Comparing US and UK home staging

Staging a home when selling — how the US and the UK do it.

It’s never an easy decision to sell a home, no matter what the circumstances. It’s especially difficult if a family has lived there for many years and has an understandable emotional attachment to it. One would think that home staging in the US and UK would be broadly similar, preparing the home to look its best when prospective buyers come round, but there are differences between the two nations when it comes to presenting the home in the best possible light.

Depersonalize and declutter

Master bed 1Home owners in the US and UK generally agree on this aspect of home staging. Everyone who owns a property will have collected vast amounts of junk that simply isn’t used; ornamental souvenirs from a vacation, too many books, bits and pieces that have rarely if ever been used. It’s a time for ruthlessness so surfaces can be cleared and space opened up.

Potential buyers need to get a feeling for how a home might suit them, and having it filled up with personal photographs and memorabilia may well give the impression that this is an intrusion into personal space. They should be packed away to be resurrected in the new home.

Spruce up with new

In the US it is generally more common for home stagers to invest in new fixtures or fittings if items such as cabinet pulls or kitchen tiles for a backsplash are looking tired. It’s not necessary to spend a fortune, but these types of touches can freshen up a room or a piece of furniture and catch a buyer’s eye. A well-placed dining table can make a positive impression.

UK home stagers may be more likely to spend time on improving their fixtures and fittings without spending too much money. It can be little things – for example, making sure that small repairs are done, or that all light bulbs work – so it doesn’t have to be expensive. Sellers should consider what they would like to see in a new home and act accordingly.

Creating space

This can be done by rearranging furniture, cutting down on that cluttered feel, and adjusting lighting to encourage the sense that rooms are bigger than they are. Both US and UK stagers understand the importance of space, so using pale, neutral colors for decor will contribute to that sense of spaciousness.

Storage is crucial here. It’s easy to rent some storage space, such as for books, CDs and large pieces of furniture that can be brought back to a new home. For UK stagers it’s a good way to cut down on the amount of things scattered about in the home, and it needn’t be very expensive as everything will be moved back again. Anything that really isn’t wanted should be sold or donated to a charity.

Scented ambiance

Cookies, coffee, bread? They may be cliches but smell is an essential part of encouraging buyers. Americans may often bake cookies, but the scent of fresh coffee or bread is very tantalizing, as many UK home stagers know.

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