When I was growing up, my mom and I loved to tour model homes near our house. We got so excited seeing the decorating choices, how the rooms were laid out, and what features the houses or units had. It’s still something I enjoy doing, even though I live an hour from my mom now.
Once you tour enough model homes, you can start to see some trends. And the major one is that most of the time, they’re pretty bland; think lots of taupe and gray, some not-so-stunning furniture, and a total lack of personality. So, what can you do to overcome the blah if you live in one?
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That’s where home stagers can come in and help.
“Staging can help alleviate many… worries by creating a beautiful and comfortable space,” says Amy Barragan, owner of Affordable Home Staging in Spokane, Washington. “The second people walk in they can skip the ‘what if’s’ and go directly to imagining their life in the home.”
Here’s what home stagers do to make a model unit feel more lived-in.
The first thing a home stager does to make a space more cozy? Rearrange the furniture. Ann Jensen Warren and Maureen Schultz, from Showhomes Minneapolis, note that sometimes spaces aren’t well-defined, especially with the popularity of open floor plans.
“If you don’t have any walls to separate it, make your furniture identify areas like living rooms and bedrooms,” Schultz says.
Warren agrees, adding that the scale of furniture is important as well. Stagers want to ensure it’s the right size for the room, and that it doesn’t look too crowded.
Next, home stagers will bring in a rug to complement the space.
“I highly recommend starting with the correctly sized rug and building from there,” Barragan says. “Personally I love color and starting with a fun boho rug with some muted colors is the base to start the entire project.”
It’s especially important because the focal point of most homes once someone walks in is the living room — and they’re going to make a decision about whether they like the place enough to live there within seconds.
The next step in the staging process is accessorizing. Add some throw pillows and blankets. Put something on the walls.
“Make sure that the important prominent walls have art that pulls the space together,” Barragan says. “[This] can pull a room together and make it feel much cozier than the blank stark empty space of a new build.”
Schultz agrees, noting that “to make it cozy, it’s all about the accessorizing,” and the textures you bring in will really bring out the character of the space.
Most new builds have pretty bland, neutral walls. So it’s important that stagers bring in some colors to accent the space. Barragan uses colorful accent chairs, poufs, and accessories, while Schultz and Warren like to utilize existing shelves and wall space for colorful pieces.
“Keep it clean and have a theme to it,” Schultz says. “We might impact what’s there and update it to what it should look like to keep it in trend with everybody else.”