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All the homes are a stage

When styling your house, don’t be afraid to showcase your antiques within a contemporary interior, says Annika Väisänen.

With the increasing popularity of home makeover shows, home styling has become a hugely fashionable concept in interiors.

Home styling or staging is when you give your home a facelift without major renovations or building work. It’s particularly important when your home is on the market – here, home styling helps you make your property more appealing to the highest number of potential buyers, thus working in favour of a quick sale.

Staging techniques focus on improving a property’s appeal by transforming it into a welcoming, attractive space showing its full potential. Although a professional who knows the tricks of the trade guarantees the best results, there are also simple steps that everyone can do.

Home styling in five easy steps

De-clutter your home: Nothing puts off potential buyers more than clutter. Do you have piles of bills, magazines, mail, laundry or kids’ toys lying around? Do you keep adding to your knick knack collection without removing or rotating anything? Throw away, donate to charity and recycle all items that you haven’t used for a long time. For the rest, invest in low cost storage boxes, beautiful bowls, and nice frames for your child’s artworks. If you have lots of possessions, do not put them on display all at once, but keep only a few items on show.

Removing clutter will make your house look more spacious and will emphasise the beauty of your treasured items. Make a house rule that for every new item that you buy, another has to leave.

A welcoming entrance: First impressions count, even when it comes to homes. Make sure that you don’t have chipped paint on your front door and remove unwelcoming or dead plants. Think Feng Shui – a cactus plant at the entrance doesn’t say ‘welcome’ but ‘stay away’.

To create a good first impression, add a beautiful console table with a lamp and some fresh flowers in the hallway. An antique wardrobe with a mirror is a great piece of furniture for the hallway – it’s also very practical for storing winter jackets and shoes. Make sure lighting is good but not too harsh and invest in a high quality home fragrance oil to welcome visitors – don’t overdo it as a strong smell can be off-putting.

Mix old with new: Many people own an inherited vintage bed set, antique dining table or occasional furniture. Don’t be afraid to place antiques in a contemporary interior. It is tremendously trendy and will add character to any interior. If you don’t like the dark, often oppressive look of old wooden furniture, paint it a brighter colour – it’s amazing how the beauty of the piece is highlighted with a fresh coat of paint. White furniture creates the illusion of space and makes the room flow. However if you have antiques that are precious, do not touch them without asking professional advice first.

Neutralise theme rooms: Another turn-off for buyers is theme rooms that are too personal to appeal to everyone. Although you might love your nautical-inspired living room, most people won’t. Avoid painting walls in very strong colours such as dark blue, red and especially black. Paint your rooms a neutral colour as this helps to tone down any dated finishes.

Using neutrals does not have to be boring. Nowadays, neutrals extend beyond white and beige and range from pastel blue-greens to warm honeys and tans. Lighter colours create the illusion of space, whereas deeper tones such as lilac or brown can make large rooms feel more intimate and cozy. You don’t need to paint the whole room – even one wall can create interest and draw attention to an interesting piece of furniture.

Form and function: When selling your property, use all the rooms to their full potential. If you have a room that is only used for junk, re-purposing it can add value to your property. A dark corner under the stairs can be transformed into a cozy reading area by adding a pretty table, a lamp and a comfy armchair. A thick mattress on the floor with beautifully scattered cushions will not only serve as a bed for surprise guests, but can also be used as a chillout or meditation area.

Annika Väisänen is a freelance writer, model, law student and proprietor of Nordic Home Staging Malta. www.facebook.com/NordicHomeStaging

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