Selling a home is never going to be a walk in the park (although being adjacent to a park can be a real selling point). Of course, buying a home isn’t easy, either. In fact, 52% of home buyers found finding the right property to be the most difficult part of the process. Here’s the thing, though: any successful real estate agent knows that these important decisions can easily be influenced by strategic aesthetic choices. Even if your property is on the small side and doesn’t have a lot of inherent charm, what really matters is how creative you can be during the presentation. If the home shows well, buyers will be a lot more interested.
That’s where thoughtful design and artful staging come in. After all, there’s a reason why tiny houses are currently having their heyday. Yes, they appeal to minimalists, but it’s the ones that are extremely functional and beautiful that get the most attention — even if they don’t have the most square footage. This “Escher” home, for example, may be only 300 square feet, but it manages to pack a huge punch in a minuscule space.
But if you have just a regular home that’s on the cramped side, you can still use some of the same principles to make buyers start lining up. Before deciding on new design elements, it’s best to work with one of the 50,000 interior designers currently working all across the nation. That way, sellers will benefit from expert advice and be well-informed about what’s trending (and what’s totally over). With small homes, in particular, ample storage, multi-use spaces, and lots of light are key. These features will appeal to most buyers and can make a space seem a lot more spacious than it actually is. As a rule, you shouldn’t take any usable space away unless it’s absolutely necessary.
Of course, desirable design trends differ from place to place. Recent data compiled by Joybird, a custom furniture company, shows that location may have a serious impact on what local buyers are looking for. New Yorkers, for example, are all about contemporary design, while South Carolinians want coastal decor all the way. Mississippi is more of a shabby chic state, but right next door, Alabama is much more bohemian. The data was compiled from statewide Google searches, so you can feel free to take it with a grain of salt, but you may still want to consider statewide preferences in your design.
Once you’ve switched up your design a bit, you’ll still need to likely stage your home in a clever way. You’re not trying to trick buyers here, but rather display your home at its very best. During this time, overly cluttered rooms need to be cleared out and overly large furniture should be placed in storage. Around 60% of high-end home furnishing customers want pieces that will make them feel calm and comfortable, and many homebuyers want to feel the same way when they walk into a room. If your couch or bed look colossal and out-of-place, buyers are going to back away.
Your home should feel welcoming and lived in, of course, but you shouldn’t be afraid to embrace the minimalist approach. The more stuff you have, the more claustrophobic potential buyers might feel. Pops of color are fine, but put on the brakes when it comes to loud prints; they can be too much in a small room. Mirrors have been long-used as a way to make rooms look larger, so don’t shy away from using reflective surfaces in innovative ways. And when you can, go vertical rather than horizontal. This will draw the eye up and make the room look more expansive.
Most Realtors would agree that size does matter (when it comes to housing, that is). When you’re trying to sell a smaller home, you should heed your agent’s advice on design and home staging. Your property will likely sell more quickly — and maybe fetch a higher price — than if you try to sell as is.