Published: 20/09/2022Imagine if you could increase your sale price by up to 8% with just a shopping list and a weekend.
Professional styling is proven to help homes sell faster and for more money by consciously elevating the look of every room. From setting the stage to creating a sense of space and those all-important final touches, a stylist’s expert eyes can spot the untapped potential we mere mortals might miss.
If you’ve ever visited the show-home at a new development, you’ll have seen how builders spend thousands of pounds on interior designers. They understand the power of careful styling and how it can turbo-charge their profits.
But you don’t need their budget or Lawrence Llewellyn Bowen wafting his oversized cuffs to give your home a valuable upgrade and showstopping look. Our expert guide is bursting with the knowledge, skills and tips of professional stylists to make buyers fall in love with your home, and pay a handsome price.
BUILD A BLANK CANVAS
The first thing a professional property stylist will do is look around your home for what they can already work with, and what to remove. Every artist starts with a blank canvas because it clears the mind to create a picture-perfect look.
Streamline your home with this four-part process:
- To work with
Designer dispensers or luxury-branded bathroom products like Jo Malone and Aesop, fluffy white towels and robes, stylish storage boxes and baskets, candlesticks, figures, accessories, and books on shelves or coffee tables.
- To hide away
Toothpaste and toothbrushes, washing up liquid, dishcloths, sponges, hairdryers, plastic chopping boards and utensils, loose paperwork, phone chargers, stray cables, spare loo rolls and anything else that doesn’t look beautiful.
- To sell, donate or bin
Whatever you’ve grown tired of and won’t be taking with you – declutter your rooms, cupboards and even under your beds to give your home room to breathe and impress.
- To pack for your move
Anything moving with you that’s either not being used or takes up space: pack and label by room, using smaller boxes for lighter lifting, easier hiding and flexible transporting.
There are many upsides to doing this now. Not only will your home look irresistible in photos and feel fabulous for viewings, but you’ll also have a large part of the packing done early.
REDISCOVER, REVIEW & REPURPOSE
As you accumulate stuff over time, you may not notice how something in one room would look great with something else in another. Professional stylists look around your home for possibilities and pairing partners, so why not copy their technique?
- Put all your accessories together in a single room (or take photos for a digital mood board), so you can see whether a colour palette or style inspiration emerges
- Look for commonalities like colours, materials (porcelain, glass, timber, metal), and style (1930s, Victorian, mid-century modern, etc)
- Explore whether painting a chimney breast, alcove or single wall here and there would help you tie in your newly styled rooms.
- Give any spare rooms a purpose, from a guest room to a study to a playroom, and make them feel lived in and loved (even if you're not using them)
As a final tip, professional styling doesn't have to mean extreme colour coordination; it’s more about a laidback and natural sense of continuity. If you’re unsure how to match any items, grab some inspiration on Pinterest.
CREATE SPACE, LIGHT & ATMOSPHERE
Buyers can’t resist a bright, spacious and welcoming home — something professional stylists know all too well. Here’s how to use their expert approach for photos that pop and viewings that sell.
- Open up sightlines – picture an imaginary line from the door to the window in every room to see if anything is in the way and whether you can move or change it.
- Reveal more of the room – replacing solid-base coffee tables and nightstands with ones on legs will show off more of the floor, as can lifting plant pots onto stands and swapping wooden legs on couches and beds to mirrored or transparent designs.
- Lift up the lights – low-hanging ceiling pendants can make rooms feel small, but raising them higher (at least 7ft off the floor) can dramatically improve the sense of space.
- Decorate with lamps – directional lighting can highlight a room's features and create a cosy evening atmosphere.
- Make windows work – swapping half-height curtains for blinds can feel fresher and more modern, while floor-length drapes add height and glamour.
LEARN TO MAKE A SCENE
An empty surface is an opportunity for a sophisticated style moment, and professional stylists group objects together to form mini-stories or vignettes. Tip: twos are romantic and perfect for bedrooms, while threes and fives are easy on the eyes.
Classic vignettes include:
- trays for purposeful grouping – think bottles of vermouth, bitters and gin for a negroni on a sideboard, or candles, cacti and ceramics for a coffee table
- fireplaces with framed prints, candlesticks and figurines on the mantelpiece, with logs, pokers and fireguards on hearths
- a ceramic holder stacked with wooden kitchen utensils stacked in front of a recipe book and a timber chopping board for a backdrop
- beds with two rows of pillows and two nightstands, each with a lamp for symmetry, then two other items like a book, clock, vase, framed picture or candle
- bath shelves loaded with a body brush, organic soap and a medicine bottle or small vase.
And if you're stuck for inspiration, take a look at Houzz.co.uk to find scene-stealing ideas for every room.
SOFTEN THE EDGES
Comfort and cosiness are the final secret ingredients in a professional stylist’s process. They soften the acoustic of rooms and turn echoes into dulcet tones without costly furniture replacements or the upheaval of decorating.
The keyword here is contrast, from colour to texture to fabric, so everything gets the chance to shine.
- Textiles – think blankets on beds, throws and cushions on sofas, rugs on floors, and woven, knitted or leather footstools.
- Art – hang canvas prints or framed pictures to warm up empty walls in an instant.
- Plants – try something green in every room, like statement pot plants, ivy trailing from shelves, freshly cut seasonal flowers, or even a single fake stem on a nightstand.
And if you’d like some ideas for planting outside, check out our previous Flower Power blog for a garden that sells.
What's your next step?
Adding professional style to your home is not as much work as you think. A single fun-filled weekend could be all you need to lift your selling price to new heights.
Looking to move home? We'd be delighted to hear from you.
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