Justin_livingroom

Staging Tips for Small Rooms

By Justin M. Riordan, Spade and Archer Design Agency

When selling a house, small rooms can lead to big problems. Staging can be the key to making a small room look functional and help entice buyers to put an offer on your property.

Living Rooms – Proving your living room can fit a full size sofa is of upmost importance. A love seat is an immediate red flag for most buyers as one cannot lie down on a love seat. To make a full size sofa fit in your small space opt out of using end tables. Instead consider floor lamps, which can be pressed right up against the side or back of the sofa. By removing the end tables, you can reduce the overall space needed for the sofa set-up by up to 48 inches.

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Photo credit: Spade and Archer

Bedrooms – Scale is the key here. Use the largest bed possible that still allows all the doors in the room to swing freely. Avoid pressing the side of the bed up against the wall. Instead, opt for a nightstand on each side of the bed. Use a “Hollywood” metal frame under the mattress with a wall-mounted headboard. By eliminating the footboard and side rails, the overall size of the bed is greatly reduced while still providing a good reference point on the scale of the room. A bedroom that could fit a full size bed with a bulky frame headboard and footboard can easily fit a queen with a metal frame and wall-mounted headboard.

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Photo credit: Urban Outfitters

Never, ever use a platform bed in a small room. By lowering the bed and adding the platform, you actually can end up making the room feel smaller. This is most certainly not what we are looking for here.

Dining Rooms – We all know the kitchen is the heart of the house. If that is true, then dining rooms are the lungs. The kitchen is useless if there is no place to sit down and eat the wonderful food made there. The staging of the dining room is highly dependent on the size of the house. If a house has three bedrooms, you must include an eating area for a minimum of six people. Look at it this way: With three bedrooms, the potential buying family will have two adults and two children. They will also want to be able to entertain at least two other people at a time. Two kids plus two parents plus two guests equals six seats.

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Photo credit: Spade and Archer

The key here is using a dining set that is small enough so that people can walk around the set once it is in place. Using armless dining chairs makes this issue easier to deal with. Armless chairs can be placed three on one side and three on the other verses two on each long side and one captain at each short side. A larger piece of art can be placed on the wall over the table to anchor the dining set. This set-up would be similar to a booth layout in a restaurant.

Bathrooms – Most bathrooms are small. It is the very nature of bathrooms. They tend to be the smallest rooms in the house. The least expensive way to deal with a small bathroom is to paint the entire bathroom white with white fixtures, linens, and accessories. By removing contrasts from the room, it simply appears clean and functional. A single piece of colorful art placed preferably above the toilet can add a single focal point for the room and thus pull the eye away from the size of the bathroom and toward the art. Adding lots of color and contrast to any bathroom will serve to make it feel smaller and dirtier. Do not, ever, paint any bathroom green, yellow, brown or red. (Trigger warning… this is gross.) These are the colors of mold, urine, feces and blood, not the things we want to think about when we are shopping for our new bathroom in our new home.

headshot_JustinRiordanABOUT THE AUTHOR: Justin Riordan, LEED AP, is founder of Spade and Archer Design Agency based in Portland, Ore. As the creative energy behind Spade and Archer, Riordan fuses his formal training as an architect with his natural design savvy to create beautiful and authentic spaces for clients. Prior to opening Spade and Archer in 2009, Riordan practiced interior architecture and interior construction for 12 years, bringing an esteemed skillset and diverse background to home staging. Since founding Spade and Archer, he has personally prepared more than 2,100 homes for market.

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This post was contributed exclusively for REALTOR® Magazine.

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Comments
  1. Excellent ideas for making the most of what you’ve got. Interesting furniture placement in the living room photo – space from walls to sofa and chairs with lamps flanking the windows. Colorful bathrooms seem to be the trend regardless of size so thank you for writing “white” as the optimum color, as well as colors to avoid. Great post!

  2. Excellent advice on the bathroom. Not only does white paint open the space, but using semi gloss can additionally brighten the room by reflecting light, along with making it easier to clean. Plus, as you pointed out, there is a physiological aspect to consider. The ‘clean’ look of white is perfect for the bathroom. Well thought out post.

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