A little extra square footage usually adds to the value of a home. Most of us won’t be building additions just to sell, but we can add value by making the home feel a little bigger using home staging techniques. Here are some space expanding ideas for sellers.
Let the light in. Wash the windows. Open or remove heavy window coverings. Make sure there is plenty of artificial lighting for even lighting. Use light reflecting surfaces and mirrors. Mirrors reflecting the floor visually expand floor space.
Colour it cool. To create optical illusions of more space, choose receding colours, that is, cool colours with green and blue undertones or greyed shades rather than bright, saturated colours such as bright reds or yellows. The brights appear closer and make the room seem smaller.
Contrast cautiously. Choose colour schemes with lower contrast. Black against white or navy against peach are examples of high contrast combinations while pastel green against pale blue or charcoal against dark purple are low contrast. It’s not the particular colours which make the room seem smaller, as much as the contrast of various elements. Too much contrast can make a room chopped up, overly busy and smaller.
Add height. Use elements that draw the eye up, for example, light ceiling colours, long drapes mounted high on the wall, simple crown mouldings, vertical decor elements like tall sticks. Remove wallpaper borders since they are too personal for selling and tend to pull the room in as much as they draw the eye upwards.
Show a little leg. The greater the expanse of floor for the eye to sweep across, the larger the room feels. Have as few things sitting on the floor as possible. Choose tables with glass tops and upholstered pieces with open legs instead of shirts. If possible, keep flooring colours consistent between rooms.
Watch for intruders. Wall cupboards or shelving visually bring in the room. Counteract that by allowing lots of open space on the shelves so the eye can go right to the back. Use less colour contrast between the wall and the shelves so the unit appears to protrude less. Visual barriers such as furniture pieces, screens or shower curtains also divide and shrink your space. Try to make what you can’t remove more see through Try a clear shower curtain in a small bathroom. Use armless chairs so you can see beyond them.
Try texture. A low contrast colour scheme still needs interest. Introduce that excitement by using a contrast of textures instead of colours. Shiny surfaces are more light reflecting, but shiny paint on walls will reveal imperfections and too much of it can give an institutional feel.
Scale to suit. If your furniture is massive, try something smaller in your small rooms. That doesn’t mean everything should be miniaturized. One large piece of furniture or artwork can be a focal point in your small room – you just have to have to simplify and edit the rest to suit. Less is more.
Be the editor. Trim the clutter and edit your collections to only three of a kind — or even just one. Take everything off counters to show the maximum workspace. Purge items from closets so they look half empty and twice as big. You’ll be moving anyway, so start packing now.
Breathe and go with the flow. Traffic flow is critical in a small home when it’s being shown for sale. But, this doesn’t mean you should line all the furniture tight against the walls. Give some pieces breathing room by pulling them out from the wall a few inches for an illusion of added depth. Remove non-essential pieces and allow plenty of room for people to walk through the spaces. If items block the flow, try angling them a little.
Author, Martha Stanton-Smith, owner of Rearrangements, is a Certified Canadian Staging Professional who helps serious home sellers in Kingston, Ontario get full worth for their homes. She completed her staging training in 2006. Visit her profile here: