Selling Weedy Acres...staging the downstairs

weedyacresMarch 19, 2012

OK, I decided to lump the whole downstairs together, so you can see the context and flow. It's a center-hall colonial with a 2-story foyer, DR to the left, LR to the right. I did break out the boxes with decorative stuff in them, and sprung for a few things at Target & BBB.

As you walk from the foyer toward the back of the house, you pass through the family room and then into the sunroom and out to the deck. We've tried lots of different things with furniture placement in these 2 rooms, but are open to any further suggestions. Obviously the sunroom is a bit empty. Suggestions on a couple pieces to fill it up? We might be able to squeeze a few dollars out of the budget for something(s) inexpensive.

Ignore Mr. Weedy's recliner. He's permitted to keep it there for now to watch TV, but once we put the house on the market, it'll either go into the sunroom or away....

And that orphan table in the far corner was my attempt to kind-of put something behind the chair to fill it up. But I obviously need some suggestions on that.

To the left of the FR are the kitchen and breakfast nook.

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I do have a few suggestions. Can you bring the two chairs by the fireplace face to face, with that small table in between, and set up a chess game? I think the table looks like it's in the way of that door. Maybe it's just the angle.

And the two small chairs by the stairs. I think they should have pillows similar in size. Maybe a pair of lumbar pillows.

A centerpiece on each table would be nice, maybe a tablecloth in the formal dining room, and some accents in the kitchen.

It's gorgeous; I wish I could live there....

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 11:31PM
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You have some really interesting architectural features with the French doors, the beautiful windows, lovely kitchen, fireplace, hardwood floors, and stairway. It appears you're not living in the home and probably have most of your furniture elsewhere. We recently sold our home and purchased a home after doing quite a bit of looking, so my opinion may not be the same as others. If I saw your home totally empty of furniture, I would find it less distracting than partially furnished as now. I might not feel that way with a less interesting home, but your downstairs is very appealing.

If it were me, here's what I'd do:
1. I'd change out the light fixture over the DR table to something more along the style of the other drum shade ones or to coordinate better with them.
2. Add a portable fireplace screen since the dark hole is not attractive.
3. Remove the small appliances from the kitchen counter and the dish towel that appears to be blocking a lower cabinet door.
4. Clear out the little cubbies at the bottom of the cabinet above the built-in desk and straighten the desk top, leaving only essentials out or a plant. If you leave out the phone, don't have the cord stretch across the desk unless you want to highlight that the plugs for it were poorly placed, making buyers go hmmmm.....
5. Put the yellow tulips on the kitchen island.
6. Remove the furniture and the extra doors that appear to be leaning in an adjacent area visible in the kitchen picture(?) and leave the plants. As a whole, the furniture that remains right now just seems somewhat disconnected from the house, and I think removing it is simpler than staging this properly. Plus the removal wouldn't deter me as a buyer--but would actually allow prospective buyers to imagine their own furnishings there. By the way, your white upholstered chairs are so pretty! Those I'd be tempted to leave and the bar stools.

Now again, if you had a less interesting home with horrible windows, etc, I would have a different opinion, but because what I see architecturally is so pretty, I think you should just let the house and yard be seen.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 3:36AM
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So funny...scrolled through the photos and thought,

"Oh, THIS is her. She's THAT kitchen!" LOL!

Now I know "who" you are. Still have saved photos of that wall of cabinetry on file in case [I ever move]. Not being a fan of open shelves or minimal uppers, I would buy your house in a minute for all those kitchen cabinets!

I might remove the furniture from the small front LR just because it is so small. People will fall in love with the family room, sun-room and kitchen.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 6:09AM
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The room with the fireplace...

1) Leather recliner at the bottom of the stairs is out of place is seems to alter the natural flow of the home.

2) 2 chairs near the fireplace. They stick out too much into the room and they make the room look smaller than it really is. Maybe move them to another room.

3) That corner table by the window/near the fireplace. Put the table elsewhere.

4) Hopefully you won't have the pretty kitty in any of the photos that you are using to sell. It's best not to advertise that a pet has been in that never know what kind of first impression about pet issues this could stir up.

