Selling your Home: Forget the Magnolia

5 Sep

We have all seen House Doctor, Selling Houses and the host of other programmes telling us how to prepare our house to sell.  You know, the ones where the basic premise is to ‘paint your house magnolia’ and stick a new carpet in.

But while neutral colours do appeal to a mass market, how do professional interior designers suggest their prime clients prepare their homes for sale? After all, the more money you’re asking for a property, the harder you may have to work on presentation, right?

Before and after (below): How the lounge of a two-bedroom Georgian apartment in London was 'staged' for sale.

Our friends at Brahm Interiors say they are increasingly being asked to dress properties for sale or to let rather than just to make homes more beautiful. They say ‘don’t go for the minimal look but rather embellish and edit your possessions’.

Apparently a good edit of your possessions can do wonders. Coco Chanel once said “before you leave the house, look in the mirror and remove one accessory, less is always more”. The same can be said of interiors accessories.

Once you have had a thorough edit, it might be time to add. Whatever your property size or budget, a few savvy props can transform a home. The breadth of furnishings and accessories now available on the high street means that there are solutions available to give a property that elusive X factor. Brahm often utilise ‘statement pieces’ and simple accessories that work with the existing interiors. A large mirror, an sculpture or a prized antique can completely transform the room by giving it a focus. Tie in other items in the room and you end up with a coordinated scheme that will appeal to any buyer.

Recently Brahm were called in to revitalise a Georgian flat in London (see before and after pictures, above). They added a large rug to the living area to provide some warmth and a focal point to the spacious room. Existing furniture was joined by floor lamps to frame either end of the sofa. Light coloured cushions were placed to contrast with the sofa’s dark brown fabric while tired armchairs were swapped with two neutrally coloured ones that added ‘structure and sophistication’. They then positioned large vases of flowers in the centre of the room to provide drama.

Such simple additions can make a huge difference.

Whether selling or letting a property, consider dressing a dining table with eye-catching drama. In the bedroom, tall, statement headboards coupled with luxurious cushions can make a bed the focal point while carefully placed side tables with coordinating lamps frame the space. Even an attractive fruit bowl brimming with juicy citrus can tempt would-be homebuyers to don an apron in the kitchen.

If all else fails call in a stylish friend of an interior designer to provide some objectivity. Sometimes if you’ve been living with an interior scheme for a long time, it is difficult to see how to revitalise it but a trained eye can often provide the tweaks that can convert a viewing to a sale. Remember, the idea is to create a home that will appeal to a buyer and not just to you.  But hopefully they are one and the same.

2 Responses to “Selling your Home: Forget the Magnolia”

  1. Fleur September 12, 2011 at 12:00 pm #

    I am not so sure about this concept. The thing is interior design is subjective to taste, so one person’s taste may not suit those of another and may actually put people off instead of encouraging them to buy. That is why magnolia and muted tones were popular so that people could imagine their own stamp on the property rather than someone else’s. Having bold and luxurious designs may actually make it harder for people to do this especially if the design is over the top and suited to a potential buyer’s taste.

  2. Manchester letting agents September 14, 2011 at 12:21 pm #

    Neutral is always a safe option but you still need a few key pieces to break up the boredom and add a little personality, but not too much! Mirrors, artwork and rugs are the safe option as they can all be swapped or removed if need be depending on how buyers view them.

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