When we think about staging, the obvious visual aspect comes to mind. Stagers are masters at making a home look fabulous. Connecting on an emotional level, however, requires appealing to all five senses.
Sight – In addition to beautiful design, there must be plenty of light to appreciate that beauty. Open shades, remove drapes, and layer lighting sources to illuminate the home. Remove anything that stops the flow and prevents the eye from sweeping through the space. Use design strategies to direct the buyer’s gaze to the highlights.
Sound – Soft music or water splashing in a fountain add an inviting ambience. Rugs and upholstered furniture will deaden the hollow echo of a vacant home and even help reduce traffic noise from outside.
Smell – Our sense of smell is the one most tightly hard-wired into the brain, with the olfactory bulb nestled up in the limbic system – the part of the brain responsible for memory and emotion. Interestingly, it is also the part of the brain where decisions are made, so a whiff of something delicious can conjure up nostalgia and encourage a decision to make this your home.
Be careful not to overdo it, though. Keep it scents light and fresh, avoiding anything that is overly perfume-y or floral. We recommend grinding half a lemon in the disposal right before showings. Neutralize any odors from pets, cooking, smoking, etc.
Touch – A variety of textures create interest and an invitation to touch. Our Master class students did just that on training day while styling the bookshelves of this home.
With the trend being away from wall-to-wall carpet, (Yay!), one downside is that there is more hard surface in most homes these days. Be aware that even leather furniture is perceived as a hard surface. Add rugs (you can even layer them), pillows, etc to balance with softness. Banish boredom with some sparkle, flowers, hair-on-hide, baskets, jute, or metal, etc.
Under the heading of Touch, think also about simple creature comforts such as air-conditioning and heat. Set the thermostat at a comfortable temperature for showings. On a cold day, a blaze in the fireplace warms the soul.
Taste – Buyers probably won’t eat the cookies you leave out on the counter, but you might do it anyway. Just the thought makes the mouth water and creates a longing. We got this great cookie jar idea from stager friends on Facebook last week, and it was a huge hit. The homeowners squealed with delight and were drawn to it immediately.
On a long, hot day of house hunting, chilled water bottles will be very appreciated. A bowl of lemons on the island gives the impression of fresh and clean.
Sixth Sense – You know how when you walk into a place and it just feels right? You can’t put your finger on what it is, but you just seem to relax there. Then there are those other places where you feel an unexplained discomfort. Something is awkward or ‘off’. Staging Design Professionals™ use design principles to create a sense of harmony.
If you are interested in learning more about incorporating design principles in your staging, we created this FREE video series for you.