5) If you don't need the TV, get rid of it and also the entertainment center. If you notice, you will never see a TV in a model home.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 8:29AM
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Everything looks pretty good. If at all possible, I would remove the piano and place the sofa on that wall in the LR. I think that having your sofa catycornered on the wall just makes me feel like you've run out of room.

Just the other basics:

Simple vase of flowers or bowl of lemons on kitchen table;
Declutter your desk area.

The two white chairs and table in the sunroom?, would be better gone. The rooms are fabulous and can stand on their own for any potential buyer.

Not mandatory, but I would leave the FR furniture since it showcases the expanse of that room and looks nice for viewing purposes.

Other than the above, can't imagine that you need to do much more than a table covering and some candles on the DR table. Just to homey it up a bit, but not totally necessary. Again, all of the rooms seem to be immaculately clean and if it were me, I would rather see your home without alot of your things. You're very fortunate that you really do not need much staging, the home is awesome on its own.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 9:23AM
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I don't remember your story, but it looks like no one lives(d) there. Which can be good. And your home has so many lovely features.

I think good staging comes in two flavors. One flavor is This-Home-is-a-Blank-Slate-in-Great-Condition-with-Only-the-Fun-Stuff-to-Do. The other flavor is IsntThisFabulousJustLikeaMagazineDontYouJustWanttoBeMeandTakeEvveryLittleThingDowntoTheIkatHandTowelsandNephrologyHead.

I see your home as the former. It would take a huge amount of time and money to make it the latter, and I dont think it will garner more buyers.

I only have one comment. I never like furniture on a diagonal. To me it is done usually due to lack of space. So I'd move the sofa.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 9:35AM
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I'm with Mtn. Your home speaks for itself. You don't need to stage. Maybe tweak the sofa and two chairs as mentioned above, but that's all you need to do.

I'm also confused. You've been staging for a few months now. Is the house on the market right now, or you're just getting ready to put it on the market?

Buyers will see past the small amount of furniture in there, so I wouldn't even worry about more staging.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 10:04AM
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I'd take the green couch off the diagonal and replace the patterned chairs in that room with the leather ones from your family room.

I'd add the patterned chairs to the sun room.

No extra chairs in the family room, it will look larger.

Add some bowls of apples or lemons to the kitchen / coffee tables to add color.

Fresh or nice artificial flowers and some colorful pillows in the other areas to add some personality. It is a beautiful home, but just seems very cold.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 10:16AM
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Don't remove the TV. Sure, model homes don't usually have TVs but real homes do. If there is no TV it will just look too staged and people will wonder if there isn't a spot for a TV. Leave it.

Your kitchen looks too bare and sterile. You need to add back some stuff to the countertops.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 12:02PM
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Mick Mick

The bones of your home is great and all of your finishes are lovely. Staging is sooooo subjective. If I had the money, the home is clean, allows me to make changes on my personal timeline and the negotiations are simple, I would purchase the house without all of the furniture.

Are you living in the home as you sell it?

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 3:21PM
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Sophie Wheeler

Move the piano out of the LR to the entryway. That bare wall there is too bare. It needs something, so use something you have that doesn't work where it is. The dark piano dominates the LR not in a good way, so move it to the hall.

For the rest, the house looks clean and uncluttered, but lifeless. I'd personally add back some decorative touches in order to give it some life, but you may not want to go to the trouble of finding throws and pillows and plants. Command adhesive hooks with some large scale colorful (but content neutral) pictures and just a few pillows would go a long way towards making it a bit more homey.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 3:32PM
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As others have stated, your home is really gorgeous. It has a great layout and the detailing is fantastic.

In the living room, I would absolutely recommend against the diagonal couch. It seems to be making the room look smaller and as if the couch doesn't fit. I would be tempted to put the couch on the back wall directly across from the windows, center the table and chairs under the window (if they're not already). Maybe even try the piano on the wall directly across from the doorway, but if that doesn't work, keep it where it is. To be honest, I think the matching pillows on the couch don't look good and I would replace them with some refined (formal-ish) pillows maybe in ivory or white? Alternatively I might explore using the pretty white chairs from the sun room in the formal living room. Any chance you could put drapes just like the dining room or similar in style in the living room? The table in here doesn't seem quite the right formality. I might use some of those claw foot tables in the family room in here. A coffee table might help too.

