What to do with windows when staging your house to sell
I live in a Queenslander and the day I first viewed the house all the windows (and doors) were open and letting in the warm breeze, light and the fabulous view onto the decks and bush surrounding the house. The windows were original lead light in beautiful colours. I was hooked.
In Brisbane where it is warm and sunny for most of the year, light, ventilation and an ‘outside in’ feel are all important selling points. A 2011 HomeGain study has lightening and brightening delivering a 3 fold return on investment when it comes to selling your property. The way you dress your windows has a large part to play in this.
So, with the above in mind, what window treatments don’t work?
- Dated window treatments such as vertical venetian blinds (nothing says 1970’s office quicker than these), net curtains and anything in an outdated colour such as peach or anything that looks like a 1980’s wedding dress
- Heavy curtains in dark colours that keep the light out (see below) I just don’t think these are needed in a sub-tropical place like Brisbane
- Fussy treatments such as swags and bows, tassels and pelmets and anything highly patterned (again, see below). Not only do they not appeal to most buyer’s style they are too eye catching (and not in a good way) – you want buyers to be looking at the features of a room not the curtains.
- Wrong treatment for the room. I personally don’t like to see curtains in the kitchen or bathroom – areas that require clean lines and hygienic feel.
Taking down the above will give you instant lightness and brightness and minimise the dated feel.
But what do you replace them with?
- First thing to say here is that window treatments are usually what I call the fixed elements of the house. In other words they are inherited by the buyers. From the buyer’s point of view they want styles and colours that fit with their style and furniture. They don’t want to go to the effort and perceived expense of changing them. This means that your treatments need to be simple and neutral in colour. Less really is more.
- No window treatments can often be better than ugly/old treatments so this is always an option for you if you aren’t concerned about privacy or ugly views. In fact, in my house because the windows are such a great feature, only the bedrooms and the formal dining room have any type of window covering.
- For bathrooms and kitchens a plain roller blind is the best option (and one of the cheapest ways to cover a window)
- Kids bedrooms also look great with a blackout roller blind. You can always hang curtains either side if you want to soften the look but keep them neutral not ‘girl’ or ‘boy’
- Living spaces benefit best from the softness and homeliness that curtains bring. Ready made curtains are a great idea here and at a good price (see below for where to buy)
- If you need privacy then a frosted window film is a simple idea that still allows light in
- If your view is ugly then film would work here too or how about a view onto some palm plants or fixing a trellis to a wall or getting out the paint pot
A couple of other things to consider
- If your house has plantation shutters great! (I love the ones in my bedroom) but don’t fit them before you sell as you won’t get your money back.
- When hanging curtains hang them to the floor and start them just under the ceiling. This looks more elegant and on trend and also makes your ceilings look higher. I hate curtains that ‘just’ cover the actual window.
- If you have what I call Chapel Hill windows then it’s probably best not to stage them with curtains. Make the window a feature not the difficulty of dressing them! See photo below. See what I mean?
- For photos and open houses push your curtains right back and roll up your blinds letting in maximum light. Don’t forget to open your windows and doors to let the outside in (unless it’s very hot and you want to show off your Air conditioning)
- If your windows are on display make sure that they are in good condition. Mend broken latches and paint if required. My husband always looks at the windows as an indication that the house is well maintained.
- When choosing new curtain rods the trend now is thin without embellishment. Match the colour to other fixed elements in the room e.g: when I bought a rod for my dining room it was an antique bronze colour because all the window latches and also light fittings were the same colour
Where to buy.
New blinds and curtains can be bought ready made in lots of different styles and sizes at great prices and are easy to assemble yourself so they will always give you great return on your investment. Two of my favourite shops for window coverings are Freedom and IKEA although Spotlight are also good for blinds and Pillow Talk is worth a visit too. For frosted film try Frost and Co.
I’m Imogen Brown, a home stager based in the Western suburbs of Brisbane. If you are about to list your property and are looking for some more practical advice on how to sell quickly, for the best price and with the least stress then give me a call on 0432 994 056 or contact me through my website www.homestagingbrisbane.com I’d be happy to have a home staging consultation with you.
Photo credits: Desk in Bay window (Imogen Brown) / Ugly curtains (JCPenney) / Neutral curtains (gapinteriors.com)