Simple ways to make your house look like a show home 

You immediately know when a home has been professionally designed. There’s just something that looks different between a show home and where you live.

Staging a house doesn’t need to cost a fortune. And you can stage your home even if you’re not planning on selling. Try these simple tips for a stunning, but lived-in home:

Deep clean both the interior and exterior

Pull weeds, plant flowers, prune trees. Clean windows — inside and out. Scrub grout, professionally clean carpets, paint, and re-stain where necessary.

Pack up some of your stuff

Parnell Quinn, a real estate broker for The Simple Life in Fraser, offers this, “We tell our clients when they are getting ready to list a home for sale to try to pack up about 30 percent of the items in each room to create the feeling of more space and openness. It works for homes that are trying to be sold, it will work for homes that are lived in!”

Often, if you simply declutter your home it will make it look larger, cleaner, and more like a show home. No toothbrushes or hand soap on the counter in the bathroom. No stacks of magazines or books in corners. No toasters or coffeemakers on countertops in the kitchen.

If you’re like most of us, you’ll need to remove most things from your horizontal surfaces. Throw away, give away or donate everything you don’t LOVE.

Well organized closets are another show home must. Baskets can act as both storage and decoration.

Think Neutral

Work to make your home look like someone with exceptional taste lives there…but it isn’t necessarily YOU. In other words, do not over personalize your environment. Just because you like bright pink doesn’t mean you need to paint your entire bedroom in that color. Add a pillow or two to express your pink passion. Don’t line walls with family photos of all shapes and sizes. Your high school trophies do not belong on display in your show home. Think classy. Think trendy. Think about neutral palettes of beige, gray, white, etc. Do your research and look at pictures on the Internet and in decorating magazines for inspiration and to find out about current trends.

Add Changeable color

Bowls of oranges or lemons in the kitchen. Pillows. Rugs. Towels. All are inexpensive ways to add color to your new and improved neutral canvas.

Understand proportions and the “3” rule

Odd numbers look better than even numbers when grouping items. Three vases on a table; three photos hung side-by-side on a long wall. There is a design principle called “The Rule of Three”. Apply this principle to every room of your home, from the work triangle of your kitchen to color and accent colors both inside and outside your home. Mixing patterns also work better using The Rule of Three. Learn more here 

Also, pay attention to proportion. Don’t hang an 8 ½” x 11” photo on a 10-foot wall — it’s too small to have any impact.

Maximize what you have

This doesn’t mean MORE, it means BETTER. Better spacing. Better usage. Rearrange your existing furniture and accessories. Remove items that don’t fit in. Start in the living room, then move to the bedroom and kitchen.

Allow the eye to focus on desirable home features…a plant near your beautiful stone fireplace, a large piece of colorful art on an expansive wall. Colorful curtains framing an exceptional view. 

Try an unusual use for a traditional item…like a desk in place of a table, a small bedroom dresser in a bath with the drawers open to show colorful towels. A bedroom armoire used as a bar in the living room.

If you can’t afford to change it – cover or paint it

Slips covers and paint can be a stager’s best friend. A new shower curtain or valance can add a pop of color to your new neutral pallet, too.

Pay attention to lighting

Add low-cost accent lights to dark corners. Think lighting up, down and all around when choosing lamps and fixtures. Make sure the light bulb color is warm and inviting. Do not use harsh task lighting for your living spaces.

BUT Home it up a bit

Don’t take your decluttering to sterile. Set your dining room table. Place a magazine with a coffee cup full of flowers by a reading chair. Small touches make a house a home.

And if you are selling your home, remember that research has shown that the average price can be increased by 1-5 percent simply by implementing a few staging strategies before the house goes on the market.