If you're a fan of HGTV, you appreciate the power of home stagers — a.k.a. the people who sweep in after a makeover and turn the shell of a house into a warm and inviting home. Use their secrets in your own abode to make it just as impressive as your favorite reveals.
Too many clothes? No problem. "I make my closet appear spacious by simply arranging the clothing according to color," says Jamie Novak, founder of Novak Organizing LLC. Even better: This color trick also works on bookcases when you line up spines in color order.
Since it's mighty expensive to swap out big pieces of furniture every few years, Novak does the next best thing: "I add new drawer pulls, cabinet handles and, if possible, I purchase extras to add to the bathroom vanities for a cohesive look," she says.
This clean color creates a blank canvas so you can use any accent color that can be changed as often you like. But it's so much more than just practical: "When staging a home, this screams luxury and relaxation — so why not pamper yourself?" says Novak.
If you don't want to let your formal table become a clutter catch-all, keep your place settings out. "I save the step of putting away clean dishes from the dishwasher and take them directly to the table," says Novak.
"When staging, nothing says 'welcome to your new home' like colorful potted plants flanking the front door," says Novak. So why not add this bright and cheerful touch for you to enjoy year-round?
Karen Lau, Cofounder and CTO of Furnishr, says most people tend to hang wall décor too high, making ceilings feel lower. "Keep all wall decor to, at most, one foot above the table top," she says.
If you put too many accessories on your coffee table it'll feel cluttered, but too few makes it feel bare. Good thing Lau has figured out the perfect quantity for a fool-proof assembly: "Always have three items or three clusters of items to style a surface." Done and done.
When it comes to fresh flowers, Morgan Ovens, owner of Haven, says the more, the merrier — but don't spend your life savings on 'em. "I buy a few bouquets from Trader Joes, then separate and arrange them in different vases around the house or in tiny mason jars," she says.
Not all folds are made, or appreciated, equally, and there's something about a rolled towel that just screams spa. "This is especially appealing if you have space to display them, such as along the side of a bathtub or on an open shelf for everyone to see," says Ovens.
Ambiance is everything when staging a home, and light is at the very core of that. "When artificial light is needed, work in layers in varying heights; ceiling lamps, table lamps and floor lamps should give you the light that you need," says Tracy Kay Griffin, Lead Designer at Express Homebuyers.
If a room doesn't have a focal point (like a fireplace or a large window), make your own. "Stand in the doorway, look into the room and see where your eyes naturally fall — this is most likely the focal point," says Griffin. Add a large piece of art at that spot and arrange the rest of the room around it.
"Red sofas go out of style faster than bell bottom jeans," says Justin M. Riordan of Spade and Archer Design Agency. Instead, he says to stick with neutral sofas, like gray or white, which stay in style for much longer. "If you must have red in your living room, buy red throw pillows and blankets instead."
Rugs are best used to define spaces and add warmth, says Michala Monroe, of m | monroe design. "You will never see more rugs than needed in a staged home, because it just looks like you're trying to hide a damaged floor," she says. So stick with the basics: A large area rug in the great room and no runners outside of the entry.
Playing it safe is classy, but only up to a point. You have to mix in different shades to make a room feel finished. "Strategically using dark paint and dark pieces will not only add depth to a space, but also create mood and drama," says Eisen.
Even though investing in a larger than life piece of art might be scary (hey, it can be a pricy investment), Cheryl Eisen of Interior Marketing Group says it's the way to go. "Large canvases add a statement to any room," she says.