The art of house styling can add thousands to your sale, but is it worth the investment? Check out the pro's and cons below
If you google “property styling” you will get pages of reasons why styling your home before you sell is a good idea and how it can add thousands to your potential sale. The idea is to “decorate” a home to its fullest potential by following certain principles that will encourage a mindset in potential buyers to boost their enthusiasm to pay the highest price possible. There are techniques for showcasing the best features of a property’s interior and for highlighting optimal use of space.
Although it is generally pushed as a pre-sale preparation, there are benefits to styling the new house you move into as well, even if you lease your property!
Although they can seem similar, there is a difference. This comes down to (among other things) the motivation, purpose, client goals, and approach to the transformation of an interior space.Some Interior Designers also offer Property Styling consultation.
A Property Stylist will be an expert in assessing a space and create schemes that will appeal to the broadest base of potential buyers. They will style a property with a view to promoting the space in marketing photography and focus on creating a favourable first impression. They can employ skills that will showcase the home for its best key attributes and optimise the use of available space.
They will choose furniture and accessories based on a colour palette that will complement the natural use of light and space as present in the interior of the property, and create a look that will attract to potential buyers. To appeal to a wide section of the target market neutral tones are often the norm, with a ‘pop colour’ or pattern to draw interest to unique areas or useful spaces. In a way that is similar to what is often referred to as “Feng Shui”, furniture will be arranged to maximise the “flow” or “energy” within the space.
The clientele is the main difference between Property Stylists and Interior Designers. Property Stylists are often engaged to sell a property, but can also be consulted with if you want to maximise the property you already live in without going to too much expense or restructuring the building itself. Interior Designers will specialise in the complete transformation of spatial structure and can coordinate different trades and skillsets to update the property’s overall look, feel and function. They may still be employed to transform a property before a sale, but more often they are engaged to transform a property to the functional or creative vision of the owner in line with personal taste or trends.
You know what you like, but what you like might not be what someone else likes and may actually turn them off the scent of the sale because they can’t realise their own vision.Some of the rooms and areas of the property could be a dead space for you, but a functional living area for another - however unless they realise it, they can’t comit to the potential it offers. Real Estate Agents may suggest Home Styling as a way of not only increasing the sale value but also selling the property faster.
A stylist can come into your home and assess your colours, furniture and fittings and give you some ideas to help you rearrange or up-style for sale. Generally, they will work with what you have already got before suggesting you invest any money in new décor or decorating. They may, for example, find that you own an unusual object that can draw attention to a beautiful space with nice flow and offer placement advice for marketing materials or home walkthroughs. They may suggest adding a particular colour to certain places to highlight the natural lighting or offer advice on how to illuminate an otherwise dull corner.
Your goal for selling your home is to provide the browser with an excitement that will create an enthusiasm that only inspiration can encourage. When that feeling kicks in for a consumer, it will put your property on their short-list!
Some great real life examples include the work done by Style Precinct Interiors as below:
“We were engaged to advise the owner of this small duplex dwelling on how to maximise the home's potential and presentation to place on the market. Our interior design advice included what could be achieved to appeal to a broad spectrum of buyers … and property styling presentation for the sale. We selected finishes and furnished the property to look its best to appeal to a wide range of buyers with a fresh look to standout from other properties for sale. Including the right colour palette, refinishing the timber floors and recommending the right amount of investment on the key elements that matter to provide the best return for the vendors.”
Even if you have been in a position of limited choice for properties to move into because of factors that are beyond your control, chances are you chose your new home because you saw something that inspired you. Even if the previous occupant didn’t go to much effort to style the place first, you most likely saw yourself maximising some part of your lifestyle through the use of the type of space and facility offered. Now you have moved in, you want to optimise your vision for those areas and bring your decorating ideas to life.
This is where you can also use the help of a Property Stylist. Even if you rent, a stylist can help you make sure you get that colour scheme exactly right before you buy tons of décor and furniture or paint the walls. They can assess the lighting and the flow of entrances and exits, storage space and liveable area, and provide you with a plan to realise your best interests while also creating a beautiful and functional abode. A consultation can be particularly useful if your old furniture clashes with the natural design of the home you have moved into.
We found that the team at Red Door Interiors know this too well!
“Invariably, after the Red Door team have styled a home for sale, the client will say, 'It looks so good I don’t really want to leave now!'. We just wish more people would use an interior designer to style their own homes while they are living in them, and not just when they’re moving out of them! Why not maximise the look and pleasure of your home for yourself - not just for the new buyer?”
Well, unfortunately it is a luxury - in that it is a fee for service where hiring a professional consultant can be out of the budget of many. There is much information out there though if you are interested in giving it a go for yourself.
With smaller or more inexpensive properties, you may not be able to justify spending the extra capital when weighing the investment against the market value of the projected sale price. The market value of the property will dictate to you whether you can account for the investment, but there is not guarantee that your investment will be recovered if there are market forces at play beyond your control.
The financial commitment you will need to make if you are dedicated to styling your property for sale will be variant according to which stylist you hire and the extent to which they will style the space. Make-overs can start from around $1500 for a basic staging, but if you are hiring furniture or fitting it out with luxury décor for a large home, you could be up for thousands more. The hope is that you will be able to increase your sale price expectations and recoup the cost, but having the capital up front is the hurdle.
Check out styling influencers like Styled By DaniT for a bit of inspiration and ways that you build your home styling over time.
“Think outside the box with your decorations. If you want to make your new house really feel like home, avoid going out to the nearest popular homewares store and buying all the latest arrivals. Think outside the box and decorate your space with pieces that are precious and unique to you. I am always collecting beautiful everyday items that can be used to beautify a space - interesting bottles, books, postcards, you name it. Anything that has meaning to you could be turned into a beautiful ornament. I'm also a huge fan of shopping vintage pieces to use in my projects and my own home; this way I know they will be totally unique!”
(Source: Styled by Dani T Instagram)
Although only useful for digital property listings, you can opt to get a 3D digital representation of your empty property that is styled with all the beautiful fixtures and furniture that you might have hired or bought with a real property styling. A photographer can take photos of the space and 3D renders can be created of what the space could look like to the target buyers, thus allowing them to get a sense of inspiration even if you can’t afford the luxury of styling a property for walk-through clientele.
If you are a dedicated renter, you may have already figured out all of the techniques for injecting your own personality into a space where you have little or no control over areas that a home owning DIY enthusiast will take for granted when slapping on a coat of paint or taking a sledgehammer to a wall. If you have a good relationship with your land-lord, you could hope for a little bit of decorating control, particularly if you have a good record and are a long-term tenant – but alas, often this is not the case, especially if you move a lot or have the rules of a body corporate to satisfy.
Everything from hanging artwork, curtains and vege patches can potentially be ‘regulated’ but you can be very creative when it comes to adding your unique personality into a new space, even if it seems sterile and soulless when you first inhabit the premises.
This will mostly come down to carefully chosen complementary colours, décor that matches the existing scheme, or new furniture to optimise spaces. Of course, there will always be “your things” that you take everywhere and a House Stylist can help you realise the best way to incorporate your memories. After-all, you aren’t looking to sell, but rather to integrate with the space.
Selling property is an artform just as the architecture itself can be considered art. Property Styling is one way to optimise the creative vision for the space in any potential customer. Consultants are experts at regarding your memories and precious things and teaching you how to amplify their appeal in harmony with the natural flow of a building. It brings in the light of inspiration and encourages commitment to those ideas. It is an art that was once considered only worthy of the expensive, luxurious, the rich and famous! With time though, it has flourished into a trend and an accessible set of principles that anyone can learn and take advantage of in some way.
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