Why are so many people frustrated by unattainable ideals for their living rooms? Staged homes and gorgeous HGTV photos are edited - just as models are photoshopped. Granted, some homes have better floorplans, materials and lighting- just as most models have great figures, skin, and hair. In real life, maintaining good looks -for the home or for the body- takes vision, hard work and a plan.
When your living room is a family room what is your vision? How do you live in your home while it is on the market, while there are kids, pets, even years of stuff floating around. How can a family enjoy their living space once that dream home is finally a reality? Imagine a serene and clean space with everything in it's place. Here are some quick tips on getting a look like the living room, (below) I designed recently.
Tidy up. This is the hardwork. Got storage? Make good use of it! A large storge ottoman or cabinets like the ones above, can hold baskets of photos, books, toys and keepsakes. Pack up the rest - or better yet - donate as much as you can to local charities. This is editing at it's best.
Lighten up. Plan for movie night and popcorn. Use individual bags. No one can reach that giant bowl on the table! Enjoy a pizza party, but use coasters and have paper towels on hand. Let the kids play... but place a sheet on the rug, then bundle it up - with all the small toys inside -and toss it in a basket!
Cover up. Stuck with an old couch or armchair? Sure Fit and other companies make washable covers that you can use for showings (or company). In the photo below, I demonstrate how.
staff photo by Allison Post for Lumina News
Clean up. Yes, there may be some people, generally without kids, whose living rooms stay picture perfect. But for the rest of us, one random item on the coffee table becomes five or ten. Keep flat surfaces clear and use a fresh, scented spray to reward yourself. Two of my favorites are Method Daily Clean (in Almond) or Meyer's Clean Day (in Lilac.)
Smarten up. Place a wastebasket near the couch or under the coffee table and use it! Bring snacks in and out of the room on trays -or better yet- try a no eating rule in the living room, (and good luck with that!)
Team up! Establish a ten minute dash around the house when everyone puts things away. For a family of five that's almost an hour of freed up time - to actually read and relax in that most elusive of all spaces.
Trade up! Consider buying new furnishings for your next home. Use the floor plan and take advantage of interest free sales until after the closing. Adding new pieces creates a fresh, staged look, incentive for that "no eating rule" and lays the foundation for that makeover you dream about!
Daryl Rosenbaum of Design Results is a designer based in coastal Wilmington, NC. She specializes in residential and investment properties, transitional design from one home to another, staging "to do" lists, (both in town and remotely) and offers advice on her Facebook page. "Like it" and learn!