In the dining room I would put the tulips on the table and remove the things that are there now.

You could put a table with some flowers or art in the entry, but I also think it's fine as it is.

In the family room, I would remove the furniture along the stairs. I think it's hiding the beautiful detailing on the stairs and making the entrance look crowded. To me the claw foot tables look too formal for the space. I would keep both doors to the sun room open to showcase that great flow through the two rooms.

The sunroom is maybe a little empty, but it actually looks great that way. I might put a small cafe table in there with some chairs (or a round table), but it's not necessary.

The kitchen is beautiful. I agree about removing the appliances, and clearing out the mail center area. I would probably put out a bowl of fruit on the island or something to add a little color.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 5:45PM
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Thanks for all the comments so far. For those who don't know us, we bought a good-bones-but-plainly-finished house 5 years ago and have DIY remodeled every last inch of it. The bigger projects (kitchen, baths, deck, sunroom) have been documented on GW in various forums. Round 2 after the remodel was going to be decorating, but now we need to sell to move close to a business I bought 2 years ago. So that's getting combined with staging.

OK, I'm scratching my head a little. A few people have said that it doesn't look lived in, and wonder if we've moved all the furniture out. LOL, When I hear "lived in" I think piles of papers on the counter and dishes in the sink. I've hung art and put out accessories in the downstairs rooms (unlike the upstairs), but I'm still hearing "too bare." So specifically what is the target?

Which rooms need art where? Which rooms need pillows? Where to add plants? What's not feeling cohesive and how can I remedy that with the stuff I've got?

A few specific questions/responses to the above:
1. The table in the far corner of the FR: my intent was to have that door closed off, so it would serve as more of a window than a passageway, since there's not a need to have a traffic circle there. How can I accomplish this? Or should I? Should I move the big plant from the corner to in front of the door?

2. The FR looks bare/wide open without those chairs in front of the fireplace, plus it makes for a better conversation area with more people. But perhaps for staging that doesn't matter. And it would free up chairs for the sunroom. :-)

3. The piano really doesn't dominate the LR. It's tucked around the corner as you walk in to the room.

4. House is not yet on the market. Yes, we've been cleaning/staging for what feels like forever. But we only have Saturdays, since the rest of the week I'm nurturing my growing business 100 miles away. We're getting close...

So thanks again, and keep chiming in.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 5:54PM
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I would add potted plants throughout the house and hang the DR light lower.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 6:18PM
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It looks great. The only thing that struck me as I scrolled thru was that with all the tile and granite is that it seems cold. It can warmed up very easily and cheaply. Rugs of any sort under coffee tables, as runners down halls, etc. Vases of flowers in the middle of tables, bowls of fruit in the kitchen. I'd also see if you can find a couple of oversized wooden cutting boards to lay on the kitchen counters and some dishtowels stacked neatly. The kitchen, especially, seems cool and I think some warmer elements will help. Lovely home!

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 7:24PM
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Yes, I would try the plant in the front entry.

Yes, I would take away that table and not block the door.

I agree that you need to get that sofa off the diagonal. Put it under the picture on the wall. Perhaps you would just use one chair and the table in the room.

Is the sofa in the family room very far away from the fireplace? It looks in the photos like it should be closer and would be cozier. Then, you would probably not need the chairs.

I would definitely add a filled fruit basket to the island in the kitchen and a few (like 2 or 3) accessories that match the style of your kitchen to the counter tops. You could google some kitchen photos for ideas.

The house does not look lived in because it has so much space and not a lot in in. But, you would have to spend a fortune to fill it up! It really does speak for itself and is beautiful and so clean!

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 7:43PM
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Your home looks beautiful. If I was buying I would rather see bare floors (with rugs I think maybe someone might be hiding something). It looks staged nicely now.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 7:49PM
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I want your house/view! I think it will sell itself and there is nothing that I see that could be a possible dealbreaker in the way it is staged.

