Monday, February 25, 2013

How to Make Your Home Look New


People touring homes to buy usually visit more than one. Some buyers tour 20 or even 100 homes. Some of those homes will be newer than yours. 

Although older homes have their charms and are often better built than newer ones, an obviously dated home looses points with buyers.

Buyers have more confidence in new property the way people do with a new car. They expect it will give them fewer problems. They enjoy the status and satisfaction that comes with “being current.”

But just because your home is not recent construction doesn’t mean you can’t look current. 

If your home is on the market, it’s time to do a quick check to see if it has a sense of newness about it. (Historic homes and country homes need not apply.)

Making your home look young doesn't necessitate a complete overhaul. I have two suggestions: Remove what's dated, and sprinkle in some new ideas. 

What to Lose

Borders. Wallpaper borders are dated decor. Although typically easily removable, their presence signals the buyer that the home hasn't had much attention to style for a couple decades. Most buyers do not like any kind of papered walls. It's unlikely your taste will match the next owner's. Borders definitely, and ideally all paper, should come down. 

Colors of Retirement Age. Popular color schemes change in 10-year cycles. The 1970's colors were dusty browns and greens. The eighties featured dark greens and mauves. The nineties banked on vibrant colors like turquoise and lime green. The 00's went for lilacs, pale blues, and greys, where we are still hovering today. Smart home stagers decorate with layered neutrals punctuated with accent colors.


Make the bed the focal point of the room -- large, comfortable, and on-trend. Geometric prints 
like this one from Jonathan Adler set the style for the entire room, worth the investment!    

Granny Blankets. Quilts and flattened pillows are old fashioned. The quilts could be precious heirlooms or pricey modern quilts, but they still say stuck-in-time. Most buyers want to do business with people they aspire to be like. Quilt fanciers -- fairly or unfairly -- just don't rank as rock stars. Play it safe and pack up the quilts, replacing them with new, stylish duvets that look soft and inviting. And don't forget the plump bed pillows.

Obsolescence. Clunky electronics age a home. If you have analog televisions, a giant desktop computer, large audio speakers for your sound system, tape decks, and boom boxes for radios, buyers feel like they are walking into a time warp. This is true no matter what the demographics of your market. Today's electronics are sleek and small. It's better to have none at all, since the trend is towards personal and portable devices.

Give Your Home a Facelift 
Color makes all the difference, both inside and out. Ann at One Sutton Place
painted her red door blue for a breath of fresh air and an eye catching  appearance.  
Brush and Roll It. Paint the interior walls of your home a stylish color. If you think it doesn't matter what color your walls are, ask any realtor how colors can be a turn-on or a turn-off. Color has a powerful effect on our emotions, and no matter that they say, buyers are swayed by their emotional reactions to the homes they view.

Grey is the new neutral. If you look at paint chip displays in stores, you'll see that greys come in a wider range of tints, hues, and saturations than any other paint color. It's very versatile, so it's easy to choose a paint color that works with the fixed features of your home, such as the flooring, bath fixtures, countertops, and major appliances. 

The way to keep grey from feeling dreary is to keep it light, and warm up the room with whites and wood. And add some colorful accents.

Brilliant Idea. Make sure your spaces are well lighted. Darkened rooms feel old. I recently blogged about the value and methods of adding light to your staged rooms. Replacing dated lighting fixtures is a quick and inexpensive way to update your home, both inside and outside.

Finishing Touches. Add pillows, lamps, and other accessories that reflect the latest trends. They needn't be top of the line originals. Knockoffs usually follow trends, so discount stores are handy places for accessories that make your home look fashionably young.

Get a kicky new look for pennies at dollar and discount stores. You can dress up your
closets, vanities, and bookshelves with color-coordinated boxes that hold essential clutter. 

Need to bring yourself up to speed on what's in style? Pinterest boards will highlight trends, so pick some favorite boards to follow. Almost all my Pinterest boards illustrate good staging.

I also suggest Better Homes and Gardens for a mainstream American look, Pottery Barn for a young, sophisticated look, Traditional Home for an upscale look, Real Simple for clean and orderly ideas, Coastal Living for any waterfront property, and HGTV for design inspiration in general. You can also search Pinterest for specific item ideas, such as vases, DIY headboards, stepping stones, loveseats, or whatever.

For answers to your questions about staging your own home, download my super-helpful, home staging eBook, DIY Home Staging Tips to Sell Your Home Fast and for Top Dollar. It's a 150-page $5 pdf that comes with my money-back guarantee. Find out today how your house ranks, and the simple secrets you can use to make your house earn more money.      


Top photo: Better Homes and Gardens

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