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Expert Home Staging Tips To Make A Small House Feel Big

18 Expert Home Staging Tips To Make A Small House Feel Bigger

I am frequently asked, by homeowners and real estate agents I work with, how to make their home or listing look bigger to appeal to more buyers. As an expert home stager in Pasadena and Los Angeles, one of my primary jobs is to make smaller homes feel more spacious.

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Here’s a list of 18 tips for making a small home feel bigger. You can use these tips whether you are staging a home to sell or if you are planning to stay, but just need some help dealing with smaller rooms. These tips will work with for vacant home staging (if you’re bringing in furniture) or occupied home stagomg (dealing with the client’s existing furniture):

  1. Pare down the furniture to the essentials. Do you really need a chair in the bedroom? Will the room appear larger with just the bed, the nightstands and maybe a dresser?
  2. Clutter makes a room feel smaller. Lots of smaller items, like a Hummel collection or bowling trophies displayed on every horizontal surface, eat up visual space. Only display 3-5 items at a time. Store, sell or pre-pack the rest. You’re selling a home, not a collection of “treasures”.
  3. Use fewer pieces of furniture. Its better to have one larger dresser than 2 smaller ones.
  4. Use appropriately sized furniture. Having a too big sofa in a small den will call attention to how small the room really is.
  5. Pull furniture away from the wall. That little bit of breathing room will give a sense of greater space.  Create a cozy sitting area in front of the fireplace, with room to move around the back of the furniture.
  6. Cooler colors recede, so painting an interior room a pale blue, green or gray will make it feel larger.
  7. Houses appear larger on the outside when painted a lighter color.
  8. Keep walkways and sight-lines clear. Don’t place furniture so that you are walking into the back of the sofa, or other large piece of furniture, when you walk into the room.
  9. Bedrooms feel larger if there is ample space to walk on either side of the bed. Not enough space? Get a smaller bed while you home is on the market. Downsize from a king to a queen or from a queen to a double, if necessary.
  10. Place the bed on the wall furthest from the door, if possible. The room will feel instantly larger.
  11. Show more hardwood. The larger the expanse of hardwood floor, the larger the room will appear. Do you really need that area rug? If the hardwood floors are hidden by wall to wall carpet, remove the carpet. The home will feel much more spacious.
  12. Try using one larger area rug instead of several smaller rugs. Or if the room looks OK without it, don’t use any area rugs.
  13. Patterned upholstery and drapes make a room feel smaller. Use fewer patterns on upholstery and bedding. Use a solid color blanket or bedspread on a bed in a small bedroom to make the room feel larger.
  14. Strategically placed mirrors make a room feel larger. Reflect a window or outdoor view, if possible. You can visually expand a space by putting a large mirror over a sofa.
  15. A well lit room feels larger. Get rid of those dark corners. Make sure every overhead light and table lamp is lit before open houses and showings.
  16. Minimize window treatments. The simpler the better. Shutters, blinds or simple drapes (no flounces, ruffles, strong patterns or complicated valences) take up less “visual space”.
  17. Make all your cabinets and closets half-empty. You will appear to have more closet and cabinet space. There is no such thing as a closet that is too empty when selling your home.
  18. Clean houses feel larger. Make sure every surface including your floors are shiny clean. Clean your windows and screens so they let in maximum light and sparkle.

Making a small home for sale feel larger

These home staging tips to make your home feel larger will work if you are staging to sell or staging to live.

If you need help figuring out how to make your home or listing feel larger, hire us for a home staging consultation. You’ll get some easy-to-implement expert home staging and interior design tips.  Its the best “bang for your buck” and it’s a great investment in preparing your home or listing for sale, or making your home more livable if you are planning to stay.

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Chinese To Spend Billions On American Real Estate – Forbes

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Get Your Home Ready To Sell: Home Buyers Want A Move In Ready House

Here’s a home staging tip from a professional home stager: Get your home ready to sell. Home buyers in the Los Angeles real estate market want a house that is move in ready.

Los Angeles kitchen remodel for sale

Home buyers don’t want an allowance to repair the roof, replace the carpet, redo the kitchen or repaint. Allowances are for teenagers. They want a well priced home, in a decent location, that they can move right in to without spending another dime.

Its a big fallacy that home buyers want to choose their own carpet or paint colors. If you choose a nice, neutral color carpet and nice neutral color wall paint (both things the best home stagers can help you with) most home buyers will see your home as more desirable because it is move-in-ready. They’ll be thrilled they don’t have to worry about picking out carpet and having it installed or find a painter who has time in their schedule. If your home stager can’t help you with this, then you are working with the wrong home stager.

