I am frequently asked, by the real estate agents I work with, how to make their listing, which is on the small size, look larger to appeal to more buyers. As a professional house stager in Pasadena and Los Angeles, one of my primary jobs is to make smaller homes feel larger, or at least, feel as large as they really are.
Here's a list of my tips for making a small home feel larger. You can use these tips whether you are staging a home to sell or if you are planning to stay, but just need some help dealing with smaller rooms. These tips will work with either vacant (if you're bringing in furniture) or occupied homes (dealing with the client's existing furniture):
- Pare down the furniture in a smaller room to the essentials. Do they really need a chair in your bedroom, or will the room appear larger with just the bed, the nightstands and maybe a dresser?
- Clutter makes a room feel smaller. Lots of smaller items, like a Hummel collection or bowling trophies displayed on every horizontal surface, eat up visual space. Only display 3-5 items at a time. Store, sell or prepack the rest. You're selling a home, not a collection of treasures.
- Use fewer pieces of furniture. Its better to have one larger dresser than 2 smaller ones.
- Use appropriately sized furniture. Having a large sofa in a small family room will highlight how small the room is.
- Pull furniture away from the wall. Create a cozy sitting area in front of the fireplace, with room to move around the back of the furniture.
- Cooler colors recede, so painting a room a pale blue, green or gray will make it feel larger.
- Show more hardwood. The larger the expanse of hardwood, the larger the room will look. See how the room looks without an area rug. If the hardwood floors are hidden by wall to wall carpet, remove the carpet. The home will feel instantly larger.
- Try using one larger area rug instead of several smaller rugs. Or if the room looks OK without it, don't use any area rugs.
- Use fewer patterns on upholstery and bedding. For instance, use a solid color blanket or bedspread on a bed in a small bedroom to make the room feel larger. Lighter colored bedding will make the room feel larger.
- Strategically placed mirrors make a room feel larger.
- A well lit room feels larger. Make sure every overhead light and table lamp is lit before open houses and showings.
- Minimize window treatments. The simpler the better. Shutters, blinds or simple drapes (no flounces, ruffles, strong patterns or complicated valences) take up less "visual space".
These home staging tips work if you are staging to sell or just want to make the home you are living in feel larger.
If you need some help figuring out how to make your home or listing feel larger, consider hiring us for a home staging consultation. You'll get some easy-to-implement expert home staging and interior design tips. Its the best "bang for your buck" and it's a great investment in preparing your home or listing for sale, or making your home more livable if you are planning to stay.