It may seem that buyers should be able to look past the two sofas in the living room, or the collection of antique sewing machines that clutter the room, but the truth is, they can't. Buyers will focus on the 'stuff' in a room when there is too much clutter, and not on the positive aspects of the house itself. That's why it's important to learn a few simple home staging basics before potential home buyers see your home. Today we'll discuss how to declutter the living room and make it more appealing.
What is clutter?
Clutter is anything that makes a room look disorderly or crowded. It can be toys all over the place, shoes and clothes piled in a corner, too much furniture, over-sized furniture, too many photographs on a wall - Absolutely anything that causes a jumbled appearance is clutter.
Do buyers really care about my clutter?
Oh, yeah. A cluttered room is a room that looks likes it's lacking in space. The room will feel closed in, dark, and small when it's full of clutter. And if buyers think that you don't have enough room to fit your furniture and belongings in the house, they won't have the space they need to live comfortably. Thus, decluttering the living room is a must. This may mean that you will temporarily have to live without some of your belongings, but it will be worth it when your home sells quickly.
How to declutter the living room
Furniture - Remove all furniture out of the living room except for a sofa, one chair or loveseat, and a side table. If the room is exceptionally small, leave just the sofa or loveseat and a side table. Everything else can go into storage for now.
Rugs - In an effort to conceal carpet stains and other damage, many homeowners place a series of mix-match rugs around the room. These rugs cut the room apart and make it appear very unattractive. Remove the rugs, steam clean the carpets, and use one decorative area rug instead for a cohesive look.
The fireplace - A dirty fireplace is a definite eyesore, so be sure to either clean it yourself or hire a professional to do it for you. Then, prop a large decorative mirror on top of the mantel and accent the area with a pretty vase or urn.
Books, magazines, and newspapers - Remember, you aren't trying to organize here. You are trying to get rid of things that crowd the living room, so books, magazines, and newspapers need to go. Put them into a plastic container and either toss them or store them away until the house sells.
Trophies & achievements - As a mom, I know how wonderful it is to feel proud of your child's achievements. But, now that you're in the process of staging the living room, it's time to pack those things up and store them out of sight. Trophies, certificates, ribbons, and so on, can be showcased in your new home. This goes for knick knacks and collectibles, too.
Windows - When windows are cluttered with blinds, curtains, valances, and so on, potential buyers cannot see the view outside. You want them to see not only the house itself, but the neighborhood around it. Thus, it's best to remove heavy window treatments and replace them with sheer curtains, instead.
Potted plants - A few healthy plants are fine to leave in place, but dying, wilted, or dead plants need to be removed ASAP. Additionally, if you have an extensive collection of plants, it may be better to find them a temporary home until your house sells. Buyers will be turned off when they walk into a jungle, and will only be able to see the plants. The house should be the focal point.
Once you're finished decluttering and staging the living room, you can begin showing your house. With things neat and in their place, your living room will appear larger, more inviting, and will, hopefully, encourage buyers to make a bid. Good luck!
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Source: Personal knowledge