Home Staging: It Gets Results and It’s Green
Despite the down economy, home stagers are busier than ever, as today’s realtors insist that staging is the most cost effective way to maximize home sale profits. It also happens to be one of the most sustainable ways to attract buyers.
Home staging is not tasteful decorating. In fact, when potential buyers walk into un-staged but tastefully decorated homes, the personal style of the existing homeowner distracts them from envisioning the space as a home of their own.
Home stagers, like retail display designers, aim to enhance a product’s appeal. Although the scale is different, the principles are the same: maximize the space, eliminate distractions and increase the traffic flow.
Sustainable Ways to Successfully Stage Your Home
Approach the big purge with mindfulness and commitment.
De-cluttering is an essential step that cannot be missed. Homeowners usually find this phase of the process tiresome, tedious and frustrating but it is a critical one, nonetheless. Trimming ship is the first step towards punching up profits. I advise my clients to reduce everything on display by half and then to recycle unwanted items by selling them or donating them. Three worthy, tax-deductible recipients are Goodwill, local homeless shelters and the public library. Also keep in mind that animal shelters and vets love used linens!
There was a time when no one believed that citywide, curbside recycling would become a reality. Who ever dreamed how far we’d move above and beyond that. Calling 311 will connect you to your local Department of Sanitation to find out about area recycling pick-up and drop-off locations. Earth911 is an excellent resource for locating more specialized recycling facilities in your area. Key your area code into the search field, specify what you’re recycling and you’ll get listings for everything from used light bulbs and house paint to broken LCD screens and car batteries. Precious keepsakes and other things you don’t want to recycle or give away can be moved to a storage rental facility unit or a mobile container or pod that gets picked up right in front of your house.
All wallpaper must be removed. This is done both to de-personalize the space and to expose or prevent the formation of potential mould problems.
Avoid air fresheners and all other synthetically scented products
People sometimes have allergic reactions to certain essential oils so I recommend altogether avoiding them. I find that grinding a lemon in the garbage disposal broadcasts a smell that is fresh, clean and inoffensive.
Purchase new furniture only as a last resort
Almost all of the staging furniture I use is obtained through local prop houses and thrift stores or from sites like Freecycle, Free Napkin, Craigslist, Kijiji and Backpage.com.
Use 0-VOC Paint
When painting is recommended, I recommend Benjamin Moore’s 0-VOC Paint as it is environmentally friendly, easy to work with and provides a rich color and a high quality finish.
Create environmental stewardship opportunities for friends, family and members of the community
Ask your next door neighbor for that chartreuse sofa she just dumped on the curb for pick up. Although your home must be staged in neutral, earth tones, a slip cover from Sure-fit.com will work wonders. After the house sells, you can freecycle the sofa or pass it on to someone you know whose home is about to go on the market. Keep in mind that a staged home will not be used as a real home. No need to buy new pillows since no one will be sleeping on them. Ask local offices for their shredded documents and stuff them into the empty pillowcases, instead.
Product Stewardship —the process of identifying, managing and minimizing the health and environmental risks of a product throughout its life cycle– makes for sustainable staging. An expertly and sustainably staged home appeals to potential buyers by enabling them to envision the space as a comfortable, healthy and happy home. It also reflects the good stewardship of realtor, stager and seller. Contribute to your community by staging your home sustainably.
Mico Smith is a Resdesign Specialist, Home Stager and ten year visual merchandising veteran. She is founder of the company, Metamorphing Interiors and a resident of Aurora, Colorado. If you have questions or would like to schedule a free initial staging consultation, you can email her at smith.mico at gmail.com