But...I would move the round table and put it in the entry corner with flowers on it. Don't try to block the french door. I'd pull the couch forward and take out the leather chairs. I'd get rid of the wooden arm chairs and try that table behind the sofa, if it's not too tall. I don't think you need anything next to the stairs.

One of the adding warmth/lived-in-look things that jumps out at me is the lack of lamps. I'd put one behind the sofa in the family room and maybe a table lamp in the living room.

I'd put the LR sofa under the picture (and maybe lower that picture a bit) and leave one chair on the window wall and maybe the wood armchairs on the other, or the matching chair there. You could use the wood armchairs in the sunroom, too, maybe with a small game or breakfast table with a long tablecloth where the plant is. If it would get enough light, maybe the plant in the LR or next to the stairs.

I'm not crazy about the table in the sunroom. Could you use that as a coffee table in the LR and get a table with a lamp on it to go between the chairs in the sunroom?

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 8:38PM
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Don't waste any more time on it. It's fine.

People will see last minute doo dads and inexpensive rugs and cheap art thrown up to stage as just that. And you do not need it. And then what will you do with it after? It's a total waste.

No idea where you are, but prices are dropping at the rate of 4% per year nationwide. Just get it on the market and sell it.

My 2 cents

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 9:41PM
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OK, did some re-arranging. Thoughts?

Removed the leather chairs from the family room and put them in the sunroom. I do like both doors open, but not sure the big gaping space looks ok.

Sunroom with extra chairs. Fills up some more, but still feels a bit vacant. Any ideas how to fill up the empty area?

Living room: rearranged the seating. Need to move the picture over so it's centered over the sofa.

And put some flowers on the breakfast table:

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 2:12PM
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A vote to replace the two leather armchairs in front of the fireplace.

And to try the table-and-two-armchairs in the front hall -- see photo #2 (from the top of the message) Add a simple table lamp for warmer and useful lighting during cloudy days -- and for nighttime showings.

Add a stack of "specs" printouts to this table for selling. These specs would include any room dimensions, window dimensions etc. that you could think of -- very very handy for any showings.

For showings -- add fruit to black-wire baskets on the kitchen counters. Examples: bowl of green apples, lemons etc.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 2:43PM
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I would consider moving the sectional out from the wall and put it facing the Tv.

If you have showings make sure the realtor knows you would appreciate feedback.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 4:17PM
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Honestly, I would not try to stage it any further because you have already created the suggestion of a LR, DR, FR. I think the kitchen looks fine--- it is clean and lovely, and the barstools demonstrate nicely how much space is there for seating at the counter. I would not add any knicknacks to the kitchen, any plants that have to be watered, may attract ants, may drop leaves, etc., or any cheap furniture. Your house is nicer than that, and I would let the space and finishes speak for themselves.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 6:16PM
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The only thing that really strikes me, and it has been mentioned in this thread, is that your front entry hall looks stark. It would be great if you had something special with personality in the entry area that would give a fantastic first impression. However, if you've packed up all your "wow" things, I would just leave the space empty.

Everything else is fine and I wouldn't waste time trying to tweak things.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2012 at 8:25AM
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LR looks much better with couch against the wall.

flowers nice on table!

i would unplug appliances on kitchen counters and put them away---they look strange with nothing else there.

i like family room with less furniture... i would probably move the tv (upstairs in bedroom perhaps?) or at least take it off of the cabinet it's on... put it on a shorter table similar(but darker) to the one that's in the sunroom?? maybe group the 2 sets of chairs separately in the sunroom--or put a chair in a corner upstairs in a couple of the bedrooms???

i agree that less is more many times when trying to sell a house--- the beauty of having very little in a home that's for sale is the prospective buyers can picture their own things in it... adding odds and ends distracts from that, imo.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2012 at 12:18PM
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I am going to try to say this nicely...but you also wanted impressions...

I love the house. I see it has potential, but like many here, I see potential in many homes because I have an imagination.

