Helping another family fall in love with your home isn’t the most romantic concept. And the path to hanging a sold sign isn’t quite as straightforward as whitewashing the walls magnolia. Stripping every room of personality, and presenting a blank canvas to new families, seems logical; but sterile spaces aren’t appealing, and existing in a shell until the house is sold leaves everyone a little cold. There needs to be a balance. Let’s dress your home to catch the eye of a new family, and make sure it’s still cosy until you pass over the key. We’ve developed our special AshdownJones’ 3D Formula to help; it’s a simple but effective formula for when you’re ready to sell, and it means you’ll be playing cupid for your home in no time.
Viewing someone else’s family home can feel intrusive, and cold; and no matter how creative you are, picturing your husband making a morning coffee is tricky with another man’s personalised mug left on the kitchen counter. Homestyling begins with objective eyes. And that means blurring your memories and emotional ties, and viewing each room as a new space.
Easier said than done, isn’t it? Maybe think of it like this: The decision to move isn’t taken lightly. Maybe you’ve outgrown your current home. Or maybe a change in career has forced a relocation. Either way, you’re ready to move on, and your home must show a sense of detachment too. In the same way that a wedding ring symbolises ‘off-limits’, a home drenched in the current owners’ memories is a little off-putting too. But how do we differentiate between the homely and the off-putting?
Sometimes the best way to be truly objective, is to be truly objective. That means calling on a few home styling experts; with thoughtful design, they find a balance between livability, practicality and comfort. They’ll throw in some ‘je ne se quoi’ too, just to make sure it really stands out. But the best stylists go beyond aesthetics, and tiptoe on the line of psychologists; they know that a home is a sanctuary to enhance your everyday, and a place to keep your family memories safe. Because when people start thinking in emotions, houses start selling. Their job is to help people envisage themselves in a home, and that’s a little tricky with another family living there.
Because, through time, your family will have shaped, adapted and molded the bricks into the home it is today. And that home worked for your family. Your scent, taste and memories are encased inside, and whilst that’s lovely, it’s not so appealing to a new family. The home stylist finds a balance; a sort of cherished-home meets ready-to-love-a-new-family balance. Yes, your home needs to feel homely. And yes, it needs to show how content your family has been in it. But it also needs to be detached from the old family, and open-armed for a new.
Once upon a time, you viewed your house, you bought it, and you made it your home. What made it the right place for you, and your family? What made it different to every other home you saw? Was it the big french doors, leading to the daffodil-sprinkled patio? Maybe it was the gentle scent of the log burner, or the gently lit en-suite. Something made your home more than just another pile of bricks. To sell your home, you need to rediscover the qualities that made it extra special.
Over time, these qualities will become clouded by years of comfortable living. Your home aims to please, and it naturally evolves to accommodate your family; and if it doesn’t comply, it’ll be nudged, painted, stained and stuffed until it does. The resulting ‘cosiness’ and ‘personality’ often manifests in ‘things’; these may be edge-nibbled children’s drawings, carefully blue-tacked onto the nursery walls, or an impressive mosaic of fridge magnets collected from years of family trips. The cats climbing frame was a stylish choice, but it’s also fraying at the bottom left corner, and it’s forcing the kitchen table to breathe-in a little too close to the wall too. Then there are the cushions Grandma gifted last Christmas; they don’t quite match the suite, but they’re not offensive enough to go either. And since they make her smile every time she visits, they’re keepers.
But when people mooch around your home, they don’t know the cushions’ backstory, and they have no attachment to the things they see. They just remember the not-quite-matching textiles, cluttered fridge and squashed kitchen table. All these things are just a little off, but who settles for a home that’s not quite right? So what’s the answer? It’s simple. Remove the clutter, or anything that distracts from the home’s natural beauty. Clean, naturally lit spaces are welcoming, and allow people to envisage their belongings inside. Because no matter how tasteful your treasures are, and no matter how carefully they’ve been arranged, a home that is over-personalised is claustrophobic.
The way we dress our homes is no longer just a question of taste, though; we’ve taken home accessories to the next level, and engraving our personality into each room is the norm. Sites like Etsy and Not on The High Street are a bookmarked favourites for families that love sprinkling their home with personalised touches. It’s no longer about framed holiday snaps and personalised calendars; every room greets its occupant with a personalised door hanging, and every textile gives a comforting nod to its family. Whilst in-jokes and family crest artworks are cute, they can give off an over-bearing mother-in-law vibe when the time comes to sell. Best solution? Wrap them up lovingly, keep them safe in storage, and look forward to unwrapping them in your new home.
This one is short and sweet. Because if you’ve detached and de-personalised, getting the design right is easy. Let’s start by taking a walk into your lounge. Does anything stand out to you? If it’s the cushions, throws or curtains, they’ll probably need replacing. Textiles shouldn’t be a point of focus; they should gently accent the wall colour, but their main purpose is to complement the room. They’re there to create a calming mood, so subtle neutral tones are a great choice. Picking up fresh, plump accessories makes a room look glossy and cared for; they add warmth, and cosiness, but not a lived-in kind of cosy.
Accessories should be dotted around sparingly, and they shouldn’t compete with the room’s main features. The eye should be drawn to original fireplaces, aged beams and bay windows. A nice rule to follow is: anything you can pick up, and that detracts from the home’s natural beauty, should be popped in storage. Great design is about enhancing features, not covering.
When we move home, we naturally take the opportunity to clear out any tired homeware. But this task is generally put off until the time has come to start packing. Are you thinking of a new sofa for your new home? Or maybe a fresh rug or two?
The 3D Formula
Yes – emotions sell a house. But showing your emotional ties to the house will make it difficult to sell. Viewers need to be able to picture their family inside the home; they need to make it their home, and to do that, they need a blank-ish canvas to project their imagination. It sounds simple, but it’s not a straightforward task; like a 3D shape, styling our home to sell is complex. There’s lots to consider, and preparing your home for new families to tour is emotional. That’s why the 3D’s help us to deconstruct, and break the tasks down into smaller, more manageable pieces. So if you’d like a hand detaching or de-personalising, or maybe you just need some objective eyes and thoughtful advice, have a chat to one of our home stylists. They’ll find the balance between cosiness and design, and they’ll make the journey to your next home faster and easier.
If you’d like to see how we style homes for sale here at AshdownJones, just pick up the phone at 015394 88811 or drop us an email. We’d love to hear from you, however you get in touch.
Sam and Phil