Written By:  Linda Frosolone, Frosolone Interiors Ltd., Chicago, IL     

 The movers are coming in a couple months and a buyer still hasn’t walked through your door with a contract.  It’s time to start packing, but the ensuing disorder will undoubtedly disrupt the charms of your home.  This is a common scenario all too familiar these days, but one in which this timing can work to your advantage. 

 Who hasn’t heard, read or seen on countless home improvement shows about the importance of staging your home for sale?  Tips on the subject from the real estate pros and design professionals are ubiquitous and on target: To sell your home you must Clean – De-clutter – De-personalize – Organize. 

Easier said than done when 25 years of the kids’ collections of baseball cards and dolls, and your sports gear and holiday decorations, are everywhere from bedroom to basement.  But clean, de-clutter, de-personalize and organize you must.  Sort, toss, and then pack to move all of which you don’t want on display for the next month or so.  Take away the photos, trophies, and collectibles.  Remove throw rugs and blankets.  Put away the toothbrush holder in the bathroom, the toaster oven in the kitchen and the kids’ artwork off the refrigerator.   Clean ‘til it sparkles and then, after all is done, will be the time to “Stage.”

 Staging, by definition, is creating a vignette in each room that will present the space in its most appealing form.   The professional interior merchandiser uses some basic elements when showcasing model homes that can be a guideline for staging:

  1. View space without walking around furniture and use only properly proportioned furniture for room size to create a comfortable traffic flow.  Never overload a room with furniture.
  2. Treat windows without blocking the light or view and conversely, where views are undesirable, use window treatments to distract.
  3. Special effects like mirrors can be used to show space as larger or warmer.
  4. Special lighting can be used to illuminate dark areas and to highlight.
  5. Rooms should have a triangle of light placement for maximum advantage

What this means is too much or out of proportion furniture in a room can kill the space.  Move the furniture around and remove a chair or table that makes the room feels cramped.

 If your window treatments are too heavy (sort of like out of Tara in Gone With the Wind), replace them with fabric shades or ready-made sheer drapery.   Many retailers offer inexpensive window covering solutions.

 Replace the 36×36 family portrait with a mirror.   Mirrors reflect space and add sparkle to a room.  And, they can be used effectively in many areas of your home.

 Place a lamp on either side of a sofa and across the room beside the chair.  This triangle of light will illuminate the room.  Canned up-lights beside a potted plant provide another lovely warm effect. 

 After these basics, purchase a few new decorative pillows for a fresh punch of color and texture, place wonderfully scented potpourri in decorative containers throughout for a sensory reminder of your home, and buy a few of those great hat or fabric covered storage boxes for your closet shelves to store everything that’s currently on the closet floor.  

 Your house is now ready to show for sale, the clutter is neatly and unobtrusively packed away, and you’re ready to move.  Nice job!!

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