So what did I think (and my 6 year old said) about your home. Beige BEIGE BEIGE. It's a gorgeous home with wonderful spaces and it's so freaking beige it's being turned into a boring home. I'd paint some walls, earth tones that play with the beige on beige well. Even an accent wall or twenty would help. It screams builder beige over and over and over.

Move the furniture off the walls. You have huge rooms! Show them off by showing the space! You have made a shrine to a small tv in that one room and left a gorgeous fireplace alone on it's's don't sell homes! Fireplaces SELL!

Throw blankets from the goodwill, MIRRORS as art! Piano into the entry hall which SCREAMS boring first impression with nothing in it (it's a selling point and you're ignorning it).

You need color everywhere (yes pillows on everything) and you need some basic stuff. IKEA candles in cream on a plate on the counter in the kitchen would be 100% better than what you have. colored tones, but NOT beige. Accent walls in green, rust, gold, beige!

I don't mean to be mean...but it does need staging. You don't want a potential buyer to fall asleep when they enter. There is nothing to remember about your house and yet so much that should be remembered because it's so beautiful!

    Bookmark   March 30, 2012 at 9:06PM
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I agree with mtn. The house will sell itself as is. I would just put a nice table by the door with a tall vase of fresh flowers and my brochures and put it on the market.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2012 at 1:15AM
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I think you're overworking the entry. When will the house go on the market?

If you want something in the area, I'd do no more than one large plant in the corner with a large piece of artwork on the wall facing the door. You can place a small table near the door for business cards, etc., but most people keep all paperwork on the kitchen counter. That's were everyone gathers to discuss pros/cons of the house and leave business cards.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2012 at 7:07PM
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Oh weedy, I am sad you are leaving all the blood sweat and tears of your awesome house!

Actually, I think igloo chic hit the nail on the head. I too like calm earthy tones, but tend to compensate by using a red rug, or colorful wall art/photos, lampshades...

Investing a few small $ in some color, leaves the space open, yet warm.

Goodness, you would be surprised what you can find at Walmart on the cheap. The vase with flowers already added to the table. A small runner on the floor here or there.

Best of luck with your business!

If only all the Ditra would show through :-)

    Bookmark   April 7, 2012 at 3:30PM
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Thanks for your continued comments, no matter how harsh they may feel. :-) I've been hounding CL and squeezing turnips to get a few more accessories and a couple pieces of furniture. Here are some updated photos.

Living room with coffee table and more accessories:

Family Room, with sectional turned and chairs brought in. We'll be moving the TV cabinet before we put it on the market, so probably need something for the wall. Thoughts on the new layout?

Found a couple CL finds to cozy it up and make it feel more like a place you want to hang out in.

You may notice that I've put the 2 brown leather chairs in 2 different rooms. While that works for photos, it won't work for showings. I'm still keeping my eyes peeled for either a couple chairs for the sunroom or the same (or sofa or loveseat) for the FR. This one is on CL for $50, but I'm not sure if the style will work in the room.

Continued feedback and suggestions welcome!

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 9:21PM
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Nice sofa! What a great deal! You have done a great job!!

For the wall in the new arrangement with the sectional...I would just use a sofa table and a nice big longer piece of art and a lamp or two on the sofa table.

However, if you are looking for pieces you will actually use later then buy things you will actually want or could resale on cl. I think you could definitely sell a console table!

I would be happy to keep an eye out for you. Just tell me in what area of the country you are looking.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 5:30PM
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You have a beautiful home. What area of the country is this? (sorry I am new here). Looks a little to Arizona/NM to me but if you are in that area then it fits.
I am an East Coaster.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 10:57AM
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Again....gorgeous home. Is the worst offense your husbands recliner? That home is spotless.....
I know a lot of people need staging etc, though. You need to make it a bit more lived in ...just not as lived in as my house. Could I send you my kids to help? LOL

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 11:00AM
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ann: we're in the midwest.

Lived in? You want lived in? Here's the real truth. :-)

Though in actuality, we've only got clutter in 3 places: upstairs desk, kitchen peninsula, and garage. There are only 2 of us rattling around this big ol' place, so we're lucky that way.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 1:44PM
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