I was recently asked to participate in a Rest and Nourish forum, which consists of interviews with a number of people in a variety of fields about how we nourish ourselves. My responses (surprise, surprise) have to do with the space in which I live. But I also realized as I was sharing with the audience that the things I was talking about also have to do with tips and techniques I use when I am staging a home. While that may not be a surprise to a lot of people, it really brought the entire concept of staging full circle for me.
Of course when we stage a house on the market, we are appealing emotionally to the potential buyers. We want them to imagine living in the house even while they are surrounded by furnishings that aren’t theirs. And the techniques I use to do that are the same techniques I use in my own home. And that all begins with the five senses.
When I walk into my home, I want it to smell good. Isn’t that an important technique stagers use as well? Of course in my own home I use scents that may be more personal than I would use in a house on the market. But I still use essential oils rather than anything unnatural. And I love clean fresh scents (lemon, citrus, orange), relaxing scents (lavender, bergamont), and scents that remind me of home (vanilla). Which are the same scents I would use when I am staging.
I also want the house to look pretty, which means I do a quick pick-up in the morning and evening so I can clearly see the things I love without being overwhelmed or distracted. While I make sure the things I see are the things I love in my own home, I position the furnishings so the potential buyers see things they will love in the house on the market. That means the fireplace, beautiful views, and inviting seating areas.
Colors are of course important. In my own home they are my favorite colors, but I use them in a way that moves my eye through the room and creates a sense of connection throughout the entire house. And that’s what I do for houses on the market. I may use more subtle colors but they aren’t boring and the effect is the same.
Texture is important in my own home. I love soft fabrics in the winter (chenille, velvets, soft wools) and those with either a smooth texture (cottons and silks) or nubbiness (wicker, sisal) in the summer. When I stage a house on the market I take into consideration not only the time of the year but also the overall feel of the house. I know a house I stage in July may still be on the market in October (even though we hope it isn’t!), so I may find it necessary to swap out a few of the silk pillows for chenille and add a throw or two. But if the house feels like a summer house (it has lots of windows or perhaps a great outdoor entertaining area), I may stick with that summertime feel regardless of the time of year. Who doesn’t like to imagine barbecuing on the deck on a hot day when it’s 30 degrees outside? And one of the best ways I know to do that is through the use of the appropriate textures.
Taste and hearing are also important both in my own home and those I stage. Because scent and taste are closely related, if I have a wonderful homey scent in the kitchen (vanilla, cinnamon, apple), I can almost taste baked goods. And if there is an unpleasant sound (traffic, the neighbor’s dog), soft music makes it much less noticeable.
My home or my client’s home, living or preparing to sell – they really are the same thing!