Home Staging: Dealing With Taste Specific Decor or "Make Mine a Tall Decaff Half-shot Latte"

Home Stager with Staged by Dream Weavers

I really not much of a coffee drinker. My cup of tea has always been...well....a cup of tea. However, if coffee only tasted as good as it smells I am sure I would be addicted. Lately though I have discovered "my drink" at Starbucks. It is a tall decaff half-shot latte. I derive a great deal of comfort from sipping this steaming hot drink from a cardboard cup.

My husband always orders a tall one and one-half shot latte. In a way he gets the other half of my shot, only his is caffeinated. He can drink a cup of joe at bedtime and fall fast asleep. I, on the other hand can look a square of dark chocolate, and the caffeine in it will keep me awake til 1am.

So for all those coffee drinkers out there, I know a half-shot latte' is a pretty wimpy drink. Basically it's a cup of steamed milk, but that is what I like about it...some hot milk with a bit of coffee flavor. This is a very taste specific item. It's suited to my very particular taste.

Speaking of taste specific....and you know I am always going to talk about home staging....lets consider taste specifics when it comes to putting a home on the market.

We all tend to surround ourselves with the things we love in our homes. That is the way it should be. Our home is our sanctuary, and we should have our comforting and pleasing things around us to make us feel good. We just need to remember these things make "US" feel good. They don't necessarily appeal to everyone else.

I have been in homes where you could throw a teapot in any direction and it would land on a collectible. I have seen kitchens that had enough decorative plates to cover an entire wall. I have seen tangerine-orange kitchen cabinets and wallpaper that caused vertigo. I have encountered beaded curtains, window films, antique glassware, stuffed animals, enough pillows to stuff an elephant, and so on and so on......These are all fine and dandy for a home that is staged or decorated to live. It is not fine if the  home is going on the market.

So how does one take away the taste specific decor and replace it with something appealing to the vast majority of potential buyers? How does one create something interesting and appealing without being taste specific?

Like I always say, paint is your best friend. First, remove the excess decor and start with neutral walls. Remember neutrals are shades of browns or tans and grays. Green in soft shades is also neutral. You are going for richness, not something shocking or excessively bold. You can create drama by having an accent wall in a shade that is two or three shades darker than the rest of the room. If you choose colors on the same color strip, the bases will be the same, and they will work well together. This also works well when you have a chair rail. Use the darker shade on the bottom. This will make the ceiling feel higher and will ground the room nicely. It also makes the chair rail and other molding stand out, something you want to do when showcasing your home's best features.

 The next step is to consider furniture. Remember less is more. Furniture that is too large for the room makes the room seem smaller. Dark colors also make a room feel smaller. Patterns should be avoided, because when your photos go online, patterns on furniture, wall coverings, and window coverings tend to clutter up the overall design. If you cannot change the furniture, consider covering sofas and chairs with one of the many slipcovers available now in many stores. Bedding also should be rich without a lot of pattern. 

Now this is when the fun starts. This is where you start to add interest with color and accessories. Toss some bright pillows on the sofa, chairs, and bed. Hang neutral art on the walls (meaning nothing controversial, religious,suggestive, or of questionable taste). Mirrors are a great way to add interest and to bounce light around the room. Add accessories that are universally appealing such as candles, bowls or platters with interesting patterns and textures, vases that visually carry some weight, interesting boxes, or perhaps a small stack of books.

Try to avoid these taste specific or too personal items: too many photographs of family and friends (especially large photos of family), collections of any sort, art that might be shocking or suggestive, anything that references any particular religion, and in general, any excess stuff. Remember the purpose of staging is to sell. If people get caught up in "your story", they are not thinking about your house. Why give them any reason to get distracted? 

Now, think on this and go have a cup of joe....or tea if you wish.



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