UPDATE: This listing rented out a week after it was posted! I am thrilled for the owners and the renters have an amazing new home.
SECRET SAUCE: Last weekend I staged, styled, and shot the home of some dear friends of mine in Darien, Connecticut, so they can list their home for rent. You can see the listing here!
Work is bringing my friends and their family back to the city, but their house is such a gem that they are going to rent it out. This place was truly a joy to photograph because of the beautiful design and great light. It is under a five minute walk to the Metro North, close to shops, and family friendly. Whoever snaps this place up will be very lucky!
I know that listing your home for rent or for sale can be overwhelming, but here are my tips for staying sane during this process!
Please note I am not a professional and these tips are my personal opinion only from personal experience. If you are listing your home, I strongly encourage you to seek the advice of your broker and act on their guidance regarding whether or not to hire a professional stager. I believe in the value of hiring design professionals!
If, however, you decide to stage on your own or there are things to do on your own, here are a few tips I have learned along the way.
1. Declutter: This is the cardinal rule of staging. Listing photos are all about helping potential buyers or renters envision themselves in your space and to show off the space as much as possible. These photos should not be about about your stuff and it’s important to have your home take center stage.
2. Add Fresh Flowers and Plants: Adding some fresh flowers and plants can really brighten a space. You can move arrangements around from room to room, so don’t worry about creating arrangements for each room. You should be get all of the flowers that you need for under $20 and here is my recommended shopping list (I typically get flowers from Trader Joe’s but any source will work):
one-two bunches eucalyptus (or other greenery)
one bunch white flowers
one bunch colored flowers
You can mix and match these flowers to create a few arrangements around your home. Trust me, it will have a BIG impact. A few plants here and there can also add pops of green and natural color to your space - but I would prioritize flowers if you don’t want to get both.
BONUS TIP: Here is a flower arranging tip that makes a big difference visually. If you are using a clear vase, take any flowers or leaves off of the stems of your arrangement. This will give a much cleaner look and keep the water looking fresh for your shoot.
3. Clear off kitchen counters: My strategy for the kitchen is to clear off EVERYTHING and then add in a few select items. As you can see above, I added a small plant, bowl of green apples an lemons, and two flower arrangements. Staging elements should enhance the space, but not distract people from the room.
4. Use What You Have: Often times staging is about subtracting items, rather than adding. I always recommend using what you have. For example, if you don’t have vases for flowers, use a pitcher or a clear glass! No one will notice the difference and your arrangement will look great.
5. Put away your bathmat: For some reasons, even a fresh new bathmat still will still look grungy. Bath mats are great for daily life, but put them away for listing photos.
6. Keep things neutral, but it’s OK to show a room’s potential use: This is a bonus room off of the living room that the owners use as a play room. Rather than hiding all of the toys and simply staging as a sitting room, we wanted to show this room’s utility as a playroom and staged it that way.
7. Keep bedrooms neutral and comfortable: Lots of pillows and a comforter will help make a bedroom look cozy and inviting.
8. Keep small spaces simple: The bedroom above is one of my favorite shots from the shoot. The light streaming into this serene bedroom was just perfect. We kept things really simple in this room and simply added the arrangement for the photos.
9. Remove family photos: I know I keep coming back to this, but it’s really important for other people to be able to see themselves in your home! Removing family photos just for staging will go a long way to make your space less personal to you and more neutral. You can’t put them back as soon as the shoot is done!
10. Clean and stage strategically: I know how overwhelming it can feel to clean your whole house!! Get a shot list from your realtor (or make one yourself) and focus on cleaning and staging those areas. If there are a few items out of frame for the shoot - it does not matter. Having a shot list can make this process much less overwhelming and cut down on cleaning time.