Even in a sellers’ market, strategic home decor updates can have a powerful effect on your home’s “buyer appeal.” Choosing smart home decor updates can increase the perceived value of your home among potential buyers. Houses that look newer, well-maintained, clean, and more or less “turn-key” generate more demand and sell more quickly (often, for more money).
The secret is knowing what to spend your time and money on, and where you’re better off holding back. Most homeowners don’t have the budget for a full-scale renovation. So what are some of the most effective home decor updates a homeowner can make to prepare a property for sale?
1. Deep Clean
It may sound obvious that a clean home is an easier sell. Sadly, though, I can tell you from personal experience that many homeowners miss this crucial step.
Buyers tend to assume that a dirty, cluttered home has a lot of deferred maintenance. In other words, if you can’t be bothered to clean the toilet or wipe the counters, they extrapolate that into bigger issues, like maintaining and cleaning the HVAC system. Dust, scrub, polish your house from the ceiling (that’s right, I said ceiling) to the floor, and all corners in between. Even that spot behind the toilet you think no one sees. Take a look at some of our favorite cleaning products here and here.
It’s become a mantra for home stagers and real estate agents: “Paint is money in a can!” There is no better return-on-investment than a fresh coat of paint. Just remember, the focus needs to be on your room, not on the wall color. When preparing a home for sale, stick with neutrals since these colors have the highest appeal among potential buyers. Take a look at our neutral paint color and white paint color recommendations for home staging and selling. And if you’re completely overwhelmed with your choices, you can always get in touch with us for a virtual color consultation.
3. Update Bedding
Opt for white or neutral color bedding, preferably solids or with minimal patterns. Not only does it give the room a more cohesive, high-end feel, but it also shows up much more favorably in your listing photos. Bed-in-a-bag options are an easy solution and are available at most big-box department stores. These sets typically include the duvet or comforter, a bed skirt, pillow shams, sheets, and accessory pillows. (If you’re looking for a simple, attractive set that won’t break the bank, we recommend this white, queen-sized bed-in-a-bag from Amazon. Also available in king and a variety of other sizes.)
Sweet Home Collection 7 Piece Bed-in-A-Bag, QUEEN
Sweet Home Collection 7 Piece Bed-in-A-Bag, KING
4. Purchase New Shades for Old Lamps
Lamps can completely transform the vibe of a bedroom. In many cases, simply switching out the lampshade can instantly update (or age) the other decor.
Pro tip: When it comes to table lamps, your shade should generally be a third to half the height of the base. The shade width should be double the width of the lamp base. Take a look at a few shades we like:
ALUCSET Double Medium Paper Lamp Shades Set of 2
Wellmet 14″x14″x11″ Lampshade
5. Replace Faucets
Kitchens and bathrooms are highly visible and extremely important on most buyers’ priority lists. Even if you can’t afford to fully renovate, updating the faucets will still give your space a more high-dollar, luxury feel. It’s a simple process that usually doesn’t require a plumber. Lowe’s has a great “how-to” video here. Here are a few faucets we like:
WEWE Single Handle High Arc Brushed Nickel Pull Out Kitchen Faucet
PARLOS Swivel Spout 2-Handle Bathroom Faucet
6. New Handles for Cabinets
While we’re on the subject of kitchens and bathrooms, take a minute to evaluate your hardware. A new set of jewelry can work wonders on older cabinets and modernize your look for a fraction of the cost.
Ravinte 30 Pack | 5 Inch Cabinet Pulls
Ravinte 30 Pack 1-1/4 inch Kitchen Cabinet Knobs
7. Recaulk Sinks and Tubs
Caulk (that strip of silicon that seals the edges of your sinks, showers, and tubs) can become yellow and brittle after a few years. Sometimes it even starts to accumulate black mold (which you may be able to remove using this trick). If this is the case at your house, consider re-caulking. Remove the old caulk (you’ll need a putty knife or utility knife and possibly some needle-nosed pliers), clean and dry the surface, then add a fresh bead of new caulk and smooth it out. It feels soooo fresh and new (and costs less than $10 for a tube of caulk)!
Silicone Caulking Tools
Sealant, 10.0 oz, Clear, w/Nozzle
8. Update Light Fixtures
Begin by replacing outdated entry lights, dining room chandeliers, and bathroom vanity lights. If there’s still room in the budget, consider swapping out builder-grade flush-mount ceiling lights. We like these:
ZGLAOJT Semi Flush Mount 4 Light Ceiling Light
Aadi 1 – Light 8” Simple Dome Semi Flush Mount
Hegland Dimmable Vanity Light
9. Upgrade to a Digital Thermostat
Not only do analog thermostats look dated, but they could be costing you extra money! Upgrading your device brings you more in line with home buyer expectations and may give you an edge as a seller.
Honeywell TH5110D1006/U Non-Programmable Thermostat, Premier White
Emerson NP110 Non-Programmable Single Stage Thermostat
10. Curb Appeal
Don’t neglect the exterior! After all, it’s the first thing a potential buyer is going to see when they look at your home. Get rid of weeds, trim and prune bushes and trees, and power wash the sidewalk and porch leading up to your front door. Fresh mulch makes a big impact in flower beds, as do colorful flowers! It’s also a good idea to spruce up your front door area as well.
Need Help Knowing Where to Start?
Three Bears Home Staging can help you with a strategy! Take a look below at a few of the ways we’re helping homeowners all over the country…
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