Our business was predicated on the idea that your home environment matters, it influences how you live, and hopefully is a place you feel good in—your haven. We continue to lean into our mission as more of our daily routines become fixed at home. Don’t get me wrong, the biggest matters that are top of mind continue to be around healthcare, finances, and general stability. But also, as many probably feel, having a welcoming and well organized home for ourselves and our families has taken on new meaning and focus.
With so much time and activity shifting to the homestead, we’ve seen a renewed significance being placed on how home both looks and feels. All of a sudden, that unadorned wall that was “fine” is driving us crazy, we’re rethinking our layout and if it’s best suited for our family, perhaps craving a fresh coat of paint to breathe new life into a room, or maybe deciding it’s time to finally tackle that home project we said “we’d get around to”.
People are not only more willing, but eager, to invest in home projects and furnishings to create a comfortable, stylish, and functional space. With the pandemic creating a culture of uncertainty and unknowns, people are desiring to come home to an inviting space that feels safe, cozy, and calming - now more than ever.
That means when it comes to staging your home to sell, lean into all the cues to comfort. Soften the space with textiles (like plush pillows and throws) for added texture, hang art on your walls so they feel finished and complete, and scatter potted plants, fresh cut florals, and candles throughout your rooms. The goal is to evoke a stress-free sanctuary that will make people feel at home.
CONTAIN THE CLUTTER
Our day to day routine is being blown up now that so many of us have two people working at home, as well as kids attending virtual school. When you’re being the professional, the mom, the teacher, and the entertainer all day, every day, it’s easy to have your pens, pencils, and notepads get mixed up with laundry, school supplies, and toys.
To make your home as desirable as possible to a potential buyer, create order in the chaos with intentional organization. Buy different bins with closed tops so you can hide away clutter in a semi organized fashion in appropriate places, without adding a lot of extra work. Or consider investing in rolling organizers for mobility around the home, or a stationary set of storage drawers. Everything should have a place, and you should bring the room “back to zero” at the end of the day.
Not only will this reduce visual noise around your space to create a greater sense of calm to the buyer, but it also helps them visualize how they might adapt your space for their own multi purpose needs.
CREATING SOME DISTANCE
Some of us are blessed to have a devoted home office or playroom that can be fully used as we transition to virtual work and school models. However, for so many, the new work spot is a space that has been primarily used for living purposes. If your home doesn’t include a traditional home office or specific playroom, we believe it would be enticing to buyers to readily see how they could adapt your space to their own work or school from home needs.
We’ve seen examples of people making good use of screens or temporary partitions to create some physical separation between their workspace and their bedrooms and living rooms. Perhaps style one in your space to illustrate how multifunctional a room could be. Even better, if you can, create a working nook, or a devoted desk space, within a dual purpose room (like living area or spare bedroom), as a clear indicator to the buyer that there is a ready made solution to delineate work life from home mode.
Here are some designer tips for making a separated work/school space feel both cohesive and welcoming:
First off, stay within the room’s palette and style for a sense of harmony and balance. If you’ve got a dark and modern room, then your makeshift office should carry the same vibes. Or if your space is light, bright, and a little boho, infuse natural tones and global influences into your desk styling.
One thing designers frequently talk about is creating contrast, and it’s certainly helpful in these situations. While you want the palette, or colors, to feel cohesive, your space will feel more finished and purposeful if there’s some juxtaposition in texture or tones between the desk and the rest of the room. For example, if your space is mostly crisp whites and neutrals, add in warmth and interest with a wooden desk. This will keep everything from feeling too matchy-matchy or one dimensional.
Lastly, you’ll want to treat your desk like it’s very own vignette - which is just a fancy designer word for “moment.” Style and accessorize both the surface, and the wall above, so that it feels complete and meaningful - perhaps with floating shelves, artwork, or a gallery wall.
DEFINED SPACE FOR NEW HOME ROUTINES
When March happened, all of our preconceived notions about where certain activities should unfold completely shifted. Offices moved to remote work policies, school shut down, and gyms closed their doors, and we had to adapt our home environments to take on new roles out of sheer necessity. Living rooms and bedrooms became workstations, dining rooms doubled as home school desks, garages were co-opted for gym equipment, and backyards doubled as patio bars.
At first, we thought this was a matter of mere weeks and things would resume to “normal.” But now that we’re going on 7 months of a remote structure, with plans to remain that way well into the new year, it’s time to go beyond a temporary mindset to more sustainable solutions for new home routines. Our goal is to experience the same productivity and inspiration at home as we would have when physically going into an office, school, or gym. Consider staging in equipment and decor that cues to how adaptable your space is for all variety of needs. That could be as simple as adding in some floor mats and weights in the garage for workout needs, or adding in an affordable Target desk into a guest bedroom to show how it could double as a home office.
DON’T FORGET INSPIRATION
Necessity sometimes dictates that a new activity zone is somewhere in your home that isn’t particularly interesting – a dark basement or the undecorated spare room. We live by the mantra that if a space is comfortable and aesthetically pleasing, people are more likely to want to spend time there. This is especially critical if you're showing your space off to potential buyers and trying to compel them to imagine this as their new dream home.
Stage a home office environment in a space with nice natural light, a comfy looking desk chair, and some pleasant design vibes to excite the buyer with the potential of not only living, but working, from your home. Similarly, creating an organized and welcoming environment for a home workout routine to illuminate the possibilities of how usable your space is for a variety of needs. And of course, hang those string lights in your backyard and add in some pretty textiles (like pillows or a patio rug) so the buyer can daydream about their own happy hour private oasis.
Heather Goerzen is in charge of Design & Creative for Havenly, an online interior design and staging company that makes the process easy and affordable.
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