’re using your basement primarily for storage, make sure everything is in order and keep most of the room clear so a buyer will view it as a usable space. The basement should never look like a dumping ground when a house goes up for sale.
TIP: In a finished basement, help buyers envision a use for the space by adding props such as a craft table or workout equipment. Add accessories such as plants, art and lamps to give the space warmth.
The Laundry Room
If the laundry area is in the dark corner of an unfinished basement, a buyer might think, “I have to do two loads a day, and I’m supposed to do it in this creepy space? Forget it!”
However, if the laundry room is bright, clean and even minimally decorated, the same buyer won’t be using this as a reason not to buy the house. And in a competitive real estate market, sellers can’t afford to give a prospective buyer any reason to hesitate.
“You don’t have to go crazy with the design of the laundry room,” says Gould. “Keep it minimalistic. It should be brightly lit, clean and functional.”
TIP: Put detergent and other laundry supplies in cupboards, attractive canisters or baskets.
With just a small amount of effort, you can transform even the dullest rooms into beautiful spaces, and that can go a long way towards helping a prospective buyer imagine their life in your home.