Most home buyers are maxing out their home purchasing budget by making an offer on the nicest home they can possibly afford. They don’t have extra money to paint, install new carpet or retile the bathroom. They want to move in as soon as escrow closes, not after they have to make a lot of repairs to make their new home livable.

Los Angeles home upgrades to sell a home

This Los Angeles condo was on the market for 6 months with no offers. After it was remodeled, it went into escrow the first week it was put back on the market for considerably higher than it’s original list price.

Here’s what happens when you offer a $5,000 allowance for repairing the roof that should have been replaced 5 years ago:

  1. The buyer thinks “What else didn’t they repair that they should have?”
  2. The buyer thinks “What structure got damaged by the leaky roof?”
  3. The buyer thinks “Is it really going to cost only $5,000 to repair the roof?”
  4. The buyer thinks “How much time will it take me to get bids, hire a roofing company & get the work done?”
  5. The buyer thinks “What happens if (fill in the disaster: it rains, the contractor absconds with the deposit, a worker falls off the roof)?”
  6. The buyer thinks “The seller must be desperate since the house isn’t in good shape.”

Here’s what happens next:

The buyer accepts your offer of $5,000 to repair the roof, and then also knocks off another 10% because they think the house is not in good condition or you are desperate…

~or~

The buyer rejects your house and moves on to the house down the street that is move in ready.

Here’s what happens when you offer a $3,000 allowance for new carpet:

  1. The buyer thinks “Will $3,000 really cover new carpet for the whole house?”
  2. The buyer thinks “I’m not from around here. Where do I buy new carpet?”
  3. The buyer thinks “That house down the street already has new carpet. Why should I take on the added stress of shopping for & installing new carpet?”

Here’s what happens next:

The buyer accepts your offer of $3,000 to buy new carpet, and then also knocks off another 10% because they think your allowance won’t cover all the costs

~or~

The buyer rejects your house and moves on to the house down the street that is move in ready and already has new carpet installed.

By not repairing and updating your home before you put it on the market, you are asking home buyers to assume risk and additional expenses. You add more stress and uncertainty to the situation. Many home buyers are already investing every penny they can get their hands on in order to purchase a home. They are unable or unwilling to purchase a home that will require repairs before they can move in. Additionally, the condition of your home may effect the appraisal causing the buyer’s lender to refuse the loan.

Want to get a Los Angeles home sold? Price it right, hire the best full service Realtor you can find, hire a professional home stager and make sure it is in move-in ready condition.

This post was originally written December 2010. It has been updated to reflect current market conditions.

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A Home Staging Consultation Is Money Well Spent

I receive many phone calls from Los Angeles home sellers who recognize the value of hiring a professional home stager to sell their home, but think they can’t afford it.

Here’s a money saving home staging tip: hire a professional home stager for a home staging consultation and then do the recommended work yourself.

By calling Moving Mountains Design for an occupied house staging consultation, you’ll get expert advice and house selling tips at an affordable price:

  1. Verbal Home Staging Consultation – We’ll walk through your home , inside and out,  and discuss the work that needs to be done to get your home in market ready condition. We can make paint color recommendations, suggest the optimal furniture layout and discuss what items need to be pre-packed or donated. You can ask any questions, show us carpet samples and paint chips you may have picked up. You take all the notes. Do the suggested work on your own schedule.
  2. Comprehensive Home Staging Consultation – We walk through your home with you (including exteriors) and outline the work that needs to be done to get your home in top market ready condition, same as above.  Afterwards, I’ll email you your  custom and very specific comprehensive home staging consultation report. Your report will contain all the recommended changes and tasks that we discussed. In addition, I’ll include information about how to prepare for open houses and showings, how to stage your closets, how to stage your garden, how to stage your garage, and how to stage your kitchen cabinets. Once again you save money by doing the recommended work yourself.

Once you’ve completed all or part of the suggestions in your Home Staging Consultation, the Moving Mountains Design team will come in and complete any portion of the work you would like. Our services are completely a la carte. The more work you do yourself, the more money you will save. 

 Here’s what a recent Pasadena home staging consultation client had to say:

…The best decision we made in this whole process was hiring you. It’s no exaggeration to say that we couldn’t have gotten any of this done without you — we didn’t even know where to begin.


We also offer cost-effective interior design, decorating or redesign consultations.
Many homeowners are not planning on moving in the near future, but want to redecorate or refresh their current interior decorating. Once again, you can do all the work yourself, do some of the work and hire us to complete the project or hire us to complete your project while you put your feet up and relax. We can handle everything from light redecorating to full-on kitchen and bath remodels (we only work with licensed and insured contractors and sub-contractors!)

To schedule a home staging consultation appointment, call (626)441-8975 or send me an email at Michelle@MovingMountainsDesign.com.

Moving Mountains Design – We know what makes homes sell!™

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