Home Decor

Should You Decorate Your Home For Potential Buyers

When selling your home, should you decorate it for yourself or for a future buyer? Find out how you should decorate your home when preparing to stage and sell this summer.

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How you decorate the home can affect the sale

Here at Homes.com, we know homeowners often find themselves at a crossroads when staging their homes to sell. There are two schools of thought when it comes to home staging, the first states that a seller should remove all personalization from the home and decorate in a way that appeals to future buyers. The logic behind this thought process states that, as a seller, you want a potential buyer to view the home as a blank canvas in which they can see themselves living. On the other hand, many sellers want to keep the home decorated according to their personal style because, after all, most continue living there it while it’s listed.

Given the opportunity, which decorating option would you choose?

Staging a home is a delicate balance

There’s a fine line when it comes to decor in a home you’re staging to sell. You want your home to feel cozy, inviting, and lived-in, but if you feature too many personal items then buyers won’t be able to “see” themselves living in the space. When decorating your home to sell, it can easily become overwhelming, so you should do it on a room-by-room basis.

Remove all seasonal and personal items

The first thing you should do is take all seasonal, personal, and collector items out of the home. These may include holiday decorations, family and wedding photos, books, DVDs, awards, mementos, prescriptions, religious items, refrigerator art, and more.

You want to make sure to do this even when selling your home during the holiday season. Store your items in a storage unit or a friend’s garage, but do not store them in your space anywhere. Any extra furniture or clothing should also be removed from the home. Declutter each room until they are as clean and organized as possible.

All of your valuables should be removed from the home and stored somewhere safe. There will be a lot of traffic coming through your home, from handymen and real estate agents to prospective buyers. The last thing you want to worry about is something important being stolen or damaged.

Organize your storage areas

Every storage space in your home should be clean, neat, and organized. Go through everything and throw out or donate anything that you don’t need or no longer want. Keep only the bare minimum in your closets, cabinets, and display shelves.

Decorating the home for buyers 

Besides cleaning and organizing inside, one of the most important things you can do to make your home appealing to buyers is to improve its curb appeal. Clean the exterior of your home, mow the lawn, prune the hedges, clean the windows, replace unsightly hardware, and plant fresh flowers. A buyer’s first impression of your home is very important.

Inside, rearrange your furniture to allow for smooth traffic flow. Even if the furniture isn’t how your family likes it, it needs to be moved to make it easier for buyers to move around as they take in the space. When decorating your rooms with accessories, always think with a “less is more” logic. Choose neutral color schemes that are easy on the eyes.

Replace any old and tired-looking houseplants with more vibrant and healthy plants. Make sure the planters are clean and attractive. Set your best china out on your dining room table and include a beautiful centerpiece.

Other things you might consider including in your décor include:

  • Placing a bowl of fresh fruit in the kitchen
  • Displaying your best-looking cookbooks in the kitchen
  • Having a vase of fresh flowers in the entry

Make your home attractive to buyers, not comfortable for you

You want buyers to picture themselves living in your home, and to be able to accomplish this, they also need to be able to picture their belongings in your spaces. Keep this in mind when decorating your home to sell. The more your “stuff” gets in the way of their vision, the less interested they’re likely to be in your home. Decorate properly, and you might even find multiple buyers duking it out in a bidding war. For tips on selling your home, head to the Homes.com How-To section, where we address frequently asked home-selling questions!

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Alex is a home staging guru who moonlights as a writer. She loves everything about interior design and loves working in the industry. Alex is an expert in finding what makes people light up when they walk into a room, and has made a living by creating interiors that are unique, warm and inviting. When she isn't arranging flowers or making sure she's found the right loveseat for prospective buyers, she writes about her passion — home design.

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