Beyond the master bedroom – Staging your other bedrooms to sell

Once you have staged your master  bedroom you can turn your attention to staging your remaining bedrooms.

Before you do anything else think very clearly about the most likely buyer of your house and what they will need your bedrooms to be.

For example, I see many homes where the sellers are an older couple. If there are 4 bedrooms, 1 is a master, 1 a guest room, 1 an office and 1 a hobby room.  However, the most likely buyers are often younger families from a different generation. They are looking for 1 master, 2 kids rooms and a 3rd guest room for when grandparents come to help out. This causes a mismatch between the function of each room and how they are decorated vs what is required. The perception from the buyers is “this isn’t for us” or “this is too difficult to change”. It is worth re-iterating the words of Barb Schwarz the inventor of home staging “the way that you live in your home and the way that you sell your house are 2 different things”

This post concentrates on bedrooms but keep in mind that not all your bedrooms need to be bedrooms  – they could be a home office, or craft room or, as in a house that I saw recently, a 2nd living room as there was only one kitchen/dining/living room in the house. It’s all down to audience.

So, by other bedrooms I mean Kids bedrooms and Guest bedrooms.

When you think kids bedrooms think: Sleeping, playing, studying NOT toyshop  

When you think of guest rooms think: Relaxing Bed and Breakfast NOT exercise room, office, ironing room, catch-all room (as guest rooms often end up being)

Here are some general guidelines for bedrooms:

  • Buyers are looking for good storage in bedrooms. Keep the storage you have about half full and nice and organised. Store out of season clothes and toys and items (like golf clubs) that shouldn’t be in bedrooms offsite. Clear from under the beds (buyers assume you are only storing here as you’ve run out of room and they may be right but don’t proove it to them!)
  • Keep the bed as the focal point and visible from the door so that buyers know the function of the room. Dress the bed in good looking bedlinen (buy some new if you need to – you will be able to take and enjoy it in your new house).  For kids, look out for ‘bed in a bag’ which has all you need in 1 bag. A bit of colour is fine but don’t go crazy on the pattern. Accessorize with cushions and a throw but don’t make it look too staged, it still needs to look real.
  • Ensure that the bed has a bedside table and lamp. For guest rooms, make sure the tables and lamps are matching
  • More than any rooms in the house, bedrooms are often painted in quite personal colours (think blue for a boy). Bedrooms must be in neutral colours (off white, cream, taupe, light grey) when selling.   Say, for example, you have 2 boys and their rooms are blue but prospective buyers have 2 girls. They will want to move straight in and not have to spend their time re-painting. As crazy as this sounds this will have an impact on whether they make an offer on your house or not. Or, for example, the buyers don’t have children and work from home. They want neutral coloured offices not blue bedrooms.
  • There is a fine line between being neutral and looking cold and bland so use the bedding, artwork and accessories to add some warmth to the room. Buyers understand that this “moveable colour” won’t be staying but it helps the house feel like home.
  • Bedrooms are very personal spaces yet buyers need to feel comfortable looking around and imagining themselves sleeping there. Your job before you sell is to de-personalise the space. This means removing family photos, religious items, your doll collections, your stack of jewellery etc.
  • Take a look at the window treatments. Are they right for the function of the room and the prospective buyers? Replace or take down dated window treatments – swags, peach colours, overly patterned, pelmets, nets etc.  Buy ready made neutral coloured curtains and blinds instead. A little money spent here will give a good return on investment.
  • Bedrooms often have dimmed lighting but, when selling, the rooms need to be light and bright, especially if you are showing at night. Replace bulbs or light shades (white shades allow more light), remove curtains and nets, add in another lamp – these actions will all make a difference.
Some specific tips for kids bedrooms
 Soft toys are clutter. 3 is the maximum when selling. Pack the rest away. Take down any soft toy organisers too.
The bedroom to the right is very typical of a kids bedroom. Apart from the fact that the wall colour needs to be more neutral: the family photo, the firebirds poster and the school pic all have to go. Replace with 1 nice piece of artwork over the bed and a bedside lamp
I see the type of picture below in lots of kids rooms. I call it the shrine to sporting achievement (this can’t be just an Australian thing?) Yes you’re brilliant Thea but for selling houses this has got to go. Buyers cannot imagine their kids in the room when they are being distracted by, and let’s face it, judgemental about where your kids go to school and how wonderful they are!
And finally. Keep the bedroom clean and tidy. The buyers that turn up with a moments notice could be your buyers.   This is a picture of my son’s clothes cupboard this morning. Good job we’re not on the market!

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