You may think that show homes are for large property developers with sprawling plots of new homes, but the idea of maximising market value and increasing buyer desire is applicable to anyone looking to sell or rent their property, especially in a competitive market or where the asking price is much higher than average and the potential number of interested buyers is lower. As professional show home interior designers, it's our job to help the owner or developer inspire those looking at buying or renting their property. Here we share some tips on how you can do that for yourself!
Match the house to the buyer
The last thing we want to do is turn anyone off so it's important to ensure the interior matches the style of the house and the wider area, as well as the target demographic for that particular property. For example, a developer looking to sell or rent a high-end apartment in Stratford, London, will want to appeal to young professionals moving up the property ladder. They will have particular interests and prefer a certain aesthetic and it's important to match the interior to these intentions, otherwise, the chance of creating interest is drastically reduced. In this example we wouldn't use traditional furniture and accessories, like pleated curtains with tiebacks, glass/mirrored furniture and colours more suited to older buyers like cream and beige.
In your own home, you will have furniture based on YOUR tastes, and unlike a show home, your house will be filled with sentimental items such as photo frames and clothes, and functional items like a vacuum cleaner, phone chargers and toilet roll! Obviously, we don't suggest renovating your home just for the sale, but consider hiding and tidying these items and keeping clutter to a minimum to create the best first impression. With regards to your own furniture, keep things clean and symmetrical. We also stick to a consistent colourway or theme throughout a show home, so if your furniture is mismatched or changes in style from room to room, try dressing furniture with accessories of a unified colour, like vases on window sills and tablecloths on tables in a matching theme.
You could even arrange furniture to show how space could be used in other ways - move a desk/dressing table into the living room or spare bedroom to demonstrate how a home office could work for the buyer - an increasingly important factor for many in today's climate.
Following on from this, we recommend using accessories to create a neutral, inviting and cosy atmosphere within the home, but keep them consistent. In a smaller property at a lower price point, it probably doesn't make much sense to spend hundreds of pounds on accessories to spruce up the home for sale, but if the house has been on the market a while or you're looking for a quick sale, it makes more sense to do this than try reducing the price by thousands. On a larger property, with a higher price point of £500,000+, it can make all the difference to those with more options within their budget.
We use soft furnishings to draw the eye and bring together the themes of each room, including curtains, cushions and throws. We also use rugs and artwork to continue these themes on the floors and walls, especially in new build homes which typically have use lots of grey and white to keep things neutral.
Children's rooms are a great way of creating an aspirational look that appeals to people's desires for their new home, especially in younger buyers. If you have a children's room, consider adding cuddly toys, bean bags, posters and other accessories to add colour and keep things fun. If you don't have a children's room, but a spare room you don't do much with, consider transforming this into a fun and vibrant space temporarily, again this makes particular sense in houses appealing to those with a considerable budget.
Create a memorable experience
The easiest (and cheapest) way to get the show home look and feel is to create a memorable experience where prospective buyers will love every moment they are in your property and walk away feeling like they NEED to rent or buy your home. This can be achieved with effective use of lighting - use table and floor lamps to lighten up any dingy corners and consider dimming lights in bedrooms to create an atmosphere. You could also go the other route, particularly if it's bright and sunny outside, keep all blinds/curtains as open as possible and keep doors open to maintain plenty of natural light flowing through each room.
Scents are also a great tip here. Candles, oil burners, diffusers and even the humble plug-in gives a room a refreshing feel that stays with people when they leave the house.
It goes without saying that your home should be clean and tidy if you're looking to generate desire in prospective buyers or renters, but there are little finishing touches that we carry out when installing a show home that make a big difference:
Plump up cushions and pillows
Make the bed with precision
Arrange items on shelves in an aesthetically pleasing way - for example, arrange books alphabetically or by colour
Put fresh flowers on the dining table or kitchen worktops
Iron any crushed or misshapen textiles
Make sure all bulbs are working correctly
Tidy any cables behind electronics
Ensure the front lawn and driveway are without weeds or dirt
We love sharing the tidbits of information we've picked up in our 12 years of designing and installing show homes and hope we've inspired you to try some of these when selling or renting your home. Knock 'em dead! Figuratively, of course. Those stains will definitely make a bad first impression!
For more information on our show home and interior design services, please get in touch via 01332 870066 or firstname.lastname@example.org. View our Projects page for some of our latest and greatest projects for small and large property developers alike!