A good friend is planning to list her home any day now and asked that I take a spin through her house to provide suggestions prior to photos. The house is darling and very well maintained, so let's just say it was an easy afternoon (think more chatting, less notetaking)! One message that I kept coming back to was to "lighten and brighten" her rooms. And this can be accomplished fairly easily and without much investment. Here are my 6 tips to lighten and brighten your house as you prepare to sell:
#1 - PAINT WALLS A NEUTRAL COLOR
This is probably the biggest ask on my list - both in time and energy - but it really makes a huge difference. You may love and bold, dark accent wall but that look might not be for everyone. And the last thing you want for a potential buyer is for them to leave your house with a laundry list of to-do's. Pick a light, neutral color and carry it throughout your house. I would even suggest outsourcing to a professional painter. It may cost a little more, but you'll achieve a better result and it will be done WAY faster if your painting skills are anything like mine. I take that back - if you taping and prepping skills are anything like mine!
#2 - SWAP BEDSPREADS
If you take a look at our Insta feed you'll notice that every bed we stage has light neutral bedding - most of the time white! I get that in day-to-day life it may not be practical to have white bedding, particularly with young kids and pets, but when staging your home, it's really a good idea to swap out bedspreads for light and airy bedding. A white bedspread can help both to lighten up your room but also serves to keep the room free of distractions.
#3 - REMOVE HEAVY CURTAINS
Removing your heavy curtains is a really easy tip to help brighten a room. And note that I did not suggest that you replace all heavy curtains with new, lighter versions. Unless a window in your home has serious privacy concern, I don't think it's mandatory to replace all the curtains in your house. Simply taking down dark and distracting curtains opens your house to the natural light - just remember to clean your windows!
#4 - ADD LIGHT COLORED THROWS TO DARK FURNITURE
Just like your existing bedding, I understand that not all the furniture in your house will be white and pristine - not even remotely possible at my house. So an easy way to lighten up old, dark or dingy furniture, is to invest in some light blankets and throws to strategically cover parts of your existing furniture. Remember, this is not an attempt to hide your furniture - let's not get big white sheets out - but some well placed throw accessories can help to distract from dark furniture.
#5 - SWAP RUGS
Area rugs are a great way to define a space and we use them in most rooms for staging; however, a dark and heavy rug can make your room feel smaller and closed in. If it's in your budget, we suggest that you swap in light, neutral colored area rugs to open up a space. Huge area rugs can get a little pricey, but there are wonderful, inexpensive options at places like Target, HomeGoods and Rugsusa.com.
#6 - REPLACE LIGHTBULBS AND ADD LAMPS
Nothing is better than natural light when selling your house, but sometimes you need to add a little light to supplement. One quick and easy tip is to make a lap around your house and swap out lightbulbs for any that are dull or have burned out. Also consider adding a lamp or swapping light fixtures when a room still feels dark.
Some of these tips are easier to implement than others, but if you keep the mindset of light and bright as you prepare your house for sale you are moving in the right direction!