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If you’re selling your home, properly staging it for showings is vital. Not only does a clean, nicely staged home signal to potential buyers that the home is cared for, but the right staging can also help them better picture themselves in the home.
According to the National Association of REALTORS® 2017 report “Profile of Home Staging,” 77% of buyers’ agents said staging made it easier for buyers to visualize the property as a future home, and one-third said that staging a home increased the dollar value between 1 – 5% compared to other similar homes on the market that are not staged.
However, the colder months can present a challenge for those looking to sell their homes, as winter is considered to be the offseason for real estate. With fewer people willing to trudge through cold and snowy weather to look at houses, sellers have to up their game to attract potential buyers.
Selling your home this winter but not sure how to stage it for the season? Here’s how to stage a beautiful, sellable home in the winter months.
Know the Basics
Before you get into the nitty gritty of making your home look season appropriate, start with some home staging basics.
First things first: Get your house cleaner than it has ever been and take care of any problem areas.
“Each room should be sparkling clean from top to bottom and anything that needs visible repairs taken care of, like loose cabinets, broken furniture or walls with lots of old nail marks,” says Kate Connors, design expert at Havenly.com.
The key to good home staging is to make it easy for potential buyers to see themselves in the home. That means removing things that remind them that someone else lives there.
“Make sure all surfaces, corners and living areas are free of clutter and personal items that can distract buyers,” Connors recommends.
You want to make your rooms look spacious and not overly-cluttered. Connors suggests putting any furniture you don’t absolutely need into storage.
Additionally, you want to make sure buyers can safely get to your front door. In the winter, this means shoveling and de-icing the driveway and any walkways or steps. And don’t forget to provide a mat they can wipe their shoes on.
Embrace the Season
Don’t be afraid to let the season inspire your decorating.
Connors suggests using seasonal or local greenery like evergreen boughs, eucalyptus and magnolia displays for centerpieces on tables and mantels.
“They not only make the house look beautiful and inviting, but smell amazing as well,” she says.
Since it’s getting chilly outside, make sure to keep things warm – not just literally (although you should definitely make sure your thermostat is set to a comfortable temperature), but aesthetically too.
“Warmth in all forms is a must. Think of candles, task and floor lighting to warm up a space and balance out harsh overhead light fixtures. Soften cold hardwood floors and tiles with carpets in materials like a durable wool,” she recommends.
Rearrange for Maximum Coziness
“Houses should look welcoming and comfortable all year round, but during the winter months this goes one step further since you want spaces that are also cozy,” Connors says.
She advises rearranging furniture and grouping together chairs and sofas into “conversation areas,” pulling furniture away from the walls if you have the space.
“During the summer you want open spaces that feel airy, but during winter having more intimate groupings of furniture and decor can feel warmer and more inviting,” she says.
Just be sure that you don’t make the space more difficult to navigate in your quest to make it cozier. You still want to convey the home’s spaciousness, and buyers should be able to easily move through your rooms during showings. Again, this is where removing extra furniture can make a big difference.
Light it Up
Proper lighting is important no matter what time of year it is, but you should be especially aware of how well-lit your home is when selling in the winter.
Not paying appropriate attention to the lighting in their homes is a common mistake people make when selling their homes in the winter, according to Connors.
“Winter is naturally darker, so homeowners will want to make sure they amp up their lighting to compensate and make visitors feel like the space is light and bright, even if it isn’t!” she says.
Make sure you’re turning on all the lights in your home before showings, even during the day.
One common quick fix for getting more light into a darker home is to always leave curtains and drapes open, so lots of natural light can shine through. If your place is particularly dark, you might want to think about bringing in new lighting and introducing a few table or floor lamps into your rooms. A pretty accent lamp can add interest to a room while brightening it up.
Introduce Warm Textures
Ideally, you want your home to be a comfortable refuge from the chilly weather outside. Winter is a time that really makes you appreciate the coziness of your home and the fabrics within it, so make sure you’re showing that off to potential buyers by adding in some warm textures and prints.
“Throw blankets and accent pillows in cozy textures like velvet, faux fur and chunky knits make sofas and chairs look inviting. Fuzzy blankets draped across beds and even small trays for simple hot drink stations in the kitchen can add just the right touches of decor,” Connors says.
Making use of these smaller decor items can bring style and a warm, homey vibe to your rooms without making them feel crowded.
“Items in classic patterns like buffalo check and fabrics like wool and fleece are great to add stylish layers of interest in any room without adding unnecessary clutter,” Connors explains.
Get the Look
Need further inspiration for ways to winterize your home staging? Here are some of our favorite, coziest accents. (Bonus: You’ll take it all with you when you move, so you’ve already got some chic decor for your new place!)
- Holiday-themed doormat – $13
- Magnolia wreath – $57
- Wool rug – $340 – $680
- Accent table lamp – $23
- Mongolian fur throw pillow – $52
- Buffalo check throw blanket – $57
What are your favorite home staging items? Let us know in the comments below!
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