Archive for Occupied Home Staging

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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Studio City Home Staging | Gorgeous Conteporary Staging

Studio City Home Staging a gorgeous contemporary home

My, my, my, what a gorgeous Studio City home staging project we got to work on last week. Located on Bellingham Ave. Studio City, this home has high ceilings, a unique open floorplan, 6 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms and spacious backyard and pool. Located very close to Ventura Blvd. and the 101 Freeway, this beautiful home is convenient to EVERYTHING!

When I first looked at the home for staging, I immediately fell in love with the bold wall colors – black dining room, navy blue master bedroom, chocolate brown bedrooms, etc. The home had been very tastefully updated and is a decorator’s dream.

Black and white dining room studio city home staging

If I didn’t live in a 1920’s Spanish house, I’d be painting my dining room walls black right now!

Black walls with white trim home staging Studio City

Some of the furniture was already in the house, and I added some furniture to areas that needed it, plus all the artwork and accessories. I would classify this as an occupied vacant home staging.

Remodeled kitchen white marble counters home staging

White leather sofa family room contemporary home staging

Modern living room home staging gray glass and chrome

This home doesn’t have a living room to speak of, just this “reception” area. It was previously occupied by a silver patent leather sofa that wasn’t particularly inviting. I created this seating area in gray, black and silver to play off the window treatments and wall colors in the rest of the house.

Navy blue and white master bedroom home staging

Ok, so as much as I like the black dining room, I think I like the midnight blue bedroom with white trim even more. It gives me a peaceful easy feeling 🙂

This home is not on the market – yet – but as soon as it is, I will post more information.

For more information about Los Angeles home staging, luxury home staging or modern home staging please contact Michelle.

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Home Stagers Tips: How To Remove Smoking Odors From Your Home

Today I went to an open house in my Pasadena neighborhood for a condo unit that’s for sale. The condo is in a great neighborhood, in a quiet, well kept condo development. I was impressed with the walk up to the unit so extra points for good exterior appeal.  I opened the front door and WHAM! The smell of old cigarette smoke and nicotine hit me square in the face. I asked the agent if the owners were smokers. She said they were, and the apartment had been fully re-painted and re-carpeted, yet the smell persisted.

Smoking odors, be it from cigarettes, cigars, or pipes is insidious and very difficult to get rid of. It seeps into the smallest cracks and crevices. It saturates upholstery batting, stuffing and cushions. It infiltrates carpet padding. Here’s some home stager’s tips for getting rid of old cigarette smoke and nicotine smells:
Home stagers tip: Getting rid of cigarette smoke odors

  • Get rid of everything “soft” meaning furniture, upholstery, throw pillows, drapery, mattresses, etc. If you can’t put it in the washing machine or send it to the dry cleaner, you’ll never get rid of the smell. Even if you can wash a pillow cover, you will have to get rid of the pillow filler unless you can launder that too.
  • Tear out the carpet and tear out the carpet padding. Don’t replace the carpet without replacing the padding. Wash the bare floor with a product appropriate for the surface. Wash it again.
  • Wash down all painted surfaces with something like TSP which you can purchase at most hardware and paint stores. Don’t forget the ceiling. Follow the instructions on the package carefully so you don’t damage the surface or hurt yourself.
  • Wash all other hard surfaces (linoleum floors, tile, etc.) with a 1 to 3 solution of white vinegar and water (1 cup vinegar to 3 cups water). Test the solution in an inconspicuous area first to make sure it won’t damage the surface. DO NOT use this solution on granite, marble or stone. Use a reputable stone cleaner. Change the solution often so you are not dragging the smell from one surface to another. The vinegar smell will dissipate fairly rapidly, so don’t worry about that. Remember to wash out all cabinets and closets as well.
  • Use the correct Kilz primer to cover all painted surfaces. Your painter or paint store person should be able to direct you to the proper product. If the smell is particularly strong, you may have to use 2 coats of Kilz. Kilz claims to act like a sealer for both the nicotine stains and the odor.
  • Have all the vents and ducts in the house cleaned.
  • Change any HVAC filters (heater and AC).
  • Remove all lightbulbs and either clean them or replace them. Nicotine can collect on light bulbs like every place else, and when a bulb is turned on, it can act like an odor diffuser.

Most air fresheners will only mask the smell temporarily. Same with diffusers.

Please DO NOT USE an “ozone air purifiers” to remove smoking odors. According to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) a government agency, their claims are based upon junk science. Read more about ozone air cleaners or purifiers.

From the EPA site:

Manufacturers and vendors of ozone devices often use misleading terms to describe ozone. Terms such as “energized oxygen” or “pure air” suggest that ozone is a healthy kind of oxygen. Ozone is a toxic gas with vastly different chemical and toxicological properties from oxygen.

While there is no guarantee that the above methods will remove all smoke odors before you put your home on the market, they should go a long way to removing most of them.

This was originally posted in October 2010. It has been updated and more information has been added.

Photo credit: Nirbhao on Flickr.com

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+Michelle Minch